Triathlon: Start to Finish


The definitive guide to the swimming, cycling and running event.

According to Triathlete magazine, there are more than one million multi-sport athletes in America, and this number is growing. Some triathlon clubs report that membership is doubling year after year. Triathlon is the complete guide to training for and participating in this extreme sport.

Sam Murphy helps the triathlete through every flutter kick, pedal stroke and stride along the ...

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The definitive guide to the swimming, cycling and running event.

According to Triathlete magazine, there are more than one million multi-sport athletes in America, and this number is growing. Some triathlon clubs report that membership is doubling year after year. Triathlon is the complete guide to training for and participating in this extreme sport.

Sam Murphy helps the triathlete through every flutter kick, pedal stroke and stride along the way to completing a triathlon, whether it's the elite Ironman competition or a local qualifying event.

The book gives expert guidance and shows how to:

  • Improve overall fitness and design a personalized training program
  • Work on techniques and performance in each of the three sports
  • Master smooth transitions between each sport
  • Choose the right races, tailored to specific expertise and fitness levels
  • Fuel performance
  • Stay injury-free and motivated.

Charts, checklists and dozens of sidebars feature drills, give pointers on technique and provide tips on everything from improving endurance and staying focused to choosing the right equipment. Color illustrations throughout highlight the important performance elements of each sport.

Triathlon is the best and most comprehensive guide for the growing number of triathletes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074976
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,424,910
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Murphy is a seasoned triathlete, a training consultant to the London Marathon and the author of Run for Life: The Real Woman's Guide to Running.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter One The Start Line
Get started in triathlon and set your goals

Chapter Two The Swim
Perfect your stroke and tackle any body of water with confidence

Chapter Three The Bike
Breeze through the bike leg by improving your core riding skills

Chapter Four The Run
Hone your technique and structure your run training for a faster finish

Chapter Five The Fourth Discipline
Master the art of transition through planning and practice

Chapter Six The Gear
Get outfitted for every discipline for better performance, comfort, and safety

Chapter Seven The

Take on the triathlon challenge with Richard Allen's sprint and Olympic-distance training programmes

Chapter Eight The Racing
Make every race day a success with careful planning and preparation

Chapter Nine The Fuel
Go faster, longer and stronger with the help of good sports nutrition

Chapter Ten The Damage Limitation
Avoid injuries and other pitfalls



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It's no surprise that more and more people are catching the triathlon bug. It s a fun, sociable sport, offering a tough but achievable challenge — not to mention getting you super fit. Figures show that triathlon is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the US. As an example, USA Triathlon, the ruling body for the sport, say that they have seen a 23 percent growth per year in triathlon participation from 2000-2006. An estimated 690,000 train for run/bike/swim events every year and registration for the 2008 Nation's Triathlon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has more than tripled in the past three years. More than 40 percent of those registered are women and, nationwide, women are helping to fuel the tremendous growth of this sport, both at the Olympic and amateur level.

For years, I had let triathlon pass me by. I was an avid runner who occasionally took to the pool or jumped on a bike to get from A to B, but triathlon? It looked far too complicated, competitive, and serious. And all that equipment, too! No thanks, I thought, I'll stick to my running shoes. But in 2006 I took up the offer of a media place in the London event, with a view to writing an article about it. I booked myself onto a training camp (more of those later) three months before the big day, and my triathlon learning curve began. By the end of the week-long camp, I was utterly hooked. If you like a physical challenge, I suspect you will be too, once you give it a go.

The unique thing about triathlon is that it is a continuous race against time, from start to finish. There's no stopping the clock while you struggle out of your wetsuit, take a sip of your isotonic drink, fix a puncture or lace up your running shoes! Transition — the switch from one sport to the next — is as much a part of the race as the swimming, biking, and running. Another distinctive feature is the age group structure, which ensures that you are competing against people within the same five-year age bracket as yourself, rather than having to pit yourself against athletes half your age.

Triathlons as we know them were hatched in San Diego back in 1974. It was another four years before the first Ironman — the ultimate triathlon challenge — was held in Kona, Hawaii, the venue that continues to host the annual lronman World Championships. Over the next two decades, triathlon maintained its macho image and niche appeal — certainly not a sport for ordinary mortals to get involved in — but since its Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000, its popularity has burgeoned. Just like the marathon, triathlon is becoming an event that everyone wants to do "just once" — though few stick to the once-only pledge!

But unlike marathon running, a whole range of people can be good at triathlon. Not only does each discipline demand a different configuration of fitness and technique, there are three — or, arguably, four — distinct opportunities to excel. A 6-foot-tall powerhouse may fly on the bike but suffer on the run, while a little excess body fat won't hold back a swimmer with superb technique ... and anyone with dexterity and a quick mind can be a master of transition. While it's not exactly a level playing field, this certainly evens things out a bit and makes the sport incredibly exciting.

Not everyone who does a triathlon cares about the time on the finish clock, but most who take on the multisport challenge want to give it their best shot. It can be an intimidating prospect for the uninitiated. For a start, how on earth do you fit in training for three sports? How can you remain injury free while you do so? Should you focus on your strongest discipline or your weakest? And then there's the race itself. Whether it's an Olympic distance event or the euphemistically named sprint [see Chapter
One for more on race distances], you'll find your reserves of endurance, strength, and skill amply called upon — not to mention your mental resources. Not only do you have the formidable task of swimming, cycling, and running in quick succession — but also the practicalities of getting out of the water and onto a bike against the clock, of cycling in close proximity to others, and staying fueled up throughout the race. All of this takes practice, of course, but it's good to learn from other people's mistakes — and, hopefully, you will learn from some of mine! However, this isn't just a personal perspective on completing a successful triathlon — I've consulted sport scientists, coaches, and, of course, triathletes, to get the most up-to-date, useful, and practical information and advice to make sure your first race experiences are memorable for all the right reasons. Richard Allen, nine-time British Elite Champion and a former member of the Olympic team, now specializes in coaching and mentoring beginners, which is why he was the perfect person to devise the training programs for this book. You'll also find his "Voice of Experience" tips and insights in every chapter.

But before you read on, a word of warning, If you're looking for a book that will help you periodize your year into macro- and mesocycles, suggest how to fit in multiple training sessions in a day, or discuss which tires to buy to shave 0.001g off your bike's weight, you've come to the wrong place, Just because you want to do a triathlon or two — or two dozen, even — it doesn't mean you have to adopt the lifestyle of a professional triathlete. In my view, that assumption is just as outdated as the image of triathlon as a sport only for the super-fit hard-core. The ever-growing number of newbies taking up the sport stand testament to that — and like them, I believe the best reason of all for doing triathlon is that it's fun!

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