From the very beginning, the sport of triathlon has been for everyone. It plays no favorites. It just doesn’t matter what your gender, age, nationality, or level of ability is. You have just as much right as anyone to become a triathlete and race in your city, country, or anywhere in the world for that matter. This post is for the senior triathlete who swims, bikes, and runs to amazing fitness.
Personally, I was a triathlete for a quarter of a century, finishing the Ironman Triathlon 11 times. The Ironman distance includes a 3.8k swim, 180k bike, and a 42k marathon one after the other.
The advantage seniors have now is that there are triathlons of many distances for the beginner. When I began in the sport it was to the Ironman or stay home. Now there are many choices.
TRY A TRI
There are many names for this event depending on where you live. The distances are not carved in stone like most triathlon events. It varies from race to race. Usually, it involves a short swim in a pool, a bike that may be about 10k or 15k and a run of about 3k.
Maybe you are a senior who already swims so you won’t have to go out and learn. Almost all adults know how to ride a bike. The only difference is that the triathlon bikes are very light.
In many of the shorter races, you can most likely use any bike you have around. In the event you graduate to longer races and really get a liking for the sport, then it might be time to get an honest to God triathlon bike.
You don’t have to worry yourself too much about the run portion of the triathlon. You can mix walking with running if you want. There are no rules against walking. Some triathletes will adopt a run-walk strategy.
Normally in their first few races, new triathletes will walk part of the run course. Over time they become fit enough they will walk less and run most of the distance without stopping.
What you will find if you decide to take up triathlon is that everyone, including even the pros, will be very supportive. Many triathlons take place over an entire weekend with a fun atmosphere that the whole family can enjoy.
The Sprint Triathlon has set distances no matter where you take part in the race. It includes a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run. This is a very doable distance for a senior(over 60), especially if they enjoy biking.
Don’t forget that although there are many people in the event, it’s not necessarily a race if you don’t want it to be. From the moment you first start out, the idea is to have a good time and to the course at your own speed.
Often a Sprint Triathlon includes a pool swim as well, but there may be some that are in the open water. This distance will give you a really good idea of how the transitions work from the swim to the bike to the run.
THE OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON
This is also a set distance around the world and is exactly what you will see if you watch the Olympic Triathlon.
When you get up to this distance you are getting very fit. The swim is 1.5k, the bike is 40k, and the run 10k. Most Olympic distance swims take place in the open water, so it’s important that you are a fairly good swimmer and have trained for the distance.
Most of the time wet suits will be allowed. It all depends on the temperature of the water and what part of the world you are racing in. For instance, you wouldn’t need a wet suit if you were taking part in a triathlon in Hawaii.
After the Olympic Distance Triathlon, the distances get quite demanding. There is a half Ironman distance that includes a 1.9k swim, 90k bike, and 13.1k run.
The Ironman Triathlon is the granddaddy of all triathlons and as mentioned about includes a 3.8k swim, 180k bike, and a full marathon of 42k.
Here is a triathlon book I wrote for beginners. It has been well-received and has helped people of all ages realize their triathlon dream.
AMAZING SENIOR TRIATHLETES
There are some amazing senior triathletes in the world. I was at the finish line one year in Penticton, B.C. in Canada when Sister Madonna Buder crossed the finish line at 80 years old. She made it under the 17-hour time limit with time to spare. At last report, she is 87 and still active in triathlon.
Here is a video about this amazing senior female triathlete.
There are seniors around the world who have posted outstanding race results. Have a look at the Ironman Hawaii results from 2018.
When you scroll down on the page you will see results for men ages 50-54, 55-59. 60-64, 65-69, 70-74. and 75-79. Amazing! These are some best senior male triathletes in the world.
The females are just as amazing. When you scroll down further in the page you will see all the senior female finishers.
TRIATHLON IS FOR SENIORS TOO
Don’t think because you are 60 or 70 that this sport is just for the young people and it has passed you by. In every Ironman race around the world, there are entries in all the senior categories.
It’s not really about age. The main thing is to take part in the sport. It’s about discovering a new way of socializing and getting to meet like-minded people. Triathlon is full of people who want to stay in shape and take on new challenges.
Remember, you don’t have to take part in the long distance triathlons. You may find that the Try-a-Tri, Sprint, or Olympic Distance triathlons are what you really enjoy. Just training for any of these three distances will get any senior in excellent physical condition.
Many new triathletes make a conscious decision to improve their nutrition. Once they start to get fit many seniors begin to realize that eating well is part of the process. There are many senior triathletes who even take up weight lifting in order to get stronger.
All the steps you take in order to prepare for a triathlon will help you improve your health. Ultimately your new-found fitness and improved nutrition will have a positive impact on your health.
Your chances of contracting diseases that seem to haunt seniors who have neglected their overall well-being will be diminished. Should you happen to get sick, your excellent level of fitness will give you more strength to fight any disease.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME TRIATHLETE
You might think you are too out of shape or too overweight to even think about trying the sport of triathlon.
When you start going to the pool, getting out on your bike, and taking up running you will be amazed how quickly your physical conditioning will improve. This is especially true if you adopt a healthier diet.
When you first start out in triathlon you don’t need to spend a lot of money on gear. Of course you will need a swimsuit.
If you don’t already have a pair you will need to purchase running shoes as well. They don’t have to be anything fancy as long as they are comfortable. Should you happen to buy new running shoes specifically for triathlon, be sure to break them in before the race so you don’t end up with blisters.
Asics is a good brand and usually, the price is very reasonable.
Amazon has pretty much any type of Triathlon Gear you might want. Over time as you progress in triathlon you will likely have to have more varied gear in order to get more out of the sport.
They are made so you can swim, bike, and run in them without having to change for each discipline. In other words, you will not have to change from a swimsuit to bike shorts, and bike shorts to running shorts. You will just change the top you wear.
Of course, all this gear is made for men and women alike.
Are you looking for a challenging sport that is social as well as fun? Triathlon is an excellent choice. In the event you want a sport that will encourage you to get fit, eat healthier, and learn new skills, then triathlon is most definitely for you.
Remember that many seniors around the world are already involved in the sport, so why not you?
Be sure to check in with your doctor and fill him in on what you have in mind.
He will probably be thrilled to see you getting involved with a sport that will make you healthier.
Maybe you know how to swim or maybe you don’t. For those that can’t swim, triathlon will encourage you to learn. Every senior should get in the pool anyway as studies have shown that swimming is excellent for a senior’s balance.
In the event you feel uncomfortable biking outside at first, you can get your self a wind-trainer, attach your bike to it and bike in your living room if you want.
At some point, however, you should get out on the road so you can get used to wind, climbing hills, and biking around corners. The main thing is to get started in the sport and be one of those senior triathletes who swims, bikes, and runs, to amazing fitness.
Feel like sharing your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.