It’s not for the faint hearted but that feeling of achievement makes it all worthwhile. If you love to run, swim and cycle, then this may be for you. In the scheme of things, triathlon is a relatively new sport, begun by a group of friends in Mission Bay, Southern California in 1974. The friends all enjoyed a variety of sports such as running, cycling and swimming and they decided to compete against each other in all three sports – thus triathlon was born.
There are a variety of triathlons to enter, with varying distances, this means you can start slowly and build your way up to the ultimate Ironman. Super Sprint: - 200 yd (183 m) swim, 5 mile (8 km) bike, 1 mile (1.6 km) run Sprint: - 0.5 mile (0.8 km) swim, 15 mile (24.2) bike, 3 mile (4.8 km) run Olympic:- 0.93 mile (1.5 km) swim, 24.8 mile (40 km) bike, 6.2 mile (10 km) run Half-iron: - 1.2 mile (1.9 km) swim, 56 mile (90 km) bike, 13.1 mile (21.2 km) run Ironman: - 2.4 mile (3.8 km) swim, 112 mile (180.2 km) bike, 26.2 mile (42.4 km) run
Triathlon always begins with a swim, following by cycling and finishing with a run. Many people find the swim the most intimidating, especially if swimming is not their strongest suit. It can be quite frightening when all those people hit the water, diving through the waves like dolphins, perhaps actually diving on top of you but there are thousands of websites, blogs and books out there, giving advice on the different techniques to be used by triathletes. And, like all things, practice makes perfect, so training is the key. Try and join a swimming club which will help you to cope with swimming in groups.
If you are not already a regular cyclist with a good bike, then go to a reputable store and get properly fitted on a bike that suits both your pocket and your needs. Ensure you buy the best helmet you can afford and remember, just one fall when that helmet hits the ground, means you will need to buy another one, as its structure could be weakened. Buy comfortable clothing, shoes and a reflective running vest so you are visible in all weather conditions. If you are a lone cyclist you need to learn how to cycle with the pack. There is an art to it, which fellow cyclists will always be happy to teach you. Join a good cycling club and enjoy the camaraderie and encouragement which the membership brings.
The most important piece of equipment to buy when running is your shoes. Go to a reputable sports store and speak to someone who knows their job and they will give you sound advice on which shoes are right for you. Wear clothing which wicks moisture away from your skin. Cotton clothing should not be worn as the more you sweat the heavier the clothing becomes. Buy a reflective belt or reflective vest, so that you can been seen clearly by other road users. Join a running club, so that you can get used to running within a pack. It is a good way to learn the tricks of the trade and give you the confidence to continue with your aspiration of entering Ironman one day.