Warning! The fact that you have picked up this book means you are interested in the sport called triathlon. There is a serious danger that you could become a triathlete. You could lose weight and become exceptionally fit while gaining muscle and the respect of your peers. Cross that triathlon finish line just once and you could become addicted.
Don't say you weren't warned.
The triathlon in North America can trace its roots to Southern California, where the first three-sport race — swimming, cycling, and running — took place in the fall of 1974. From that start, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds.
USA Triathlon (USAT), the governing body of the sport, estimates there are more than 2,000 multisport races in the United States each year. Membership in USAT is approaching 100,000. Worldwide, the number of triathlon participants is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands annually.
A major impetus for the recent growth of the sport was the debut of the triathlon in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Today, one of the most popular formats for a triathlon is the Olympic-distance triathlon of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride, and 10-kilometer run.
Like the marathon in running, triathlons are now more accessible to amateur athletes, who make up a larger part of the triathlon scene each year. There are many races with shorter distances, known as “sprint” triathlons, for those new to the sport.
You may be asking why you need a book to get started in this sport, or to make improvements from your first triathlon. Preparation, of course, is the key to execution, and few people instinctively know proper techniques and the best plans for integrating the training for the three sports in such a way that they complement each other. You need guidance, and having plans laid out for you and explained can only improve your chances on race day.
Most triathletes have lives apart from the competition, and the training programs in this book allow for you to still be a spouse, parent, and dependable employee while preparing for race day. When the big day comes, you will be ready physically and mentally if you follow the advice in this book.
The triathlon is known as an endurance sport, and the designation could not be more appropriate. To get ready for your big day, you will have to endure early mornings at the pool and tough rides and runs, sometimes in adverse conditions. You may have setbacks in your training with injuries or illness. It's an odyssey that, by comparison, might make the actual race look easy.
The training is not all misery, however. It will be exciting to experience the inevitable gains in fitness, and who wouldn't be happy to see the pounds melting away? If you find some fellow trainees to join for workouts, the camaraderie you share will more than make up for the rigors of the training. Making friends as you prepare for your triathlon will be the gift that keeps on giving.
Neither the race nor the training is supposed to be easy. Where's the feeling of accomplishment if you don't have to push yourself?
The triathlon, especially if it's your first, may be the hardest thing you ever do. Chances are you will also look upon the moment that you cross the finish line as one of your finest hours.