Hoops is here to help you manage your sport and fitness obligations, and to find new opportunities. To help you do that, we’re going to be investigating activities which are a little off the beaten path.

This week we’re focusing on duathlons, triathlons and the world of multi-sport challenges.


“Welcome to the wonderful world of triathlon. You, my brave friend, have decided to take on not just one, not even two, but three sports in one race.”

Making the decision to get fit is an important mental step that deserves congratulations. But it’s not often that you would be described as brave for doing so.

But triathlon isn’t like most sports.

Comprising of open-water swim, cycling and running, the sport ranges in distance from the relatively friendly “sprint events” (400m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run) to Ironman events, notorious as one of the most difficult sporting events with a 2.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run. Yikes.

But that doesn’t mean that triathlon eventing should be the preserve of the super-fit. And to that end, performance sportswear brand Sundried have put together a guide to help to introduce beginners to the sport.


“They’re open to people of all abilities”

triathlon distances

“Swim like the boat sank, bike like you’ve stolen it, run for your life,” the guide ends – but Sundried ambassador and duathlon world champion Claire Steels told Hoops that events are more fun than that stark advice implies.

“The atmosphere is amazing,” she said.

“Everyone is so friendly and helpful when you’re first getting started and at the end of the race, whether you’ve come first or last, you’ve all covered the same distance and chances are you’ve all gone through the same emotions and pain within the race.

“There is a real air of respect between all of the competitors. Multi-sports challenge you in a number of ways – physically, mentally and emotionally – but you will also meet some incredibly inspiring people and make some lifelong friends.

“They’re sports that are open and welcoming to people of all levels and abilities, that’s the beauty of it.

“Coming from a team sport background it isn’t something I’ve really experienced before. You just want to win and them to lose. It’s not like that in multi-sports like duathlon and triathlon.”


“People think I am crazy”

Steels admitted that people close to her thought she was “crazy” when she took up the difficult sport, although at least she can say that she foregoes the open water element of triathlons, as she is a “terrible swimmer”.

But despite the intimidating reputation they hold, she said that multi-sports are “a lot more accessible than they used to be”, and gave Hoops some useful tips for starters looking to challenge themselves.

“You really don’t need to be a high standard to get started – you just need a pair of trainers and an open mind!” she said.

“There are several sprint and super sprints races throughout the year which are great for first timers as they don’t require hours of training before race day and are a gentle introduction to the race and how the disciplines fit together.

“Multi-sports are a lot more accessible than they used to be. Start small and work towards achievable goals by setting yourself monthly targets that you can easily measure so that you can see progress.

“Be realistic with how much time you have to commit to training and ease yourself into it. Consistency is the key, if you can only train four hours a week most weeks, then just train four hours a week. That is a lot better than training for eight hours one week and then not doing anything the following week.

“Finding someone to train with is a great motivational tool too. It can help keep your training varied and also make it a lot more fun!”


“There’s a real sense of community”

Multi-sports may well have become more accessible – but that doesn’t mean that people will take up the sport.

Why should people take up duathlons or triathlons?

“They’re a great opportunity to try different sports and see which you prefer,” said Steels.

“Yes they are challenging as they are multiple sports in one event, but that can also be a blessing. You get so much variety in them.

“They are fun and everyone is so friendly, people lend you their pump, give you info about the course, tips about transition – there’s a real sense of community.

“You are all in the race together, not racing against each other, but together taking on the challenge of the sport itself.”


What next?

Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.

Just because Hoops is out, it doesn’t mean that our work ends. In fact, it’s only just beginning. So, if you want to keep up with how we’re driving the app forwards, click here to subscribe to our emails, and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, PinterestLinkedInMedium and even on Spotify. We’re everywhere, and hopefully we’ll be on your phone soon too!

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