There is a stigma that triathlon isn’t an event that incorporates ‘normal people’ but that is definitely not the case.
Triathlon originated in the 1970s where athletes would swim in Mission Bay and run barefoot on sand and grass across San Diego. Since then, triathlon has exploded as an international sporting event which takes place around the world, even here in sunny Brighton. The governing body, International Triathlon Union (ITU), provides triathletes with a world series taking place all over the globe with 1,000s of spectators turning up to watch and take part in the excitement.
What does a triathlon involve?
So in simple terms, a triathlon is a swim, bike and run. This may seem daunting but triathlon includes various distances to incorporate all abilities.
The swim can either be in a pool, closed water like the famous Eton Dorney Lake, or in open water like the Brighton sea.
The cycle is the middle section of the triathlon and accessible for anyone who has access to a bike - it’s a simple as that.
The run is how you’ll get yourself home as you become a triathlete.
What do I need?
Triathlons are easily accessible and especially as a beginner, equipment does not need to cost the earth.
Depending on the temperature and location, you may need a wetsuit if the water temperatures are below 14 degrees. A lot of triathlons will provide wetsuit hire to save you from spending money on something you may only use once a year. We recommend you use goggles and wear a swimming hat, although hats are also often provided at the race.
We see such a variety of bikes used for our triathlon and it really doesn’t matter what you ride - there isn’t always a correlation with the quality of bike and how well you do. As long as it’s roadworthy and you have a helmet, you’ll be able to race. We love seeing the different bikes and this year are welcoming Brompton bikes for the first time. Some triathletes prefer to use specific cycle shoes that clip into your pedals, however a lot stick with trainers to shorten the transition time between cycle and run.
For the run, all you need is trainers - simple.
What is a transition and what do I do?
Transition is the period between each discipline where you prepare for the next leg of the race.
Transition 1, between swim and cycle, is the longer of the two, as in some cases you may need to remove a wetsuit and put your trainers on.
Transition 2, between cycle and run, is a simple one. Rack your bike and go. You must keep your helmet on until your bike is racked as failing to do so can result in penalty timings or disqualification.
Transition practice can be done from the comfort of your own home but should definitely not be neglected prior to your race.
With triathlon having such a long list of mental and physical benefits you can gain from taking part, here are a few of our favourites;
It’s a great way to keep fit and active.
Triathlon has its history in endurance sport so this can give great personal satisfaction for first time finishers.
As a multi-discipline sport, it can help prevent injuries and maintain focus.
It will improve your energy levels as your training increases.
It can be a great way to meet new people from a variety of backgrounds and joining a triathlon club is a super social experience.
So there you have it - triathlon is becoming increasingly accessible for all abilities. Training for a race gives benefits you both physically and psychologically and is the perfect goal to set your sights upon. Sold? Go on, give it a TRI.