Discovering the Triathlon

More and more people are keen on Triathlon, a multidisciplinary athletics program that includes three highly physical sports activities, such as swimming, running and cycling. What is this compelling sporting practice?

 

What is Triathlon?

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The Triathlon is a background discipline that combines three sports activities among the most practiced: swimming, cycling and running. The stopwatch punctuates the travel time and adds up the time taken to complete the races: the winner arrives first at the finish line and has completed the three tests in the shortest time. A multifaceted and multifunctional activity , where the athlete is called to perform different physical actions, with different intensities and efforts according to the sport he is practicing. The triathletes in fact train hard and follow dietary principles to give the necessary strength to face the races: they are required extreme physicality and strength, but also agility, immediate ability to adapt to changes in pace imposed, balance, and of course skill strategic and tactical intelligence. It is therefore necessary a constant and intense training because the Triathlon races are really a business for people of iron: and perhaps for this reason there are many people, men and women, who approach the Triathlon with the desire to compete with themselves and go beyond your limits.

How is Triathlon born?

The name Triathlon derives from the Greek (means ‘three competitions’) but the history of the Triathlon is recent: there were competitions with three disciplines since the beginning of the last century, but it is in 1977 in Honolulu, Hawaii, that the Triathlon originates as a sport. On that day, friends talked about what could be the toughest race for man: the ‘Waikiki Roughwater Swim’, a 2.4 mile (3860 meter) long offshore swimming race, the ‘Around Oahu Bike Race ‘, a 115-mile (180-kilometer) bike ride of salts-downs, or the Honolulu Marathon, of 42. 195 meters. Not finding an agreement, someone proposed to join the three races in one, to create the toughest sports competition. An idea that came to life some time later, when in 14 they presented themselves at the start for the first Triathlon race, which united those three Hawaiian races in one.

The Ironman World Championship Triathlon

Thus, in Hawaii, the Triathlon sports discipline and the Ironman World Championship were born, a race that is still considered the classic Triathlon. That edition, which took place on February 18, 1978 in Waikiki, was won by Gordon Heller from the USA, who completed the entire course of the three races in 11 hours and 46 minutes. Of course the participants were mostly Americans, so from the US they were also the winner of the second place (John Dumbar, in 12 hours, 20 minutes and 27 seconds) and the third (Dave Orlowski, in 13 hours, 59 minutes and 13 seconds).
Since then, the Ironman World Championship Triathlon is held annually, and more and more people are taking part from all over the world to compete with the toughest competition in the world in a Hawaiian dream. Even the journey times have dropped considerably compared to then: the German Patrick Lange, the last winner of the 2017 Irronman Hawaii, has completed the entire journey in 8 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds, and is currently the record of the competition.

Triathlon today

Over time, the Triathlon has spread widely throughout the world, and since 2000 has become an Olympic discipline. Many and from everywhere are people who want to get involved with this sport, and the sub-disciplines of Triathlon have multiplied: each race includes different routes and distances. The shortest of the official distances is the ‘Supersprint’ with 400 meters of swimming trails, 10 kilometers of bike and 2.5 km of running. The longer distances are still those established by the Ironman, although there are numerous races around the world of Ultra-Triathlon, where the route of the Ironmen is repeated several times: for 3 (Triple Iron), 10 (DecaTriathlon) or also 20 (Double DecaTriathlon) times.
The competitions are for both men and women and there are also many competitions for the youngest and for the junior categories, who want to approach this discipline from an early age.

The main Triathlon races in the world

In addition to the classic of the Ironman, there are numerous Triathlon races in the world. The main ones are the European Triathlon Championships, which take place every year since 1985.
Since 1989, the World Triathlon Championship (Triathlon World Championship), now in its 28th edition, is held annually. Australia, with 19 golds, is the most successful nation, followed by the United Kingdom (14) and Spain (8).
From the 2000 Athens Olympics, the Triathlon is Olympic discipline: the competitions are held at distances of 1500 meters for swimming, 40 kilometers for cycling and 10 kilometers for walking. The latest edition saw the triumph of the Brownlee brothers from the United Kingdom, Alistair (Gold) and Jonathan (Silver).

Triathlon is therefore a complete discipline, hard but at the same time fascinating, which puts man before his own limits of physical and psychological resistance, and of course his ancestral desire to go further. This is why more and more people are approaching this sport, in every part of the globe.

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The benefits of swimming: an extremely complete sport

Swimming is definitely one of the sports that involves greater physical benefits to anyone who decides to practice it. First of all swimming must be practiced to keep our body under constant training. Training a few hours a week immersed in the water of a pool, in fact, helps the muscles to remain trained, without however affecting the skeletal system, as our body is lighter once it is below the water level. The muscle tone then takes vigor and, consequently, a person who practices swimming is better, thanks to a greater resistance but also thanks to a relaxation that only a sport like swimming can give.

 

Increasingly flexible …

 

 

 An additional benefit can be found in the fact that joints and ligaments acquire flexibility . This thanks to the muscular effort that a swim requires, an event that also facilitates the maintenance of balance even outside the water. But not only muscle tone, skeletal lightness and flexibility. One of the organs that most benefit from swimming is the heart. In fact, this sport can strengthen the pectoral muscles, as well as those of the shoulders and arms, but also the heart itself, being a muscular organ. Furthermore, it is important to reduce the risk of heart and cardio-vascular diseases, according to studies conducted by American universities in this field.

