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Triathlon 101

Learn to run, cycle, swim and improve your fitness. Find out how you can get in shape and race a triathlon.

Triathlon - What Is It?

Triathlon combines the sports of swimming, cycling and running into one race. There are various distances for each event but most triathlons will have a .9 mile (1.5 km) swim, a 25 mile (40 km) bike ride and a 6.25 mile (10 km) run. There are also sprint triathlons over shorter distances and long triathlons, like the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon, over much longer distances.

Triathlon - Getting Started

If you think the distances in a triathlon are much too long for you, relax. There are lots of triathlon events for kids, which have shorter swims, bike rides and runs. Kids triathlons are usually open to kids of all ages and will typically include a 200 yard swim, a 2.5 mile bike ride and a one mile run. Those distances aren't really that far and you may have already done a triathlon without even knowing it. For example, if you swim at the pool for a while, then go for a bike ride to a friend's house, then run away from the neighbor's dog that always chases you - well, you've kind of done a triathlon! If you'd like to race in an organized triathlon for kids, check with your local community center or YMCA for more info. Some of these places may also have triathlon camps for kids and teens, which will also help you out with your training.

Triathlon - Training

  • When you're training for a triathlon, one of the most important things to remember is pacing. Don't jump in the pool and start swimming as hard as you can right away or you'll be dragging your butt the rest of the race. Start out slowly and pace yourself so you can finish the race strong.
  • Work on "transitions". One of the most difficult things of a triathlon is the experience of going straight from swimming to biking and biking to running. Practice these transitions before your race day and your triathlon race will run much more smoothly.
  • Practice running, cycling or biking with a group of friends so you know what it's like to race with people. It's much different swimming in a pool full of people than it is by yourself, so be prepared.

Triathlon - Did You Know?

  • The world's longest and toughest triathlon is the World Deca-Ironman Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. Athletes swim 24 miles, cycle 1,120 miles and run 262 miles!
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Fave Triathlon Sport? Vote!

  • Running.
  • Cycling.
  • Swimming.
  • None of the above - triathlon is lame.

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