What is the Schools Triathlon?
A fun, team based charity triathlon, for years 3-8, at Royal Russell School in Croydon that raises funds for Restless Development, as well as the chosen charity from each competing school.
The children take part in teams of 4, with all 4 taking part in all 3 disciplines with medals and goody bags for all.
The format of the event differs from a normal triathlon in 2 ways:
The teams compete as a relay in each discipline before moving onto the next, so every child will get a chance to catch their breath (although the whole team will cross the finishing line together)
The transition between swimming and cycling isn't timed, so the children will have time to get changed out of their swimsuits, dry off and get into the cycling/running kit before continuing
The 2020 Schools Triathlon takes place at Royal Russel School on 26th April.
Below you will find details on:
How does it work?
Triathlon is primarily an endurance challenge, originally created in Hawaii to see who was the better all-round athlete: a swimmer, a cyclist or a runner (hint: it's often the swimmer)
Adults compete over a variety of distances, from SuperSprint to Olympic all the way up to IronMan.
But kids' races are much more accessible, and the Schools Triathlon even more so.
Distances per person:
Years 3/4 50m swim, 1km bike, 750m run
Years 5/6 100m swim, 1km bike, 750m run
Will be taking place in a 25m swimming pool
No diving is allowed.
Front crawl or breast stroke are allowed.
Backstroke is not.
The bike course is mainly on tarmac but does have some grass.
It is easier if each team shares one bike, but make sure that it fits everyone.
A mountain bike or a hybrid will be easiest for everyone, although a road bike can be used if the whole team is comfortable with it.
IMPORTANT: a bike helmet MUST be worn whenever a child is in contact with a bike. This means that even if you only bring one bike per team, each child should have their own helmet. It will need to be put on before they even touch the bike, and can only be removed once they have swapped over.
What to wear/bring
A swimsuit in the pool
Appropriate running top, shorts, socks and shoes.
A water bottle
Tri-suits are not necessary, since the children can change out of their swim suit before they start the cycle leg.
The event starts at 9am with Year3/4, with 6 teams starting every 15 minutes. You will be given an exact start time closer to the date
Royal Russell School, Coombe Lane, Croydon CRO 5RF
First off - this isn't a competitive event, so as long as your children can reliably swim, cycle and run the distance, they can enjoy the whole experience.
However, if they want to use the opportunity to challenge themselves, then please do encourage them to do some training.
Training can consist of almost any physical activity that elevates their heart rate and builds up a sweat - from swimming to running to trampolining to skipping to dancing. And even doing some yoga will help build strength and stretch tight muscles.
Overall though, by far and away the best exercise for children is swimming. It's non-impact (i.e. no load or jarring on their growing bones), helps build cardiovascular fitness as well as upper/lower body and core strength.
So, if your kids aren't already swimming regularly, I highly recommend they start.
Other than that, running 1-2k once or twice a week is a good and easy option. Running Club on Thursday mornings before school is an obvious choice, but take them for a run round your local park with them, too. To mix things up, you can try 'fartlek's ('speed play') - by sprinting a short distance, then jogging, then sprinting again. Make a game of it by picking different points to sprint from/to.
General hints and tips:
Keep it fun! – Keep training to a minimum with short, creative bursts of activity to keep your child interested. Build in training sessions with friends.
Mix it up – Varied activities and sessions can help keep your child interested, for example 100 metre swims and 400 metre runs repeated 2, 3 or 4 times.
Teach your child to warm up properly and how to stretch after exercise. If you want a giggle, you can watch my video on how to warm up before exercise, and we have a guide to stretching on our blog
Allow time for rest. Don't train every day - our bodies need time to recover.
Sleep is also vital for recovery and to ensure they are fit on the day.
Look out for signs of tiredness or injury. Persistent muscle aches that last more than a couple of days after exercise and persistent feelings of tiredness are indications that your child is doing too much.