What you need to know for your child’s first triathlon

Joining a triathlon is a challenging and rewarding way for kids to get fit. Aside from mastering three sports in one, children learn the values of discipline, determination, hard work, sportsmanship and persistence while making new friends and having fun. It also allows kids to make the most their time and energy instead of whiling away time by playing video games or browsing the internet.

For many of these children, race day has finally arrived after months of preparation, as Alaska IronKids Philippines, the local junior version of the international triathlon series, Ironman, kicks off on August 05, at Shangri-la Mactan, Cebu. Now on its 6th year, more than 300 participants from 6 to 14 years old join the different heats of the Alaska IronKids.

“Alaska IronKids aims to promote a well-balanced lifestyle for kids of today, who are used to staying indoors with TV, videogame console and the Internet as companions. IronKids is also the perfect venue for families to bond and for parents to demonstrate in ‘real-time’ that being HEALTHY can also be fun,” says Mr. Wilfred Uytengsu, president of Alaska Milk Corporation.

A triathlon is a type of competitive sport that consists of three events conducted in succession: running, swimming and biking.  Since triathlons require both seasoned and first-time athletes to train in three disciplines, kids are easily attracted and stay interested in sports.  It is hoped that activities like triathlons can help Filipino kids today, stay fit and healthy.

A study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that obesity has become one of the prevalent nutritional problems of Filipino children, affecting about 5 out of 100 kids.  This growing health issue has prompted Alaska to reinforce its thrust in promoting proper nutrition by drinking milk and nourishing healthy lifestyle through sports and outdoor activities for the youth.

If your child is thinking of participating in his first triathlon in the next races of Alaska IronKids, you can help nourish his dreams by providing him with the proper training and guidance.  Most triathletes prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for each race.  Here are some pointers how you and your child can holistically prepare for his first triathlon.

Help your kid master his emotions

  • Be your child’s #1 fan. Balancing three sports at the same time may appear to be quite a challenge at first glance. When this happens, remind your child that regular training can get him there. Be the perfect sounding board for your kid and be prepared to be his very own cheering squad even before race day.
  • Teach your child to manage his emotions. Encourage your young athlete to control his feelings and stay positive.  Help them realize the excitement of stepping out of their comfort zone, by channeling the nervous energy into positive thoughts.
  • Remind him to enjoy and have fun. Indulging in your chosen sport isn’t all about winning. Encourage your child to have fun. More than anything else, it’s about having new memorable experiences with other kids.

Mental toughness is the name of the game

  • Help them learn to push and keep at it. Remind your child the importance of conditioning the body.  The transitions from each leg can be particularly tiring, that even some experienced, and adult triathletes need effort keeping up.  Coach your kid to focus on just moving forward and work through it.
  • Visualize the road ahead. Days or weeks before the actual triathlon, ask your child to visualize how he plans to master the race course.  Let your young athlete visualize his form and speed while tackling each leg.  It could also help if he visualizes each muscle movement for each sport so that it will be easier for him to be in the zone during race day.
  • Stay focused and concentrate. You or your child could encounter unforeseen delays even before race day such as conflicting family schedules or personal matters. Comfort your child to clear his mind so he can focus on the task ahead. This will help your young athlete to focus on the enjoyable experience with other kids.

Physical preparedness

  • Fuel up. Ensure that you get the proper food and nourishment you need months before your target triathlon. This will guarantee that your body can function at its optimum and has the “fuel” needed to recover after training and race day.  Drink Alaska Chocolate Powdered Milk Drink. It has energizing nutrients namely, magnesium, calcium and potassium that keep young athletes’ bodies in winning form.
  • Arm your kid with the suitable gear. Get your child the proper tri-suit, bike and safety gear for his age and category even before you let him start triathlon training.  This will not only provide protection, it will also enable your kid to move better.

Triathlons can be fun and challenging for both young and mature athletes.  Let your child experience the joys and triumphs of conquering his first triathlon by participating in ALASKA IRONKIDS PHILIPPINES. For more information, visit  www.ironkidsphil.com and www.playPH.com, and follow @AlaskaMilkPhilippines and @playPH in Facebook for live updates.

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