What is a Triathlon?
A triathlon is an event in which the competitor completes three consecutive disciplines always in the same order of swim, bike, run. The changeover between each leg is termed ‘transition’ and is often called the forth disclipline. Transition allows athletes to prepare themselves for the next leg and can be a very important part of the overall event
There is no need to panic, the swim is not always outdoors and once you get used to swimming in a wetsuit, it is not as daunting as it may first appear!
Over what distances do you compete?
Distances range from what is termed “sprint” distance events, in which you complete typically a 400m or 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run, all the way up to Ironman events in which the athlete completes a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and then a marathon (42km).
There are various event distances in between but Olympic distance is generally recognised as the standard distance. This consists of a 1,500m (open water) swim followed by 40km bike and 10km run. At some local events you may find the organisers try to encourage new athletes into the sport with a “try a tri” event where the distances can be half that of the sprint distance event.
Depending on local amenities the swim can be staged in an indoor or outdoor pool, although the longer distance events are often “open water” in a lake, river or the sea! The bike stage is usually on public roads and the run can be over a variety of terrain from roads, tracks to cross country courses.
Do you need specialist equipment?
Essentially NO, although you will be required to complete the bike stage wearing a Cycle Helmet. You can ride anything from a butcher’s bike, mountain bike, up to the latest carbon fibre framed “softride” cycle (if you can afford it!). The main requirement is that it is road worthy.
The essential other items are a bathing suit and running kit. Choose a pool swim event for your first race and then you won’t need a wetsuit.
If you are just starting out it is advisable not to get too carried away. The above will suffice and you can get into the trendy kit and a host of accessories once you are hooked!
Cannot swim or a weak swimmer?
No problem! So don’t let it put you off. You will see that competitors swim various strokes…the main objective is to get to the end, so stick to what you are comfortable with. There is nothing wrong in taking a breather at the end of a length…thats one advantage of swimming in a pool. If you can’t swim try a Duathlon which is a run/bike/run event. Many people don’t swim freestyle when they start out, when you get the bug and start getting competitive with yourself then we can advise on swimming lessons and you will be more than welcome at our coaching sessions.