Strength Training in Triathlon – A Hidden Treasure

Having coached, competed, and trained for many years now, I have learned so much.  Yet I have so much to learn.  Triathlon, unlike many other sports, is as complex as my wife.  Just kidding.  I am just scratching the surface of understanding her after 13 years of marriage, but I digress.  Not only do we need to understand 3 different unique sports, but we need to be aware of the muscle groups they utilize and how they interact.  For ultra events, the 4th discipline is nutrition, and lurking behind all of that is one of the most overlooked areas, other than nutrition, injury prevention/strength.

If you think about it, both running and biking both utilize many of the same muscles, most of them related to forward movement.  Heavy emphasis is placed on the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles with lighter emphasis on the upper body for biking and running.  Swimming utilizes upper body strength and is heavy on the core and flexibility.  Very little emphasis is placed on the lateral (side movement) muscles.

One of the primary causes of injury is muscular imbalance.  Many of the first lessons for personal trainers and strength coaches surrounds the use of opposing muscle groups in a well rounded exercise.  Want to strengthen the biceps?  Also focus on the triceps or you’ll walk like Popeye.  Is that lower back hurting?  Focus on core abdominal strength to support the lower back.

The point is, really, that as triathletes, we are focused on forward momentum.  We need to strengthen our lateral and core muscles.  We see injuries oft times related to weak hip flexors and tight IT bands.  Our supporting ligaments and tendons for our ankles and knees have adapted to forward movement only creating an opening [...]

How to Afford the Cost of an Ironman

I’ve just started coaching two athletes who are new to triathlon.  It has reminded me what it was like when I started this sport.  I remember quite clearly what I thought, and more importantly, what my wife thought when I decided that I wanted to purchase a triathlon bike.  I thought, “I’m spending how many thousands of dollars on a bike!?!”  My wife probably included a few other choice thoughts in that phrase as well.

I haven’t ever been a spendthrift, nor do we have the funds to be, but I haven’t balked at value either.  While our budget didn’t accommodate gear, and still doesn’t, my thoughts had to quickly change from what I couldn’t afford to how could I afford it.

There is a reason the average triathlete has an upper middle class income.  I read an article on that summed it up well.  The URL is:

Here is a cost tally of Ironman Triathlon:

Swim Gear
Budget Athlete
Big Spender


Bathing Suit
$65 (X2)
$120 (X2)


Pull Buoys


Swim Caps
$3 each (X4)
$25 each (X4)

Body Glide

$100 per year
$500 per year

Master’s Swim
$60 per month
$100 per month

Budget Athlete Total: $1232
Big Spender Total: $3040

Bike Gear
Budget Athlete
Big Spender



Cycling Shoes


Bike Clothing





$2.50 each (X25)
$10 each (X25)

$40 each (X4)
$200 each (X4)

Chain Lube
$5 bottle
$10 bottle

Water Bottle
$3 each (X6)
$25 each (X6)

Club Rides
$60 membership
$250 membership

Budget Athlete Total: $2660.50
Big Spender Total: $12,185.00

Run Gear
Budget Athlete
Big Spender

Running Shoes
$80 (X4)
$200 (X4)

Run Clothing

Run Club
$20 per month
$100 per month

Budget [...]