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Train like an Ironman with these apps for triathletes

Chris Holt | Feb. 4, 2015
If you're about to run your first triathlon, or if you're a seasoned vet working towards a better time, than you already know that this three-legged race is famed for its demands on the body and the mind, making training for the event uniquely rigorous. But don't let that discourage you--even beginning athletes have to start somewhere. Whether you're moving from couch to bike or have several Ironman events under your belt, these apps will help you perfect your training regime, monitor your progress, and become part of the larger triathlete community.

If you're about to run your first triathlon, or if you're a seasoned vet working towards a better time, than you already know that this three-legged race is famed for its demands on the body and the mind, making training for the event uniquely rigorous. But don't let that discourage you — even beginning athletes have to start somewhere. Whether you're moving from couch to bike or have several Ironman events under your belt, these apps will help you perfect your training regime, monitor your progress, and become part of the larger triathlete community.

Best app to plan your training from Day 1

Tri Trainer ($6) is the most expensive app of the bunch, but may have the most complete approach to your tri planning. You tell the app how far out you have until your event and give some info on your experience, and then it gives you a day-by-day plan that you can update as needed. The rigorousness of the workouts ramp up as the event gets closer, ensuring that you're fully prepared for your race day. The text-heavy app also has a handy glossary and tips section, but some will find the lack of diagrams, videos, and motion tracking to be a bit of a disappointment, given the price tag.

Work on that athlete's diet

With MyFitnessPal (free), you get everything you need to keep your strict fitness diet on track — except for the food itself, of course. MyFitnessPal combines a calorie counter with a food diary, and keeps track of your weight progress as you work toward your goal — whether it's gaining weight, losing weight, or maintaining it.

It requires a great deal of input, but you can log your dietary intake by searching through its food database of thousands of popular grocery store and menu items (or you can manually enter the calories, if you're into that). It then subtracts the amount of calories you've burned through various exercises (which are also searchable or entered manually), plus looks at the calories you've burned through steps tracked through a fitness device or your iPhone's processor. The result is a pretty basic formula that keeps your calories-in versus calories-out balanced,

Find a place to swim

The most difficult leg of a triathlon is arguably the swimming portion, partially due to the difficulty of actually finding a swimming location where you can train. Enter Swim Radar($3), which points out local indoor swimming pools nearby. The listing is fairly extensive, though it failed to note both my gym's pool and the fact that I live a quarter-mile away from a lake. Still, for those living in cities, this might be your best option for finding a place to train for that grueling swimming leg.

 

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