In my humble opinion, triathlon is the toughest, hardest, and most mentally and physically demanding sport compared to any other. Imagine swimming for 1.2 miles in the harshest circumstances and sometimes in angry, unfriendly water with high waves and a strong current, and you are being mobbed on your right, left, on top of your head and behind you by throngs of swimmers who are trying to move infront of you and in the process may accidentally hit your jaw or kick your ribs. in fact, if I may have given the hyperbolic appearance to that description, it is absolutely true in many races. Not to mention that you are supposed to swim at your fastest pace And oh, if you are not completely exhausted by the time that gargantuan distance is completed, you still have to exit the water running to your transition area, so you can quickly mount your bike and cycle at your fastest for 56 miles up steep hills and down speedy, dangerous downhill turns, not to mention having to run half a marathon coming off exhausted legs that you can barely walk!
If you are not convinced by now this is a brutal, hard, and challenging sport, try doing double that (full Ironman swim for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles, and run a full marathon) all done in your best (fastest?) speed, and sometimes in the most blistering heat like in Kona, Hawaii foe example, where the annual Ironman World Championship is held every year. The heat during which can sometimes reach 115 degrees and yet it remains the most prestigious event in the world. To qualify for Kona, you have to go through the most rigorous trials by placing high on ironman sanctioned races during the year. Some triathletes spend years trying to qualify, others who are well coached, train smarter and dedicate time for training, nutrition and recovery get there faster compared to the self-coached athletes
The question is: If you chose to do any triathlon distance, how do you want to do it? Or rather, when you cross that finishline , would you rather cross it after running a strong race, or would you rather run a race in a ragtag, hotchpotch fashion? We all know the answer to that question. No one wants to finish last or finish injured or endure more suffering than one should. Instead, how about hiring a good triathlon coach who would help guide, teach, and plan your training and nutrition.
As a triathlon coach and a trainer, my approach to prepare and guide my athlete is based on sport’s science and common sense. It’s built on three fundamental steps:Sport specific strength training, Endurance fitness, and Nutrition. I will elaborate more on my next blog about these fundamental steps.
Before I close, it’s recommended for any beginner to start by doing a shorter distance (Sprint) triathlon then to the more challenging Olympic distance, or if you want to step into a bigger league and can allocate some serious time for training and nutrition, then you may consider 70.3 which is the most popular distance of the Ironman series. I strongly recommend for anyone who wants to do the full Ironman distance is to go through the distance progression mentioned above before diving into that the biggest and most challenging distance.