Hello, and thanks for reading my 2nd post! In my previous (and first ever) post I gave an overview of what triathlon is, for those who might not have known exactly what the sport entails. I also explained that there are different distance levels to triathlon, including the Sprint, which may be a more attainable accomplishment than one might think.
This post is going to explain why I believe that anyone, yup anyone, is capable of doing a triathlon. Triathlon isn't for everyone, but for those who want to Tri, all you need to do is have a strong mindset, get rid of excuses, and just freakin' sign up for a race!
Mentality Over Physicality
I believe that your current physical capabilities shouldn’t dictate whether you do a triathlon or not (unless you're injured...heal first!). In most triathlons you’ll see people of all experience levels, shapes, and sizes that are swimming, biking, running, and even either being pushed or in tow. It doesn’t matter if you come from an active background or if you come from sitting on the couch all day. Triathlon welcomes YOU!
It might sound a bit cliche (bear with me on this!)...but what really matters most is your mindset and attitude.
If you strive to better yourself everyday in any aspect of your life, if you complete a goal and know that you could do it even better, if you want to push your limits and see how much farther you can go...then you can do a triathlon. Mentality trumps physicality. Believe in what you can accomplish, and everything else will fall into place.
I Can't Do a Triathlon Because...
Here are some of the most common thoughts that prevent people from diving into their first triathlon, and simple ways you can overcome them.
I'm not fit enough
A beginner triathlete who “just wants to finish” a race will have to put in hard work. An experienced triathlete who wants to snag a personal best time will also have to put in hard work. Everyone has to put in the training, whether you’re fit or not, in order to succeed at triathlon. If you’re not the most fit person...then training for a triathlon will get you in shape!
All you have to do is have the discipline to train your body and the right mentality to...JUST DO IT!!!
I don’t have enough time to train
I’m neither married nor have kids so I can’t speak for those triathletes, but I do work a full-time job, train (on heavy weeks) 5-6 times a week, engage in other hobbies, and still have a great social life too. There are plenty of people out there with full-time jobs, families (with kids!), and extracurricular activities who still get their training in. If you’re really passionate or strongly desire something, then you’ll make the time for it.
Bake a training plan (there are plenty of free examples online) into your weekly schedule, but remember to stay flexible. Don't let a training plan consume you; consume the training plan as you best see fit.
I don't have enough money
Races aren't free, and I’m not here to tell you how to save your money. That’s your business. All I can say is if this thought ever comes up in my mind I just revert back to my college days when money was extra tight.
Sacrifices! Packing my lunch an extra day to prevent spending, finding BOGO deals at the grocery store, holding off on that fancy [insert materialistic thing here], making my own tea/coffee instead of buying Starbucks, having a night in with friends as opposed to going out and making it rain. Saving up may take a bit more time and thought but it definitely pays off in the end.
I’m not a good swimmer/biker/runner
If you’re not good at swimming, biking, or running...no worries! That’s what training is for.
If you train smart and stay consistent, then you will be much a better [insert sport here] athlete than when you started. Most cities have fun group swims/rides/runs that cater to athletes of all levels. Join one and you can make new friends while upping your triathlon game too. Just like anything else, work for it, and you will see GAINZ!
I don't have a nice bike
A shiny and expensive bike is not a prerequisite to do a triathlon. Sure, it may help you during the bike leg, but success in the bike leg is first gained by refining the engine (YOU!) rather than getting a bike that costs more than your monthly rent.
I did my first few races using a single speed, no-name brand commuter bike from Amazon. You can find just about any bike during a triathlon- mountain, hybrid, single speed, fixie, etc. If it has two wheels put together by a frame...you can most likely use it!
Pick a race...any race!
A great way to commit to a race is to sign up for it early, as opposed to wasting valuable training time by constantly thinking about signing up and then...not actually signing up (we've all been there).
For beginner triathletes, look for a Sprint distance race. For beginner triathletes afraid/not good at open water swimming: look for a Sprint distance race that has a pool swim. There are tons of Sprint variation races and new races springing up all over the world. Chances are, a triathlon is near you. Racing should be FUN above all. Pick a destination race or a race that you can do with friends! Sign up, train up, and enjoy.
Where to look
- trifind.com: An excellent site that lets you search for triathlons anywhere in the U.S.
- ironman.com: A page where the Ironman brand lists all of its races for the year
My (early) 2016 suggestion
My suggestion for a great first time race is the University of Florida's TriGator Super Sprint. It consists of:
250 yard swim | 3.4 mile bike | 1.1 mile run
I strongly suggest this race, or a similar race, to any first timers. It's short, sweet, has a pool swim, and the best part...you get to race in the Gator Nation! GO GATORS!
I remember when completing a triathlon was a goal that was way out of my reach. Once I worked to make it within my reach, I grasped it. And once I grasped it...before I knew it...I crossed that finish line.
Keep in mind all I've said in this post, and you can cross that finish line too.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!