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Training for a Triathlon

Once you make the decision to start training for a triathlon the battle is just beginning. Training for an event like this requires some strict discipline if your intentions are to participate competitively in a local, regional, or national triathlon event.

Triathlon training should be broken down into a simple set of achievable goals. Don't try to do much at one time, pace yourself consistently, and gradually increase the introduction of extended times and distances in your training program. Triathlon training can be divided into three training portions consisting of swimming, cycling, and running.



Swimming should start with 20-minute sessions and incrementally increased to a time of 60 minutes over a four-week period. The equipment required for swimming is minimal, requiring a swimsuit, goggles and earplugs (if you choose). The main goal of swim training is to build up endurance while gaining strength through the natural resistance the water provides to movement.

Always build into your program a recovery period to stabilize and prepare for the next level. If you are planning to wear a wetsuit in your competition, it might be a good idea to work out in the type of wetsuit that will absorb a lot of water. The increased drag should help to increase your muscle strength and provide an extra boost of energy in later training for a triathlon and ultimately the competition. Your wetsuit specialist can recommend the best kind of material to help you achieve your goal.


The style of triathlon bike you choose could be the biggest investment in triathlon equipment you make. The physical exertion in cycling is not as great as is required for swimming, but cycling uphill can be a challenging exercise sure to tire your muscles and create fatigue. Find an area of rolling hills to practice your cycling skills.

Reversing your scheduled path can be a great method of getting a good balance between downhill rests and uphill battles. You should also wear comfortable shoes of lightweight construction and carbon-like soles to get maximum transfer of power from the legs to the pedals. Intentionally shift into higher gears while you train to increase resistance and to improve muscle strength. Make all changes to your training program in small incremental moves so as not to create undue stress on the body.


Running is essential when training for a triathlon and requires a comfortable pair of shoes to carry you through longest phase of the event. As with cycling, always train with uphill climbs, but build in level and downhill runs to conserve energy and avoid the monotony of repeating the same challenge repeatedly.  Gradually increase your running time or distances by approximately ten percent per week to avoid injury.

Use conservative principles in your plans when training for a triathlon. Gradually add any new training exercise and incrementally adjust increases in time and distance to stretch your current level of performance. Increasing too quickly could have the reverse effect of what you are trying to achieve and could risk damage requiring more recovery time and slowing down your progress.

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