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Wilderness Sports > Triathlon Training

Danskin Triathlon Training

Q: I'm thinking about doing the Danskin triathlon this summer. How long does the event take the average woman to complete? What can I expect? How long do I need to train each week?

A: The Danskin triathlon is a multi-sport sprinting event combining .5 miles swimming, 12.5 miles biking, and 3.1 miles running, in that order. If you figure a person in fairly good shape might be able to swim .5 miles in 15 minutes, bike 12.5 miles in 50 minutes, and run 3.1 miles in 25 minutes, with two transitions at 3 minutes each, then total time might take roughly 90 minutes. Elite triathletes might cross the finish line in just over an hour; newcomers might spend 2-3 hours or more. The goals of your very first triathlon should be to 1) finish, even if that means doing a doggie paddle, moderate bike ride, and jog; 2) find out what it's like, and 3) have FUN.

To read more about what you might expect, see Courtenay's article about her own experience, called Steel Heart, Lead Legs. The Danskin is a well-run race, a great introduction to multi-sport competition, a fantastic way to test your own endurance, and a way for you to get a taste for the longer distance events like the Ironman. Training need not take too much more time than your current workouts, if you are already exercising regularly. In fact, if you can comfortably do the distances listed above, why not try your hand at all three back-to-back?The most challenging part seems to be transitioning from the quad-dominant biking to hamstring-dominant running/sprinting, so spend time on your own combining bike rides and jogs so that you'll be used to the feeling.

If you are just starting to exercise, start by looking at how your body is feeling. Any problems with your lower back, knees, or shoulders? Get your body balanced first, so that you don't exacerbate pre-existing conditions. See a good physical therapist or make an appointment with a Body Results Fitness Specialist for a complete muscle balance assessment. If you are in pretty good health, in general, then start working on building up your endurance, training for up to 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, rotating between events. You don't need to become a professional athlete and train non-stop! 6-8 hours a week will be more than adequate. If you do all kinds of other things, such as rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, tennis, and/or horseback riding, then you may have to do a little prioritizing to fit it all in or cut back on some of the other activities. Cross-training is one of the best things you can do for your body--triathlons capitalize on that fact. If you wonder how to best fit it all in, contact an Outdoor Conditioning Specialist who will do your programming for you--all you have to do is share your goals, dreams, priorities, and schedule, and leave the rest to us!



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