Triathlon is a great sport that demands a great physical preparation to face the athlete to the three elements involved in the sport: swimming, cycling and running.
What is triathlon?
Triathlon is three different sports in one: swimming, cycling and running in the same competition. It is a sport that requires a great deal of physical and mental preparation from athletes.
Triathlon is a combination of three sports: swimming, cycling and running. Order must be followed strictly to be successful.
The main features of triathlon are as follows:
- It is an individual
- It combines endurance through swimming, cycling and running.
- The change from one routine to another is known as transition.
- The athlete who invests less time in the three different segments wins.
- Swimming takes place in open water.
- The foot race is a long-distance race.
It is believed that it began with a bet between North American sailors in 1978 in Hawaii. According to the triathlete, historian and writer Scott Tinley, the origin of triathlon is given in a race in France during the years 1920 – 1930 that received the names of “Les trois sports“, “La Course de Débrouillards” and “La course des Touche à Tout”.
In 1920 the French newspaper L’Auto reported on a contest called Les Trois sports, which had the reverse order of today’s triathlon, with an initial run of three kilometers on foot, followed by 12 km on bicycle and finished with the swim in the Marne channel.
There is a 1934 article on Les Trois sports in Rochelle, a race with swimming, cycling around the port of La Rochelle and the park of Laleu, which ended with a race at the André Barbeau stadium.
There are three sporting activities included in the triathlon: swimming, cycling and running. This is the order of the disciplines to be developed. The first test of triathlon, swimming, takes place in open water, where the route must be delimited, which is approximately 1,500 meters, according to the Olympic triathlon.
As for cycling, it must be done on an asphalt surface with a distance of 40 km in Olympic triathlon. Finally, in athletics, the distance must be 10 km. It is the easiest part to prepare as it does not use as much energy as cycling or swimming.
The original distance used in the Ironman is 3800 m of swimming, 180 km of cycling and 42 km of running. The Olympic distance is 1500 m of swimming, 40 km of cycling and 10 km of running and Sprint 750 m of swimming, 20 km of cycling and 5 km of running.
The Iron Kid consists of half the Sprint distance. The Half Ironman or 70.3, which consists of 1900 m of swimming, 90 km of cycling and 21 km of running, are generally qualifying tests to compete in an Ironman.
The basic rules of triathlon are as follows:
- License. You must have a federative license, although there are also many regional triathlon events, where you pay the “one day license“, which covers the event.
- Dorsal. This is the number given by the organization. It cannot be used in the swimming segment and is mandatory in cycling. It must be visible on the athlete’s back and in the foot race, in the front.
- Torso covered. You cannot compete with a naked torso, except in swimming, so it is usual to wear the triathlon suit throughout the race.
- Swimming. You can swim in any style. Athletes may stop next to the buoys placed along the course, but they may not be used to advance.
- Neoprene suit. It is used where the water temperature is below 22 degrees, otherwise it will be prohibited. When the temperature is below 14 degrees, the suit will be mandatory. Triathletes 50 years of age or older may use the wetsuit regardless of the water temperature.
- Bicycle. Any type of bicycle can be used that is no more than 2 m. long and no more than 75 cm wide and the minimum distance from the ground to the pedal axle is 24 cm.
- Couplings. For tests in which drafting is permitted, couplings are permitted as long as they do not exceed the vertical of the brake levers. In tests where drafting is not permitted, couplings are permitted without length limitations.
- The helmet. The use of the helmet is obligatory.
- Drafting. A distance of 7 meters must be kept with the competitor who is ahead. It is only allowed to be at a shorter distance when overtaking another competitor, in this case, keeping a lateral separation of more than 3 meters.
The triathlon categories are as follows:
- 15-17 years: Cadets
- 18-19 years: Junior
- 20-23 years: Under 23
- 40-49 years: Veteran 1
- 50-59 years: Veteran 2
- 60 or older: Veteran 3
The advice of the coaches is to increase the loads by 10% per week to avoid injuries. This is known as gradual adaptation and applies to all three disciplines of triathlon, including gym training.
You should look for the right equipment for training, as it should be optimal to avoid accidents. Recovery or rest is a basic point of training, because the body must replenish energy and repair muscles. Over-training should be avoided, and the body should be allowed to recover.
You should work on the correct technique for strokes and when running, in order to save energy. It is necessary to learn how to combine technique and strength through muscle building exercises to give strength to the tendons and joints.
There are many triathlon competitions throughout the year and in many countries worldwide, however, the most important competitions are the following:
- Ironman World Championship Hawaii: The stage of cycling covers more than a hundred miles above the lava, and temperatures are over 43 ° C, with cross winds sometimes 90 kilometers / hour.
- Ironman de Lanzarote, Spain: In 1993, the race was moved to Puerto del Carmen, where it is currently being held. It takes place at the end of May and is seen as a physical preparation for Hawaii.
- Nice Triathlon, France: It is considered as one of the two important races of each year with very good monetary prizes and the attention of the media.
- Escape from Alcatraz, San Francisco, California: It has distances out of the common frame and begins with 2.4 kilometers of swimming in the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay, followed by 29 kilometers of cycling and 13 kilometers of running.
Being a sport that involves three different routines, the equipment needed to participate in the triathlon is as follows:
- Swimming event:
- Swimming cap (neoprene) to protect against temperatures that can be quite low.
- Optimized long swimsuit, usually made with neoprene.
- Swimming goggles.
- Cycling test:
- Triathlon bike similar to road cycling.
- Helmet, cycling shoes, one-piece jersey.
- Glucose gels to replenish energy.
- Running test:
- Optimal footwear.
- Jersey that is generally the same as cycling.
- Visor or cap.
- Sunglasses if required.
Written by Gabriela Briceño V.