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Modern Pentathlon: How Does a Pentathlete Train?

Modern Pentathlon: How Does a Pentathlete Train?

Published: 15 February, 2024 | 4'

We delve into the modern pentathlon to learn about the different aspects of this unique and demanding sporting discipline. And we do so with the help of Ruth Gómez, graduate in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, professional triathlete, and National coach of triathlon and pentathlon, to discover how a pentathlete prepares physically and mentally.

We will also learn about their diet and supplementation routines, and the challenges they face during competitions.

What is modern pentathlon?

The modern pentathlon is an Olympic discipline that combines five exciting events: fencing (one-touch épée), swimming (200m freestyle), combined event of running and laser pistol shooting, and the recently added obstacle course.

This fascinating combination of events dates back to Ancient Greece, where it was part of the Olympic Games and the Panhellenic Games.

Do you have to practice all 5 disciplines?

Pentathlon offers us a wide variety of options for practicing. You don't have to practice all five disciplines obligatorily.

It's a common question from athletes who come to me to start practicing.

To which I answer that you can practice one, two, three, four, or all five disciplines.

It is quite common to start with laser run (running and shooting) as it is a very fun and easy discipline to practice for any age and athletic level. Swimming is usually added progressively, allowing you to participate in biathle or triathle.

In your opinion, which of the 5 events in modern pentathlon is the most difficult or demanding?

As of today, I would say the obstacle course, simply because it was recently added and requires very specific and cautious training to avoid injury.

Laser pistol shooting has a high technical component and requires a lot of practice. The same goes for fencing. It is a fast-paced sport that requires a lot of technique, strategy, concentration, and meticulously studied movements.

What competitions exist in modern pentathlon?

There are competitions at the local, national, and international level.

Personally, I participate in many laser run, biathle, triathle, and tetrathles. For example, last summer in 2023, I competed and attended training in two summer camps in the United Kingdom, both as an athlete and as a coach. The experience has been incredible and enriching, among other things because the level of the United Kingdom Pentathlon Federation is high, with broad participation from athletes of all levels.

Furthermore, thanks to this experience, I have established good relationships with clubs and the English federation, and this summer 2024, I will be holding open Pentathlon sports camps there, aimed at boys and girls who want to have a language immersion and sports experience. I invite anyone interested to check out the website of our Pentathlon and Triathlon club.

On a personal level, how did you transition from triathlon to pentathlon? Do you currently combine both as an athlete or only as a coach?


We could sum up this answer by saying that I am a SPORTS LOVER. My relationship with triathlon is infinite, and due to its similarities with Pentathlon, I tried a triathle and biathle and liked it. Then, I started attending laser run and other events, and learned fencing, which was a completely new sport for me at the time.

I have also been certified as a pentathlon coach and international judge by the International Modern Pentathlon Federation (UIPM).

When I started sharing this with the triathletes I train, it was so well-received that many of them practice it alongside triathlon.

Therefore, today I combine pentathlon and triathlon as an athlete and coach with my own Pentathlon and Triathlon club. Furthermore, we also make a strong commitment to Para Pentathlon, including people with mental or physical disabilities.

How does an athlete prepare to compete in pentathlon?

They have to prepare for the events in which they want to participate, which range from 2 to 5 events. The most common and recommended for beginners are laser run, biathle, and triathle.

To do this, they should incorporate the following into their weekly training:

  • Swimming (giving priority to short sets, intensity, transitions, and technique).
  • Running (short and fast distances).
  • Shooting (movement technique, shooting at rest, and shooting after exercise in multiple variations).
  • After this, fencing and obstacles can be added (which require specific training infrastructure).

      - Fencing: start with the basics, acquire good technique from the beginning, and gain experience in a tetrathle or fencing competition.

Nutrition and diet, what does a pentathlete eat?

Like in any other sport, it is a balanced and healthy diet. Balanced and complete. Nothing special that is not recommended for triathlon, running, or swimming.

Supplementation in pentathlon: What are the most common supplements and how can they benefit pentathletes?

Just like in other sports, there are supplements that maintain a good balance in the body. It depends on the age, training hours, and level of the athlete.

In my case, I am a regular user of MARNYS supplements, and what I usually recommend is: for young athletes, Omega 3+6 Junior and Protect Junior supplements.

In the case of women, often we find that an iron supplement is very important, and I usually take and recommend Ferrobine Max.

For both men and women, depending on the situation, I also recommend Manviox Q10 which contains antioxidant ingredients, or joint and bone support like Artrohelp Forte, Condrohelp, or Mialtrim. During seasonal transitions, I don't forget about propolis and royal jelly such as Propolvit Defens.

As a coach, what would be the main advice you would give to a pentathlete?

My advice in practicing any sport is to ENJOY it and do it in a HEALTHY way.

In particular, in pentathlon, given its wide variety, start gradually with the disciplines that attract you the most and learn their techniques well with the help of a professional. Enjoy the attractive and fun aspects of this sport.


Content developed in collaboration with Ruth Gómez. This article is informative and does not replace the consultation of a specialist.

Ruth GómezAbout the specialist

Ruth Gómez

Ruth Gómez @ruthgomeza, has a degree in Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, and is a professional triathlete and pentathlete, as well as a National coach of triathlon and pentathlon, leading her own Pentathlon and Triathlon club in Mieres (Asturias).

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