You can train for a triathlon and have a life. Training for any distance event
is a commitment. I can’t promise it won’t consume your mind, but I can
offer training guidelines so that your time in the water or on the road doesn’t
chew up every available minute of your day.
I will offer detailed week-by-week training schedules for each of
the event distances. But before you start following the schedules, be sure
you can comfortably do the first week’s training for each sport. If not, spend
some time building your endurance in the sport(s) in which you’re weakest.
When you have a solid fitness base, you can train for a Sprint triathlon in as
little as four hours a week over a 12-week period. That’s doable.
As you increase your event distance, plan to increase the time you spend
training — in some cases, double that time. For example, to prepare for an
Olympic distance, you’ll want to allow for eight hours a week for 20 weeks. A
Half-Iron will demand at least ten hours a week for 24 weeks.
An Ironman — well, forget what I said about not consuming your life. You
will eat, sleep, and breathe triathlon training for the better part of a year, or
at least 30 weeks. Everything you do, you’ll think first, “How will this affect my training?” But by the time you get to the point where you’re ready to
compete in an Ironman, you’ll be so hooked on triathlons that this will actually
sound good to you!
Your event is right around the corner and it’s time to set up your transition spot in the parking lot. If it’s your first mini-triathlon, this is a quick reference to setting up a spot that works!
Get your bike and all of the rest of your stuff, including your bib numbers from sign-in, and head into the race area.
Remember, NO spectators are allowed in the transition area. You can be disqualified!
All of the spots on the bike racks are numbered. Find your bib number and set up your spot.
First pick up the front of your bike and lean the hand-brakes over the rack.
Take that brightly colored item you brought with you and tie it to your bucket so you can find it when you get out of the water. Some people use helium balloons. You can lose a lot of time looking for your bike in the chaos and it’s worth having something.
Lay your towel next to your bike but be sure it doesn’t overlap your neighbor’s space.
Fill up your bucket of water and place it on/next to the towel (for sandy feet after the swim)
Neatly place the following things on your towel: bike shoes, sneakers, hat, sunglasses and anything else you might need for the bike and run.
Affix the bib number to your helmet and/or the front of your bike
Place your bike helmet on your towel or on top of your handle bars. Do not buckle it or you will have problems unbuckling it when you get out of the water.
Pin the number to your bike, if required.
Pin the number to the shirt you will be wearing for both the bike and run. OR if you don’t want to wear a shirt, you can pin it to the front of your shorts.
Walk over to the officials WITH your number so that he/she can write it on your arms and legs.
Go back to your spot and make sure that everything you need is on your towel and organized so that you don’t have to fish through your bag during the race.
Put the things that you don’t need in your bag to cut down on the confusion.
Put on your suit and sun screen.
Be sure to do it in the parking lot or on the grass. Wet suits are challenging to put on and very uncomfortable to wear if you get sand in them. You might also want to use some Body Glide Anti-Chafing Stick or Pam (the cooking spray) to help.
If you decided to use some type of footwear for the jog between the swim and the transition area, place them in a spot near the water. Caution: Do not, we repeat, DO NOT, put them in the path of racers. They should be out of the way but near enough to find.
Wetsuits are an amazing invention for swimming but are not so amazing for dry land use. Instead of us trying to type out directions,we found a fantastic video showing you how to get a wetsuit off without killing yourself. Check it out:
Riding for leisure in a park is a bit different than riding a bicycle in a triathlon. Read tips and tricks on gear, biking in traffic and riding with other cyclists.
Type of Bike:We believe that finding the right bike is the key to a successful ride. We get lots of questions asking which bike is the “best” bike to buy. The answer is that there are many great options in every price range.Find an experienced bike salesman who can help you find the right bike that fits in your budget. Remember, you’re a beginner triathlete and you’re just testing the waters at this point. You don’t need a top-of-the-line bike; you need a stable, safe bike that fits you and will carry you through your beginner stage, which could be one or several seasons.Finding a bike shop where you trust the sales person is also key. We always recommend that you go with YOUR local bike shop (not Walmart or Target) for a number of reasons:
They specialize in bikes (you wouldn’t buy a car at Walmart, so why would you buy a bike?)
They will pick the proper bike for you and adjust it to fit YOU.
They really care about your happiness because they are a small business and want you to keep coming back.
They offer used models, off the rack models and custom models.
They can hook you up with local cycling groups for training because they are in the cycling loop.
They normally participate in the sport of cycling, so they can give you some great advice based on actual experience.
They will be available for future maintenance and upgrades.It’s really a win-win for everyone!
