A record 517,150 triathletes finished a race in 2013 and the number of participants doesn't look like it will wane this year. "There are lots of reasons why," says Walter DeNino, a former member of the U.S. Triathlon Team and president of Trismarter.com, a triathlon coaching service. "But I think it's mainly because it's the perfect form of cross-training. You're working lots of different body parts and always switching up your training, so triathletes rarely get hurt.
Plus, what guy doesn't want to have a triathlete's body?" Even some of Hollywood's leading men, such as Matthew McConaughey have completed the swim-bike-run trifecta, and, thanks to the program that follows, you can, too. We employed DeNino to tell you how many miles to log and hours to train, and we asked two-time Ironman world champion Tim DeBoom and Olympian Matt Reed to share their secrets to winning. By the end of 12 weeks of training, you'll look better, feel fitter, and maybe even wind up with some hardware around your neck.
Week 12 (The Main Event)
On race day, arrive an hour early to set up your transition area. Put your bike, shoes, and helmet in a place that's easy to get to. Set a towel on the ground so you can dry your feet before putting on your bike shoes. "Start at the back of the swim field if you're uncomfortable, and take your time," says DeBoom. The swim takes place in San Diego Bay, where water temps are around 65 degrees. Try to swim the course the week before.
1,000 yds, in intervals (10x100 or 15x50 yds), at moderate intensity.
Sun. (race day)
Get your bike tuned early in the week and ride it afterward. San Diego's race is a slightly hilly out-and-back ride from Spanish Landing Park to Cabrillo National Monument. On race day, Reed keeps his shoes clicked into his pedals so he can slide his feet in quickly. Whatever you choose to do, try it out beforehand. "It's never good to try something in a race for the first time, so if you want to go without socks or gloves on the bike, get used to it in training first," says DeBoom.
60 mins at low intensity.
"On race day, think like a triathlete at all times, not a swimmer or a cyclist," says DeBoom. "You may be the strongest cyclist, but it won't do you any good if you go all out on the bike and are too tired to run afterward." The race-day course is a flat point-to-point along San Diego's Harbor Island and the Embarcadero – it's the perfect place to employ Reed's running technique. After the race, suck back plenty of fluids before that celebratory beer. Then enjoy. You've earned it.
40 mins at low intensity.
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