Triathlon Fitness Training

Triathlon Description

The triathlon is made up of three different activities­swimming, running and cycling. The combination of these events makes the triathlon an extremely challenging activity, as one must become proficient in all areas to be competitive. Potential participants should be prepared to spend hours every week building up both muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance in order to simply compete, as proper conditioning is essential to successful performance.

Triathlon Warnings

  • Asthmatics and other bronchial/pulmonary disorder sufferers should seek doctor's clearance and advice before participating.
  • Chronic knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, wrist and lower back problems may be aggravated by all three aspects of triathlon competition.

Triathlon Risks

  • Stress on certain joints, ligaments and tendons of the lower body
  • Shin splints, fractures of the toes, leg and pelvic/hip bones
  • Muscle injuries of calf, quadriceps, hamstring or shoulder
  • Ulnar and median nerve compression­from tightly gripped hands on bicycle being jarred by terrain
  • Shoulder injury such as impingement syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis
  • Lower back injury from poor swimming, running, cycling technique
  • Fall or impact injuries
  • Chafing (saddle sores) and buttocks pain or numbness from cycling
  • Ear or eye infection or irritation from water
  • Water-related risks such as hypothermia, drowning
  • Outdoor hazards such as poor weather conditions, slippery roads, rough terrain, rain, water and traffic hazards during training

Triathlon Sport-specific applications

  • Competition on local, national and international levels

Triathlon Equipment required

  • Cycling: bicycle, helmet, footwear, goggles/glasses, reflectors, gloves and other safety gear (see cycling entry)
  • Swimming: goggles, swimsuit/wetsuit, bathing cap (optional), and training gear (optional, see swimming entry for list)
  • Running: appropriate footwear, sun visor, sunglasses/goggles; clothing should be lightweight yet still provide protection from weather; choose bright colors for easy sighting

Triathlon Applicable substitutions

  • Distance running/jogging
  • Cycling/stationary cycling
  • Treadmill
  • Swimming

Triathlon Reference sources, organizations and publications

  • Triathlon Federation USA: 3595 East Fountain Blvd., Suite F­1, Colorado Springs, CO 80910, (719) 597­9090
  • Triathlete Magazine: 1415 Third St., Suite 303, Santa Monica, CA 90401, (800) 441­1666
  • Triathlon Today Magazine: PO Box 1587, Ann Arbor MI 48106,


Cardiorespiratory: Aerobic/Interval

Fitness Benefits

  • Cardiorespiratory 5
  • Flexibility 2
  • Muscular Strength 2
  • Muscular Endurance 5
  • Body Fat Recution 5

Fitness Requirements

  • Cardiorespiratory 4
  • Flexibility 2
  • Muscular Strength 2
  • Muscular Endurance 5
  • Coordination/Skill 3

Muscle groups used

Primary muscles: quadriceps, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, shoulder, latissimus dorsi, rotator cuff muscles and chest Assistance muscles: forearms, triceps, biceps, trapezius, serratus anterior, abdominals and lower back (erector spinae)

Energy expenditure

Approximately 0.1 Calories per minute per pound of body weight

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