Triathlon provides endurance fitness
Participants head out for the bike portion of last year's Audie Murphy Triathlon. The Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosts the Army Strong Triathlon June 16 at 7 a.m. at West Beach, Lake Tholocco.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2012) -- Fort Rucker offers a wide variety of fitness training from aerobic workouts and weight lifting at the physical fitness facilities, to running and biking on one of many trails on the installation, but also takes it a step further with activities that are more demanding than traditional exercise.

The Army Strong Triathlon gives people a chance to be involved in the ultimate endurance activity, said Jon Cole, aquatics manager at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility.

"On a military installation, fitness is huge," said Cole. "There are a lot of different types of fitness, but a lot of military personnel are into endurance sports and triathlons are the king of endurance sports."

Cole said that triathlons are a perfect way for people that are already involved in biking, running or swimming to "take it to the next step."

The Army Strong Triathlon is a sprint triathlon and will begin at 7 a.m. June 16 at West Beach at Lake Tholocco. Cole said sprint triathlons are not as demanding as Olympic-style or Iron Man triathlon competitions that have set distances, but are a great way for people to get started in endurance sports.

"It's a great way to get people involved that might not yet have the endurance to compete in a full triathlon," he said. "[The triathlon] is also a great thing for people to say they did -- it's an accomplishment."

The competition will start with a 400-meter swim in Lake Tholocco, followed by a 10.6-mile, out-and-back bike ride, and end with a 5k out-and-back run, added Cole.

People can compete as individuals or on relay teams of no more than three people, according to Kristi Fink, fitness programs manager for Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility.

Registration for the triathlon has already begun and people can register at either fitness facility up to the day of the competition, she said, adding that registration can also be done the day of the race from 5:30--6:30 a.m.

Early registration for the triathlon can be done by June 9 with a cost of $40 for individuals and $70 for teams and will increase to $50 and $80 respectively afterward, said Fink.

"T-shirts will be given to those that register but will only be guaranteed for those that register by June 9," she added.

Trophies will be awarded to the top winners in different age groups and the top three relay teams, said the fitness programs manager, as well as cash prizes to the top overall finishers and relay team.

A triathlon workshop is being offered at Flynn Pool for authorized patrons to help people train and get ready for the Army strong triathlon, said Cole

The workshop will be June 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and go over all the basics of each event of a triathlon and teach people what they can do to get a better result, said Cole, adding that the workshop will focus a lot on the swimming portion of the event.

"The swim is the area where people need the most training, so we'll spend an hour [or more] in the pool," he said.

Cole will also teach people about transition times and said it's important to cut out time during the transitions from one event to the next in order to have a better overall result.

"People that are doing a triathlon for the first time have no idea that they should be transitioning as fast as possible," said Cole. "They'll take five minutes to transition when it should really be taking two, which cuts into the race time."

The remainder of the time will be spent going over the bike training and running, during which Cole will teach people on proper posture while riding and running; proper hand positioning on the bikes; and proper breathing habits.

People have the least amount of trouble training for running, said the aquatics manager, but usually aren't prepared when they get to the run, which is the last event of the race.

"When you're doing distance running, especially after you've swam and ridden a bike, your body is tired," he said, "We'll go over how to run and make sure that people aren't over extending their stride and wasting energy."

Flynn Pool is also available Mondays-Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to those that wish to do individual training for triathlons in their own spare time, said Cole.

"There is a notebook at the pool available for those that want to train that contains different swim workouts and some workouts that are triathlon specific," he said. There will also be a sign-up book that people can put their email addresses to be added onto a distribution list for people that might want to get together and do group training on weekends, added Cole.

Packets will be available to people that will offer race tips and inform people on common disqualifications and regulations for triathlons, said Cole, adding that the Army Strong triathlon won't be strict on the regulations, but he wants people to be well informed of the regulations if they wish to compete seriously in the future.

For more information on the triathlon, call 255-0308, and for more information on the triathlon workshop, call 255-9162.

Page last updated Mon June 4th, 2012 at 12:47