How Seniors Can Prepare for their First Triathlon
Getting StartedSo what age defines an “older” athlete? By most accounts, athletes over 50 are considered older, but that in no way means fitness and performance decrease as you age. To the contrary, you can perform well and continue to improve as an athlete every increasing year and decade of your life. If you are new to all three components of a triathlon, preliminary starter tips regardless of decade include:
- If you are new to swimming, biking, and running, choose just one to work on at a time and utilize beginner training plans, building up slowly over time.
- Look for local races and consider volunteering, where you can chat with people for knowledge and details about triathlons, as well as gain insider tips.
- Join a triathlete training program where you can make some friends and be encouraged to be persistent with accomplishing small, manageable goals.
Training in Your 50sAccording to 220 Triathlon, your joints begin to stiffen as your cartilage thins and the amount of lubricant surrounding your joints decreases. To combat this factor, choose to run on alternate days with interval sessions just once a week, in order to go easy on your joints and maximize performance. 220 Triathlon recommends a 2:1 training approach where you work hard for two weeks and rest for one week, and during that week of rest and recovery, engage in stretching, yoga, and massage. You want to reduce risks involved with overtraining and burning yourself out.
Training in Your 60s and BeyondAs you age, your muscle mass decreases. Remember that as you age, strength training is more and more critical, as by the time you turn 70, 24 percent of muscle mass is lost, where strength training increases these muscle building hormones. Restoration through sleep becomes more and more important, and napping can be very effective as well. According to 220 Triathlon, better sleep and napping improve alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes. Napping over 40 minutes increases release of the testosterone and growth hormone that helps repair and build muscle. It’s critical that your time of sleep is conducive of restoration, so be sure you can stay comfortable and avoid exacerbating your pain through sleeping on an improper sleeping structure. While your sleep is an important part of your rest and recovery, taking breaks is as well. Make sure you’re properly scheduling workouts and take two days of rest between your trainings.
Consulting with Your DoctorAs with any matter concerning your health, it’s important that you consult with your doctor when making any major lifestyle changes. Once you decide to start training for a triathlon, it’s wise to visit with your doctor before, during, and after to be sure you are staying safe and healthy. Your doctor may be able to advise you on specific stretches, limits, and medications that could help you along the way. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so keeping your doctor involved in the process is the best way to train. It turns out that age truly is just a number, provided that you account for changes in your body over time. Whether you are an aspiring athlete or someone who has been at this for a lifetime, with a proper training plan, diet, and persistence, the sky’s the limit! Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based out of NC. She enjoys writing on health and lifestyle topics to help others live their best, healthiest, and happiest life!
You may also be interested in these posts
- “My First Sprint Triathlon was in 19 Days” – Pat Johnson’s Story
- “How I Prepared for My First Triathlon” – Liz Lawson’s Story
- 15 Reasons for Those 50 and Older to Do Triathlons
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