The sport of triathlon attracts athletes of all types of backgrounds, and with these unique stories, come different challenges. Andrew Wells, a Naperville resident, faced a daunting obstacle for his first Naperville Triathlon last year: learning how to swim.
“I really had to push myself and get into a regular swimming routine in order to get my swim to a point where I can even swim 750 meters,” said Wells.
People with running upbringings like Wells often have to shift their training drastically to help accommodate every aspect of the race.
“Just trying to fit in all three of the sports is probably one of the biggest challenges, making sure you have time to swim, bike, and run,” said Christina Savoie, a triathlon participant.
“You can win or lose the race in any part of it,” said Tyler Hansler, another racer. “So it’s just really important to have a good base for every single leg of the race.”
Naperville-based Experience Triathlon sponsors the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. The group specializes in coaching and training athletes for events like this, and many of its members will race this year.
Triathlon coach Bob Hammond prepares himself and his athletes, and said the most important goal is staying healthy throughout training.
“You wanna do the right workouts at the right time, the right distances, the right intensities,” said Hammond. “Take a rest day every now and then, and just make sure you’re injury free.”
Joe LoPresto, Experience Triathlon’s head coach, said at this point in the preparation, the athletes have their bodies ready to go, but the final obstacle can be psychological.
“As coaches, we spend a lot of time talking with the athletes and assuring them that they’ve done the training and they’ve worked hard and they’re ready to participate in the event, to reduce their stress,” said LoPresto.
There was plenty of activity at the training session at Centennial Beach Friday morning, but that pales in comparison to what will be on display on race day. Over 2000 competed last year, and similar numbers are expected this time.
This atmosphere inspires a lot of competitive sprit, especially between one particular husband and wife training duo.
“He sucks at swimming, and I’m better at swimming, but he kills me on the bike and run, so there’s that,” said Kristina Kitchell, a first-time participant.
“I’m really slow with swimming, that’s as much as I’m gonna elaborate,” said her husband, Jacob.
The Kitchells and all the other racers will get their shot at bragging rights when the Naperville Triathlon begins, at 7am, on August 10th.
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