Anyone can train for a Triathlon! You just have to make the commitment to yourself to make the time to train for it, and also look at financial expenses too. You will have to buy gear, and may need some coach training. Don't forget to factor in the cost of the race as well. You have to want it bad enough to keep you motivated. I did this by setting small achievable realistic goals for myself along the way. If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen!
I picked up running at 31 years old in 2008, and decided to train for and run my first half marathon. I ended up running the 2009 Austin Half Marathon for Blue Dog Rescue, and raised over $1K in sponsorships for them. I was on Cloud 9 with pride, but immediately began thinking about what my next goal should be. I'd toyed with the idea of doing a triathlon since I was fit in running and cycling, but the swimming? Ugggh it made me cringe. Like many women out there, I was an excellent swimmer as a child. I was a dolphin, growing up in Miami. But as an adult... No. Not even as a teen. For the record, I don't mean lounging or doggy paddling in a pool, I mean actually swimming freestyle or the breast stroke to get from point A to point B. During one of my early AM Sunday runs at Lady Bird Lake Trails, I watched the Capital of Texas Triathlon run and bike leg, and was so inspired watching all the athletes. I loved watching them, imagining what they were telling themselves to keep going, to not give up. I thought to myself, "I want to do that. I could so do that! I am going to do it!" I set my mind to getting over my huge abhorance of public pools and re-learn to swim and do a tri.
Walkin the plank. Cannonball!
|Our stuff set out for swim to bike (T1), |
then bike to run (T2) transitions.
The swim sprint course (700m, .43 mile) of the race was so intense. You are the most likely to get up all in someone else's business and vice versa. It can be a very daunting experience, you need to be prepared for not only an open water swim. You may get kicked or swatted by someone on accident and that's just the way it goes. Sadly, I lost my breathing rhythm early on, which I knew was a possibility. I was knocked out of my mental zone and couldn't get back in to it, so I did the entire swim on my sides and back. When they pulled me, er, helped me out of that water, I was in another world. I could not run to the bike, the connection from brain to legs just was not there. I slowed my roll and took my time getting myself moved and to the bike start. No surprise then that my greatest weakness is the swim and the first transition (T1), which will probably always be what I'll need to train the most in.
Please... help me out of this water.
|I Finished! bitshes|
For Austin, TX locals, I got my Triathlon clothes and gear from Jack & Adam's Bicycles. I love these people. Seriously! They are so helpful when it comes to telling you exactly what you need, bare minimum if necessary, to do a Tri. In general, you are required to have goggles, a swim cap, and a bike helmet.
I did not use this specific guide to train for the Tri, but I have used Hal Higdon's training guide for the Half Marathon and he is a very respected trainer. His race training guides are very intuitive and sensible, in my opinion: Hal Higdon's Triathlon 1 - An 8-week multi-sport training program for fitness.
For some encouraging and motivational articles for beginners, I really recommend Active.com Beginner & Sprint Triathlon Races, Training Plans & Tips for Beginner Triathletes. I was on this site a lot while training, great stuff. If you are seriously considering doing a Tri, this site also has great local race information in your area to give you goals to train for.
And for my last bit, the time has come to get comfortable with your body. There is no shame to be had, everyone around you is in spandex, and nobody gives a shit what you look like. So if you have a poor body image, make that one of your training goals: to get over hating on yourself and move on.
January 2011 I am going to hop into the first wave of the T3 Swim Stroke Efficiency Clinic to get my swim foundation in order, and leave plenty of time to practice. I want to be ready to kick ass in a second sprint triathlon next season, and you have to do one too!