At a recent seminar that I spoke at regarding types and cause of common triathlon injuries, I was asked, ‘What was the minimum amount of training required to compete in triathlons?’ This seems like a strange starting point for anyone wanting to compete in triathlons. They really aren’t the type of event to go for if you just want to get round the course. If your sport is swimming and you are comfortable over 750 metres (sprint distance triathlon swim distance) then it wouldn’t require too much extra training for a relatively fit and healthy individual to be able to also complete the 20 km cycle and 5 km run. However, the weak area for many new triathletes is usually the swim not the run or cycle. Plus even if you are a decent swimmer, the chances are that you swim in a pool where as the triathlon swims are usually open water. 750 metres in very cool water (at best), which will become very choppy when everyone is swimming if not choppy from the outset due to climatic conditions is a very different proposition to swimming the same distance in an indoor pool at 25˚C.
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The longer triathlon distances are standard or Olympic distance which is 1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle and 10 km run; long course of half which is 1.9 km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1 km run (half marathon) and the ultra or full course often referred to as an Iron man which is 3.8 km swim, 180 km cycle and a 42.2 km run (full marathon).
All types would require some proper training with training for the long course and the Iron man being the type of training that becomes a large part of your life. To be able to run, cycle and swim the standard course distances from a decent base of fitness depending on what discipline(s) are your usual activity would require at least 4 sessions a week (probably two swimming or running depending on the weakest discipline) over three months to achieve a decent effort on the day and have a good chance of being injury free. The long and ultra courses would require 6 sessions a week (2 of each discipline of varying distances) and, even if starting from a reasonable level of fitness, over at least a four month period.
Training for and competing in triathlons is tough but is also a great way to stay fit, healthy and have something to aim for in your life. Train hard and well and you’ll give yourself the chance to complete, compete and stay injury free.
For more details information on triathlon training contact me at https://www.facebook.com/BackInActionUK or firstname.lastname@example.org.