General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Becoming a triathlete: Not as hard as it sounds Rss Feed  
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2019-03-27 8:06 AM

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Subject: Becoming a triathlete: Not as hard as it sounds
Perhaps you know someone who is a triathlete. Perhaps you have a favorite sport and want to try something else. Perhaps you have seen the sport on television and thought it would be cool to be able to do all those things. Perhaps you have your own reason for considering participating in a triathlon.

What ever the reason: You can do it. Yes, you can. You can be a triathlete.

Triathlons are a great way to exercise regularly, improve your physical condition, relieve stress and improve your mental state, build confidence in goal setting and achievement, and simply have fun.

Of course you know that the classic triathlon consists of three sporting events; swimming, bicycle riding, and running, in that order. There are many variations — duathlons, cross-country events (called "X-Terra"), and other multi-sport variations. All have been growing in popularity, but the classic triathlon has been booming in popularity. Folks of all ages, all background, and in all sorts of shapes show up, participate in, and complete triathlons. Assuming that you have no medical reasons for not participating in regular, strenuous exercise, so can you!

There are a few facets to getting started. You should consider you current condition. You will need to do each of the sports. You will need to decide what you want to achieve. You will need to spend the time building your capacity.

Let’s start by considering your current physical and mental condition. What kind of athlete are you? Do you have any old injuries that must be considered? Are you under a lot of stress now? Obviously, the kind of training you will do if you are an experienced long-distance runner will be different from the type you will do if you ran a bit a while ago, but stopped because of some pain. If you are under a lot of stress, regular exercise is beneficial, but be careful to not add more stress to your life. So the first word of advice is: "Train right for Your Type."

Attending a class, working with a coach, and training with a group of people are the best ways to learn how to accomplish your goals in the most efficient manner. We’re not talking about trying to become the age-group champion, just getting you to achieve what you want to achieve. You will learn that each sport has a significant form component and a number of approaches for learning and improving that form. Good form is the first, best defense against injury (closely followed by stretching warm muscles after each workout).

Working with and talking to other triathletes will help you settle on your goals. Above all, you should focus on having fun and feeling good about what you’re doing. Stressing yourself with an aggressive training regime is not good for you, for your family, or for achieving your goals.

Another word of advice; commit to doing more than one race this season. Committing to a race is the best way to ensure that you get up and out on that rainy morning. Committing to more than one is a great strategy for enjoying each race. If you do only one race, you will inevitably be disappointed about some aspect of the race and will have no recourse to address that disappointment. If you have more than one race in your season, you will get something out of each race that will help you for the next one.

To train for a race, you should commit to regular training. Consider doing something each day for six days each week. Since the triathlon has three legs, you can easily consider a pattern of swim, ride, run, swim, ride, run, rest for each week. Your class, coach, partners or reading materials will help you with the specifics. Again, when you Train Right for Your Type, you will feel good about your training regime, the improvements you are making, and the progress towards you goals.

So let’s review:

1) You can do it!

2) Train Right for Your Type

3) Work with other people to learn the correct form, get advice, maintain motivation

4) Train regularly and conscientiously

5) Commit to more than one race so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

You will find that triathlons are great experiences. All the participants understand that you are all there to accomplish something challenging. It is not uncommon to hear cheers of support for all participants coming not only from the spectators, but also from other athletes. And nothing feels better than crossing that finish line with a great big grin, knowing that you did it!
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