Once regarded as an event braved by elite athletes, triathlons are becoming more appealing to average in-shapers who crave new challenges. And nearly half of those in-shapers are over 40. What’s cool is that competing is easier than you think: Instead of doing an Iron-man, you can take on a doable short distant tri called a “sprint.” It’s approximately a 400 to 600 yard swim, a 10 to 20 mile bike ride and a two to four mile run. Cake!
There are three reasons why you should do it. One, you’ll get super-toned and strong. Two, your esteem and confidence will soar! And three, the whole process is a fun, inexpensive alternative to a pricey summer vacation.
For a free training program, tri-newbies online (1) is your best destination. It also offers event schedules nationwide and other valuable primers like “Bicycle Cleaning and Maintenance 101.” Or go the group training route. Most cost about $300 for a 10 to 12 week program. Find local clubs at U.S.A.Triathlon (2).
The swim causes the most anxiety for even grizzled vets; these tips by Jonathan Cane, owner of City Coach Multisport (3) in New York City will dispel some of your concerns:
- Most swims are out and back and loop counterclockwise. To avoid making contact with other swimmers, start toward the back and outside. If you feel someone’s hands by your feet, soften your kick.
- Nothing’s more frustrating than swimming extra yards because you’ve gone off course. Sight buoys early and often. And don’t assume the swimmer in front of you is on course.
- Invest in a wetsuit. The added buoyancy keeps you higher and flatter in the water so you don’t have to kick as hard. That translates to a faster swim time, and also leaves your legs fresh for the ride and run.
Now you have everything you need to dive in.