How to go from just Running to you First Sprint Triathlon

From Running To Your First Triathlon

Have you ever been tempted to attempt a triathlon, when you are aware of your capacities to run, swim, and bike, even without having had prior training?

Triathlon is becoming increasingly popular. The most popular response, when asked why people choose to participate in triathlons, is that they wish to test themselves and their capabilities.


If you’re researching how to move from running to triathlon, you’re probably aware of the fundamentals, but for clarity let’s go through them.

A triathlon is a competition involving three different sports events that need to be completed consecutively to win. Athletes first swim, then bike, and then run.

How Long Is A Triathlon

Triathlons come in standardized lengths, just like running races do, including 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. As well as other triathlon lengths, these are the most common.

Here are the main triathlon race distances:

Super Sprint Triathlon

Swim: 400m

Bike: 10 km (6.2 miles)

Run: 2.5 km (about 1.5 miles)

Sprint Triathlon

Swim: 750m (approximately 0.5 miles)

Bike: 20 km (12.4 miles)

Run: 5 km (3.1 miles)

Olympic Triathlon

Swim: 1500 m (almost 1 mile)

Bike: 40 km (24.8 miles)

Run: 10 km (6.2 miles)

Half Ironman (70.3)

Swim: 1.2 miles

Bike: 56 miles

Run: 13.1 miles (half marathon)

Ironman Triathlon (140.6)

Swim: 2.4 miles

Bike: 112 miles

Run: 26.2 miles (full marathon)

Take note that, just like with running races, there are a variety of in-between distances for triathlons, especially for a smaller-scale, local event.

Tips For How To Transition From Running To Triathlon

If you are an avid runner thinking of taking up triathlons, you already have the physical and psychological needs to be successful.

1. Search for an individual who is knowledgeable in the matter and absorb as much information as possible.

Gaining insight into the experience of preparing for and completing a triathlon can be acquired most effectively by talking to somebody who has gone through the process.

Search for somebody close to you such as a neighbour, colleague, or exercise companion who will converse with you concerning the sport, furnish support and guidance, demonstrate to you how a transition zone performs, and so on.

It would be best if you could find someone who has already gone through the race you are considering, and who can give you a detailed overview of the experience. Enrolling with a nearby coaching team/association including more skilful triathletes who you can get knowledge from will be beneficial.

2. Start with a sprint

The best way to gain experience and evaluate if triathlon is of interest to you is to start out with a short event.

You need to be able to complete a 3-mile run before entering a marathon, and the same principle applies to a sprint triathlon before tackling a longer one. Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide contains some top-notch training regimens ideal for beginning sprinters.

3. Be prepared to spend some money

In regards to running, if you have a pair of running shoes, you can go outside your house to record the number of miles you have ran. Triathlon requires more gear and can be a costly pursuit.

At a minimum, you will need the following to participate: a swimsuit; swimming goggles; a swim cap; either a road or tri-bike; a bike helmet; bike gloves; special bike shoes with clip pedals; bike shorts; a race belt to hold your number; tieless shoelaces (of a type such as Yanks); running shoes; a product like Body Glide or TriGlide; and a triathlon suit (consisting of a top and bottom, both made specifically for swimming, biking, and running).

These are the fundamentals you should have, although you could choose to purchase more gadgets and equipment.

4. Utilize your discretion when making a decision about which bicycle to purchase.

Would you purchase a costly wardrobe without attempting to try on any of the garments? Would you be willing to take on a job without knowing the workplace or the duties required? No. Of course not.

The same holds true for triathlon. Do not purchase a costly tri bike until you are sure you are going to stick to the sport of triathlons in the long run.

If you complete your initial competition, you may come to the conclusion that half marathons and marathons are better suited for you. You could take on your first triathlon and be prepared to tackle a complete Ironman race.

5. Your only goal should be to finish

You’ve never done this before. You have no clue what could happen, how your body may react, or what the competition will be like. Don’t pressure yourself too much to achieve a specific time limit.

Just go out there to finish. Have fun. Take in the 3 sports. Decide if you enjoy triathlons. You will have many opportunities to aim for a target finish time in future events. You don’t need to start with one of the more challenging races.

6. Do more of what you like the least

Most triathletes are strongest in one sport. For most of us, that’s probably running. Focus your attention and efforts on the aspects in which you are lacking to become more proficient. If you’re not a strong swimmer, devote more time to swimming and think about getting a one-on-one lesson or instructor. Wondering where to swim?

In a lot of places with gyms, they provide 25-meter Olympic pools, and there are also pools in various community centres. Be certain that you have access to a swimming spot that you can use regularly, and that the expense is something that your wallet can handle before you commit to swimming.

7. Don’t be afraid of the open water

Most runners who aren’t particularly proficient swimmers find swimming less intimidating when within the confines of an individual lane, looking down to a clearly delineated black line at the bottom of the pool to help guide their progress.

