Triathlon – A Combination Of Three Sports
There have been various records set in swimming. Cycling inter-state and now even outside the home country has been become very popular. And running in its various distances and forms has been a favorite sporting event for centuries. But have you even wondered what it takes to do all three together? It takes extreme amounts of grit, stamina, concentration and skill.
Triathlon, as the name suggests, is a combination of three of the world’s famous sporting events: Swimming, Cycling and Running in immediate succession over long distances in the shortest time. Triathletes – or athletes who attempt to try their chances at this strenuous yet extremely exciting sporting event – are required to cover specific distance swimming, and then they are given a transition time, which is used to change into their running gear. After this they need to cover a specific distance on their feet at the end of which they enter the second transition period during which they get into their cycling shoes and other gear to start again and cover the last lap on the bicycle. All of these in transition periods are counted while calculating the total time taken. So those of you, who are of the opinion that these in between transition periods act as resting time, do not be fooled.
It starts of with swimming. In order to conserve their energy, triathletes will often use their legs less vigorously as compared to regular swimming. They also tend to use varied and very different hand strokes and postures – decided by them before hand to make sure they don’t spend a lot of time incorporating elaborate movements and eventually end up using up all their energy with hardly anything left for the next two events. Since most triathlon events involve outdoor swimming competitions, another challenge along with the already tedious series of challenges is swimming in turbulent waters. As a result, a lot of triathletes use the smart way to follow their competitors closely to attempt to swim in their slip stream.
Then comes Cycling. Leaving out Olympics Triathlon and ITU World Cup races, Triathlon Cycling is very different from most basic Cycling races that take place across the Globe. One is not allowed to draft so racers cannot huddle together in the form of a Peloton. It looks more like individual cycling, which is basically cycling alone with a lot of gap between you and the racer in front of you. The Cyclists leg movements, thigh pressures, back posture is all very different so as to use up minimum energy and get to the place of running the fastest. These cyclists are specially trained in this area and need a special kind of skill and stamina which is different and slightly tougher than that of regular cyclists as obviously, this triathlete has covered his previous distance swimming and will be covering his future distance running as fast as his legs can carry him.
And last of all is Running. Now running in a Triathlon is no child’s play. Even athletes who have been running all their lives and have reached the Olympics are shocked at how slow their legs carry them. The reason is very apparent. These triathletes have just finished an exhausting and extremely strenuous session of swimming and cycling successively with nothing but a transition period in the middle which is essentially the mere seconds that they are allowed to get their running shoes on. After having gone through this arduous work out, most of their muscles are already tired. Due the sudden change in method, the transition of shifting from cycling to running can be profound. Thus, most of the times the triathletes feel a soaring pain in their thighs and a breathlessness of sorts.