Triathlon is an adrenaline-pumping activity that combines swimming, cycling and running in one event. It’s a popular sport in the Philippines, thanks in large part to celebrity triathletes who not only promote the sport to the general public but also make it look easy and fun to do. In reality, however, first-time triathletes need 3 to 6 months of preparation to finish the race without injury or burnout.
“It takes time to improve your endurance and stamina for a triathlon event. Aside from multisport training, you need to make healthy lifestyle choices—good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, and having a positive attitude,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.
The MediCard 24.7 triathlon team shares the following advice for those who are planning to join a triathlon event:
1. Training is serious business. Be physically and mentally prepared.
The way to becoming a triathlete is to live an active and healthy lifestyle all the time and to train harder when the triathlon event approaches. Do not join when you’re not physically and mentally ready to avoid hurting or exhausting yourself.
“Eating right has always been a conscious effort for me even before I became a triathlete,” says Vanessa Aguirre-Estrada. “When I prepare for a race, training and recovery dictates my nutrition. I don’t have a strict diet but when training season is at its peak, I store more protein in my meals. I reload carbs and hydrate for the whole day.”
2. Train early. On weekdays, assign a sport to do before and after work hours.
Timmy Dadia shares, “During weekdays, I train for 1-2 hours of swimming, biking, running, or cross-training depending on the assigned sport of the day, in the morning or afternoon depending on my work schedule. On weekends, I wake up at 4:30AM so I can start biking at 6:00AM and end around lunchtime.”
3. Train with a buddy for encouragement and support.
Working out and doing multisport activities alone can get boring and lonely. It’s the reason why triathletes typically train with their team or with a loved one who’s also into the sport. “During the weekdays, [my wife] Lyka trains in the gym and me on my own. We train together on weekends,” says Jamie Leather.
4. Find inspiration to motivate yourself when the training gets difficult.
Lyka Leather advises, “Think about the upcoming race and look forward to enjoy the experience as opposed to the suffering. Picture yourself crossing the line happy, smiling and with no injuries.”
Timmy Dadia shares, “I draw my inspiration from other athletes who are doing this sport. When the going gets tough, you get added inspiration when there’s a little competition between fellow triathletes.”
5. Never stop improving.
The great thing about triathlons is that there’s always room for improvement with its three disciplines to “master.” It’s about one’s personal journey to fitness and sporting excellence. So if the first triathlon event intimidates you, strive to be better next time.
“Try it!” encourages Vanessa Aguirre-Estrada. “The community is growing and you can have new friends to ride, run and swim with. Conquer the sport you least like and this can be your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement. Make it your bucket list to finish one race. It only takes one race for you to believe in the triathlon bug.”
Before a triathlon training, consult your doctor first to check your health and fitness level through stress testing and annual examination to design a safe and effective training program. MediCard has 12 free-standing clinics located in key cities. For more information, visit www.medicardphils.com.