Thinking about running a triathlon? 5 tips before jumping in

Triathlons require mental and physical endurance, but the rewards can be life-changing

Stock image. RUN 4 FFWPU (Pexels)

Either exercising more or achieving greater fitness goals are usually popular New Year’s resolutions for people, but have you thought about an even bolder resolution that will ensure you either get or remain in great shape?

How about competing in a triathlon?

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Triathlons are held in all shapes and sizes, with the most famous one being the Ironman World Championship, that’s usually held every year in Hawaii.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s event was moved to Utah, where it will be held in May as part of a doubleheader in 2022. The scheduled 2022 event will take place in October in Hawaii.

But for those not at that level, triathlons — which incorporate swimming, biking and running for set distances — are often held smaller in scale in various local communities.

For those interested in training for a triathlon, here are five tips to help you do so.

1. Determine your racing/training goals.

Basically, this is determining what exactly you want to get out of the experience of training for a triathlon, and what you would like to achieve for the day of the event itself.

Is it just a matter of getting in shape? Are there social objectives in play, where you want to meet people while training? Do you prefer to train for a smaller triathlon or one that will test your endurance more and require a higher level of training?

Do you want to run in a local triathlon backed by local friends or family, or in one in another part of the country to incorporate a travel element to it?

Figuring out exactly what you want to gain is important, going in.

2. Get the proper equipment.

A standard race outfit that you’ll wear throughout the swim, bike and run is something that will need to be purchased. It’s made of material that will dry quickly after the swim, and be comfortable on the bike and run.

An outfit with pockets to hold energy gels or other essential items is important also.

Swim goggles, a bike that’s more about comfort rather than speed for a beginner, and proper running shoes are essential, as well.

It’s also a bonus to learn how to change a flat tire or make adjustments on a bike, should you get stranded in an emergency.

3. Consume the proper nutrition before race day.

During training, it’s vital to get in the habit of learning how to properly fuel and refuel your body. This will not only get your body in best shape possible for the race day, but get it to better adapt and respond during the triathlon itself. The number of energy gels and drinks consumed between workouts depends on how much training is done, but doing so within 30 minutes of a session or race will help inhibit muscle tissue breakdown.

4. Learn recovery techniques.

How you take care of yourself when you’re not training is just as important as during training. Proper sleep, stretching, massaging and consuming the right nutrients when at home is as much a part of triathlon training as the physical activity of swimming, biking and running.

5. Strengthen yourself mentally.

Last but not least, getting into triathlon training will likely feature some difficult moments, where giving up will seem like an enticing option. Having a good attitude and sticking with the process is going to be as important as the physical training.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.