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Multi-Sport Training: Tips on Getting Started
Q: I am thinking about entering my first triathlon (sprint) and would love some tips on training. I am very new to running/swimming/biking any distances. I will have 5 months to train for the Danskin event in mid-July. Any advice on how to get started, what goals to set for myself along the way?
A: First, I’d suggest taking a peek at some of the additional links we have on our Triathlon pages, which also overlap or share similarities with adventure races that include kayaking, mountain biking and trail running:
Second, you’ll want to have at least one day a week devoted to each of the three sports (or however many activities are involved). Within a week or two you will know full well which event is your weakest, and that’s where you’ll want to focus more time and energy if you’re serious about being a competitor. If your goal is simply to finish, then your first strategy will be to build your endurance to last as long as it will take to complete all your events. Build gradually; try to increase your weekly mileages by roughly 10% per week in order to give your body time to adapt to the added stress.
Once you’ve reached the goal mileage for each event in a single workout (i.e. 3 mile run, ˝ mile swim, or 10 mile bike ride), you’ll want to start combining them in the order in which you’ll have to do them in the event – brick training – swim/bike in one workout, bike/run in another. This should be roughly 2 months out from your event.
Third, figure out what muscle groups are weakest or tightest and include some strength training and stretching appropriate for your events. If you have a weak upper body, developing core strength and shoulder endurance will help with swimming, uphill biking, and running sprints; if you have knee problems, you’ll want to address those early on before getting deep into the training.
Fourth, consider taking a lesson from an expert on whatever area you’re weakest, as that’s oftentimes the fastest way to improve. Many times events such as the Danskin Triathlon will hold workshops and seminars ahead of time to help you figure out how best to go about your training.
Finally, if you’re serious about getting into periodized training for your multi-sport event, Body Results outdoor conditioning coaches can provide all of that for you via their WebTrainer program at www.bodyresults.com/p1webt.asp.