Triathlon training for beginners: the top ten questions
Posted Apr 10 2010 7:00am
There are some key answers to questions about triathlon training for
beginners that you must know if you're just getting into the sport or you're
trying to learn a few new tips to enhance your triathlon experience.
questions every day from a wide range of beginner, intermediate and advanced
triathletes, but these are some of the more popular triathlon training for
beginners questions. Today's article will keep the answers quick and
10. Q. Is my bike saddle supposed to hurt? A. Initially, yes. It generally
takes 4-6 weeks for soreness and saddle discomfort to subside as you begin
to form a "butt callous". If you find that even after a couple months
training, you're still constantly shifting in the saddle to find a
comfortable position, then make sure that your bike is fit properly
(especially noting whether or not your seat is too high), and explore some
options such as noseless saddles, better bike shorts, and a good slathering
of chamois cream.
9. Q. How should I eat while I'm running? A. You're going to have the best
luck with liquid fuel, so that you don't have to worry about breathing and
chewing simultaneously, and your stomach doesn't have to worry about trying
to break down food while you're bouncing up and down. Go for gels, or a
small amount of carbohydrate based fluid - in the range of 200-250 calories
8. Q. Is it normal for my feet and calves to cramp while I'm swimming? A.
If you run or bike directly before you swim, this can happen. It can also
happen if you swim for more than 45-60 minutes without water, or you're very
low on electrolytes. Should you find yourself in a cramping situation, try
to push off the wall very gently, or with just the non-cramping leg.
7. Q. Should I lift weights? A. Yes, especially if you're a "skinny" or
"small" person. Until 4-8 weeks prior to a big race, you should focus on
gaining strength and building or maintaining lean muscle. This will help
prevent injury. As your race approaches, begin to de-prioritize
weightlifting and spend minimal time in the weigh troom, instead
prioritizing swimming, cycling and running.
6. Q. How should I eat while I'm biking? A. Unlike running, you can
generally handle solid foods on the bike, and you can consume about 50-150
more calories per hour compared to running.
5. Q. Do I need a wetsuit? A. If you're in a cool climate, like the Pacific
Northwest, a wetsuit is recommended. If you're in a warm climate, you don't
need it to stay warm, but it will certainly make you faster. There is
absolutely no crucial need for a wetsuit, and most races don't require that
you wear one.
4. Q. Should I stretch? A. Before workouts, we recommend dynamic
stretching, like leg swings and arm circles. After workouts, we recommend
longer, static stretching, like yoga. Stretching will help elements like
your shoulder mobility, your position on the bike, and your comfort during
3. Q. Is a road bike OK, or do I need a triathlon bike? A. While you'll
probably find that it's easier pedal faster, be more aerodynamic, and run
more comfortably when you get off a triathlon bike, it is just fine to start
on a road bike. If you do use a road bike, however, try to find some
aerobars for it! This will make the eventual switch to a triathlon bike much
2. Q. How long will it take me to get ready for an Ironman triathlon? A.
Our programs inside the academy range from 25-36 weeks for the Ironman. If
you're fit and you frequently race, 25 weeks is completely possible. If
you're really wanting to achieve a fantastic time, or you're not experienced
at Ironman, closer to 36 weeks is ideal. If you're a complete couch potato,
give yourself at least a year.
1. Q. How much protein should I eat? A. Although everyone is different, a
good rule of thumb for active individuals is to consume about 20-30% of your
daily calorie intake from proteins sources like seeds, nuts, lean dairy,
whole grains (if you can handle the gluten), healthy meats (like bison, fish
and lamb), and hemp, pea, soy or whey protein powders that are low in
additives and preservatives.
While the answers to the questions above are indeed brief, I hope they've
helped give you some direction for your triathlon training for beginners! If
you want more in-depth discussions and answers, including a private forum
and weekly live coach Q&A calls, then check out the Rock Star Triathlete
Academy AND get a bunch of free triathlon training videos at
h ttp://www.rockstartriathleteacademy.com/freevideogift . See you there!
Ben Greenfield is the Renaissance man of the sport of triathlon.
He's a fast triathlete, a coach, a personal trainer, and much more