Yes, that would be a long-distance triathlon. And, you might be surprised that training for such a major-bragging-rights competition doesn’t need to be intimidating. With dedication and planning, plus a few of the techniques that professional athletes use to fuel their performance, you can be ready to push your body to its highest level ever and aim for the finish line. Think you’ve got what it takes to complete one of the most intense, grueling sporting events in the world?
The long-distance event, also called full-distance, is widely renowned as the most demanding of triathlons and a favorite of adrenaline junkies. At more than 140 miles total—a 2.4 mile swim (often in choppy waters), followed by 112 miles of cycling, capped by a 26.2 mile run (yes, that’s a full marathon), all of which must be completed in 17 hours—it is the ultimate test of fitness and endurance. With such punishing requirements, just finishing can be considered a victory.
So, how can you train to get your body ready to give what a long-distance triathlon takes? It all starts with persistent and periodized workouts in all three disciplines, swimming, cycling, and running, along with general strength training over a period of at least 6 months. But, what professional athletes recommend as the most crucial practice for triathlon training success is increasing your workload incrementally and focusing on proper recovery.
When your goal is to significantly raise your endurance and cardio conditioning for a full-distance triathlon, it can be easy to overtrain without realizing it. However, by methodically and gradually adding intensity, duration, and transition workouts (known as “bricks”) to your regimen while allowing your body to recover between workouts, you’ll reduce the chance of injury and dramatically boost your performance and stamina.
To enhance the recovery process, professional athletes also stress the importance proper nutrition post-workout. To kick-start the recovery processimmediately after strenuous training, many ingest a recovery drink with natural high-quality protein and carbs, such as chocolate milk. Getting the ideal balance of protein and carbohydrate (studies recommend a ratio of one gram of protein to four grams of carbs) exercise refuels your body and helps to repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue.
In fact, more than 20 studies now support the benefits of low-fat chocolate milk’s high-quality natural protein and other nutrients for recovery after a tough workout. Plus, it’s one of the easiest ways to help ensure your body gets what it needs to return your exhausted muscles to peak potential day after day. All of which means you’ll rebound more quickly, avoid burnout, and be ready to advance your training plan to the next level on schedule.
And what if you’re not quite ready to take on the ultra-challenge of a long-distance triathlon? No problem. Try starting with a comparatively short 15+ mile sprint-distance event, which breaks down to a .47 mile swim, 12 mile cycle, and 3.1 mile run. It’s still an accomplishment that comes with plenty of bragging rights, and professional athletes would recommend just the same advice for training for victory at the finish line.