Triathletes in wetsuits head into the water, beginning the most dangerous leg of the race.

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Balance can be beautiful. After all, what athlete wouldn't want to have a swimmer's upper body and a cyclist's or runner's legs? When it comes to competing in triathlons, balance in a triathlete's life and training is essential.

Few races are more grueling than the triathlon, the ultimate test of endurance. Although they can vary in length, all triathlons consist of three sections: swimming, running and cycling. The cycling leg is the longest; the swimming is the most dangerous, and for many, the running leg, which comes last, is the most painful.

Common sense tells us that the key to succeeding in a triathlon is swimming, riding or running as fast as possible -- but only up to a certain point. Unless you're competing in a sprint triathlon (a fraction of the length of an Ironman triathlon), you can't possibly go full-tilt for the entire race. Learning to pace yourself is therefore a critical element of triathlon training. Over-exerting yourself in one of the three legs will likely cause you to burn out for the rest of the race, while taking it too slow will leave you in the back of the pack.

Achieving balance means more than just performing well in all three sports; it also extends to balancing your life with triathlon training and finding mental balance. The variety of multisport training can help to break the monotony of training for just one sport, and this helps keep athletes interested and engaged. However, most triathletes naturally favor one of the three sports, making them weaker in others. Seasoned triathletes will agree that you can't afford to overlook any of the three sports, and figuring out how to juggle all three is key to competing in a triathlon.

Read on to learn how to balance your training schedule, your body and your budget when training for a triathlon.