Do your children love to spend their free time in the pool, biking to the park and playing tag? Have you ever thought about putting all 3 of these activities together for them to try this summer? As the weather warms, triathlon races for all ages occur across North America. Fun and enjoyment are typically the focus to support a life-long love of an active lifestyle.
The 4 tools children need:
1. I can swim
2. I can ride a bike safely
3. I can wear a helmet that fits
4. I have a pair of running shoes.
The highest priority should always be your child’s safety.
Do children need to train?
Keep it fun
Kids love games, not chores. A structured sport like a triathlon may eventually require proper training with swim laps and endless kilometers but these are kids so make it fun. If your child swims at the pool for a while, then goes for a bike ride to a friend’s house, then runs with your dog in the backyard she is training. Encouraging simple additions or fun changes to the day such as biking through the trails, running to the park or having relay races in the community pool to increase your child’s endurance in a fun way.
Work on the transitions
This is often the most difficult aspect of the triathlon for children. Transitions are the point where you switch from swimming to biking and then biking to running. For the swim transition, have children practice getting out of the water, running to their bike, doing a quick dry off, putting their shoes on, rehydrating and hopping on their bike. The post bike ride transition will involve putting your bike down, rehydrating and then running. Remember on race day parents are not allowed to help. There are many volunteers who are very skilled at helping children through these stages. Trust in them and your children will have a great time.
Children race to the park, to home plate or to the nearest soccer ball. Do they know how to save some of that energy? Depending on their age and the length of the race you may want to discuss pacing. Children are not programmed to save some energy for the end and will likely jump in the water and start swimming as fast as they can. Pacing can be important, especially for older children whose distances are beyond those of normal play.
On your mark, get set, go!
It’s race day. What a fabulous environment for your children to experience. It’s a day full of fun and activity. Provide nutritious meals and snacks and lots of water to keep them well hydrated. Enjoy!
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