The Excuse: Isn’t triathlon dangerous? I’ve heard some scary stories lately in the news.
The Answer: While the deaths of five triathletes in two months last summer cast a pall on the sport, experts insist that triathlon is not dangerous if you are properly trained. “The rate of deaths is 1.5 per 100,000 participants,” says Dr. Stuart Weiss, the medical director of the Nautica New York City Triathlon and member of USA Triathlon’s task force to study the recent deaths. Plus, as the sport grows, so does the corresponding number of fatalities and incidents.
The Approach: Before you begin, take the proper precautions to make sure your body can handle the work of prepping for a tri. “Even as important as training properly is having a physician give you the go-ahead to participate in a strenuous activity,” Weiss says. And become a devoted student of the sport: From practicing your bike-handling skills to getting comfortable in the open water, the more you ready yourself for race day, the better you’ll manage any setbacks while out on the course.
Try This: Start small: Begin your season with a couple of low-key races with fewer participants so you’re less inclined to have any anxiety.