First Junior Triathlon – Bike Training Tips

How should you approach bike training for your childs junior triathlon?

It’s often said in cycling magazines that just getting out on your bike as many times as you can is all good for building your bike speed, confidence and endurance.  This is true for adults & children alike.

If your child is new to the sport and it all seems a little daunting then hopefully this blog will be a great starting point. Little & often is best when it comes to training, gradually building up distances as the weeks go by.  Above all any training should be about boosting your childs confidence. Rigorous training plans or attempting too many long distances could result in a bored and unmotivated child – so keep training sessions fun and preferably in a group ‘team’ atmosphere.

When to Start Training for a Junior Triathlon

Start training at least 12 weeks before their event if possible – it may seem like a long lead time but your child has three sports to train in and will need recovery days factored in.
The best way is to get a child out on their bike as often as possible is cycling in a group with a responsible adult . Long bike rides are tiring for kids and whilst they may normally be very sensible on the road, tiredness can lead to carelessness.
Having a responsible adult there to be the eyes & ears when it comes to road safety is a good idea and will give you peace of mind.
Your school or your local cycling/tri club should be able to help with arranging supervised group rides.
Hi-Vis clothing and helmets must always be worn by everyone without exception.

Here are a few suggestions to help make the most of your childs bike training

1) Practice on a similar terrain to the event they’ll be taking part in.

This will give your child extra confidence in themselves and their bike, especially if the terrain is rough.  If you get a chance or you can look online, have a look at the course together in advance – is it all grass or mostly track, are there many hills or slopes?

Cycling up hills is tough if you don’t practise. The right muscles and stamina will naturally develop on rides if you happen to live in a hilly area, if not you’ll need to find a slope nearby to practise on. The best thing about hills of course is that you can turn around and whizz back down them freewheeling – a great reward and makes it worth cycling back up again! (Isn’t that what cycling is all about?)

2) Check out your local cycle club to see if they have a junior section.

The majority of clubs who have junior sections have qualified Go-Ride coaches and organise skills & technique sessions to help teach children the basics and beyond of cycling be it mountain biking, road cycling or cyclo cross.  Some even have BMX sessions which is great fun.

3) Find your nearest Triathlon Club 
You might also discover that you have a local triathlon club with a children’s section.   This would act as a solid foundation for any aspiring triathlete and as it’s a club environment there will be lots of like minded children & adults to be inspired and motivated by.

4) Keep training Consistent

If your not lucky enough to be close to either of these options then encourage your child to go out on their bike at least 3 times a week, going out with them or with a group of like minded friends would be a great motivator for them.

5) Keep it Positive and Fun!

Remember that if your child is naturally physically active then the distances for a junior triathlon are absolutely achievable for them and you don’t need to worry too much.  Training can boost their confidence in their own abilities and having that pschological head start on the day will really help keep them going.  Cheering on even the smallest of achievments in the lead up to the triathlon will really encourage them to keep training sessions up.
Let me know how you’re all getting on? If you have any questions then please do email me at beth@littlebike.co.uk. Please remember that there will be more blogs to follow with suggested training plans, bike maintenance, how to change a tyre and many more.
Good luck –  and do check out my personal training blog  which is help keeping me motivated training for The Castle Triathlon Series ‘Guantlet’ in the September.
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