or those who are invested in triathlon and who want to set a fast time in their next race or want to attempt a longer distance event then ensuring that your training is up to scratch is essential. If your aim is to complete your first ever super sprint race or just to get through the next event then the following programme should be something to aim and build towards even if it does look terrifying at first glance.
Triathlon training (swim, cycle, run) provides the ultimate fast-track to a sculpted body – even for non-competitors. Moving from one cardiovascular exercise to another means you can train at a greater intensity and for longer periods, and you don’t need to be outside. A duathlon training programme, for example, would involve ten minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the bike followed by another ten minutes on the treadmill. It’s the ultimate leg workout as you can train your hamstrings when you run and your quads when you’re on the bike. Plus, if you cycle at a slightly lower intensity than you run, you’ll get to catch your breath without stopping.
SAMPLE PROGRAMME FOR BEGINNERS/INTERMEDIATE
The above programme at first glance may seem too hard for most people, because you are training 6 days a week. This is the good thing about triathlon training, because you are training for three different sports, you are allowing your body muscles to recover. If time is a problem, look at cycling or running to work, or adjusting the session to fit into your lunch break, any employer should be keen to allow its staff a little extra bit of time to appreciate the benefits of exercise. Remember their is a firth discipline in triathlon, that is your own self belief, if you think you can do it, you will. Aim to overcome all the negatives in your life to complete your first triathlon and experience the positive feelings of your own achievement.
THE GREAT FUEL GUIDE
What to eat to keep you triathlon fit
Did you know the foods you eat can have a major impact on the stamina, precision and strength you can expect from your exercise. Find out how to fast-track your way to fitness with our easy-to-follow menu plan.
Aim: You can't exercise intensively on a full stomach. For a sprint-like early-morning swim, give your body a sudden energy boost with a light snack - but eat properly afterwards.
Before: Twenty minutes before, drink a strong black coffee or tea, and have a banana, pear or mango. Coffee gives you an adrenaline surge that boosts energy levels without the need to eat. Bananas, pears and mangos are sugar-rich and will boost your blood sugar for extra stamina. Also, drink a large glass of water as coffee is a diuretic and will rid your body of fluids.
During: If you're swimming longer distances, top up your hydration with half a litre of water.
After: Eat within an hour of exercise. Choose any option that combines some carbohydrate and protein. If you've swum long distance, make sure your carbohydrate source is fairly calorie-rich to replenish energy supplies. Pancakes with maple syrup and a yogurt drink would work well, or eggs on toast. Have a fruit smoothie containing berries, apple juice and oranges for a blast of Vitamin C, betacarotene and other antioxidants.
Aim: A high carbohydrate snack will give your body the energy needed for a medium-intensity endurance activity such as jogging. Eat carbohydrates shortly after you finish.
Before: Thirty minutes before, eat an energy-filled snack that is low on the glycaemic index. This means it turns to sugar in your blood slowly, to give you sustained energy over time. Good snacks include a fruit and nut bar or a flapjack. A cup of green tea is packed with antioxidants and its caffeine will give you an energy boost.
During: Drink up to half a litre of water when required.
After: One hour after, eat a carbohydrate-rich meal such as a vegetable lasagne or roasted vegetables. Add a green salad and drink a large carrot or orange juice to top up on vitamins and minerals.
Aim: Liquid energy replacement is more valuable than food during a long cycle ride - the body isn't moving much and liquid is easier to digest.
Before: Eat a banana spread on two slices of wholemeal toast to give you a high-energy boost 30 minutes before intense exercise. For a long ride, make sure you eat a snack containing protein such as a croissant with ham and cheese as this will give you more stamina, plus a fruit smoothie diluted with 50 per cent water.
During: Drink water or a sports drink regularly to prevent dehydration.
After: Balance your carbohydrates and protein equally. The carbs will replenish your body with energy for your next workout while the protein will help your muscle fibres recover after a long ride. Try a bean casserole with chicken; tuna with a jacket potato or bowl of pasta and tomato salad. Two cups of green or white tea will hydrate you and give your body vital antioxidants to aid recovery.