“Just Tri” has been my motto for the last year and a half. That’s when I started to think about doing my first triathlon.
But my first hurtle was learning how to swim! I knew how to tread water and float on my back, but I had no clue how to swim freestyle. Sooo…. I signed up for a beginners swim class for tri-athletes with Athletic Mentors. We all know it can be nerve-wracking to try something new or different. Well that was me the first day of this swim practice. I struggled to even get my swim cap on! Walking out into the pool area with many other people was intimidating but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other until I was in the pool. As we went through the first class I felt like Lucille Ball in her sitcom (some younger people may not even know who this is!) Every activity they asked us to do I struggled. I can laugh now but at the time, I wondered how the young girl next to me could hold her breath and just sit on the bottom of the pool while I looked like I was having a seizure just to try and stay under the water while holding my breath!
As the class progressed I pieces started to fall into place and I finally began to learn how to swim. I joined a local Y to practice swimming. At first I had to ask to be in the lane next to the pool’s edge so I could hold on if couldn’t make it the whole way to the other side. But, as time went on, I became comfortable to swim in any lane. It’s was not easy (at least for me) to swim. It took going to the pool over and over again, but I was determined.
After the swim it’s time to ride. Since I’ve been biking many years, this was by far the easy part of this challenge for me. You get on your bike and pedal as hard as you can for 20K (about 12.8 miles). Ideally you need a bike that is made for pavement with tires from 23-25 cm and get in the most aero position you can to go faster. Practice riding that distance or farther. Join local group rides and just get out there a pedal.
Next, the run. I hadn’t run in over 20 years and I have never run competitively. I started out trying to run 20 minutes right away, but it was too much. I started to get shin splints and a sore knee. I found myself questioning if I could do this… wondering if I should give up. Instead, I decided to just start slower. I ran just 10 mins. Who doesn’t have 10 mins to do a jog slow? That’s what I did almost every night or every other day for a week, then next week go 12 mins., then gradually built up and it was so much easier and no shin splints!
If you are considering a triathlon, here are some thoughts after I did my first one.
Don’t think that, just “tri” by:
- Getting off the couch.
- Join a Y, or a tri-club, run club.
- Get a friend to do the triathlon or exercise with you.
- Tri’s are about doing your personal best.
- All sizes, all ages, all abilities do Tri’s, so can YOU.
- Setting a goal to stay motivated over the winter to enter an event next Spring!
“Tri” something new, challenge yourself. Preparing for a Triathlon is hard work, but the reward is so sweet. This will motivate you for a healthier lifestyle, gain confidence and be content with who you are.