What is a triathlon?
The popular endurance sport triathlon originated in France in the 1920s and has been held in major competitions since the 1970s. Since then it has consisted of the three disciplines swimming – cycling – running and is completed in exactly this order all over the world. As in almost all competitions, the aim is to be the fastest at the finish line.
How do I start my training?
Swimming, cycling and running are movements that one has actually been able to do since childhood. The swimming lessons at school at least showed you how to stay afloat. But a sewn-on seahorse is not necessarily enough if you want to tackle a triathlon with ambition. Therefore it is called at the beginning: swim training.
Dario also focuses on this. There are still seven months until his first competition, but he is already starting to train in the water “to develop an efficient swimming technique so that [he] still has the strength to ride his bike and then run during the competition . ” With the help of a friend, he started the technique for the correct leg kick with a swimming noodle. Although he could already crawl, he has to learn everything from the beginning so that he “doesn’t need an oxygen tent after a ride, as usual,” says Dario. At some point exercises for the arms followed and gradually the intensity and complexity are increased and both components are put together.
But everyone has different previous experiences. Dario played a lot of soccer and is a good runner. Therefore, he is concentrating more on swimming training. Others are already strong swimmers and work on their deficits in running or cycling. Because there are techniques there to cover the route more efficiently and save energy. Therefore, according to Dario, it makes sense to get a trainer who supports you in training and corrects weak points.
There is also a large triathlon community and clubs with enthusiastic athletes who exchange ideas, train together and take part in competitions.
What do I have to pay attention to?
First a few questions should be clarified: Which equipment do I need for my training? Which triathlon do I register for? There are different distances – but which one is best for beginners?
Your training equipment for cycling or running is obvious (a good bike, ideally a racing bike, and comfortable running shoes). But you should also have suitable swimming goggles for swimming training and if you want to learn and improve the crawl like Dario, there is optional equipment, the pull buoys for arm training, as well as swimming boards or paddles.
Which triathlon you sign up for depends entirely on the distances between the disciplines. From the sprint distance to the Olympic distance to the medium and long distance, there is something for beginners and professionals alike. Dario has decided to start with the Olympic distance and is preparing for 1.5 km swimming, 40 km cycling and 10 km running. For the sprint distance you have to cover half the distance. In contrast to the medium and long distance, which require a lot more endurance. Last but not least, you may also be familiar with the famous ‘Ironman’. This is an extreme triathlon that represents an almost insurmountable challenge for normal athletes: first swim 3.84 km, then cycle 180 km and then run a marathon of 42.2 km. Doesn’t sound feasible? Every year thousands of athletes all over the world take part in an Ironman and prove otherwise!
Advantages of triathlon training
One thing is clear: By combining the three sports, you have pure variety in your preparation for your triathlon. But of course you don’t have to improve all three disciplines on each of your training days. And that’s exactly what Dario likes about it: “If I don’t feel like cycling, but would rather go swimming, then I just postpone the bike tour to another day.” This is especially easy to do at the beginning. As competition day approaches, however, you should follow a more rigorous training plan that also includes your diet more. Dario will start about 8 weeks before his first triathlon. What his plan looks like and what other tips and learnings he has collected by then, we will report on our blog.
How to use USC for your triathlon training
Winter is just around the corner. Triathlon is actually the perfect summer outdoor sport. Swimming in the cool water, cycling and running in the fresh air – what could be nicer? In contrast, winter doesn’t seem that ideal for your training. But appearances are deceptive. The three disciplines can easily be relocated to dry land – except for swimming, of course;).
So don’t worry, your training doesn’t have to be canceled. Because even if the outdoor pools have long been closed, you can improve your swimming technique and work on your best times in every indoor pool with lanes.
It works just as well with cycling. If your hands get too cold outside quickly, there are many fitness studios that offer spinning or have fitness bikes where you can do your training just as well as on your own bike. In spinning studios, depending on the course offerings, you can do next Fitness training also include strength exercises on the bike. So you have a perfect full body workout right away.
We have numerous fitness partner locations for your running training. There are treadmills with which you can always keep an eye on your time and speed – without getting cold feet.
In addition to the targeted training of the three disciplines, Dario also adds strength training and fascia training to his sports routine. In this way he improves his general fitness and helps his muscles to regenerate better and faster. And of course a relaxing massage from time to time shouldn’t be missing.
He answers why Dario even registered for a triathlon by saying that he has always had a strong competitive idea: “Even with my bike at the traffic lights, I always want to be the first to go.”