So, is it easy to become a triathelete? How long do you need to train for a triathlon? Read this blog by Nandini Reddy that has answers to all these questions and more
Endurance junkies are always aiming for their first triathlon. It is considered by most as a form of self-torture but yet thousands men and women from around the world have been challenging their fitness levels and attempting their first triathlons every year. The sport is complex and intimidating for beginners and can seem like a daunting task. But with the right frame of mind and training, it’s an achievable feat.
In a typical triathlon, the average participant spends about a 20% of the total race duration swimming, 50% of the duration cycling, and the remaining 30% of the total race duration running. So when you train you need to remember that you need to split your training time in a similar ratio. Do not try to give equal time to each of them because the endurance limits required for each of them is different. If you bike for one hour, then you need to run for 40 minutes and swim only for 30 minutes. If you are already a marathon runner or long distance cyclist then you will need to train for about 12 weeks for your first triathlon. If you are an absolute novice than we suggest you take at least 6 months to train. When you are comfortably able to finish the sequence of 400m swim, 25 km cycling and 5 km run then you can progress to the 12 week schedule of training for a triathlon.
Try Duathlons First
If you cannot swim or aren’t sure if you can take all three formats then experiment first with Duathlons which would help you judge your endurance limits when you finish the run and cycle challenges. Try the half duathlons first then proceed to the full duathlons. This will build your strength and endurance. This will also help you judge which is your weaker leg – run, cycle or swim. This will help you dedicate time on your weakest leg and also improve your strongest leg so that you can use your race time advantage.
Crossing the Swim Barrier
Most triathletes are most hesitant of the swim part of the race. A lot of them are apprehensive that they might tire themselves out too much to last the other two legs of the race. Start your training simple with a lap and rest time. Several triathlons have their swimming leg in the sea or lakes. It is tougher to swim in sea and one needs to ensure that they have built up adequate strength and stamina to handle the stress. If you can get a training partner it is always better if you are new to swimming.
When picking your first triathlon, try a novice event. If you can get through it with good times then consider moving to the next levels. On the day of the event, hydrate yourself and pay attention to the competition rules. Focus on your race and don’t worry about the other participants but most importantly have fun. Everyone doesn’t run triathlons and if you are then you have already achieved something special.