If you are an avid fitness enthusiast, and you are looking to take your fitness to the next level, then training to participate in a triathlon could be just the challenge you are looking for. Fast becoming one of the world’s most popular forms of competitive racing, triathlons challenge both your body and mind, pushing you to increase your overall fitness.
Though the terrain and length may vary, depending on where you are competing, triathlons all follow the same basic structure. They combine swimming, cycling and running, into one sequential event that requires whole body strength, stamina, endurance and a whole lot of drive to complete!
Don’t let this put you off though, there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you run over the finish line. Sure, your muscles will be screaming at you and your legs might feel like jelly, but the adrenaline rush, not to mention the rewarding satisfaction, is well worth the effort.
Sound like something you might be interested in? Well here are some basic tips to help you prepare for your triathlon experience:
- Start Short: Ideally you will be training to complete all 3 sections in succession; however you don’t need to start pushing yourself to achieve the full distance straight away. Prepare your body over time by completing shorter distances of each challenge and gradually work towards increasing your distances and times.
- Listen to your body: Don’t push yourself to train when you are unwell as this will set you back further than taking the time to heal. Listen to your body and allow for rest when rest is needed.
- Modify your diet: Don’t forget the importance of adjusting your diet to support the amount of training you are doing. Make sure your diet is rich in all the protein, complex carbs and good fats you need to fuel and prepare your body. Prepare yourself the morning before the event by ensuring you eat a substantial meal that is low GI and protein rich. Avoid heavy, fatty foods, and foods with low nutritional value.
- Don’t Over Do It: As you get closer to your race you may feel you need to push even harder, but it is important to not to overdo it. Ideally you should cut your training down a little in the week leading up to the event so as to ensure you have the energy reserves needed on the actual day. Try reducing your training by half and incorporate some other simple forms of aerobic exercise, such as basic skipping, to help keep your fitness levels on track.
- Dress For The Occasion: A common mistake people make when heading out for their first triathlon is wearing new clothing and shoes. The last thing you want is to get 10 minutes into the run and realise that your clothing is chafing or that your shoes give you blisters! Make sure you wear clothing that you have tried and tested so that you know you will be comfortable. Aim for stretchy, non-restrictive clothes that allow your skin to breathe so that you don’t overheat. And don’t forget your sunscreen, glasses and hat!
Whether you decide to go it alone, or you recruit a friend in on the action, training and competing in a triathlon event will be an experience you are unlikely to regret!