5 Common Triathlon Questions, Answered

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  • Matt Cook
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  • Apr 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5-Common-Triathlon-Questions,-Answered.jpgAre you thinking about participating in your first triathlon? You probably have a lot of questions, and you need answers before you decide to become a triathlete. Here are answers to five common beginner triathlon questions.

1. How Long Is a Triathlon?

This is one of the most common triathlon questions. There are several different triathlon distances to accommodate people of various skill levels. The shortest triathlons are sprint-distance triathlons. These races consist of a 750-metre swim, 20K bike ride, and then a 5K run. For a beginner, a spring-distance triathlon is a good place to start.

Olympic-distance triathlons are the next step up and consist of a 1.5K swim, 40K bike ride, and 10K run. Of course, there’s also the Ironman distances. A full Ironman consists of a 3.8-kilometre swim, 180K bike ride, and 42.2K run, while a half Ironman halves those distances. As you become more experienced, you may decide to try some of these longer distances.

2. How Much Do I Need to Train?

Even if you’re already an active exerciser, the thought of training for a triathlon can be intimidating. Since you need to train running, swimming, and cycling at once, you may think that you’ll need to live at the gym to get prepared.

With the right training program, a beginner can be ready for their first sprint-distance triathlon in 11 weeks. During your training program, you can expect to work out five or six times per week. At the start of the program, each workout will take less than 30 minutes, and as you advance through the program, they’ll get longer.

If you’re already exercising regularly, this won’t be much of an adjustment. For an active person, the main adjustment is following a regimented training schedule and training three different sports throughout the week.

3. When Is Triathlon Season?

In Canada, triathlon season starts in the early summer, and the first races occur in the months of May and June. Some triathlons, like the Ironman Canada, take place later in the summer.

In warmer areas, triathlon season is longer. The earliest triathlons may take place as early as March, and then they can continue into the fall. If you have the budget to travel to a warm place like Hawaii, you can take advantage of the longer triathlon season.

4. Do I Need a Special Bike?

If you already own a bike, do you need to buy a new one for your first triathlon? For your first race, any bike will work as long as it’s the right fit for you. If you have a road bike or mountain bike that you’re comfortable riding, you can use it for your first triathlon.

If you decide that you love triathlons and want to keep competing, you can always buy a better bike later. On the other hand, if you buy an expensive triathlon bike before your first race, it could end up collecting dust in your garage if you decide not to race again.

5. What Is Brick Training?

If you’ve spent any time around friends that compete in triathlons, you’ve probably heard them mention brick training. But what is it? This is one of the more common triathlon questions. Brick training means that you perform two sports within the same workout, one after another.

Brick training is an important part of preparing for a triathlon. During your triathlon, you’ll need to be able to swim, bike, and then run, all in the same race. If you always train your three sports separately, you’ll have trouble keeping up with the demands of the triathlon.

Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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