Triathlon is traditionally thought of as an outdoor activity. You swim in a lake or ocean, ride your bike on the roads and set off for a run on a similar course. But even those things that seem utterly commonplace to triathlon veterans can be more than a little bit intimidating to newbies.
Think about how nervous you might be for your first open water swim. Not only are there no lane lines to site and no bottom to support you if you need a break, but who knows what’s lurking out there in the murky waters? This can be a pretty debilitating feeling, causing some individuals to give up before they even give it a chance.
Enter indoor triathlons.
Whether it’s a race that only utilizes a pool before sending its participants out on the road for the bike and run, or one that’s fully indoors, providing more multisport options to your community comes with a plethora of benefits.
The simplest indoor triathlon needs very little additional equipment—for you and the participants. If your Y already has a pool, indoor bikes and treadmills, you’re already most of the way there. All that’s left is a way for people to register and a way for you to time the athletes. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Plus, the athletes benefit, too. Bikes are expensive, some costing more than a small car. Add on a wetsuit, bike helmet and all the additional bits and pieces needed to perform, and you’re racking up a pretty big price tag for a sport you don’t even know if you’ll enjoy. However, with an indoor tri, all your participants realistically need is a swimsuit and a pair of running shoes—everything else is extra.
It Provides a Starting Point for Newbies
Leaning on the point made at the start of this article, the open water swim is downright intimidating for beginners. Even if your indoor tri only offers a pool swim while the rest is held outdoors, having a safe place to gain confidence in the water before tackling the lake or ocean can be invaluable for a newbie.
Take it from someone who’s raced at the IRONMAN World Championship yet did her first tri indoors. “It’s taken me years to feel comfortable in the water, and to just swim without getting shortness of breath or nearly panic,” Rochelle Arko says. “If I [only had the option of an open water swim], I probably would have done it, but doing a swimming pool swim first is a much better idea, especially because it’s safer and builds confidence. If people aren’t afraid, then they can keep trying it.”
It Helps Grow the Sport
While this might not directly benefit your Y, it does benefit your community and its members. The more people that find a love for multisport, the more they’ll continue to come back for not just more races but for a place to train as well. Triathlon takes a lot of practice, with participants spending hours on the bike, on the road, in the pool and at the gym to get ready for race day. Your Y can be there to help support them along the way.
It Provides Race Opportunities for Winter
If you live in a northern state, we don’t have to tell you it gets cold during the winter months. And while most triathletes use this season to take a break from training and racing, some just have the bug and want to continue on. Hosting an indoor triathlon would provide a space for these die-hards to continue racing year-round, keeping up their fitness for when the freezing temps and blistering winds start to disappear.
It’s also a great time for beginners to get their feet wet. If they have an opportunity to try a tri before the season really gets underway, they still have time to sign up for something a little more challenging come spring or summer.
It Gets Kids Active
Kids love to swim, ride their bikes and run with wild abandon, so why not introduce them to a sport that bundles all three? Plus, with sports specialization such a hot topic these days, multisport racing provides the best parts of competitive athletics without the dangers of training too much in one discipline.