I’m going to cover a lot of tips and topics including nutrition and time management and others but the most important thing for you now is to get started with your training.
So first things first. Triathlon involves four disciplines. Four? I hear you say. But isn’t it just swim, ride and run? Technically yes but some triathletes consider the art of transition to be just as important to master. We’re going to come to transition specific tips but today we’ll focus on getting you started on the three core efforts.
- Sprint Distance 750m
- Equipment needed: Bathers/Swimmers, Goggles
- Week 1 Training Goal: Swim at least 1 km.
If you can’t swim at all this is going to be a slightly longer path for you but it’s not impossible. There are fantastic adult learn to swim classes you can enrol in today. Go and do that now. For those who can swim, a starter distance in triathlon is usually 750m or 15 laps of a 50m pool. If you can already swim a km with ease this should be no problem for you although we will get into more detail about ocean swimming and the notorious “washing machine” of a triathlon start. This week just plan to swim 1km. If you’re doing that easily make it 2! We’ll start introducing drills to help you with speed and distance in the coming weeks.
- Sprint Distance 20km
- Equipment needed: A bike, a bike pump, a helmet.
- Week 1 Training Goal: 2 rides of at least 5km
Most people can ride a bike. Again, if you can’t this is going to be an interesting learning curve but give it a go.
For a beginner triathlete there are just a few crucial things. Mountain bike tyres might make you feel more stable, but they create more drag and therefore require a lot more effort. Get road tyres. Now! Plan to ride twice a week, try to make it part of your day like riding to work and back. Take the kids for a ride on the weekend or just use the time to take a break from work or the kids!
The Sprint distance ride is 20km so we’ll gradually build up the distances you’re doing and then look at increasing your speed.
- Sprint Distance 5km
- Equipment needed: Shorts or compression tights, t-shirt/singlet, socks and trainers
- Week 1 Training Goal: 2 runs of at least 5km
Like bike riding, most of us can run, so this shouldn't be a problem. If you haven’t run for years though, this is a good one to build up slowly as it’s a high impact activity and has the greatest potential to derail your tri ambition with avoidable injuries. The best way to build up your run is to start with a five minute walk then jog for 1 min on and walk for 1 min. Continue to alternate for 20 mins. Don’t focus on distance at this point, getting into a routine and building up your cardio and endurance are the goal.
Next we’ll expand on your training and start looking at fitting all of this new activity into a schedule.
Mike Moore is a 7 time Ironman competitor and an elite cyclist and distance runner. He has over 19 years experience as a personal trainer and triathlon coach, working with groups and individuals. Mike specialises in sports specific conditioning, strength conditioning and cardiovascular health.