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How do I Become a Triathlete?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Becoming a triathlete is as simple as doing the exercises that are included in a normal triathlon. Most people have done all of those activities at one point or another during their lives. Therefore, it becomes simply a matter of putting them all together into one comprehensive plan that can eventually be performed one right after the other.

For those who want to be a triathlete, the best way to begin is to start training for a triathlon event. Unlike marathon training, triathlon training involves more than just running, though that is also a key component of the process. However, those triathletes who decide to focus on one area more than the other may be hurt in the long run. The key is to train the body for all exercises and conditions one expects to encounter.

Triathlons include a running component.
Triathlons include a running component.

Becoming a triathlete can be just as physically taxing as the demands required to run a marathon. However, the body is pushed in different ways over the three disciplines. Most triathlete training schedules recommend, at least at first, only doing one exercise per day. In other words, one day will involve running. The next day may call for swimming and the next day may be on the bicycle. As the triathlete gets more skills and endurance, the exercises may be combined all into one single day's routine after a while.

Biking is usually part of a triathlon.
Biking is usually part of a triathlon.

Once the training has begun, the participant is, at least in some form, a triathlete. While they may not be a professional triathlete or one who gets a substantial amount of fame, that is not the goal of the vast majority of participants. Rather, they want a personal challenge and a good way to stay fit. Triathlons offer that in all cases.

For many, though, the ultimate goal is to race in a real competition. While the participant's goals may not necessarily be to win, the most encouraging part of the event will be participating in a real triathlon. Often, beginner triathlon events are held in conjunction with more serious competition. In those cases, the athletes who are in the more serious competition may serve as role models or inspirations for the weekend warriors.

If the hobby continues, the amateur triathlete may decide to move up to more serious competition. In those cases, the entry fees may be more, but the payoff can also be better. In some cases, winning a major triathlon race can be worth a substantial amount of money.

Discussion Comments


Many fitness, health, and athletic magazines give excellent guides on triathlon training. Runner's World, Fitness, and Shape are just a few that I have read in the last couple of years which routinely talk about the benefits of triathlon training about how to do it properly.


The amount of training depends on how well you want to do. Many people do really well on a sort of casual level provided that they can do all three and at least excel at one- such as being an okay swimmer but an excellent runner, for example.

However, even if you just want to do triathlons to prove that you can, I recommend investing in a good bike, good swimwear that you can also run in, good shoes and goggles, and any other equipment you feel you need. It can be easy to hurt yourself by racing in a bad bike or running in shoes that hurt.


If you are serious about becoming a triathlete a good idea is to head to your gym and get yourself a personal trainer to help you get into shape. The demands on a triathlete’s body are huge so you need to be in amazing shop to endure these kinds of races.

Most personal trainers will run you from $30-$50 an hour with though in specialized training costing a lot more. I believe that the investment in a personal trainer will take you a long way to becoming the triathlete you want to be.

As for diet, seeing a sports nutritionist should be on your list of things to do. It takes a lot of energy to make it through a race and food quality is important.


@sneakers41- I share your sentiment. I enjoy watching a triathlon, but it is absolutely insane the amount of training that goes into becoming a truly competitive triathlete. I really think achieving that level of fitness only comes with allowing your training to be a huge part of your life. It really just isn't realistic for most people to even try.

For myself fitness consists of spending a few hours at the gym a week and making sure my jeans still fit after the holidays are finished. I can't imagine spending an entire day just training so that you can finish a race.


@Mutsy - I have to say that I have a lot of respect for people that can actually do a triathlon. I personally could not do one, nor do I feel the need to push myself to do one.

I understand that most people do this for the sheer challenge, but to me it looks like torture. I can barely get myself to the gym everyday for thirty minutes. I don’t know how these people workout for five or six hours every day. Who has that kind of time?


@GreenWeaver - I know what you mean because the swimming is the hardest aspect of this sport for me too. I also wanted to add that in addition to the training you really have to have the right triathlete diet because you need to give your body the fuel that it needs to be able to perform at the best levels possible.

You also have to go to a triathelete store and look at special swimsuits that are supposed to make your swimming time faster. Every little advantage helps because sometimes the winners of these races win by a very small margin.


I think that a beginner triathlete should get, the book “ The Triathlete’s Training Bible” by Joe Friel.It gives you a four month training plan to get ready for your triathlon. I also think that it is helpful to join a triaththon training group so that you continue the workouts that you will need to develop the conditioning necessary to complete the race.

It really is important to work out with a group on a regular schedule because it makes it harder to skip workouts which can hurt your ability to be able to complete the triathlon.

I would love to be able to do something like this, but I find the swimming aspects really hard. I also have never run a marathon before, but I have done some shorter races and they were really exciting.

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    • Triathlons include a running component.
      By: Maridav
      Triathlons include a running component.
    • Biking is usually part of a triathlon.
      By: david hughes
      Biking is usually part of a triathlon.