Do you swim? Do you bike? Do you run? Well, why not do all three? Here are the top 10 reasons why you should give triathlon a whirl. Warning: this sport is highly addicting.
1. Training for one sport gets boring
Being a single-sport specialist has its perks, but training for one sport can be a real drag. The predictability of routine gets monotonous quickly, but with triathlon, you have a wider variety of training options, whether its expanding your strength training or "bricking" workouts together by following a bike ride after a swim. With more skills to train in a weekly schedule, you have more to look forward to.
2. Cross-training strengthens your primary sport
It doesn’t matter if you're an avid biker, die-hard runner or seasoned swimmer, training in the two other sports you don't principally compete in will make you a better athlete in your sport of choice. For example, swimming is in incredible endurance builder. It taxes your breathing and builds your diaphragm strength for when you need to exhaust your lung capacity biking up a steep incline or speeding up on the final kick of your 5k. Training to control your cadence on the bike is helpful for tempo runs and rhythmic breathing in the water. And when you're logging all of those hill repeats, the power you're building in your quadriceps and glutes will make you a force to be reckoned with on any hill in a bike race, and give you the power burst you need to get around slower swimmers in the water.
3. Amazing venues
Triathlon races can take you to some of the most beautiful and interesting places around the globe. From races along white sand beaches to courses that take you through the heart of some the world's most stunning cityscapes, there's no better excuse to cash in a few vacation days than to travel to a fun race destination.
4. Triathlon singlets are like superhero costumes
With their bright colors, fun patterns and compression in all of the right places, you will feel like you can take on the world in that thing. Boom!
5. The gear is super cool
If you're a gear-head, then triathlon is the sport for you. From those sleek tri singlets mentioned above, to aero helmets, to moisture wicking socks, there's no end to the gear one can purchase for a tri. And that's not even counting the big stuff like wetsuits, bikes and other training equipment you can outfit your home gym with to help you prepare for your new favorite sport.
6. You're automatically a part of the coolest club ever
There's nothing like the camaraderie, friendship and encouragement you find within the triathlon community. From training partners to keep you going to high-fives and cheering at events, there's no sport friendlier or more fun than multisport.
7. You can eat snacks while you race
Say goodbye to that warm gel packet you’ve had stashed inside your sports bra for the first 12 miles of your marathon. With triathlon, there are several more opportunities to refuel during a race, whether you're shoving a homemade protein bite into your mouth during a transition or munching down a granola bar on the bike.
8. Because you love a challenge
You compete because you love not only crushing the competition, but also smashing your goal times and setting new PRs. Triathlon is the same, only you dial up the intensity and break the knob off. Give it all you've got in not one, not two, but three sports back-to-back. The sense of accomplishment is unparalleled.
9. Race within the race
If the challenge of completing the race wasn't enough, there's a solution for that: the transitions. The precious seconds you spend moving from swim to bike and bike to run count toward your overall time, so practicing those movements can be just as important as the real race. Bonus points: you'll entertain your neighbors when you practice ripping of your swim cap and goggles while running around your yard.
10. Bragging rights
Completing a triathlon is no small feat. Just think of the jaw-dropping response you'll receive from your friends, family members and coworkers when you tell them you ran yet another amazing 10k … after you biked 25 miles … after you swam a mile. Finishing a triathlon automatically makes you a badass.
About the Author
Jennifer Britton competed in triathlon for eight years. Now retired, she’s still an avid runner and swimmer. She’s a USA Track & Field Level I coach and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer who coaches endurance classes at CrossFit Sixth City in Cleveland, Ohio.