Training for a triathlon is excellent cross training for a runner. Cross training simply means doing another activity other than your primary sport which can stimulate your cardiovascular system.
Dr Ng Chung Sien, resident sports physician at the Changi Sports Medicine Center (CSMC), adds that “cross training with swimming and cycling enables a runner to accrue fitness while reducing impact forces on the knee and ankle joints, reducing running injuries such as runner’s knees.”
Starting out to do a triathlon on your own is a daunting task as one will need to learn the ropes in cycling and swimming which can be challenging for the pure runner. This is where friendly training groups such as those we see in the running community can help you adapt to the new sport.
The Triathlon Family was founded in 2004 by 6 Ironmen (an Ironman triathlon consist of a 3.8km swim, 180 bike, 42km run), including our current minister of state for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck. It started off as an online forum, bringing triathletes together and now, it has progressed to having many training groups all over the island suited for athletes of all levels of experience. I personally rode with the eastern night riders when I trained for the SEA Games in 2007.
The club is full of inspiring athletes who will keep your motivation up. Andy Ng, the current president of the Triathlon Family and who is a 57 year old stock trader, has an inspiring story for all triathletes wannabes. He did his first triathlon at 49 years old with a mountain bike at Sentosa. And at 54, completed his first Ironman at the Ironman Western Australia.
If you think that triathlons are for the men only, think twice. Just three months ago, Choo Ling Er, 25 years old, completed the Kona Hawaii Ironman World Championships, the mother of all Ironman races in the world, with a time of 11 hrs 40 minutes. What’s more inspiring is that she fractured her thigh bone two years ago in an accident, rehabilitated for eight months and did a half-Ironman race in August 2010, before qualifying for Kona by doing 11hr 25min in the Korea Jeju Ironman Championships in 2011.
To get you started, the Triathlon Family is organizing its annual Sprint Triathlon race on February 5th. It is a 750m swim, a 18km cycle and a 5km run. A very manageable distance for beginners. You can even do it with a cheap mountain bike that you may have lying at home and all you need is to be able to swim 15 laps in a pool continuously in any stroke that you want. With a limited number of slots, this triathlon event is especially friendly for beginners and the young.
Grab your trunks, wipe off the dust on your bike and try a triathlon.
Triathlon Family Training Groups
1. TriSwim Group at Buona Vista Swimming pool; Mondays 7- 8 pm
2. Eastern Night Riders at Changi Coastal Road; Tuesdays 7pm – 9pm
3. Sentosa Swim/Run Group; Saturdays 8am (depends on tides, view forums on Friday, Saturday)
4. Eastern Ride + Run Group; Sunday 7am; Meet at East Coast F2 Car park
5. Desaru Super Series Group – rides across the causeway (please read forums for information)
6. Team Bandung Swim Group at Geyland East swimming pool; Mondays 7.15 – 8.45pm
Visit www.triathlonfamily.com for more information.