Be­com­ing a Triath­lete: The Ideal Sport

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - CONTENTS -

As triathlon be­comes more spe­cial­ized, we wanted to fig­ure out which dis­ci­pline has the po­ten­tial to groom the best triath­lete. Kevin Mack­in­non con­sid­ers the his­tory, what’s worked and where the sport is go­ing.

“I am still learn­ing that as you get older, your sys­tem changes, and frankly, I don’t know what to do about it.” –From

by Amer­i­can nun Sis­ter Madonna Buder, who opened the 75+ age group for women at Iron­man Canada and five years later did the same for the 80+ cat­e­gory


The Grace to

When it comes to food, older triath­letes need to prac­tice ba­sic sports nu­tri­tion and be aware of the nu­tri­tional needs of an ag­ing body.

Com­pet­i­tive triath­lete, coach and nu­tri­tion­ist Sheila Kealey, au­thor of Food for Thought: Heal­ing Foods to

Sa­vor, rec­om­mends a Mediter­ranean diet rich in veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, legumes, healthy fats and fish. She notes that while older people in gen­eral need more protein than younger seden­tary people, older triath­letes need even more protein than their peers. Ad­di­tion­ally, the type, tim­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of that protein through­out the day is im­por­tant.

Strength train­ing is crit­i­cal for older triath­letes due to mus­cle loss as­so­ci­ated with ag­ing. Bal­ance prob­lems can lead to falls, and since triathlon train­ing in­volves mostly mov­ing for­ward in a straight line, Kealey be­lieves agility work should be added.

When it comes to train­ing pro­grams, Ot­tawa coach Ju­lia Aimers says the big­gest dif­fer­ence in her older triath­letes is they need longer re­cov­er­ies from hard work­outs. “But if re­cov­ery is built in prop­erly to their weekly and monthly train­ing plans, older triath­letes can re­ally thrive.”

Jim An­der­son, 75, is the old­est triath­lete reg­is­tered with Triathlon Man­i­toba. He be­lieves be­cause of its built-in cross-train­ing, triathlon is an ideal sport for his age. “If I did a four-hour run, I’d be beat for a week. But af­ter an hour swim, two hours on the bike and an hour run, I feel great the next day.”

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