Triathlons had a great upsurge in popularity a few years ago and there are now hundreds of different events available across the country. Triathlete brothers Johnny and Alistair Brownlee may have done much to promote the sport but the truth is that mixed discipline exercise is simply more accessible (and adaptable) than you'd first think.
Even though an Ironman isn't for the many it can provide inspiration for us all. If you haven't heard the story of the Hoyt Family, here's a quick youtube clip that's worth watching. It's a tremendous story of how a father and son team forged and maintained a bond that now seems unbreakable. While we may not battle such adversity or require that degree of stamina the fact remains that everybody's got to start somewhere.
With multi disciplinary event training your focus is on building up a varied but specific degree of endurance. While competitive sorts will compartmentalise their training, to a complete newbie this just means doing different exercises over the course of the week. Mixing your exercise up keeps it balanced and fresh and this is what I'd recommend for a) any reluctant exerciser or b) anyone with a non sports specific goal.
These multi sport events are specific.
Duathlon is usually run/bike/run although it can be swim/bike or swim/run
Triathlon will include all three elements
Quadrathlon adds kayaking.
(Pentathlon is a different event entirely which incorporates fencing, shooting, swimming, riding, and cross-country running - could it have been invented by Robin Hood?!)
The distances vary depending on the type of event so while a super sprint triathlon will comprise a 800m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run, an ironman will maintain the same ratio but increase the distances to a buttock clenching 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and full marathon.
NO WAY - IT'S NOT FOR ME!
Okay, so you may not be scrambling for the events diary quite yet but it pays to think of your exercise along the same lines as the multi disciplinary eventer.
Ensuring you have variety in your programming reduces the chance of injury and boredom while increasing fat burn and active rest periods (Active Rest is when you let one part of the body rest while exercising something else for example upper body swimming in between bouts of hill walking).
OKAY - I CAN COPE WITH THAT, THEN!
So you're agreed that this aspect of exercise can help you. How can you tell whether you already have enough variety in your current regime?
Try asking yourself these questions.
1. Can I exercise in different weather conditions like when it's icy outside?
2. Can I exercise at different times of the day?
3. Can I exercise without the need of special equipment?
4. Can I exercise with different people?
5. Can I exercise regardless of what mood I'm in?
Try to think of activities that you can do no matter what life throws at you. If you can think of an activity you can do for each of the points above then you're going to find it easier to get fit and stay healthy. To help, why not google "hobbies to get me fit" for inspiration or take the short cut and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a PT session.*
Duathlons and triathlons are consistently popular because they're so varied. Training for a super sprint triathlon means more or less looking outside in the morning and deciding whether you fancy swimming, running or biking that day. Swap that for walking, gardening, Pilates / biking, karate, weights / skiing, jogging, Yoga for your very own wellbeing trio of choice. Having this level of variety in your regime stops you falling off the exercise wagon and helps you leap back on it more quickly. Tell me what your wellbeing trio is and Enjoy Good Health.
*Ask for the £40 fitness analysis which incorporates base line fitness testing and goal setting, here's an article to describe what to expect.