Triathlon can be intimidating and it's not hard to see why, but overcoming initial fear is just one of the things you can be proud of at the finish line. And if you decide not to race, triathlon training will still provide plenty of benefits.
If you never thought you’d be training for a triathlon, you should read on. These 10 reasons just might change your mind.
It’s clear that training for a triathlon is a physical challenge, but what you might not realize is that it’s challenging in other ways too. Chances are you’ll have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to training—you might be a great runner but intimidated by the swim—and that’s part of what makes triathlon so rewarding. The opportunity to overcome your weakness and fear is one of the best things about the sport.
Between getting a feel for body mechanics in all three mediums and actually pushing yourself to your limits, triathlon training can shed light on some things you should know about your body. You’ll be surprised at how much you can handle and you’ll have greater awareness of your body, which will help in all aspects of fitness.
Triathlons are not one-size-fits-all—there are several different race lengths. The sprint triathlon is the shortest, totaling about 16 miles and they go all the way up to 140.6 miles, which is a full Ironman distance. Even if you never sign up for a race, setting a goal of completing a sprint triathlon on your own could be a great milestone in your training.
A common suggestion to beginners in any sport is to find some experts and train with them. If you’re looking to start training, track down a local group, chances are they’ll be happy to help you out. “There’s such a strong sense of community in triathlon, your success is their success, so finding a good group will really help,” said Professional Triathlete Sarah Piampiano.
There aren’t many sports where people of all skill levels compete on the same course at the same time, but triathlon is one of them. If you decide to compete you could be sharing the starting line with professional triathletes and that’s pretty incredible.
Every sport has its own advantages, but no one sport has it all. Most athletes cross-train to even out their fitness and help prevent overuse injuries and that’s true of triathletes as well; but just by swimming, cycling and running you’ll be seeing some of the benefits of cross-training. It’s a good idea to fit in other forms of exercise too. Professional Triathlete Sarah Piampiano fits in either yoga or Pilates at least once a week to increase strength and flexibility.
High-impact sports take a toll on the body—runners often face knee and ankle issues, in addition to the well-known shin splints and, although swimming is considered low-impact, many frequent swimmers suffer shoulder injuries due to overuse. Triathlon training is all about variety, switching from running to swimming and cycling will take some of the pressure off muscles, joints and bones that tend to be overworked in single-sport athletes.
Just as cross-training helps athletes break boundaries in their respective sports; triathlon training can help improve your fitness, improving your performance in other sports. Strengthening otherwise neglected muscles can help give you the push you need to excel both within and outside of triathlon.
It’s hard to know just what you’re made of until a real challenge helps you figure it out. Training for a triathlon and maybe even competing in one is a unique challenge that elicits a sense of pride. Whether it’s improving your time, hitting a training milestone or crossing the finish line, triathlon builds major confidence.