Triathlons are a great way to keep your body fit, toned and healthy. These days, more people have finally embraced the benefits that this kind of competition can bring. It brings on the table 3 popular fitness routines all in one package.
There are three disciplines or segments which comprise the competition; swimming, cycling and running. All racers must undergo each and every discipline, but to have room for all skill levels, varying distances were made available for the competition.
The distances are shown in the following order: swimming, cycling and running.
- Sprint – 750-meter/20-kilometer/5-kilometer
- Olympic – 5-kilometer/40-kilometer/10-kilometer
- ITU Long Distance – 3-kilometer/80-kilometer/20-kilometer
- Ironman (Half) – 9-kilometer/90-kilometer/21.09-kilometer
- Ironman (Full) – 8-kilometer/180-kilometer/42.195-kilometer
So what gear does one actually needs for the competition? Do you really need those expensive lightweight and carbon fiber-material get-ups to be in tiptop form?
Truth is, you don’t have to go all out in terms of proper gear for the race; you just need the basics and most of them are tucked somewhere in your closet.
You need this suit because it will help you stay level with the water during the swimming portion of the competition. Other than that, it will keep you warm throughout. Break in the suit first before the race so your body will adapt well to it since the suit will have a certain tightness to it that may feel strange at first.
Depending on the location of the triathlon, you might opt for a separate shirt and short. The best tri shorts will fit your perfectly well and won’t annoy you during the triathlon.
Trisuits, on the other hand, let racers wear the same get-up from the onset of the race until the end. It is designed with fast-drying fabrics plus chamois so your transition from swimming to biking will be faster.
A great pair is something that will work for you. You can seek the help of a shoe expert at an excellent boutique specializing on technical running gear to lead you to a pair that will fit your biomechanics.
If you’re up for a tri race, you should get a proper triathlon bike more suited for such an event, with extras like clip-on aerobars. Be certain that the bicycle will fit you properly.
Before the competition make sure that you bring it to the nearest shop to guarantee that the bike is in perfect condition.
Your helmet does not need to break the bank; just make sure that the brand has passed regulated safety tests. An excellent one can protect your head just as much as those costlier models.
Goggles / Sunglasses
You certainly need a pair of swimming goggles and a pair of sunglasses for the triathlon. Depending on the weather condition during the event, you might need clear, dark or mirrored swimming goggles and sunglasses.
It’s better to take a few pair of the best swimming goggles and sunglasses with you and choose the best suitable in the morning of the event. Make sure they fit you properly and that the straps are correct.
Triathlon Training Tips
The three disciplines in tri races are quite challenging to tackle all in just one event. Thus, you have to prepare well prior to the race. Regular fitness and endurance training plus a balanced and nutritious diet will keep racers in prime form during the competition.
Swimming requires skill and endurance. Once your body adjusts to regular swim sets, you can then raise the bar and swim up to 500 meters without breaking off. If your arms get tired, settle for some kicks and in addition, you can use alternate strokes as well while swimming.
Training for the cycling part of the competition needs tons of attention to detail and particular concerns. It is the longest among the 3 segments of the race and an appropriate bicycle will get you to your goal faster and safer. Remember to hydrate yourself sufficiently after the segment to prepare for a long period of running.
Last but not least, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the course prior to the race to avoid getting lost.
To prep yourself for the cycling segment, cycle along bike paths and hills in an even riding position, with your shoulders relaxed and make sure that you don’t bounce along the way. You can also ride in circles and regulated RPMs.
Running might sound easy as compared to the other two, but it can be quite the challenge after two consecutive events of swimming and cycling. However with sufficient training, you will be prepared and quickly proceed to another segment during the race.
For the training, you can do a variety of runs down roads, paths and hills. You can also go for a 5-minute push in the course of your running routine. Don’t let shoddy weather rain on your training; using a treadmill is always a good substitute.
Once you have gathered enough momentum and strength, try spending one training session on transitions. Practice proceeding from one discipline to the next, like swimming to cycling and so forth.
Training Diet Tips for Triathlons
A good training plus a balanced diet will cover you during a race. Three months before the event, make sure that you eliminate processed foods from your diet since some ingredients from the stuff can cause inflammation all over your body, which can weaken your recovery time and immune system. Pay attention to produce—fruits and vegetables hold all the nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs and will easily relieve the aches and pains caused by the training.
Protein is needed as well, but go easy on it. You will require 0.5-0.8 grams of the stuff per pound of your normal body weight. If you don’t eat meat, you can go for yogurt or whole grains.
A month before the race, you require plenty of carbohydrates so you will get sufficient amounts of glycogen for energy. You can go for beans or a sports gel in the middle of your workout. Avoid sickness by stocking up on multivitamins with Coenzyme Q10 to strengthen your immune system. Also don’t forget to get adequate amounts of sleep.
A week before the race, the famous 7 days, make your hydration plans; keep H2O on hand with you so you can easily rehydrate, practice drinking between 60-90 ounces of water each day depending on your activities. Make sure that you avoid anything with alcohol or caffeine.
Three days before the competition, start with the carboloading and practice eating around 3.5-4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of your normal body weight. This step will increase your glycogen storage.
Quit eating foods with plenty of fiber so you won’t experience any digestive issues during the race. Foods like simple grains will do. Also, avoid any fruit containing seeds and hard or edible skins.
On the day of the race, eat low-fiber foods and a small quantity of protein to even out your blood sugar levels. Remember not to eat less than 2 hours prior to the competition time. Stick with your game plan and make sure to rehydrate on pit stops.
After the race, go for a sports drink or smoothie to refill on lost liquids. It will also restock the sodium that you have sweated out during the competition.