A blog by runners. For runners.

Triathlons: a great racing option for injury-prone runners

Photo by Micheal Foley, Creative Commons Image License

As a physical therapist, I have seen many people sidelined from running by injury. Some of these people are repeat offenders, even with strict adherence to my recommendations. The dreaded question of “should I run?” inevitably comes up. As much as I hate saying no, it is sometimes the only cure. However, in many cases, I recommend triathlon training instead.

You may want to consider training for a triathlon if:

  • You’re an injury-prone runner
  • Require a lot of rest or cross training to avoid fatigue
  • Enjoy variety in training
  • Are bored with your current running routine
  • Can swim, bike, and run for at least 30 minutes each

The benefits of triathlon training include:

  • A lower risk of injury as a result of non-weight bearing training (specifically swimming)
  • Improved speed and endurance
  • Enhanced muscle performance of muscle groups neglected by running (arms, shoulders, etc.)
  • Better mood: more variety, less boredom, different challenges

Just like all running races aren’t the same, there are many different triathlon categories:

  • Distance: If you’re currently cross training a lot, you could sign up for an Olympic distance triathlon — swim: .93 miles, bike: 24.8 miles, run: 6.2 miles. But if you’re strictly a runner, the Sprint distance — swim: .47 miles, bike: 20.4 miles, run: 3.1 miles — may be your best option.
  • Gender: Female only triathlons are a great way for women to introduce themselves to the sport without the pressure of male competition.
  • Water: Depending on your experience, fresh water, open water, and pool triathlons are all available.
  • Location: It is often best to pick a triathlon close to your home to ensure first time success with setting up your transition area bright and early.

Written by Danielle Bressoud / Photo by Micheal Foley.

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