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Triathlons Becoming More Popular

April 23, 2010, 6:14 PM by Courtney Zieller

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Like marathons, triathlons are becoming more popular. And despite what you might think, age doesn't appear to be a factor in who's trying out the sport. But exercise specialists say too many people are participating in triathlons without getting the proper training.

Forty-six-year-old James Petersen wanted more from his workouts so he decided to switch gears.

"I needed to get in shape and I needed a goal to shoot for," Petersen said.

That goal is competing in his first triathlon.

"I thought that's what I need. I need a couple people to push me and help me get to my goal," Petersen said.

So for the past three weeks, he's been training for the Wall Lake Triathlon, but says he needed the help of a trainer.

"If you're not taught how to lift weights, you can do it wrong and if you're not taught how to swim you can do it wrong," Petersen said.

Which is something he wanted to avoid.

"We're learning what to do and why and learning technique and learning how to do things in a proper way rather than in a sloppy way," Petersen said.

Petersen's got the right idea. Whether you've done triathlons before or if you're new to the sport -- it's important to think about getting a trainer.

"If you're new and have no idea where to start or what to do that's what we're here for, trying to help people work on their technique how they can run faster, bike faster, swim faster," personal trainer Danelle Schultz said.

Whatever your athletic ability, Schultz says triathlon training is difficult.

"What muscle they need to train to help everything work better that day to elevate the soreness so they can have a better race and come out feeling better about it," Schultz said.

Which is why mapping out a 12 week plan is key. 

"They need to work on what we call brick workouts where they're getting out of the pool and adjusting to getting on a bike or what's harder is getting off the bike and getting your legs used to running," Schultz said. .

And while a workout schedule helps, there are other important factors.

"It's a big commitment but we're trying to gradually progress them so it doesn't stress their body out and telling them to take rest days during the training because that's important as well," Schultz said.

Petersen's picked up speed since his first training session, but he's keeping his eye on the prize.

"I hope to finish the triathlon, that's really what I'm going for," Petersen said.

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