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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.

Or, learn to swim

The biggest sell of GoSwim(free, with optional premium memberships) is its sheer number of instructional videos, which range from teaching you how to perfect your freestyle head position to how to flutter kick effectively. The initial GoSwim app is free, but silver, gold, and coach memberships are available if you want more perks, like more drills and daily videos, connections to training groups, or a video-sharing option for swim coaches.

For the experienced triathlete who already has a swimming community, GoSwim is a bit of overkill: a lot of the app's videos deal with techniques and strokes that won't serve you in the race; but you can still learn a lot from this app no matter your skill level.

Perfect your swim workout

You've found a pool, you've got your basic strokes down, and now it's time to get in shape for the swim leg. With My Tri Swim Coach ($2), you'll get a full set of drills catered to the season and level you select. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced triathlete — or if you're going for a sprint, Olympic, half Ironman, or full Ironman — the app will provide you with a list of drills that fit your regime. You'll also appreciate the four seasonal options (off, base, build, and peak) that help you all year round. The drills come with descriptions and videos, ensuring you know exactly what to do.

Find events in your area

Active(free) doesn't give you metrics or help you hone your technique — instead, it helps you hunt down upcoming fitness events in your area. Besides triathlons, you can find 5K races, cycling teams, basketball meet-ups, and much more. If you're tired of running, cycling, and swimming, taking a break with some organized flag football or a fitness class may be just what you need, and Active will help you find it.

Join a community

BeginnerTriathlete(free) is all about the community. The app gives you information on races in your area, and connects you to other triathletes. You can exchange "inspires" — notes of encouragement — with other users, and join up in the forums for mentorship or to talk shop. (You'll even quickly get used to its initial blue-scale interface, which comparatively isn't bad.) Because of its social aspects, BeginnerTriathlete shines when used with a great deal of friends or like-minded individuals.

But like many all-around tri apps, BeginnerTriathlete requires you to self-report your data (nutrition, workouts, etc.) in various forms. With the initial download, you gain access to a few training plan articles, but the mobile display looks positively ancient on this page. While you can create your own training plan, you have to subscribe to a "bronze" account in order to get access to a lot of the better features. (At $30 for a six-month subscription, "bronze" status doesn't sell itself very well as being particularly necessary.) 


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