Triathlon is one hard core event which combines three sports in a really tough endurance race. The three sports are swimming, followed by cycling, and ending in running. These events happen all over the world, at different distances, and in different environments.
During the swim, swimmers race in a lake, river, or the sea and may start in a whole bunch or be started in small groups a couple of minutes apart. There is no set stroke for the swim, anything goes, however front crawl tends to be the most popular choice, due to the speed one can gather in this technique. Athletes must wear wetsuits in these open water events as the water is usually incredibly cold, and swimming without a wetsuit could be dangerous.
Between the swim and cycle sections is the transition. The transition between the two needs to be quick and efficient. Athletes usually take their wetsuits off whilst running to their bikes, and need to get used to putting their shoes on when the shoes are already in the bike pedals! Some triathletes consider the transitions as another part of the event and train for it accordingly. A good transition time can help you move up places after the swim so you start in a better position for the cycling.
In the cycling section, athletes race on a road that both starts and finishes at the transition area. The grouping habits of this part of the event depend on what kind of competition it is. For example, in the Olympics, athletes will often cycle in groups. However, in other events athletes must cycle alone.
Lastly comes the running section. This, again, could be in any running environment that is outside. Often the running is on the road, however, cross country and trail runs are also used in triathlon events. Like during a marathon, there are stations along the distance to give water to athletes, and often spectators will run alongside triathletes. Whoever finishes the running section first is the winner of the triathlon.
Triathletes have to have the physical attributes and fitness levels associated with all three sports involved. But, most importantly, they must have immense mental strength and endurance skills to get them through the entire race! A triathlete must be able to push themselves to their boundaries constantly throughout the three different skills, whilst trying to be as fast as possible. As you can imagine, the run can be particularly tough as its right at the end. However, this is when the athletes are most likely to be able to hear the people cheering them on around them – at the time they most need it!
Triathlon is an incredibly demanding, but also rewarding sport to train for. Do you think you’re up to the challenge?