Is Triathlon A Dangerous Sport?

Last updated: April 9, 2019 By Arvin Reynold

The short answer to the question of whether triathlon is a dangerous sport is ‘No’. That’s being said, it’s not a game for all even though there are huge triathlon health benefits.

Even if you take all the safety precautions like wearing your triathlon helmet during the riding, wearing your swimsuit during the swimming, and so on – there are still some risks that you have to take into account.

If you know all the risks well, then you can prepare yourself in a better way. You need to be physically and mentally fit. Also, a lot of practice is a must.

Let me tell you why?

triathlon running

In an Olympic triathlon race, you have to cover at least 50.5 kilometers involving swimming for 1.5 km, biking for 40 km, and lastly, running for 10 km. Do you think this is for everybody?

People with a heart condition or other physical conditions, this game can be life-threatening. That’s why medical check-up prior to the game is a must.

You will find several headlines like “Sudden Death Risk Looms in Triathlons”. That’s scary! The situation got worse when in some triathlon injury statistics it has been found that 14 people died competing for this race.

Almost all of them died while completing the swimming part.

The USA Triathlon Findings

In recent years, upon death at the race, several prominent newspaper and blog have identified the triathlon to be a dangerous sport. Taking consideration the death, the USA triathlon authority has conducted a fact-finding study.

Their conclusion is something like this. Accidents/deaths at triathlon have increased in recent years because of increased participation. The sport itself is not responsible and such deaths/accidents have nothing to do with the swimming type or length of it.

They have also concluded that there are some steps that the organizers can take to minimize such risks.

I have study several blogs of experienced participants of triathlon. Their thinking regarding this is that there are some risks in a triathlon like ALL other sports. It’s a challenging sport that’s getting popularity very quickly.

More than 2 million people participate in this race just in the U.S.A. Now compare the above mentioned 14 death with these participants. The percentage is very low in comparison with other games.

In an estimate, as part of the USA Triathlon – it is found that there is a chance of 1.5 people dying out of 100,000 participants.

3 Safety Tips For Triathlon Race

bikers in the triathlon race

So, the question arises how to stay safe and avoid such risks? Well, triathlon is not something that pops up in your mind and you start to race. An event like Ironman triathlon takes a very long time to prepare you.

You need to prepare your body, your mind and get enough confidence just to participate in such a challenging sport. The game will test you, no double. So, here are some tips from the experienced triathlon participants to stay safe and make preparations.

Whereas the disciplines of the triathlon are organized in such a way to make it safe itself, there is the interesting thing about the order. Do you ever wonder why swimming comes first in a triathlon?

In the entire event, swimming is riskier than cycling and running. If you become exhausted first during cycling or running then go for the swimming, there is a huge chance you would drown in the water!

Enough talking! But remember, I don’t guarantee you following these tips will keep you safe, but I can promise you this. The risks associated with triathlon will be dramatically lessened if you follow these. So, here you go!

  1. Check Your Heart Condition

Even before you start training for the triathlon, know your heart condition first. Do you have pain in your chest? Do you have any unusual heartbeat? Or do your family members have any bad heart condition?

I am telling you this because; with a bad heart condition it’s simply not possible to participate in the triathlon. With a bad heart condition, there is a huge chance of triathlon after a heart attack. To check your heart condition first and if your doctor recommends you to compete, then you are good to go!

Also, look out for syncope or passing out, short breath, any other family history of cardiac diseases. People with cardiovascular abnormalities should never ever participate in such challenging sports.

  1. Long Training

After your doctor has confirmed your good heart condition or at least confirm well to participate in the event, you have to go through a very long training for the swimming, riding the bike, and running.triathlon-racer

There is no limit how long you have to keep training, but the more you do the more prepared you will be. Take note of the total duration of the event that you are about to participate. Make yourself physically fit to complete the entire triathlon event.

The swimming part is the most dangerous. You need to take extra practice for that. Some people are particularly prone to cold. If you are one of them, consider wearing the swimsuit if the water is too cold.

  1. Work on Mental Determination

Triathlon is considered to be one of the longest sports. Being physically fit is a must, but you need to work on your mind as well. Strong will and determination will help you complete the race successfully.

Increased anxiety for the day of the event is a common thing among all the participants. You need to work on that. Take time to prepare yourself mentally.

Your physical condition has a direct relationship with your mind. So when you are making yourself physically fit, it will make you mentally fit as well.

Final Words

When you know all the risks, you are actually reducing such risks at first hand. Because you already know what might happen during the race, so you can prepare yourself in the first place.

Again, triathlon is a NOT a dangerous game for people with good physical and mental condition and if take your preparation seriously. Every organizer of such event should make it mandatory to do a pre-op exam to check the fitness.

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