A fresh new challenge can completely revitalise your training, and in many ways, it could change your life. Perhaps this is the reason for the growing number of triathlon competitors in the UK. The number of current athletes competing in triathlons, standing tall at over 160,000, is higher than the population of many British towns.

A triathlon is an endurance event consisting of running, swimming, and cycling. In its standard form, athletes have to cover 1,500m in the water and 50km on the road - 40km of this is cycling, and the remaining 10km has to be completed running. 

The training demands and race rewards for this event have major benefits for swimmers looking to improve their overall performance in the pool.

Serious motivation

It’s all too easy for training programmes to stagnate, which causes many of us to lose interest in the pool. By adding running and cycling into the mix, training feels varied and interesting. Combining two or three channels into the same session puts greater stress on the body and goes a long way in improving your aerobic fitness. 

Beating your personal best, or even just completing the race, will force you to train your body at a higher intensity. This motivation is a fantastic tool to achieve greater performance in the pool by slowly increasing the demands on your body. 

Once you sign-up, you’re committed. It’s a lot harder to slip on running shoes, hop on your bike, or jump in the pool when you’re not training towards something. Signing up for a triathlon forces you to be completely dedicated to your training by holding you accountable for missed sessions or half-hearted efforts. 

The benefits of cross training

Swimming day in, day out can put load and stress on the same joints and areas, particularly the shoulders. Adding running and cycling not only varies the load and stress on your body, but it can also enhance your fitness and performance in the pool. In this way, triathlon training reduces the chance of injury and increases your overall aerobic capabilities.

Both cycling and running develop stamina and strength in key areas for swimming - the legs and lungs. By training through multiple channels, you help develop the highly efficient and resilient muscles that swimming demands.

The mental conditioning of endurance running and cycling directly cross over to similar trials in the pool. This can give you an extra edge and shave off those vital seconds for a new PB. 

Signing up for a triathlon can do wonders for your motivation and physical fitness in the pool. When maximum effort and cross training is applied, your overall swimming performance will enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

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