'Tis the season to over-indulge and put on a few pounds. Whether you want to make sure you stay in shape during the holidays or jump-start a resolution to get fit in 2015, training for a sprint triathlon may be just the incentive you need. Put these three beginner-friendly tris on your calendar.
Tiburon Triathlon: Sunday, July 26, 2015
Head to lovely Tiburon for this small, laid-back fundraiser for the town’s fire department. Especially good for newbies, the non-competitive event is strictly for fun. You’ll start with a ½ mile swim in the calm waters of Belvedere Cove (you can even opt for a shorter swim), then a short jog to Belvedere Community Park where you’ll mount your bike for a 9-mile ride around Paradise Point, featuring gorgeous views of Richardson Bay and a few rolling hills to warm up your legs. A flat, 2-mile run through Tiburon neighborhoods wraps up this tri. After, grab brunch at nearby Caffe Acri or Sam’s Anchor Café.
Triathlon at Pacific Grove: Sunday, September 11-13, 2015
Hundreds of athletes of all levels flock to stunning Pacific Grove for this popular weekend of races. If you’re a first-timer, you’ll appreciate the sprint race for its flat route and excellent support, including an expo with pre-race talks for beginners. The race kicks off with a bracing 1/4 mile swim (fondly known as “the kelp crawl”) in a protected cove at Lover’s Point Park, then hop on your bike for a 12.4 mile ride beside the ocean and finish with a 2-mile run that takes you back to the park and cheering spectators. At the expo, replenish with drinks and food, or treat your aching muscles to a free massage.
Marin County Triathlon: Saturday, November 7-8, 2015
Held at McNears’ Beach Park in San Rafael, this two-day, novice-friendly affair includes a kids’ race and a family relay. If you opt to do the sprint race, follow the sound of the lone bag-piper to the sheltered cove where the 500-meter swim takes place; continue with an 8-mile bike ride that winds along San Pablo Bay and through oak-studded China Camp State Park; finish strong with a flat 5-K run along the water. For a post-tri workout, nearby McNears Beach is ideal for kayaking and stand-up paddling.
If you’ve never done a triathlon, give yourself at least 12 weeks to train and gradually increase your distance in each event. A few weeks before race day, add a couple of dual workouts—such as a short swim followed by a bike ride— to your weekly training schedule.