Whether summer is months away or happening right now, there is no better time to start working on that bikini body. Need a way to kick start your slim-down routine? Train like a triathlete!
Triathlon BasicsWhile the thought of swimming, biking, and running—all in a row—may seem daunting, after a solid block of training, you will be ready to tackle the three-sport challenge, says Gale Bernhardt, triathlon coach and author of Triathlon Training Basics (VeloPress, 2004).
"After four hours of training a week, anyone can be in race-shape in 12 weeks," says Bernhardt. "No one says you have to win the race; you just have to be fit enough to get to that finish line."
And just imagine how good you will look when you get there. The combination of swimming, biking, and running works your arms, upper back, shoulders, core, legs, butt, and more. Plus, the variety of muscle-shaping workouts build bone density, too, helping to fight off osteoporosis.
Simple Training PlanBernhardt, who coaches triathletes of all levels, uses a simple training plan to get her beginners ready for a sprint distance race (a 500-yard swim, a 12-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run).
To follow the plan, all you need is access to a pool (plus a bathing suit, cap, and goggles, natch!), a stationary or spin bike, and a pair of running shoes. Resist the urge to load up on the latest gear until you have committed to a race, especially when it comes to a bike, which can be a pricey investment.
Says Bernhardt, "It's easy to be convinced to buy an expensive bike and all of the gear, but you can just as easily borrow one from a friend until you're positive you really need one."
Ready to train? Berhardt's plan involves a weekly routine of six short workouts with one day off. Unbelievably, it is less than four hours of training a week, which means you will still have time for all of the other important things going on in your life!
Here is the routine. Try it for 12 weeks, then register for a race, stat!
Beginner's Triathlon Training Plan
Tuesdays: Hit the pool* for an easy 10-minute warm up followed by 10 x 50 meters with 45 seconds rest in between. Cool off with another 10-minutes easy.
*A standard lap pool is about 25 meters from end to end.
Wednesdays: Lace up your running shoes and go out for 10 minutes at an easy clip. Then step up the pace for one minute, followed by a one-minute walk to recover. Repeat the run/walk four more times and follow with a walk or jog for 5-minutes to cool down. Then jump on a stationary or spin bike for 20 minutes.
Thursdays: Back to the pool: Follow an easy 10-minute warm up with 10 x 50 meters with 45 seconds rest in between, then an easy 10-minute cool down.
Fridays: Repeat the run workout from Wednesday, but do a total of eight run/walk repeats (instead of five). Follow that with a 30-minute bike ride.
Saturdays: 45-minute easy bike ride, stationary cycle, or spin.
Sunday: Easy run for 20 to 30 minutes.
Mondays: Rest day! Put your feet up and get ready for the upcoming week of training.
For more workouts, training advice, and races, check out:
Tri-Newbies Online – Your Total Triathlon Information Source
The American Triathlon Calendar --The World's Largest Listings of Triathlons
Active.com – Sports events, registration, and community
Points and Prizes Keyword: RACE worth 50 points good through 02/17/08.