A triathlon is a race that generally involves three events. There are various kinds of Triathlons, like Cross Triathlon, Water Triathlon, the Sprint Triathlon, to name a few. The sprint triathlon is a race which includes swimming, cycling and running for predefined individual distances sequentially. The word Triathlon is derived from the Greek words ‘treis’, which means three, and ‘athlos’, which means competition.
There are 5 parts in a Sprint Triathlon. The athlete starts with a swim, the first event. Then there is a transition from swimming to cycling, which is known as T1 – it includes coming out of the swimwear and slipping into the cycling gear. The third part is cycling and after that comes the T2, which is the transition from Bike to Running. The last part is Running. A transition area is available for both T1 and T2, where the athletes switch from one event to the other.
The Triathlon is an amazing display of tenacity and endurance, because, unlike other multisport competitions, there is no rest time in between events here, even the transition from one event to the other is taken into consideration and the time involved is counted in the total race. As such, athletes have to be very nifty in managing time both during the events and during the transition.
The sport is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), along with Duathlon, Aquathlon, and other multi-sport events. It was founded in 1989 and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. During its inception, the chief goal of the ITU was to enter the Triathlon in the Olympics. Currently, the organization conducts the World Cup and World Triathlon Series annually.
The Sprint Triathlon has been a part of the Olympic games since 2000. In the Olympic games, the participants had to swim 1500 m, cycle 40 km and run 10 km. Paratriathlon was first introduced in the 2016 Paralympics.
The first race resembling a modern Sprint Triathlon was held in 1902, which included running, cycling and canoeing. However, the roots of Triathlon are considered to be in a race held in France in the 1920s, which was held during the 1920s to 1930s, annually, near Joinville-le-Pont, in Meulan and Poissy.
There is documented evidence of Triathlons involving running, swimming and cycling from the 1920s to the 1960s. The first Triathlon reported in a newspaper was in 1920, by the French newspaper L’Auto, which reported the “Les Trois Sports”, a contest that included a 3 km run, 12 km cycling and swimming across the Marne channel. All these were done continuously and the participants were not allowed to pause in between two events. Similar races were reported in Marseille in 1927 and 1934.
The first Modern Triathlon, which included the now customary swim-cycle-run format was held on 25th September 1974 in Mission Bay, San Diego, California. The race was sponsored by the San Diego Track Club and was the brainchild of Jack Johnson and Don Shanahan, who were both members of the club. There were 46 participants in the race. In the following year, however, another triathlon was held at Fiesta Island, San Diego, California and this is also referred to as the first Triathlon in America.
The rules for Triathlon are as under:
- Any kind of stroke is allowed during swimming. The athletes may also push themselves off the ground at the beginning of the end of every lap during swimming.
- The swimming course detailed for the tournament must be followed at all conditions.
- During swimming, participants are allowed to rest using objects like a buoy or stationary boats and can also stand at the bottom.
- In case of any emergency during swimming, the way to call for assistance is by raising an arm overhead and asking for help. Once assistance is provided, the participant has to withdraw from the competition.
- During Cycling, a participant cannot block other athletes.
- At no point of time can they cycle with bare legs, it is not allowed
- All progression during cycling has to be made in possession of the bike. Any forward movement without a bike can lead to disqualification.
- All participants must adhere to traffic rules while cycling.
- If participants have to leave the track due to safety issues, they must resume their cycling from their previous positions without gaining any advantage. Any attempts to gain advantage could lead to a penalty.
- Participants must wear the helmet, with the strap securely fastened, from the time of removal of the bike from the rack, at the start of the cycling event, to the moment they return the bike to the rack at the end of the event.
- Drafting, or riding behind another participant to reduce the resistance from the wind, is forbidden in the age group non-drafting events of the Triathlon. Where it is allowed, the draft zone is 10 meters long and the participant can enter the zone while trying to move forward in the race and they have only 20 seconds to progress through the zone.
- Cycles should be mounted after the mount line, and participants must have one complete foot contact after the line before mounting the cycle. At the end of the race, the cycle has to be dismounted before the dismount line and again, there must be one complete foot contact before crossing the dismount line.
- Nudity is not allowed under any conditions and will lead to expulsion.
- The following materials are forbidden during cycling – headphones, headsets, mobile phones, any other electronic listening or communication devices, and glass containers.
How to Play Triathlon?
Triathlon game is an endurance sport and is often used by participants to build physical fitness. However, each sport is an endurance event in itself and as such, Triathlon requires a lot of training and cardiovascular exercises.
A participant must know how to swim and ride a bike before starting the sport. In case, the participant is not familiar with either of the two, these have to be learned first.
The most efficient way of getting better at Triathlon is by training in groups. Participants can sign up for a local club that supports Triathletes and it will be very helpful for the beginners. They can gain valuable knowledge from experienced campaigners, while the community would also help out in training and staying motivated. Besides, the trainers at the clubs can help one get better at the sport.
The most common problem in Triathlon game is that participants have different levels of expertise in different events. Many make a common mistake of concentrating only on the weakness. It is important to train for all of the events, and while one can put extra effort in the event they are weak in, they must also practice the events that they are strong in.
When swimming, one must start with small targets and increase the distance to increase their capacities. However, it is very important, not to rush, but take time to build one’s abilities. While training for cycling, it is important to have a healthy mix of high-intensity training to increase strength and low-intensity training to increase stamina. While training for running too, one can try short bursts of sprints and then lessen the speed to jog for a while, before returning to speed again. This way, one can build up the stamina required for the event.
Triathlon game is a great way to stay fit, however, it is important to control the pace of each event. The ideal thumb rule is that a participant should ideally maintain a pace that enables him or her to be able to have a conversation at all times. This will ensure a fair and safe Triathlon without harming the body.