You know that joyous scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in which all the kids are skating on the local pond? It wasn’t exactly like that for me. My skates were painful. My feet were cold. My feet were cramping. Although I grew up in Wisconsin and came to love winter sports, I just never picked up ice skating as a kid.
No matter the distance, every triathlon starts in the water. For people new to the sport, the swim leg can be daunting. Even athletes who have years of experience running or cycling can be apprehensive.
Like all athletes, triathletes are motivated to train and compete for different reasons. It can be as simple as a goal to get fit and lose 15 pounds or joining a group of friends to raise money for a charitable cause. On a much deeper and intimate level, pushing your limits of physical endurance or dedicating to a loved one the effort to cross the finish line provides the inspiration.
It’s becoming increasingly common for triathletes to hire coaches to help them improve their swimming, cycling or running techniques.
Oh, the pain. In mid-July, 2,000 triathletes participated in the Ironman Racine 70.3 event. By the end of race day, many competitors were hobbling on sore, tired and overextended legs. Many people, like me, wondered just how badly our legs would hurt over the next few days. My daughter Claire suggested taking an ice bath.
“The idea that you have to be an elite athlete with a professional coach to benefit from heart rate training is something people are realizing is a myth,” Garmin International spokesman Jake Jacobson says. “Everyday athletes can use the same technology as elite athletes use and get as much out of their training even if they are not going to set an Olympic record.”
USA Triathlon, the sport’s governing body, sanctions more than 2,000 triathlon events and has enjoyed more than a decade of steady growth in participation. The slow economy hasn’t changed that growth curve.
Should a newcomer to the sport of triathlon upgrade their road bike, add triathlon-oriented accessories to their current road bike or buy a triathlon-specific model?