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Triathlon Swim Training - How You Can Get It Right!

Aug 17, 2007
Dating back to ancient Greek times, a triathlon tests the skills of athletes in a competition comprised of three different events. The most common triathlon involves swimming, cycling and running. In this order, it is the swimming portion of this competition that sets the tone for the rest of the contest. Athletes participating in modern triathlons usually tackle all three events back-to-back. The official time received by athletes is a combination of their overall performance, including clothing changes and transition times from one event to another.

Training for these individual events includes learning techniques that help to preserve the energy and endurance of an athlete. There are various strategies and training approaches that both amateur and professional triathlon athletes adhere to. Not all triathlons are the same in distance or details. For example, the Ultraman Triathlon, held every year in Hawaii, takes three days to complete, including 320 miles of total distance.

Triathlon Swimming

The start of the triathlon begins with the swimming portion of the competition. Athletes prepare for the swim by changing into appropriate swim gear. Different starts are used for various races. This will depend on the number of people in the race or how much distance will be covered. Traditional Iron-distance races use a mass start, where all athletes enter the water at the same time. Another approach is the wave start, which allows athletes to begin the race in intervals. This is a common practice used in amateur competitions.

Athletes swim around numerous marked buoys, completing the race at the same place where they started. Once the athletes are out of the water, the next phase of the triathlon begins that requires a change of clothes into cycling gear.

Triathlon Strategies

When preparing your game plan for the competition, you should aim for going long, easy and fast. This takes a lot of practice to master. Most cyclists and runners believe that the endurance they already possess will make them a better swimmer, but this is not always true. Cyclists and runners need to strengthen different muscles for the swim.

Triathlon Training Tips

1) Start your training early for best results.

2) Always take heed of the importance of proper breathing, have a relaxed state of mind and body, maintaining good body position and having a positive attitude.

3) While training, avoid movements by any part of your body that may slow down your forward movement. This includes no deep kicking and minimal head movement.

4) To increase the speed of your swimming, interval training is a must. Rotate timed trials using very short, medium and long rests. A popular training exercise is the 2000 ladder, which consists of 400, 4x100; 300, 4x75; 200, 4x50; 100 and 4x25.

5) Join an organized group to swim with that will eventually push you towards a higher level of competition, filled with an extra boost of confidence and encouragement.

6) Consider the use of fins during training to burn calories, strengthen legs, increase speed and improve stroke.
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