Matt Mund is the owner and founder of Mission Fitness. He is dedicated to helping his clients of all fitness levels achieve their personal goals
PREPARING FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON (PART 2 OF 3)
As I sit here and type this blog, I feel a little out of my league (those who know me, know I tend to feel this way often) I think in this instance, however, I may be within my rights. Here is why: I am a ROOKIE triathlete myself!! Part of me thinks I have no right to be writing this blog, but then from what I have gathered, you would rather hear this stuff from me rather than a professional. The reason: you are already VERY intimidated by the world that is “TRIATHLONS”, and probably don’t want the fancy lingo and professional tips. That being said, please bare in mind as you read on that these are my humble and not-so-professional tips!! I am giving advice based on my own experience and the experience I have had with many beginner triathletes.
First, choose a race that you want to do and SIGN UP FOR IT. Again, Lake Terramuggus Triathlon in Marlborough, CT and Cedar Lake Triathlon in Chester, CT are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY US) It is very easy to talk about doing a race and never fully committing. Once you pay the money and have a date, you now have a goal. It will make you take the training more serious. There are several books that you can buy with great training plans for a Sprint Tri all the way up to a IRONMAN, so I will spare you the “training specifics”. However, I will give you some training tips that I found helpful.
The book I purchased and would recommend
1.) Just because you can swim, bike, and run separately, doesn’t necessarily mean you can do them all together in a race. Spend the time doing the “brick” training (Two disciplines together: bike, followed immediately by a run, etc) I was amazed when I did my first Tri how difficult a 5K seemed. 2.) Find a partner to train with. They don’t have to be doing the race, but someone who will hold you accountable for showing up, and also make you feel safer on the bike and the swim. 3.) Try to find a road bike. I have had several friends who think they will just use a Mt. Bike because they don’t want to buy a bike until they know they like it. A MT BIKE WILL NOT GIVE YOU A GOOD READ “IF YOU LIKE IT”. Find someone who has a road bike that you can borrow, and then decide. A triathlon will be made more difficult than it needs to be without a road bike! 4.) Don’t think you need to invest in all the fancy equipment to do your first Tri. Yes, all the “bells and whistles” may make the race a little easier, but you don’t need to worry about that for your first race. If you decide you really want to get into Triathlons (likely) then you can talk to some Triathletes and ask them what the best investments are to start. However, make sure you have “the basics” for your first race, and know the rules (Again, there many books that help you with this) 5.) Have someone who has done Triathlons before be with you at your first race. It can be VERY intimidating to see hundreds of athletes walking around, looking like they have done hundreds of races, as you sit there with your bike and equipment looking like a lost puppy. The process is not as scary as it looks, but it would be a huge help to have someone guide you through your first race. They can tell you where to put your bike, how to set up the transition area, and answer any last second questions you may have. Last race I found a client of ours in this situation, and I couldn’t believe how much I was able to help her! She was beyond grateful, and I felt so happy to be there for her. Some small things she was not aware of: She did not have water for the transition, so we filled a few cups for her (you wouldn’t believe how dry your mouth can be). She did not have a towel at transition, so we used her shirt to get the sand of her feet (biking and running with sandy feet=no fun). She was going to use her Ipod, which is not allowed at many races, etc. These are things that you may not know at your first race, that someone with experience can help you with.
A triathlon can definitely be an intimidating race, and I will admit when I did my first one I felt way out of my league. My BIKE cost less than most peoples FRONT TIRE, and I was wearing spandex and a sports bra, while others looked like they belong the the USA Cycling Team!! The swim gave me an anxiety attack thinking about it (still does) and all I could think was, “who do you think you are doing this race”. However, I went out there and focused on the one piece of equipment I knew I had control of: MYSELF. I finished 7th female overall, and crossed that finish line feeling very accomplished. It is not an easy thing to step out of your comfort zone and do a race like this, but as we always say, “BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE”
Stay tuned for my next blog where I will feature a couple different Triathletes, and one story you will NOT want to miss. After reading this success story, you will have no excuse to not give any race a “tri”!!