Attention Moms and Dads (as well as their Fit Kids!) There is a new sport on the block for kids these days. Enter the youth triathlon. Have you heard or seen then in your area? With more and more popping up each year, tied to larger adult events, we think that this is a great new sport for kids to learn and most importantly, to have fun participating.
Resister to today for the upcoming Downtown Du Youth Dash on August 23, taking place in Downtown Tampa!
Youth triathlons are exactly what they sound like. A mini triathlon, shorter distances, determined by age, that combine three events, typically swimming, biking and long-running. Kids can compete to earn points part as part of a series in more competitive events such as the Iron Kids Youth Triathlons or just come out to have fun and participate with other fit kids who want to do the same. To be very honest, I feel the distances set are no more than what a typical child would run, bike or swim on any afternoon. The distances are not pushing extreme limits.
My son Jake started participating in these events at the age of 5. Our local YMCA had begun a series of events at various YMCA locations and also offered “training” to teach him the transitions as well as swimming, biking and running practice.
I learned a lot about the sport and also learned that many out there have not been introduced to the world of triathlons or duathlons. No reason to panic. Here are 5 things parents should know about youth triathlons.
1. Training. Training is important, but should be fun. Being that I had used to compete at a novice level, I was able to understand that there are a few things that need to be taught to kids before participating. Just like with any sport you have to train. It doesn’t have to be intense training, but you wouldn’t play any sport unless you practiced. We keep “training” fun and call it getting ready. We swim somedays. We bike others. We run others. I think the common misconception if these events is that parents are perceived to be pushing kids into too tough of a sport. This is an endurance sport. And a little bit each day, just like most anything, will help you to achieve your goals, whatever they might be. Local youth sport facilities might have clubs for kids and I have even seen teams. This is the area where I feel there could be more opportunities to teach kids about how to participate. But nonetheless, it’s swimming, biking and running… Just get the kids outside and start playing. (If you are interested in TRUE training tips visit the official USA Triathlon page for professional advice. http://m.usatriathlon.org/audience/athlete-resources/kid-zone/tips.aspx
2. Competitive vs. Fun There is no need to compete. There are some events I which you will see kids competing at a high level. They spend thousands of dollars on bikes, entry fees, training and shoes among other things. There is nothing wrong with that. Just like other sports, there are products, coaches and training that can help kids who are interested in taking this sport to a higher level, but that should not exclude the kids that are participating to teach themselves that THEY have the power to complete this event because of the practicing they did. Kids should be participating in these events for their own reasons. And in my opinion, “because they are having fun” should be number one.
3. These are life-long sports. The intent to have more children participate in any youth event is to inspire fit kids to grow up and be fit people. If you create memories and special moments together doing healthy activities together, then hopefully they will take these through life and the memories will inspire them to continue to train and participate just for fun. I am not a professional athlete. I played sports and loved every minute of playing. Some of us have the ability to play professional. Some of us just want to have fun and live a healthy life. But staring young and inspiring healthy habits for life is important.
4. Bonding time. I have personally enjoyed every minute of “training” with my kids. We use the word “training” because it sounds grown-up and kids get excited to do most things “grown-ups” do. We go out for early runs together. We bike in the afternoon together. We swim together at the local pool.
5. Finish lines are AWESOME! The sense of accomplishment is inspiring! I do not have a prouder feeling than when my kids cross that finish line. I love finish lines. Young or old, everyone leaves with pride, smiles, their head held high and each medal is placed around their necks to say, “I did this. I trained. Hard work pays off.” I hope that this feeling inspires them to want to continue to train and stay healthy.
Being a happy, healthy and fit kid is what every parent wants. Smiles from ear to ear and confidence that they can do this. With our help, they can. With our encouragement that can mentally say to themselves,”I know I can. I know I can.” And when they finish, you’ll see the smile. And chances are, if you see the smile, they will ask you to do another triathlon.
To find local triathlons in your area, visit FitKidsPlayground.com/YouthTriathlons
This post is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. They are the hosts of the Tampa Bay Downtown Du Dash and the Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon. Registration is currently open. Register here today!
Update from the Dowtown Du Dash as of August 6:
We hope this note finds you doing well! We have already told you about the Cott Beverage Downtown Du Dash event occurring on August 23, 2014, but we wanted to inform you about a course change, as well as a promo code deadline!
The kids race will now be spilt into two age groups and course lengths:
JV- Ages 6-10: Half-Mile Run & 1.5 Mile Bike
Varsity- Ages 11-14: 1 Mile Run & 3 Mile Bike
In addition, please note that the promo code will end Friday, August 15th! Remember to enter TBKTCOTT at the end of registration to receive $5 off!
To learn more about the event and/or to register, please visit: www.DowntownDuDash.com. Registration for the 2015 Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon will be available later on this year.