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 8 (Practice Race): 12 Weeks to Your First Triathlon
"Start your race-day swim near either side of the pack, not right in the middle," says Matt Reed. "Then, if you get in trouble, you're out of the mess." Lift your head and look forward every other stroke to keep track of other swimmers and to spot the buoy that marks your turnaround point.
1,500 yds at low intensity. Sun. (race day): half-mile swim. Weight training: For swimming, work lats, triceps, rotator cuffs, abs, and lower back; for biking and running, work quads and hamstrings. Do not weight train more than twice a week.
"Practice eating and drinking during workouts so you know what you'll need during the race to keep your energy levels up until the finish," says DeBoom. Load up on energy before you bonk by downing a couple of Gu packets and sipping on a bottle of Cytomax while on the bike. It's easier to eat and drink during flat sections of the bike than it will be on the run. Start out at a mellow pace and increase your speed if you're comfortable.
45 mins at moderate intensity followed by three intervals of four mins at moderate intensity.
12 miles (during race).
Reed's race-day run technique: Go hard on the first mile, get into a solid groove, then put the hammer on for the last mile into the finish. At this point there's no need to conserve energy – you're almost to the after-race buffet line. Before the race, rub Vaseline under your arms and between your legs to prevent chafing during the run portion. If you tend to develop blisters, put on socks. If not, go barefoot and save time at the transition between the run and bike.
Run 20–25 mins at low intensity.
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Three miles (during race).