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How to train for a triathlon

How to train for a triathlon

Training for one discipline, whether it’s a marathon, a swimming event or cycling challenge is hard enough. But training for all three? That’s a whole new ball game. However, lots of people take part in a triathlon, so it can’t be that unobtainable. In fact, setting yourself such a challenge could end up being one of the biggest accomplishments of your life. You do have to go about it properly though, so if you’re a beginner, Shape magazine has put together some top tips on how to get started.

The first thing to know is that triathlons can vary in length, so it’s important to sign up for one of the shorter ones on your first attempt. Choose a 'sprint tri', which comprises of a 750-metre (0.47-mile) swim, 20-kilometre (12-mile) bike, and 5-kilometre (3.1-mile) run. Then, if you are successful and want to push on to another challenge, go for an 'Olympic tri', before moving up to the well-publicised Iron Man contests.

When it comes to training, it can actually be a good thing that you have three disciplines to prepare for. If it’s a hot day, head to the pool instead of beating the pavement on a run. Or if you don’t have as much time around work and family commitments, try a short stint on a crosstrainer for an all-over body workout to build up your core strength and support you through all three stages.

You will no doubt naturally be more drawn to one activity, but it’s important to train hard across them all, even more so in the one you enjoy the least. Remember that your strength in one field won’t make up for a weakness in another. Keep a log book about which areas feel good and which ones don’t, so you can clearly see where you need to put in extra work.

Triathletes tend to 'brick' during training, which means putting two disciplines back to back, just as you would on the day. Sharon McCobb, a professional triathlete, admits the hardest two to brick together is cycling to running.

“The muscle changeover can be hard so you have to practise it," she told the outlet.

She advises people to cycle the full distance that will be required on race day, and then run one mile afterwards just to get the body used to the transition.

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