… and more fit

 

 

Swimming is also a sport that many dieticians or nutritionist biologists recommend for people who suffer from food problems, that is to say that they are in a situation of overweight or obesity. In fact this is a sport that allows you to burn a very high number of calories and that, as mentioned, does not cause complications at the skeletal level, regardless of the weight possessed by the person who practices it. But the health benefits do not end there. In fact, asthma is often subsided thanks to swimming. The exercise in the pool in this sense is more positive for children and adolescents.

Goodbye stress and high cholesterol!

 

 

Adults and the elderly, on the other hand, will find benefits for problems and diseases such as high cholesterol and even diabetes. Swimming, in fact, like any sport or exercise, helps keep cholesterol in balance. But not only. The greatest benefit occurs in the vascular, with veins and arteries that acquire flexibility, thanks to the effort and the activity carried out. As a consequence, even those suffering from diabetes, and specifically type two diabetes, are often asked by experts in this field to practice physical activity in the pool. Finally, swimming benefits in one of the problems that most people are gripping in today’s society: stress. The endorphins that this sport stimulates, in fact, give relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing really unique!

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The guide to start training for running

The race is a sport among the most practiced and all in all simple that exist; just a modest and not too technical clothing is enough to start tackling routes of all types and lengths. However, for those who intend to practice it regularly, it is important to apply some rules and principles that make the training effective and safe at any level, even competitive.

 

The general rules to be followed for the race are the following:

  • equip yourself with a technical clothing with particular regard to running shoes which allow to adequately cushion the weight of the foot on the ground and contribute to the prevention of injuries such as heelitis, bursitis and plantar fasciitis. It is absolutely not recommended to run long distances with shoes that are too low or too high. Also obtain thermal and breathable clothes;
  • use a technique as close as possible and close to the competitive one by following the advice we will show you in the next paragraph, in order to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries;
  • eat properly both before and after training and stay hydrated during activity;
  • as in all sports, use the head and “listen to your body” to manage fatigue, the ability to force, to improve and achieve the objectives set by training.

We asked the fitness instructors of Being in Shape to provide us with more specific and detailed information on running technique and training methods to improve performance, which we quote below.

The technique in the race

It is not uncommon to see improvised runners of all ages around; someone does it for the form, others to solve respiratory and sometimes circulatory problems, still others for fun or to prepare a competition.
However, many people use personalized techniques that are unfortunately often harmful to the joints and muscles.
To avoid having a completely wrong style of racing, there are some rules:

  • use the forefoot: it is very easy to make the mistake of landing on the heels, unloading the weight of the body on them and causing potentially harmful kickbacks. The correct race involves using a lot of forefoot during the start and above all landing (metatarsal area). In this way you will have more thrust and the body will cushion the impact with the ground. To deepen this aspect we suggest you to watch this video of deepening on youtube .
  • use also the arms and the rest of the body in order to support the effort of the legs; one of the most frequent errors is to remain “blocked” with the arms and the entire upper thoracic tract; these bodily segments must balance the movement of the legs to economize the stroke gesture and reduce fatigue; synchronize opposite arms and leg and “push” up with arms to tow the rest of the body.

Working on diaphragmatic breathing : There are two types of breathing: thoracic and diaphragmatic. The former is shorter, allows less air to enter the lungs and use less oxygen, the second is deeper and allows more air to enter the lungs, therefore certainly more suitable for running where it is essential to maintain an optimal balance between consumption of oxygen and carbon dioxide production, as we will see in the next paragraph

Aerobic running, a good way to burn fat

Running is undoubtedly one of the best ways to lose weight ; to do an aerobic work in fact allows to use fat metabolism for energetic purposes.

Aerobic work is mainly based on the use of oxygen to derive energy from the degradation of energy substrates inside the body. In order for energy to be derived predominantly from aerobic work, oxygen consumption must be balanced with the production of carbon dioxide. When this ratio increases in favor of the production of carbon dioxide, the process of accumulation of lactic acid begins, leading to the onset of fatigue and to a reduction in performance.

Resistance training

Resistance is the conditional motor ability that you need to train to improve performance in the race.

The methods of resistance training include both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, using both it is possible to improve the resistance to fatigue and raise the maximum threshold of tolerance to muscular stress.
To perform cross-country trails it is necessary to focus more on aerobic activity, while if you want to try competitions in speed it becomes very important to perform anaerobic exercises.
Anaerobic work can be distinguished between two further methods:

  1. anaerobic alactacid ; prepares the muscles to reach and exceed their maximum limit. These are exercises of great intensity concentrated in a very short time;
  2. anaerobic lactic acid ; group exercises with a slightly milder intensity that are aimed at the accumulation of lactic acid; these works aim to improve the resistance to the maximum effort and help to raise the limit of endurance of the musculature.

Preparing a competition requires a long training that involves both aerobic endurance, both power and speed; it must be planned and prepared in a specific way according to the type of travel that you intend to practice.

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