Tri Training 101

Triathlon Training 101

Craig Elford, an experienced triathlete and physical therapist, has shared these tips for kids to help with triathlon training, race preparation, and race-day success.


  1. Swim suit and goggles.
  2. Bike and bike helmet (bike gloves and sunglasses are optional, but can also be helpful, especially for longer rides)
  3. Athletic shoes and socks
  4. Additional equipment:
    • Sunscreen
    • Race belt (optional)
    • Water bottle (either on bike in bottle holder, or at transition area)

Transition Tips

  1. Bring all of your gear in one gym bag or backpack.  Swimming will be first, so keep your swim items (goggles/swim cap) with you until the start.
  2. Place your bicycle in the bike rack. Place the helmet on the bike with the strap undone and sunglasses (to avoid debris from the road from entering your eyes) inside helmet.
  3. Lay a towel on the ground next to your bicycle.   Place your socks on top of each shoe.  Place your second towel here so you can use it to dry off after your swim.
  4. Undo the laces on your running shoes and place them on the towel.

Pre-Race Tips:

  1. Make one final check that tires are fully pumped.
  2. Make sure your bike is in an easy gear (to avoid a difficult and slow start).
  3. If you use safety pins for your race number, be sure they haven’t been pinned through BOTH sides of the shirt—sounds funny buy I’ve seen it many times!
  4. Apply sun screen—don’t forget.
  5. Don’t stress out.
  6. Keep it fun:  Kids enjoy games—make it fun, always!  Regardless of the result, keep it positive and encourage them and others to keep “tri-ing”.   Triathlon is an individual sport which requires discipline and continued hard work and effort.  By making it fun as a child, we help to develop valuable skills, attitudes, and habits which will last a lifetime!  ENJOY!

Training Tips

  1. Always put safety first:  Whether swimming, biking, or running, safety is number one!  A safe bike, a good pair of running shoes, and always wearing a helmet that fits is important. During training, supervision is another key factor. Open fields, empty parking lots, and/or the rail trail are all great places to run and bike.  Swimming should always occur under adult supervision and a brightly colored swim cap is a great idea.
  2. If your child is not a strong swimmer:   Your goal should be to help build your child’s endurance to the point they can cover the distance of the swim portion of the triathlon comfortably.
  3. Training volume should not be emphasized:  Training should be FUN!  Rigorous training plans and schedules are great for mom and dad but can often make training feel like a chore.  Try to mix up their workouts and try to do at least some training in each event each week.
  4. Train with friends:  Working out together with friends is a great way to foster friendships.  Start your own or better yet, join a triathlon club.
  5. Practice pacing:  If you have ever watched a kids’ fun run, you know the inevitable result of kids sprinting off the blocks—only to stop and walk half way through.  Practice pacing at a local track.  Run each lap at a progressively increased pace with a strong finish!
  6. Work on transitions:  To beginners, the transition is often the most mentally challenging part of the race.  Practice setting up your transition area and perform a few “brick” workouts during your training.  Bricks are simply combining two exercises in succession during one workout.   For example, after a bike ride, quickly get into your running shoes and take off for a run.  Not only will this help you familiarize yourself with the process but your body will become accustomed to the stress of doing it —they are called bricks because your legs feel like bricks when you try to run!


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2019 Race Date

• September 1st Splash & Dash