Spending time outside on summer days, you'll see a lot of people enjoying the warm weather. Some of the most popular outdoor activities are running, swimming and biking. On their own, each of these sports can be enjoyable, yet very demanding. Imagine trying all three at the same time?
Triathlons: A tough test of endurance is a triathlon. This event involves swimming, biking and running, all right after each other! The length of each leg of the race varies depending on the event. Some triathlons are geared towards beginners and are relatively short. In the Olympics, the swim leg is .93 miles, the bike leg is about 25 miles and the running leg is a little more than six miles. There is also something called an "Ironman Triathlon." In one of the most intense athletic competitions in the world, Ironman tri-athletes swim for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles and run 26.2 miles!
Why Triathlons Are So Difficult: Taken on their own, each leg of a triathlon is very challenging. All together, the event takes on an entirely different feel. Running six miles is a daunting task - but after swimming and biking, it's even harder. All three events are tough cardiovascular workouts, meaning that they make the heart and the lungs work very hard. Athletes' muscles are so tired by the time they get to the running leg, they are not able to run as fast as they do normally. This can be frustrating for tri-athletes, and provide a mental challenge as well as a physical one.
History: In America, triathlons have been taking place since the early 1970s. The first events were held in Southern California, where the warm climate is good for all three legs of a triathlon. Today, triathlons are very popular among both professional and amateur athletes. Many amateur athletes train for triathlons as a way to get into shape and stay healthy. Tri-athletes compete against each other, and also see triathlons as a personal challenge. People will set a goal to complete a triathlon and train hard to achieve that goal. In addition, many triathlon competitors help raise money for different charities.
The next time you're out taking a swim, riding your bike or going for a quick jog, think about how hard it would be to combine all three sports into one event.
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