Endurance racing is quickly becoming a trendy sporting activity and triathlons are growing in popularity. Many people would never think about trying a race that pushes you so physically and mentally, but some people are contemplating it. For those adventurous types looking for another way to push their limits, triathlons could be perfect.

Mixing swimming, cycling and running, triathlons are as extreme of a workout as you will find. Marathons are often longer but participants don’t have to master three separate disciplines. For years triathlons have seemed unreachable for many athletes and novices alike, but nowadays, they seem more attainable than ever.   Gyms are offering triathlon classes and there are teams in training that specifically gear you up for your first race.

Here is a helpful guide on how to go from spectator to full participant in no time flat. Get off that couch and let’s train for a triathlon, with these easy to follow steps.


Choose a race

First of all, you have to choose a race. Signing up for a race is the best motivator, because you now have a date and something to work towards. Use this as inspiration to set achievable goals and work hard to reach these goals. The final goal should be compete in the triathlon.

First, not all triathlons are equal, as many are shorter distances and generally are easier. When you think of triathlon, you imagine the Iron-Man in Hawaii, where competitors swim for 2.4 miles, take a 112-mile bike ride and finish it up with a 26.2-mile run, sounds impossible? You are in luck; many triathlons offer “sprints,” which are shorter, condensed triathlons.

I would choose a sprint as your first race and see how you like it. These are generally shorter and the distances are a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike and three-mile run, now that seems doable. You can also try an Olympic course, which is a one-mile swim, 24-mile bike ride and a 6six-mile jog.


Get Your Equipment

Ok, so you signed up for a race, now you have to get your gear together. Here is a beginner’s list of things you may need to compete.

Swim stuff

You will need your swim gear like goggles, a swim cap and obviously a swimsuit. Depending on where your race is, you may want to purchase a wetsuit, if the water will be below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bike Stuff

No need for a fancy, expensive bike, just get yourself a quality road bike and a crash rated helmet. You can get yourself some cycling gear as well, like an aerodynamic cycle suit or bicycle shorts. The added padding t=in the shorts will make your bottom happier for sure. Some people like cycling shoes that click into the pedal, but this is a personal preference thing.

Running stuff

Get yourself some awesome running shoes; these are crucial to your success and health. Make sure you have good socks because you don’t want blisters, they will make you bow out for sure.



Training is the most important aspect to gearing up for a huge race. Since you will be performing three completely different sports, you will need to practice all three, a lot. You can do all your training in a 12-week period by just training for 6 hours a week. The standard rule for training goes like this: 50% on the bike, 30% swimming and 20% running.


Bike: 2-3 times a week

You’ll want to spend your energy increasing your stamina so take long rides for a while as you build up your endurance, then work on speed drills.


Swim: 2 times a week

Get in the water twice a week and work on long strokes and steady kicks. Take some classes at your local pool so your strokes are as efficient as possible. After being comfortable in the pool, try an open water swim to get yourself ready.


Run: once a week

If you are doing a sprint, it’s only 3 miles of running, so if you have run before, chances are you’ve run three miles. You should already be prepared for this. Try and increase each run’s distance by 5%, doing this will prepare you.


Weights: Once per week

Hit the gym and do some weight training, this will help you get stronger mentally and physically.


Health and Healing

Make sure you properly recover after these workouts by resting and soaking your sore muscles. Take a hot tub a few times a week and consider seeing a massage therapist to work on any sore spots.


That’s it, gang, not too difficult. I think if you train for 12-weeks anyone can do a triathlon; you just need some motivation and intestinal fortitude.


Photos courtesy of panda, pinterest, YMCA