Word to the wise: you need more than just, biking, running and swimming for a triathlon.
To the uninitiated, triathlons can seem really daunting. A triathlon is one race, split up into three vastly different disciplines. First, you swim, then bike, and lastly, you run. It’s one of the ultimate ways to test your endurance, and because it’s such a physical test, it’s no wonder triathlons are becoming so popular. Stacey Holland, TV and fitness personality, is hooked. Now, she’s training for the Freshpak Fitness Festival in Clanwilliam. “From actually doing the race before I learnt that I am a lot stronger than I thought I am,” she says. “I was so scared of swimming 800m then cycling then running and once it was done, I couldn’t believe that I’d actually done it?!” And while the training is no joke, it’s pretty manageable if you train smart. Here, top tips from Stacey on how to train like a pro.
Get Comfy With Endurance
Doing three fitness disciplines requires endurance and stamina: you need to be able to go for longer. To do that, some conditioning is required. But in order to prevent yourself from snoozing on the bike, or floating your way through 2-hour swims, try mixing things up. Stacey trains with Simone Jacobs of Ampt SA, where her training consists of mini “brick” sessions (a tiny multi-sport session packed into one). In one mini brick, “you move between the treadmill, watt bike and do functional training floor work,” says Stacey. Then, for conditioning, Stacey swims for around two hours.
Mix Up Your Training
Stacey combines her cardio with functional training. Science backs up the idea that to get better with cardio, strength training is required so that your muscles fire more effectively. It follows: more muscle, more power. “Functional training goes a long way in producing a stronger and fitter athlete,” says Stacey. She usually does lots of HIIT, but to get triathlon ready, cardio is added to her training. Now, she has functional training, running and training on the wattbike. On the weekends, she focuses on long sessions outdoors: getting quality time on the bike, and hitting the road for a long run. She swims twice a week, something she credits as one of the harder things she’s had to master. “Adding swimming to the mix was a huge change,” she says. “It’s crazy how tiring swimming can be especially until your body acclimatises.”
Make Time For Recovery
“I also incorporate weekly yoga sessions which improve flexibility and mobility,” says Stacey. “I also saw a huge benefit in soft tissue release through foam rolling and sports massage therapy. It helps with warming up effectively and improves recovery.” Make sure you stretch out warm muscles after every workout, and roll out sore muscles as often as you can.
Ready to give it a go? The Freshpak Fitness Festival is widely regarded as the best triathlon to go for if you’re a beginner. Read these tips for running, and check this out if you’re new to biking. Scared of swimming? Read this.