Bikes come in so many shapes, sizes and specifications, so be sure to tell the sales person what type of training you plan to do, what surface (on-road/off-road) you’ll be training on and how often you plan to train. Road bikes and mountain bikes differ in terms of weight and tire-size, so it’s really important to give the sales person as much information about your training/racing plans as possible. A good sales person will size you and then help you find a nice bike in your price range. He/She should tell you the options for pedals (regular, or clip in pedals) and help you pick out a comfortable seat. Seats also come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the size and shape of your “natural” seat. A good seat is comfortable to sit on and supplies enough cushion when riding over rough surfaces. Be careful not to confuse a sore butt with the performance of the seat. First time users will have a sore butt the first two weeks of riding, so you might want to try gel cover. If you have lower back or hip problems, let the sales person know as there are seats made that will ease the stress on those areas. When you get the bike, the sales person will make small adjustments with the seat to make sure that it fits you properly and then off you go!
Bike Maintenance: Once you’ve found a local bike shop that you trust, be sure to maintain your bike. For seasonal riders who logs minimal miles, you can get away with bringing your bike in for a tune up once a year. For more hard core riders, you may want to learn how to maintain your own bike or bring it in to the shop more often. The shop will make sure your gears, tires and brakes are working properly and are safe. Beginner or expert rider, it’s always a good idea to know how to fix a chain that falls off and change a flat tire. Both of these will happen at some point in your biking life and it may save you a long walk home or back to you car if you know how to fix them.
Drafting – Do not draft off of another biker or ride too close to another biker. As a beginner and even an intermediate level, it’s dangerous. Leave it to the professionals. PLUS, it’s a disqualifying offense if you do it during a race.
Riding with Traffic Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as cars and trucks. Be prepared for your street training by first riding on a bike path. Once you can cycle in a straight line without weaving, move onto a side road and then a road with traffic. Remember to ride defensively and always wear your helmet. Cars sometimes forget that they have to share the road with us two-wheelers.
Stretching, Cramps and Fatigue: Stretch out a bit before you get onto the bike, do a short warm up and then do a second round of stretching. Loose, warm muscles respond much better to exercise than those that have been sitting stiffly behind a computer all day. The main reason for cramps, headaches and general fatigue while you’re training is normally dehydration, so drink lots of water. If you’re still feeling bad after you’ve redydrated and got some rest, check with your doctor.
Best Beginner Training Advice: Do not start with a workout that is too hard or you will be disappointed at the end of every practice — you should feel a sense of accomplishment, not discouragement. See Triathlon Training Resource Guides for training guides.
Training indoors – You can join a gym and take spin classes. Spin is not an equal alternative for training on a real bike, but it’s a nice option for winter months if you live in snow-infested country. Be sure that you get some time on the road when the sun comes out because you will need to learn to deal with road conditions, weather conditions, your bike quirks and riding with other people/road traffic. You can also invest in a Indoor Bicycle Trainer. It’s a stand that you can put your bike on and ride in your own house in front of your own TV or stereo. It’s very cool!
Terrain: Training for the terrain of your intended race is the best strategy. Try to also include straight roads, rolling hills and steep hills for a even greater challenge. See Triathlon Training Resource Guides for suggestions.
Sunscreen is a must! Apply this to your face and body before your training or event to prevent a sunburn. The sunblock we recommend won’t make your face break out!
Cycling is an extremely repetitive sport that involves long duration and high-intensity training—which can ultimately lead to injury. Much like changing your car’s oil allows it to perform better and last longer, these five injury prevention techniques can help you perform at a higher level and reduce your risk of overuse.
1. Pre-workout: Perform dynamic stretches for 5–10 minutes, such as leg crossovers and scorpions to open up the hips and spine. They will help reduce joint and muscle stiffness prior to hopping on the bike.
2. During the workout: Keep your cadence at 90 rpm or greater to reduce stress on the knee, specifically the patellofemoral joint (kneecap area). High-intensity training at lower rpm may have rewards but also comes with greater injury risk.
3. Post-workout: Use the foam roller to reduce muscle soreness and tightness. Focus on the iliotibial band, quadriceps and piriformis (a deep gluteal muscle).
4. Gear: Assuming that a professional bike fit has been done, keep well-documented measurements of saddle height and fore/aft position. Always check measurements when traveling with the bike and after a bike crash.
5. Shoes: Tighten cleat screws/bolts, as they sometimes loosen and cause the cleat to shift. Once you have the cleat in the ideal position, make sure you outline the cleat in permanent marker. Overuse injuries can be created if the cleat shifts too far forward or back, increasing stress on the knee.