Triathlon for Beginners

Running – Swimming – Cycling. In Which Order?

Triathlon is a multisport event consisting of 3 disciplines:

Each discipline is carried out in turn, with the swim first, followed by a bike leg, and finishing with the run. In between disciplines, there are ‘transitions’, where you change your equipment from swim to bike and then from bike to run. These are carried out in a “transition area” where you can store clothing, equipment and nutrition for the next leg of your race.

What’s Your Goal

While gaining general fitness or losing weight might be your goal, it’s still good to aim at completing a race as well because having a precise goal will keep you going with your training even during motivational lows.

Remember to keep your goals realistic and achievable, and choose triathlon race distances that are suitable for your level of fitness and experience.

  • If it is your first season in triathlon, you may want to choose a sprint triathlon as your goal. Sprint triathlons vary in distances, but are usually 750-meter swim, 20-km bike and a 5-km run.Here are some events that include a sprint race that are in Singapore or nearby and that we recommend to beginners:
  • If you are an intermediate athlete, experienced in one of the three sports already, or have done a couple of sprint triathlons before, an Olympic distance triathlon might be a realistic achievement (Swim 1500 meters, Bike 40 kilometers, Run 10 kilometers).

If you are unsure about where to start, and what distance might be right for you, try talking to the MetaSport members, or a MetaSport coach, and get the benefit of their experience.

Alternatively, treat the first few weeks of your triathlon training as an assessment period. Once you have completed your first period of training, you can then assess your fitness and look at your goals and decide what distances and what races you want to compete in.

Whichever approach you take and whatever training program you adopt, be cautious and allow your body time to adapt to the rigors of the new sports you are taking up, and the strains that it will place your body under.

“I am already a runner / cyclist / swimmer… I just need a new challenge!”

This is typical, very few triathletes have a base in all three discipline when they start the sport.

Most people need to develop their technique and endurance in at least one of the disciplines, and often in two. Many triathletes started the sport as complete non swimmers but with the help of a coach, have become competitive in open water events.

How do I start my training?

A common misconception among Triathlon newbies is to think that you need to train in the three disciplines at the same time. The truth is: you don’t. You train separately in swimming, cycling and running, and that the beauty of triathlon – alternating training in the three different disciplines makes your training routine varied and decreases the risk of injuries.

As you become a more experienced triathlete, introducing some brick sessions (= one discipline straight after the other, eg. swim & run training session) in your training will be useful, but first start by building a base in each discipline individually.

Some MetaSport sessions will help you get going:

What equipment do I need to get started?

Do not worry about equipment to get started. You do not need anything in particular except for your regular swimming gear (swim suit, goggles) and running gear (running shoes, running shorts, singlet or t-shirt). As for cycling, any bike will do to start (including mountain bike). It will always be time to upgrade at a later stage to a proper road bike if you enjoy the sport. Ensure though that you have a helmet (compulsory to join our sessions).

And for all sessions, we strongly recommend that you bring along a water bottle.

Triathlon is a wonderful sport!

The health and lifestyle benefits are matched only by the friendship with your fellow triathletes and the sense of achievement you will feel when you complete each event you take part in.

Remember that you are taking up not one, but three sports, and each has its own techniques and training which have been the subject of almost endless research.

As with any new sport or activity, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before getting underway.

See you at training!


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