What child doesn’t like to run, swim or bike? Triathlons are great events to get your kids involved in because they include all three activities! Triathlons geared toward kids are gaining in popularity and have many health benefits—both mentally and physically for your children.
Triathlons can involve the whole family. Once your child is signed up for a triathlon, you can mark the race date on the calendar and get training as a family. If you as the parent participate in adult triathlons, even better! You can share your experience with your children and motivate them. Plus, everyone’s health will benefit. If your child isn’t confident yet about the swimming portion of the event, many triathlons are connected with gyms and other fitness centers that offer swim classes. Imagine if your child goes from being tentative about the water, to completing a triathlon!
Triathlons are not a huge investment. Kids don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to train for triathlons. Triathlons only require running shoes, a swimsuit, a bike and a bike helmet.
Triathlons are safe. Courses are kid-friendly, designed with kids in mind. Some kids’ triathlons use pools for the swimming portion instead of lakes or the ocean, and all triathlon events incorporate lots of volunteers so your child is never alone on the course.
Triathlons build confidence. A unique aspect of triathlons versus swimming, running or biking separately, is that triathlons teach kids how to switch gears and make transitions. Kids can have fun learning how to mount and dismount a bike more efficiently or how to go from swimming to riding the bike wet. Crossing that finishing line is also an immediate confidence boost. Beyond the medals at the finish line, triathlons test resolve and show participants what they are capable of.Crowds show up to cheer participants—a definite morale booster—and kids also gain from the camaraderie and motivation of the other participants. Kids learn that completing a tri isn’t about winning; it’s about the personal challenge, having fun and even giving back.
Triathlons can teach the importance of giving back. Many triathlons are connected to great causes. Find a triathlon in your community that is connected to a charity and you can show your children the importance of community service and how it can be connected to their exercise.
Triathlons teach training and endurance.You can’t just sign up for a triathlon and participate in one the next day. It takes training, but most kids triathlons are very doable distances. All three of my kids participated in a kids’ tri before age 14. I will never forget when my youngest was seven and decided to practice transitions in our driveway the night before his first triathlon. He put his shoes on and took them off repeatedly and got on and off the bike about 20 times. I also have volunteered at many kids tri’s, and it is so awesome to watch as these kids come out of the pool and try to put on a t-shirt over their wet skin. I said to one little boy, “It’s okay honey, just skip the socks and get going,” to which he replied: “No, my mom says I have to wear socks in my tennis shoes.” These kids are all heart!
Learn more about kids’ triathlons by visiting USA Triathlon. You can also find a triathlon in your community by visiting TriFind.com. If your child has caught the bug and is serious about training, junior training programs can be found at TriFitness.net or TrainingPeaks.com. A triathlon will get your kids moving and there isn’t a better benefit than active, healthy kids!