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.
Weeks 9–11 (Speed and Power)
Swim a mile without stopping – you should be feeling comfortable enough in the water now to do this. Reed suggests tinkering with your equipment during these weeks to see if there's anything you can do to go faster. He cuts his wetsuit off just below the knees. That way, it's easier to slip over his legs when he's wearing a bulky timing chip around his ankle, just like the one you'll wear.
Mon., Wed., Fri: 1,600 yds, in intervals, at moderate intensity.
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 1,700 yds, in intervals, at moderate intensity.
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 1,800 yds, in intervals, at moderate intensity.
Go mountain biking or hop on a stationary bike while watching a movie if you're bored with your road rides. As long as you log four hours in the saddle each week (bike commuting counts, too), it doesn't matter how you do it. "Stationary bikes are good for high-intensity intervals to develop speed since you don't have to worry about stoplights or cars," says DeNino. By now you should be able to ride 25 miles in less than 90 minutes.
One hour at moderate intensity; three-speed intervals.
Two hours at low intensity.
Get a massage – at this point in your training, you'll need one. A recent study from the Ohio State University found that massage helps to reduce swelling and speed recovery more thoroughly than rest alone.
Sat.: 40 mins at low intensity (right after bike). Sun.: An hour at moderate intensity; 12 striders.
Wed.: 45 mins at low intensity. Sun.: 60 mins at moderate intensity; 12 striders.
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