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“Tri” a Triathlon! The Basics

If you like to swim, bike and run, triathlon might be a sport worth “tri”-ing. Below you’ll find what you need to know about triathlon participation. If you're ready to start training, click here.

What is triathlon? It is the combination of three sports performed back-to-back: swimming, cycling and running. The swimming can be in a pool, lake or ocean, while the cycling and running sections are usually done on roads. But triathlons can differ – some include mountain biking and trail running.

Distances: Distances vary greatly! For beginners, we recommend a Tri-a-Tri (short distances), sprint, or relay event (where three friends get together and each do a section). Kids ages 7 and up can participate as well in what’s known as Kids of Steel.

Benefits: Triathlon improves your cardiovascular fitness and helps you become an all-round athlete due to the many different movement patterns that you use in each sport. Swimming helps increase muscle endurance in your upper body while cycling does the same for your lower body. Lastly, running strengthens the bones of your legs and spine.

Equipment: With all the marketing and advertising of sports equipment, what’s “required” for a triathlon can seem intimidating. However, all you really need is:

  • a swimsuit (or wetsuit in the case of cold water swims)
  • swim cap and goggles (optional, but encouraged)
  • a properly working bicycle and helmet
  • running shoes 

Need more gear tips? The Physical Activity Line (1-877-725-1149) staff can point you in the right direction.

There’s a lot of information on nutritional products for triathletes. Speak to a registered dietitian at HealthLinkBC by calling 8-1-1 if you have questions. And, check out this blog post for food and drink tips when training.

I hope this gives you an idea of what a triathlon is and perhaps some motivation to give it a “tri”. Stay tuned for part two of our triathlon blog which will provide basic information on training for a sprint distance event.

Related Blogs:

Getting Ready for Your First Big Bike Ride
Bike Riding Is Easier Than You Think

Recommended Resources:

TriathlonBC: Race Calendar

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