Apr 25 2018


Playing any competitive sport is hard work. You have to practice long hours every day, learn good technique, and then do your best when it’s time to compete. Most athletes just train for one sport. However, that’s not enough for some people. For them, triathlons are a better challenge because they are doing three sports at one time.

Triathlons are popular sports events that combine running, biking, and swimming. There are different levels of triathlons, but the most intense triathlon is the ironman event. In the ironman, athletes have to run a marathon (26.2 miles or 42.2 km), bike 112 miles (180.2 km), and swim 2.4 miles (3.8 km)... all without stopping!

People who want to do well in a triathlon have to be serious about their training. Any sport takes a lot of dedication and focus. Preparing for a triathlon takes three times as much!

Who’s training for a triathlon? Find out in this English lesson about sports.


Rafael: Running, biking, and swimming. Those are my three favorite things to do, and that’s how I’m training for this next triathlon.
Jeff: What? Three sports? Dude, I stick to one sport.
Rafael: Three sports. Three times the intensity. Three times the bragging rights. Three times the pushing yourself to the limit, man. Come on, get off your butt and do some exercise!
Jeff: All right, go getter. Well, I don’t know if you know this, I spend my time playing online poker. I’m pretty good at it, too…dedication, focus, one thing.
Rafael: Well, maybe that’s adequate for your mind, but, for me, you have to do something that’s going to burn you out.
Jeff: Yeah, my mind and my pocketbook.
Rafael: Have you ever even heard of this concept called nutrition, for example?
Jeff: Maybe. I’ve heard of money. Mental training.
Rafael: OK, Jeff, just get off your butt and try doing some running tomorrow. I’ll take you with me. I’m training hard every day. Live on the extreme. That’s what it’s all about.
Jeff: Yeah, push it to the limit. I get it. All right. We’ll see how my game goes tonight, how I’m feeling tomorrow.
Rafael: All right, bro.


Rafael shares some big news with Jeff: he’s training for a triathlon! Jeff, however, is not impressed. He actually thinks Rafael is crazy for spending so much time training.

Jeff plays online poker, and he doesn’t really like exercise. He thinks that keeping his brain sharp by playing games on the internet already takes enough of his time and focus.

Rafael tries to convince Jeff that his lifestyle isn’t very healthy. He thinks Jeff not only needs be more active, but he should probably eat healthier, too.

It’s clear that Jeff won’t be doing the triathlon with Rafael, but maybe he’ll start running. It just depends on how his poker game goes.

Do you think that Rafael or Jeff has a healthier lifestyle? Would you ever train for and compete in a triathlon? What’s your favorite sport?

Grammar Point

Present Progressive Tense

Rafael invites Jeff to go running and tells him, “I’m training hard every day.” He uses present progressive tense to talk about something that is happening right now and is ongoing.

The present progressive tense (also sometimes called the “present continuous”) is formed with the present tense of the verb to be + a main verb + -ing, as in, “He is constantly calling me,” or, “The neighbors are playing their music really loudly.”

We use the present progressive tense to describe an action that’s continually repeated, or, like Rafael does, to talk about an on-going action that’s happening right now.

Words like “always,” “constantly,” or “continuously” are often used with the present progressive to describe actions that are repeated, while phrases like “right now” or “at the moment” often indicate that an action is currently in progress.

Which sentence uses the present progressive tense, “I’m listening to my favorite music,” or, “I listen to my favorite music”?


  1. Which sport is part of a triathlon?

  2. Why won’t Jeff do a triathlon?

  3. When a person tells friends about a big success, she’s is using her __.

  4. Which sentence uses present progressive tense?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!