STEPS TO BECOME A TRIATHLETE
Are you seeking for a new challenge while pushing the limits of your body? Running not doing it for you anymore? Swimming and cycling don’t discourage you? Then triathlon is right up your alley!
Triathlon is a multi sport discipline which consists of 3 intense sporting events in a route of about 113 km in total. The 3 sports in 1 will provide for a wide variety of exercise that will build your muscles and keep you healthy inside and out. It is known as THE endurance sport as it not only requires physical endurance, it will test your mental endurance as well.
Triathlon is not a sport to take lightly, yet it is open for all abilities, age groups and has a wide supportive community where you can build camaraderie with people from all over the world. Here is our advice to help you take the first step into becoming a triathlete!
1.GET THE APPROPIATE GEAR:
The first step is that you get the right equipment. You will need the following things in order to swim, bike and run properly:
- Swimming : swim cap, goggles, and a tri suit. In some cases you will need a wetsuit (If the water is under 16 degree, it’s obligatory, if the water is above 24 degree, it’s forbidden).
- Cycling: a bike, a helmet and sunglasses
- Running: Running shoes, comfortable running socks and a hat/visor
2. LEARN YOUR WEAKNESSES
You need to get to know yourself and get to know your weaknesses, so that you can intensify your training on them. Don’t worry, some amateurs and professionals still have fears, when swimming for example, so they train more for it. If you are not proficient in swimming, start practicing in swimming pools or participating in master’s swimming classes, then once you feel confident, switch to open water swimming, trust us it gets easier, especially since you’re more buoyant in salty waters. It’s all about training!
3.SIGN UP FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON!
This is the easiest and yet most nerve wrecking step. You need to have courage enough to click that button and confirmation your registration. Challenge Vietnam is a great opportunity to show how brave you are and you can register by clicking here.
4. PLAN YOUR TRAINING
You need a detailed plan for your training. Build a solid and feasible program that fits and motivates you! We strongly advise to use a professional training program adapted to your level so that your body can handle it. Challenge Vietnam together with MaccaX has put together a race training schedule which is available for free to all registered participants.
5. WARM-UP BEFORE EVERY TRAINING
You should never start a physical activity “cold”. It’s the number one rule in sports for both professionals and amateurs. It is an integral part of the workout and it prevents injuries. When warming up, you will be raising the temperature of your body, your muscles, joints, tendons and heart gradually loosen up; doing this ensures that your body will avoid difficulties in adapting to the physical activity you are doing. The duration of warms-up should last about 10-15 minutes.
6. MIX YOUR TRAINING AND PRACTICE TRANSITIONS!
Once you have trained enough on each of the 3 disciplines independently, you need to mix them up and start doing a “brick” workout. Brick training is harder since it requires more training and physical efforts when transitioning between 2 different sports.
A “brick” workout is the putting together of two sports in the same workout, one after the other with little to no rest in between. As you move from one sport to the other, your body needs to be ready for the next sport’s demand while recovering from the previous one’s. Brick workouts help your body handle the different stresses and demands of a triathlon event.
Unknown to most, there are actually four disciplines in a triathlon. Transitioning, or the switch from one discipline to another is actually a specific discipline in itself. Everyone needs to learn how to make a fast and smooth transition. Knowing how to prepare your gear in advance will help release some tension and stress. There are 2 transitions points to work through: first, from swimming to cycling, and second, from cycling to running. You will need to prepare a “strategy” in order to transition fast. The more you practice, the better time you will do on transitions.
7. SWIM AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN IN OPENWATER
Try as much as you can to swim in open water so as to mimic possible race conditions. Train in open water with waves, maybe with different temperatures allows you to feel the different scenarios one may go through in a race. Try to anticipate what nature can unleash on you : rain, big waves, cold water etc. Get habits of the environments, but of course always be safe. Do it when a lifeguard is on duty!
Rest is one of most important aspects of training, this is when your body grows, builds and where your muscles actually develop. Sleep is obviously where most of our rest occurs, so treat it as a privilege and increase it as much as you can.
Rest and recovery is an important part of an exercise regime because it is during this that we afford the body time to repair and strengthen itself in between workouts. Rest allows the athlete to recover, both physically and mentally. Sleep is also very important. Studies have shown that athletes who are sleep deprived are at a high risk of losing aerobic endurance and may experience changes in their hormone levels, which can lead to high levels of cortisol, as well as a decrease in human growth hormone, which is active during tissue repair.
There is another reason why rest is essential to athletes: When your body is completely rested it is able to prepare itself for the future stresses that you will put it through, it will become a little stronger than before. This process is called overcompensation, which is the way your body gets fitter and stronger. Training and exercise is one way we stimulate the mechanism of overcompensation so that we gradually improve our performance.
A healthy nutrition plan has to become a part of your lifestyle, indeed, a healthy diet highly impact on your training. Breakfast everyday: Breakfast is the most important meal for triathlete, especially before the training. Since most races start early in the morning, so should your training.
Drink WATER, Water will be your best friend during your training and the race! But take care not to overdrink, especially during the physical effort, over drinking does not help you at all, in fact it may even be worse than dehydration. But keep in mind that drinking water will help prevent injuries and tiredness. Water is essential for every athlete participating in a race.
Get a varied diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, fishes, etc. Try to avoid oily products and packaged and processed foods.
10.KEEP IT COOL!
You are now just a few days away from the triathlon. You have trained hard for the race and you know that you are physically ready, now you need to be mentally prepared, you do this by planning the race in your head, analyze the race, elaborate strategy about how you will organize yourself, how you will work on your transitions, etc. Doing this will ensure that you have gone through every aspect of the race and that if anything unexpected comes along such will not faze you as you have prepared yourself for any contingency that may occur.