Racing in a triathlon can be an extremely fun and rewarding experience, but without proper preparation, it can be easy to get in over your head. We at Underwater Audio have put together a useful guide to preparing for your first triathlon safely and effectively. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in one of these events, this is a great starting point!
The longer the race, the longer the preparation. As your race length increases, you will need to train more hours per week for more weeks in advance. The chart on the right has some suggested training times for triathlons of various lengths.
A 30 minute per day triathlon training schedule is equivalent to 3.5 hours per week. That allotment of time is appropriate when training for a sprint triathlon or a super sprint triathlon. This is a short-distance triathlon, the perfect choice for people who are just starting out.
At the other end of the spectrum is the extremely challenging Ironman triathlon, a much more difficult and lengthy event. Prepping for an Ironman triathlon doesn’t just demand more training per day; if you want to be in peak shape for that kind of event, you’ll need to start training earlier, too.
We’re going to assume you’re planning for a sprint triathlon (but if you’re aiming higher than that, we salute you!). Start 3 months in advance. Create a calendar and map out your daily workouts.
For the first 2 months your schedule should break up the training evenly. 3 of the days should be dedicated to swimming, and 3 days should be dedicated to run-bike combos. The final day should be an easy, low-intensity bike ride to keep you from burning out. This 7-day schedule should help you build up your endurance and focus equally on all the aspects of the triathlon.
For the final month…
You should still be training 30 minutes a day, but now, focus on your weakest leg.
Train accordingly. If your weak spot is swimming, swim 4 days instead of 3. If you struggle with running, dedicate one day strictly to running. Do a little extra training where you are lacking. You don’t need to add more minutes, just adjust the breakdown.
Then, a week in advance…
Practice your transitions! Without practice, you could have butter fingers on the day of the competition. You will be rushing, and it will actually take longer than normal to do simple things.
Like tying your shoes. “If you leave your bike shoes clipped in to your pedals, for example, you’re going to crash the first few times you try to mount and dismount.”
Another good idea is to check out the course in advance, if possible. Familiarize yourself with the transition areas and practice there so that you are prepared for the real deal.
On the day of the competition, you will want to conserve your energy.
Don’t burn yourself out on the first leg. Start out with less than maximum effort. And try to gauge how much energy you will need to save to stay strong till the end.
Then, once you’re half-way through “you can pick up the pace and finish strong.
This is called a negative-split effort.”
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