Training for a triathlon is an exciting but huge undertaking. The combination of the three disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running presents a variety of challenges and naturally throws up a lot of questions for newcomers to the sport. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and the answers.
Do you need a wetsuit?
This is one of the most common questions from new triathlon competitors. A wetsuit is a mandatory requirement for most UK triathlon events if the open water temperature is under 14C. The rules may vary depending on the distance that is being swum, so it’s important to check with the latest regulations when you sign up.
Most triathlon competitors tend to wear a wetsuit where possible, because they help to regulate body temperature, aid buoyancy, and improve hydrodynamics, meaning that they help the wearer to move through the water more quickly and with less effort. If the swim event is in a pool, then a wetsuit is usually not permitted.
What stroke can you use for the swim?
Triathlon competitors can use any stroke apart from backstroke for safety reasons. Diving and tumble turns are also not permitted. Front crawl (also known as freestyle) is considered to be the fastest stroke, but it really depends on the swimmer and what level of experience you have.
Some people are more comfortable with breaststroke and they find that this helps them sustain their strength and energy over long distances.
What type of bike do you need?
You can use any kind of bike as long as it’s roadworthy. Your choice of bike might be led by the type of terrain you are training on, or will be tackling during the event. For example, steeper rougher terrain might be best suited to a mountain bike, whereas a flat sprint race would be best suited to a road bike.
Some people invest thousands of pounds in bespoke triathlon bikes that are precisely engineered to cope with certain conditions, but this is really not necessary except at the very highest levels of the sport.
It is important to make sure that the bike is well adjusted to suit your height, so that you are in the optimum position for power and comfort during the race. It may be best to seek a professional opinion about this if you are looking to buy a bike, because everyone has different cycling techniques and preferences.
Do you need to train every day for a triathlon?
Newcomers to the sport may be daunted by the prospect of having to train on a daily basis. Afterall, most people also hold down a full time job or course of study, and the training timetable has to be fitted in before or after work.
The truth is it depends on the level of fitness and experience in the sport you are currently at, and whether you are aiming for a sprint triathlon as your first event, or a standard olympic distance. Most triathletes train for 30 minutes or an hour on at least two or three weekdays, with some longer sessions at weekends.
If you are looking for open water swimming wetsuits in the UK, please get in touch with us today.