Visualise yourself powered by a goal to swim, bike and run, in that order for a race. Three of the simplest, best known workouts have come together in recent years to be known as the triathlon. While this multisport was invented a couple of decades ago, India’s amateur athletes are smitten now and are travelling for races across the globe. Here’s a lowdown on all you need to know about the triathlon scene in India and how you can get started.
What’s The Sport About
Anu Vaidyanathan is a name that triathletes worth their metal will know of as the first Indian to ace this sport. A multi-sport that requires you to clock a swim – ideally in the open waters, a bike ride and a run, over various distances in a continuous sequence. She not only made a name for herself as an Indian triathlete to participate and complete a full Ironman race but also went on to be the first Asian triathlete to compete in an ultra triathlon.
It took a while for other amateur athletes to follow in her footsteps but her zeal sure did inspire many clubs to organise local triathlons; many of which have now become a yearly pilgrimage for athletes from across the world.
It is a sport that requires epic dedication, time management and a fair bit of crazy. It is an advantage if you pursue any of the three sports and are looking for more. Each of the three sports complement each other, use a different muscle group if you train well and can be extremely rewarding; if done right. It is a gender-neutral sport, that just needs you to show up for training each day. And you can keep it as simple, with the most basic gear or amp it up with the latest accessories and tools in your shopping list – it sure has a varied range of people hooked on.
Infrastructure and Access
Its a tough sport, not without its share of troubles. But Indians are finding every way possible to ride over them, infrastructure and access being the most vital.
Swimming in the open waters is the best way to train for the first leg of this multi-sport. India has quite a few calm water bodies to practice at. And for those of you living in the central states, lakes and rivers provide an alternative to train.
Safety from drowning and security from wild animals in the open waters is a threat that needs to be urgently addressed. And clubs from all across the country are working with life guard associations to streamline the process.
While few clubs in cities have pools that give access to non-members, it is the government pools and YMCAs that support the growth of the sport and the training for athletes – both at the amateur and pro levels. However, data and documentation, availability of access to deserving athletes is still in the grey for quite a few.
That’s where private corporations are standing up and supporting promising athletes with their nutrition, clothing, travel and training requirements. While it’s not enough, it sure helps ease the stress that athletes have to go through.
Amateur athletes have in recent years been travelling across the globe to participate in coveted triathlons. These are corporate honchos, working professionals and entrepreneurs who have a hectic day-job but make sure to train hard and participate in global races to test their limits. Names like Kaustabh Radkar, Prithviraj Patil, Salonie Pathania, Mehul Ved, Milind Soman and hundreds more have travelled across the globe to make India proud.
India will see our first ever Ironman triathlon, a 70.3 distance by the Ironman brand of The World Triathlon Corporation this year in October 2019.
While it is an opportunity for aspiring athletes to test their endurance levels, there have been some amazing homegrown triathlons that have helped shape Indian amateur athletes.
Endurosports has been organising swimathons, duathlons and triathlons for adults and kids in Goa for over five years now. The triathlon takes place each year in the month of January and they have a range of super sprint, Olympic and half distances. It is one of the few triathlons in the country with an open water swim.
The Deccan Triathlon is organised by the Kolhapur sports in the district of Kolhapur in Maharashtra. it is organised each year in the month of November and you can choose to participate in a sprint or Olympic category. It is one of the few triathlons in the country with an open water swim.
The Tri Thonnur is another favourite that many amateur triathletes head to in Mysore each year. Organised by the Enduro team, it takes place around September of each year and has the sprint, olympic, half distances for you to participate in.
There are quite a few more organisers of pool swim triathlons that are being organised across the country including the Delhi International Triathlon and more. Keep a look out for one coming up in your city to get a taste of this multisport.
Training and Nutrition
This is a young sport in the country and there are many avenues you can explore for training. Many athletes who have successfully completed triathlons across the globe are getting certified as coaches that you can sign up with. Make sure to research whether their style will work for you, maybe do a trail period with them to see if their methods work for you. Yoska and Radstrong are coveted clubs that are churning out tri-champs with their scientific training programs and international associations.
Make sure to not rush into training though and keep a check on what your body says. Keep your physio and family doctors in the loop of your training and nutrition plans before you go all out pursuing this crazy life.
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