Regarding a triathlon, swimming will usually occur in a lake, ocean, or similar water body where vision is restricted under the water and there are numerous participants nearby.

The key is to stay calm. Understand that you are going to be pushed and bumped by other swimmers. Be aware that any creature living beneath the surface of the water is more fearful of you than you are of it.

8. Minimize the uncertainty

The most challenging aspect of competing in a triathlon for the first time is the lack of experience. No matter how much you have trained and prepared for an activity, there will always be an element of unfamiliarity which can only be overcome through experience.

You can reduce the amount of doubt as much as you can. Aside from talking to somebody else who participated in the event, drive the route to become acquainted with all elements of the race.

Take a look at the transition zone the preceding day of the competition so that you have a precise understanding of where to go once you leave the water. Even run lightly from the shoreline to the spot where your bicycle will be.

Take a dip in the lake/ocean ahead of the race to familiarize yourself with the water temperature and be able to evaluate its clarity.

Go jogging and cycling on hills and terrain that resemble the course of the competition. Making as much effort as possible to reduce anxiety and create a feeling of reassurance for yourself on race day will be very beneficial.

9. Reduce the run volume

It makes sense that if you decide to practice three sports as opposed to just one, you must reduce the amount of running you are doing.

In concept this is straightforward, yet many athletes find it psychologically difficult to lessen the amount of running they do, particularly when they are passionate about it.

If you really intend to switch from only running to competing in triathlons—or only training for a triathlon without becoming a runner afterwards—you should allot a good amount of time for practising swimming and biking.

Unless you are not limited by a lack of time, you must be mindful of how you divide your exercise period, and no matter what your timetable appears to be like, you need to manage your energy as well.

Your body can only manage a certain amount of exercise, so if you already do 40-50 miles of running every week and you try to add a lot of time swimming and cycling each week, you could easily become overtrained.

Running long distances can actually be detrimental to a triathlete’s success because it can weaken the leg’s muscular strength and size and risk muscle strains or another injury due to the intense strain and long recovery rate.

We typically prefer to focus on what we’re good at, but if we devote more energy to shoring up our weaknesses, we can achieve greater progress.

10. Focus on the bike

Triathletes in training should reduce the amount of running they do and concentrate their efforts and time instead on cycling.

When thinking about how much time is spent on each event in a triathlon, it is clear that biking takes up the majority of the time and covers the greatest distance out of all the disciplines.

An illustration– it would probably take a novice around 10-12 minutes to swim the 750m distance in a sprint triathlon. Riding a bike for 20 kilometres could take between 1 and 1.25 hours for a beginner, whereas a 5-kilometre run could take 25 to 30 minutes.

This means that the cycling section is at least twice as long as either of the other activities.

The Olympic distance triathlon involves having each leg of the course doubled in distance, but the proportion of each leg about the others stays the same. Marathons that are longer in duration have similar disparities between the individual parts.

A majority of the competition occurs while on the bike, so the majority of the preparation should be done while on the bike as well.

Switching from running to triathlon will benefit you as the former has allowed you to improve your cardiovascular strength and pedal power, which are fundamental necessities for cycling.

However, cycling requires a different level of muscular effort than running does; to be a successful triathlete, you must dedicate a good amount of time to training on your bike to build up the leg strength necessary for the major cycling portion.

Runners who are preparing for a triathlon should attempt to reach a 1:5 proportion of running to biking to make up for any areas of training where they are comparatively weaker.

An example would be if you are timing your weekly training, you could have two hours running, ten hours biking, and some swimming time. You could also go by distance when training for an Olympic-sized triathlon. In this case, you might have to run 12 miles in a week and bicycle for 60 miles.

11. Fuel like a triathlete

Triathlon training requires a considerable amount of energy and thus needs to be properly nourished preceding, while, and after the exercise sessions. You need to devise an impeccable nutrition plan to achieve optimal results with your running.

Work on fueling yourself during your cycling sessions, and try out brick workouts (biking followed by running without a break) to figure out how well your stomach tolerates the bike fuel during your run.

12. Rehearse transitions

Ensure that you perform brick training, which involves going straight into a running exercise immediately after a cycling session without any pause. Be sure to practice getting back on your bike after your swim.

It is essential to rehearse these transitions to perfect the mechanics of replacing your equipment, and furthermore, it assists your body to accustom to the feeling of changing activities without any interruption in the middle.

13.  Enjoy the novelty

If you have been engaged in running activities for an extended period, you have likely reached such a level of skill that the difficulties of the competition become easy or commonplace.

The pleasure of beginning a fresh pastime or undertaking as an adult is that you get to go through the growth and enhancement at a more profound stage.

You will see substantial changes in your capability as you commence to practice the activities that you are lacking, and it is extremely satisfying to learn new abilities, reach physical goals, and confront obstacles that frighten you.

Embrace the experience of becoming a multi-sport athlete; it’s a remarkable adventure.



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