They key to achieving physical balance is getting into optimal fitness and health. Many triathletes are not professional athletes; they're hobbyists who embrace the challenge of the triathlon but don't necessarily know how to achieve the highest level of fitness while preventing injury. If you have never trained for a long-distance race, visiting your doctor for a physical, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure or joint pain, is a good idea.
Training for and competing in a triathlon is an exercise in excess. Triathletes have to be masters at testing their boundaries and knowing their own bodies, and they also have to know where to draw the line. Train reasonably rather than pushing yourself to exhaustion. Not only does adequate rest help prevent injuries, but experts assert that well-rested athletes are able to train harder and more effectively, getting more out of training sessions.
Triathletes most commonly acquire overuse injuries from excessive training without sufficient rest between sessions. To prevent injury, seasoned triathletes suggest stretching thoroughly before training and recognizing the importance of warming up and cooling down.
The good thing about triathlon training is that the variety of training for three sports instead of just one enables triathletes to take pressure off certain body parts while training for one of the other three sports. Running, for example, is a high-impact sport that can result in injuries to the knees and feet. If your knees are bothering you from running too much, try spending more time in the pool while they recover.
What should you do on those coveted days off? Many experts suggest doing something entirely unrelated to triathlon training. Pro athlete Brad Kearns suggests doing something you wouldn't ordinarily do, like taking a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas [source: Kearns]. Whatever you do when you're resting, it's probably a good idea to leave the stopwatch and running shoes at home for a change.
Read on to learn more about balancing triathlon training with the rest of your life.