We live in a world where we always want more. Some people want bigger houses, better vehicles, and a quicker climb up the corporate ladder.
What does that mean for an athlete? We want to be faster, we want to go further, and we want to push harder.
You hear about people who start running and their first race is a marathon. Professional women in Kona (Ironman World Championships) are getting closer in time to men than ever before.
For me in triathlon? My husband and I signed up for a half Ironman and then full Ironman a few months later. No try a tri, sprint or Olympic distance for us. Did it work out? Yes; however we’d been endurance runners for years.
My advice? Sign up for a race you think you will be successful in. If you really want to embrace and love multisport, set yourself up for a positive experience.
- Get your family on board. Their support is crucial if you want to make it work.
- Consider training time mixed with family/work/life commitments. Don’t sign up for an iron distance if you have a summer full of weddings, or a crazy schedule. Race a shorter distance and go longer when you have more time.
- Think about your history: race distance, training, injury, etc. If you’ve predominately raced 5 or 10km races, it’s probably best to start in sprint or Olympic distance race.
- Talk to a coach or friends who tri. They’ve experienced multisport training and can offer advice to ensure your success.
- Determine your strengths and figure out what you’d be best suited towards. If you are scared stiff of swimming, perhaps you could start with a duathlon and take swimming lessons to get more comfortable.
There are a few set triathlon distances and then various other races have their own swim/bike/run distances (like Escape from Alcatraz).
Sprint: swim 750m / bike 20km / run 5km
Olympic: swim 1500m / bike 40km / run 10km
Half iron/long course: swim 1.2 miles (1.9km) / bike 56 miles (90 km) / run 13.1 miles (21.1km)
Iron distance: swim 2.4 miles (3.8km) / bike 112 miles (180km) / run 26.2 miles (42.2km)
There are plenty of multisport options to choose from in addition to road triathlons:
- If you prefer trails to road, choose an XTERRA off-road triathlon.
- If you don’t want to swim, sign up for a duathlon that consists of run bike run.
- Don’t want to run or injured? Race an aquabike, which is a swim then bike race.
- An aquathlon is typically run swim run, so you don’t have to bike if that’s a hurdle.
Go watch a triathlon and I’m sure you’ll be amazed and inspired by some of the people you see crossing that finish line.
What was your first race distance (running or tri)?
Read part 1 (five things I wish I knew before I started triathlon) and part 2 (getting started) of the tri series, and let me know if you have any other questions! I’m no expert, but I love helping people reach new finish lines!