Triathlon Ireland have drawn up a comprehensive guide to help people considering their first steps on the triathlon ladder.
WHAT IS A TRIATHLON?
Triathlon is an endurance and versatility sport in which the individual athlete carries out a swimming, a cycling, and a running segment, in the said order, and with the clock running during transitions. Triathlons come in various distances, but the standard ones are:
Sprint: 750m Swim, 20k Cycle, 5k Run
Olympic: 1500m Swim, 40K Cycle, 10k Run
Ironman: 3800m Swim, 180k cycle, 42.2k Run
WHO CAN DO A TRIATHLON?
Anyone can do a triathlon. If you are in search of fitness and looking for a rewarding challenge then triathlon is up there with any sport around.
WHAT DO I NEED TO START?
You do not have to go out and spend a fortune when preparing for your first triathlon, but there are some basics you will need. They are:
Swim: Swimming togs, goggles, hat (wetsuit for open sea swims).
Cycle: Bicycle - mountain, hybrid or racer. Helmet.
When you do a race or two, you will probably want to upgrade to a better bike, get a faster wetsuit and buy the best trainers.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
There are triathlon specific apparel you can wear but for your first race, you will need: togs for the swim, t-shirt/ jersey and shorts for the bike and run. Cycling shoes would be needed if the bike required them, while comfortable, well-fitting trainers are essential for the run.
How much training you need to do before your first triathlon depends on you. It depends on what level of fitness you are at in all three disciplines and it depends on what your goals are: Do you want to do a Sprint, an Olympic or an Ironman? Do you want to be competitive or just be able to finish the race?
To give yourself something to aim for, enter a triathlon some months ahead. Choose a race you think you can finish, and prepare adequately. By race day you should be able to go the full distance of each event in training. If you can, join a local triathlon club, where you can train with others and benefit from the advice of experienced triathletes.
Diet is essential to a triathlete's success and a good nutrition programme is fundamental to any training regime. When you exercise, your body draws on energy from carbohydrate (glycogen) stores in the muscles and liver. These stores are small and will deplete to low levels during long, hard training sessions which can leave you feeling tired and weak with a slowed pace.
The key is to boost energy levels between workouts by keeping your glycogen stores topped up. It is also important to keep hydrated, both in training and during the race. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workouts.
It is good to pick a race and set yourself a target to aim for. Be positive and pick an upcoming race. There are over 45 different races in the Triathlon Ireland calendar, in all corners of the country.
I CAN'T SWIM, WHAT CAN I DO?
Many local clubs give swimming lessons and can get you up to race fitness. If you do not want to swim, there are many duathlons which are held around the country.
WHAT IS A DUATHLON?
A Duathlon is an endurance sport similar to triathlon where the swim leg is replaced by another run leg, and again there are various distances. In Ireland, the most common are 3.5k run, 16k cycle, 3.5k run, or 10k run, 40k cycle, 5k run.
There are currently many clubs (27 at last count) located in all four provinces around the country. You do not have to join a triathlon club to do a triathlon. But you will find the training more bearable when training with people of similar abilities and goals. You will benefit from the advice from those who have been there and done it all before you. You will not just be joining a club, but a new social scene.
Thanks to Triathlon Ireland for the above information.
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