Triathlon is the perfect activity for those who want to upgrade their sports or become fitter as athletes. In the past 5 years, this sport has become more popular than ever, with increase of 30% in the United States. Around 500,000 Americans are expected to go on swimming, ride their bikes, then go on running in one of the triathlon events this year.
Most triathletes are runners who want try new routines. Most discover that triathlon makes them better runner. For example, underachiever runners usually find themselves passing standards that seem unachievable before they decide to participate in triathlon. A number of triathletes also end up breaking their previous records.
Most runners are hesitant when taking up another sport. Moreover, when it comes to triathlon, they must first have the proper equipment for biking and swimming. Thus, for runners who are just about to begin their journey as triathlete, it is important to know some notable tips that can help them in the other two components of triathlon: swimming and cycling.
Swimming is an entirely different activity from running. The stresses that it puts on the body can be considered to be the opposite of those posed by running. As swimming is important in stretching muscles, running is known for compressive stresses. In addition, running is a high impact sport and is more focused on the lower body, whereas swimming is non-impact and involves full-body activity.
Training for swimming is more centered on efficiency. In this case, triathletes aim at spending less energy by improving their swim strokes.
A number of strokes can be applied to swimming. Normally, most triathletes will prefer freestyle than butterfly. However, they should still ask a professional swim coach about how they can better improve on their strokes.
Beginners should not focus too much on speed but on efficiency and economy of their swim. They should not aim for swimming across the pool faster but reducing their strokes.
Performing drills is one way of enhancing swimming techniques. Such type of exercises allows swimmers to analyze their strokes one at a time.
Newbies on triathlon should at least try cross-training in the pool. They can do swimming laps for a specific period of time. Lap swimming also allows for active recovery after running. On the other hand, swim intervals teach triathletes to vary their swim space. Swim intervals may start with some warmup laps followed by some drills.
Triathletes should also prepare themselves in swimming in open waters and with a large crowd. Swimming in triathlon events feels entirely different than swimming in a pool. In relation to this, triathletes should develop their confidence and learn to swim with other people in close distances.
Training in open water is also a great way to prepare for triathlon. This way, triathletes become more confident in swimming in open waters and its related conditions.
Cycling is similar with swimming in that this activity provides the body with significant cardiovascular workout without posing much impact. However, it also bears similarity with running as it is more focused on the lower body. During cycling, quads and calves are extremely worked out compared with running. Thus, runners should also take up cycling in order to develop such muscles.
Notably, cycling benefits running. Runners who engage in cycling discover that they become better at running over time. As a result, triathletes and runners also do cycling when preparing for a race or triathlon events.
Obviously, the most important equipment in cycling is the bike. Beginners in triathlon may start with moderate bike cross-training using any bike that is available for them. However, as soon as they got the hang of it or started to like the biking, they should consider purchasing a road bike.
For those who are using their old bike models, they should ensure that their bikes can accommodate their needs. When athletes are not compatible with their bikes, their training becomes less effective, and they are placing themselves at risk of injuries. Thus, cyclists or triathletes should have their bikes checkout by professionals to ensure that they their equipment fit them.
Cycling is not merely pedaling to get the bike running, it also requires mastery of some skills. The most common mistakes by beginners is focusing all their efforts on pedaling down the bike. They do not realize that they should also actively pull the pedal upward during the second half of pedal stroke.
The second error is using bigger gears with slow cadence. If people cannot pedal at least 80 revolutions per minute on flat terrains, then they should shift their gear to an easier one.
Triathletes should make adjustments to their running schedule should they decide to train for swimming and cycling. The changes must focus on maintaining or developing strength in running even when mileage is lowered.
Thus, triathletes should engage more in tempo runs, interval workouts, and long runs to boost their fitness. After a hard run, swim and bike work outs aid in recovery of the body.
Weekly runs depend on swim and bike workouts. One swim and one bike workout can be partnered with four runs on a week for cross-training. However, for triathlon training, athletes should engage in more mix of those three activities.
Those who engage in triathlon must learn the transition between biking and running. Running after a bike ride will feel different because the legs becomes rubbery. Thus, runners-turned-triathletes must train thoroughly to get used to such sensation.
Transition run is the training run that comes after a training ride. This activity can be as short as 10 minutes. Transition run may also serve as running activity for runners who are just starting with triathlon.
Longer transition runs benefit those who cross-train with swimming and cycling because it limits the impact on the body caused by running.