Triathlete In Training: Journal Entry #6

author : Terese Luikens
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Find a mentor. Make a list of at least three people that you could approach for help, list your specific needs and then be courageous enough to begin asking.

Two months ago I listed a few ideas that could help you build your endurance as you approach the first leg of a sprint triathlon, the water. Whether you swim a half, third, or quarter mile, these concepts can help to prepare you. I’ll begin with reviewing the first two ideas.

The first idea

Don’t work on more than one concept at time. This is not easy to stick with. Today during my swim I seemed to want to work on two things at the same time: maintaining my speed and relaxing my neck. I had to keep reminding myself to stick with one idea. Since this was the day that I had set aside to swim a mile, I alternated my goal. A few laps were designated for speed, and then I concentrated for a few laps with the idea of relaxing my neck.

The second idea:

Swim at least three times a week. Swimming a minimum of three times a week allows you to vary your practices, build endurance and convinces your body that you are serious about training.

This month I want to talk about how to find a mentor.
When I first decided that I wanted to do this triathlon, I began to search for someone to advise me. I know that training can be a solitary sport, but along the way I knew I would need to be coached.

I listed in my mind those whom I might approach. There was the lady in my yoga class who had competed in a few triathlons, and I knew three people with a history of competitive swimming. But in order to approach them I had to have enough courage to verbalize what I was planning on doing: “I’m going to do a triathlon, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for my training?”

Just thinking about sharing my goal with someone made me feel vulnerable. What would they think of me? Would they look at me and laugh? Would they think I had the ability to actually do a sprint triathlon?

Get specific

No one laughed when I asked for counsel, but I found that I needed to be very specific about what I needed. I needed someone who was willing to watch me swim, point out the things that I needed to change, and then help me change them.

One of my friends, who was a competitive swimmer in high school, agreed to meet me at the health club pool once a week for six sessions. Her approach was two-fold: First she would teach me how to swim freestyle, and second she would help me build my endurance. With her coaching I moved from a very slow and labored breaststroke to swimming a mile using freestyle.

Now that I could swim some distance, I approached a swim team coach, who has agreed to meet with me once a week for six fifteen-minute sessions. My goal now is to work on techniques that will increase my speed.

This week

Make a list of at least three people that you could approach for help, list your specific needs and then be courageous enough to begin asking. Courage does not mean you won’t feel the fear, it means you’ll feel the fear and move forward in spite of it.


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date: February 19, 2007

Terese Luikens