By Andy Scherding
Admit it, the idea has crossed your mind! Here are some things to think about:
#1 Extend your running life.
Plantar Fasciitis? ITB? Damaged knee meniscus? DOMS? If you haven’t yet experienced these issues, you will — by continued running and the natural effects of aging. But a runner who also bikes and swims builds aerobic endurance and leg strength — while reducing the wear and tear on muscles and ligaments. Stay healthier for a long running career ahead!
#2 Build your core strength.
Running is a high-impact, primarily lower-body activity, while swimming is a full-body activity that’s both non-impact and non-weight-bearing. Swimming “stretches” you out, whereas running “compresses” you. The balance achieved by adding swimming to your training week strengthens your core — which only helps your running as well as the quality of life in everything you do.
#3 Turn yourself into a better runner.
It’s not a coincidence that some of the world’s better age group runners jump into a triathlon from time to time. Studies have shown that the slight addition of regular bike workouts helps in- crease run speed. Runners have set new marathon, half-marathon and 10K PRs within months after adding triathlon training to the mix — even with reduced run training mileage.
#4 The wonders of a wetsuit!
Yes, to swim well takes time and patience. But to get through the 400 yards of the swim leg of a sprint triathlon can be accomplished with reasonable training time in the pool and, simply, a wetsuit. The buoyancy provided by today’s wetsuits gives you the confidence to know you can “float” your way to the finish. And quality triathlon wetsuits are available for as little as $79.
#5 Life is short. Try something different.
Triathlon allows you to keep your first love — running — while adding a bit of variety and excitement to your season. The electric atmosphere of competitors toeing the starting line at the triathlon event will remind you of your very first marathon. Throughout the race you’ll always be thinking about pacing strategy and the upcoming transition to the next leg. When it’s over, the sense of accomplishment is hard to beat!
How to start? Try a sprint triathlon: 400-yard swim, 9 or 10-mile bike, and 3–4-mile run. Find one at: NewEnglandTriathlonTour.com
Andy Scherding has absolutely no credentials other than being a 20-year triathlete after 10 years as a pure runner. He’s done it all in both sports, and wishes to spread the gospel.