While training ourselves and our daughter and son to complete in triathlons, my husband and I have learned a few items that can help anyone prepare for the challenge of swimming, biking, and running in the sport of triathlons.
5 Quick Tips to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Triathlon
The swim portion of any triathlon can be scary and anxiety filled for both the child and the parent. Get swim lessons and, if possible, join a local swim group to learn proper form and technique. Most kid triathlons swims are not longer than a 100 yards (Summer swim groups – Owensboro Country Club, Owensboro Healthpark Heatwaves, YMCA, and Owensboro Marlins) (Green River Triathlon is a youth triathlon team based out of Owensboro with coaches for all three disciplines.)
Most races are 2 to 4 miles. Have your child ride twice a week on the bike he will race on. One of those days needs to be a little faster than the other to simulate race day. On the other day, follow with an easy 5 minute run to mimic running on tired legs.
Most youth races are not more than 2 miles. To start prepping your athlete, focus on time not distance. Start with 2 5-minute runs nice and easy. Progress by 5 minutes when the distance is not overwhelming for your child. If you have a child with more running experience, have one of the runs be a fartlek, speed play. For this fartlek, run fast for 30 seconds followed by an easy run for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Repeat the fast/easy portion for a total of 21 minutes for a total of 7 fartleks. Always begin and end a run with a warmup and cool down respectfully.
No need to overdo this. Have your child practice getting out of the water and putting her helmet on and shoes on when wet to simulate the swim to bike transition. For the bike to run transition, have your child practice racking her bike and taking the helmet off.
The whole process is to instill a love for the sport. Prepare your child so the race is enjoyable and have a blast preparing for the big event.