If you follow our blog you may have noticed that The OrganWise Guys are training for a kid’s triathlon on the blog this month! Last year was an incredible year for me in the sport. I completed my first Ironman triathlon in December and had the opportunity to serve as swim coach for a local kid’s triathlon team, Tri Kids. As one of the fastest growing endurance sports, triathlon is a really fun way to get your kids (or whole family) moving.
Triathlon consists of 3 legs; swim, bike, run. For kids, the swim is most often in a pool and the distance is based on their age. Kids can start as young as 6 years old. The distances vary based on the race series. If your kids are considering trialthon, here are some tip for getting ready and making sure the day is successful:
- Search race sites in your area. Often a kid’s race will be in conjunction with an adult race series. This can make it fun for a parent and child to train and compete together. If your child is participating in his/her first triathlon, do your homework to make sure the race is well-organized. You want your child to have a great first experience.
- Find out where the swim will take place. Often they will be in a pool but sometimes (especially when a race is in conjunction with an adult race), it can be in a lake or the ocean. Although there will be plenty of kayak’s and lifeguards in the water, open water can be very intimidating for a child. If your child is going to race in open-water, make sure you have some opportunities to practice there before hand.
- Assess your equipment. You don’t need a lot of fancy gear to get started. A few musts are:
- Swim: Googles and a swim cap (often they provide a cap at the race for kids to wear the day of the race)
- Bike: No special bike is needed. Any bike (and a helmet) that fits properly will do. If you don’t have a helmet, you won’t be allowed to race.
- Run: Just a pair of decent tennis shoes will work!
- Train! For kids, the swim is often the most challenging part. Try to get to the pool twice a week and swim a few laps. Go on family bike rides or take short runs around the neighborhood. Remember to keep a bottle of water near by, even when swimming!
- Talk through the race several times. It may seem logical, but often we develop a huge case of the nerves right before a race. On our kid’s triathlon team, we would talk to the kids about the race every single week.
- Consider finding a team or if you can’t find one, another family who might want to train with you. It makes it more fun in the process and on race day.
Finally when race day arrives, be your child’s biggest fan. For me, finishing the Ironman was one of my proudest accomplishment but seeing my family on the course, cheering and giving me big hugs at the finish line was more meaningful than the medal around my neck. Your kids will remember your love and support long after the day is over!