Iurgi de excursion

02 noviembre 2007


For my PT course I need to write down an article related with sports and training. Here it goes. If anyone can find a big mistake with my poor English let me know. Thanks!

Your First Aquathlon

Do you need some reason to start moving your ass? Or have you been doing some aerobic exercise lately but you want to set a new challenging goal? Or may be you have watched an Iron man on the TV and did not know how to start to train for that… An aquathlon could be the answer for you.

Let’s start from the very beginning. What is an aquathlon? It is a two-stage race involving swimming and running. Put in a nutshell, a triathlon without the bike leg. You can find different distances from sprint (400m swimming and 2.5km running) to the “Olympic” distance (1km swim and 10km run).
What do you need? The basic gear is cheap and easy to get: a swimsuit, goggles, trainers and a t-shirt (remember, for guys, that running with naked torso, can be a reason to be disqualified). Of course, the better your equipment, basically triathlon stuff (tri suits, one piece swimsuit perfect also for running, specific trainers with elastic shoelace, etc) the faster you will be able to do the transitions between both legs and you will feel more comfortable. But you don’t really need them for your first race. The only recommendation, suitable for any cardiovascular activity, is to buy a heart rate monitor. Even the simplest one will help you monitor your training and progress.
Where can you run? Here, in Hong Kong, Revolution Asia f.e. arranges 4 competitions from April to October. Check their webpage (www.revolution-asia.com) for more details.

Training. First of all, set a realistic goal: the distance to be accomplished. Mainly your swim technique and your time available for training should define it. Nevertheless don’t be intimidated, you will even see people swimming breaststroke in the sprint distance. It’s OK. Remember, the aim is only to finish the race and enjoy it!
Your trainings should include long and short intervals, some strength training and stretching of the main muscles involved, this way your body will keep strong and loose, reducing injury risk.

For swimming leg. Your main goal should be to improve your technique, most of the time even more important than the fitness level in the water. Learn how to position your body, straight, in a streamlined position, practicing the correct and most effective movements with arms and legs. In the pool start with some warm up, continue with some technique work, then conditioning training and finish with some very light swim to cool down. For conditioning you should be primarily easy swimming with low rest for base endurance (60-70% of your maximum heart rate -MHR). In some work outs you should include some faster shorter work with more rest, or interval training, to improve your maximum endurance. Some strength training in the gym or at home with elastic bands focused in your upper body (back, chest, shoulders, triceps) will improve your stroke power.

For Run leg. Start with short distance running and try to increase time/distance 10% every week, till you are able to run “comfortably” the race distance +20% more. Similar to swimming, for base endurance you should be running at 60-70% of your MHR. Include also some high intensity training, till 80% or (maximum) 90% of MHR, trying to run faster or, even better, including some up hill (to improve your maximum endurance and strength) and down hill (for speed) running. Improving your core (abdominal) and lower body strength and flexibility will help you finish the run leg easier.

Practice outdoor. It is more fun and more similar to the race conditions. The more you train in the open water, the more comfortable you will become with it: little current, waves… And running outdoors gives you the opportunity to enjoy the views, train with slopes, etc. You should also try to practice the transitions, you will need some time although pro’s can do it really fast.

Learn a little bit about nutrition or ask a specialist. Your correct feeding will boost your performance. Idem for stretching.

The race. Three-two hours before the race eat something easy to digest, mainly some carbs and plenty of water. 30 minutes before, go to the bathroom, start to warm up, light run, swim for some minutes, stretch and head to the starting line for the instructions of the organization. As a beginner start at the back of the pack. Usually the first swimming 100 meters are a little muddle, with all the participants trying to get the best positions, arms and legs flailing around. So better keep behind.
1 minute to go. Enjoy the moment! The atmosphere usually is wonderful, you will see smiles and excitement around. Just focus on your goal, take some deep breathes… 3, 2, 1 GO!

If you want more information here you have some references.
Triathlon training in four hours a week by Eric Harr (Rodale Books, 2003)
Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel (VeloPress,2006)
USA Triathlon webpage (www.usatriathlon.org)


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