The following is an excerpt from By AC Shilton | January 7, 2018 | Nytimes.com |
Craving a new challenge? Try a triathlon, which incorporates swimming, biking and running all in one race. With more than 3.5 million participants worldwide, triathlons are more about personal goals than competition. A triathlon may seem intimidating, but the event has a reputation for being unusually welcoming and supportive to beginners. You’ll find everyone from the fastest finisher to the aging plodder cheering you to the finish line. The best part? If you’re already exercising regularly, it only takes six dedicated weeks of training to get you to race day.
What's a Tri?
Every triathlon is based on some core principles.
By definition, a triathlon is a single race, consisting of swimming, biking and running — almost always done in that order. The reason? Safety first. Swimming is the riskiest event, so it’s best completed when the athlete is fresh. If you compare the injury risks of a bike race to a running race, the consequences of an exhaustion-related mishap are lowest on the run, so that event is usually held last.
The main variable in a triathlon is the distance of each event. Officially, there are four main distances — Sprint, Olympic, Half-Iron and Iron. The distances in a sprint triathlon can vary by a lot, depending on the event. The other variable is the location. Runs and bike races may be held on roads or trails; swimming events can happen in open water — rivers, bays, the ocean — and some events are held in swimming pools. See below for the basic triathlon distances, but check out the distance details of an individual race before signing up.
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