Get Inspired: How to get into biathlon

Tiril Eckhoff

Biathlon is an exciting sport with two very different activities combined into one race.‎

Winter biathlon combines two disciplines - cross country skiing and target rifle shooting.‎

Competitors need technique and stamina in abundance as they cross-country ski for up to 20km.

They must also be able to lower their heart rate enough to hold the gun steady as they aim at a tiny target - with the threat of extra distance to ski or time penalties if they miss.

Summer biathlon is also a growing sport where balance and fitness are maintained on roller skis.

‎A common misconception about biathlon is that it's only a winter sport, but a large portion of all biathlon training throughout the year is carried out with roller skis on tarmac surfaces, such as in parks or around outdoor cycle tracks.

So if you are currently roller-skating or skateboarding, the good news is that you already have half the untapped potential to become a great biathlete.

Why is it good for you?

Becoming a biathlete requires one of the most punishing training regimes, turning biathletes into some of the fittest competitors in winter sport.

The cross-country skiing element offers a low-impact full-body workout alongside an excellent test for the cardiovascular system. Shooting requires control and balance, particularly managing your heart rate and breathing to complete the shots in the time required.

Modern biathlon

Amanda Lightfoot
Amanda Lightfoot will be representing Great Britain at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

Biathlon is a sport that British athletes are starting to do well in. Amanda Lightfoot, the current number one UK female biathlete, competed at the Sochi 2104 Winter Olympic Games. Amanda has been selected again to represent Great Britain at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Get involved

The British Biathlon Union (BBU) is the sport's governing body in Britain.

If you would like to know more about the sport, you can email the British Biathlon Union on info@britishbiathlon.com or visit their website.

The BBU can provide you with a list of all clubs offering cross country skiing, target shooting and roller skiing biathlon facilities to get you started.

Are you inspired to try Biathlon? Or maybe you are an enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the game by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired or email us on getinspired@bbc.co.uk.

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.