Becoming a triathlete is not as hard as it might first seem.
As you watch from the sidelines as others swim, bike, and run their way to the finish line you might think that becoming a triathlete is beyond your capability.
Or perhaps as you watched you were inspired and most likely the first question to cross your mind was “I wonder if I could do that?”
You just happened to be at the venue the day the triathlon is taking place. You watched in awe and amazement as hundreds of athletes all decked out in wet suits hit the water in a frenzy of arms and legs when the starting gun sounds. The water boils into a white froth as the swimmers vie for position and make their way to the first turn marker far out from shore
You watched as the first swimmers complete the swim course and make a quick change into their cycling gear. Bike after bike headed out onto the highway as the second leg of the triathlon begins. You were somehow mesmerized by the event and spent the whole day on the course as it gets later in the day and the triathletes are out on the run course.
However the best is yet to come as the leaders arrive at the finish line to the cheers of the crowd and once they start arriving, it continues on for hours as more and more athletes accomplish their goal and reach the finish line.
As it grows dark and the last finisher begin to arrive, you were moved by the effort and determination they are showing. You are almost moved to tears when you see a middle-aged mother greeted by her children at the finish line.
TRIATHLON IS NOT JUST FOR SUPER-ATHLETES
The one thing that stands out in your mind is that some of the finishers don’t look like the slim and toned winners of the event. They look like, well, ordinary people!
The truth is, they are ordinary people who have taken up the challenge to do something extraordinary in their lives. They have taken up the challenge of a triathlon. An event that is not just a test of physical stamina and strength, but also of emotional and mental abilities to challenge oneself to “become more.”
Can you do something like this? It looks pretty hard. Is it beyond you?
Of course it’s not! People are capable of so much if only they give themselves a chance.
Once you begin to train and combine that training with a balanced diet it will amaze you just how quickly your body will respond in a positive way. Success breeds success and with each step forward confidence begins to grow and soon you will embrace the new fitter, healthier lifestyle that most triathletes enjoy.
LEARNING TO SWIM
Can’t swim? So what? Many of the people you are watching cross the finish line most likely couldn’t swim or were poor swimmers when they decided to take up the challenge of the triathlon.
They just got out there and taught themselves how.
Of all the things you will learn by becoming a triathlete, learning to swim with confidence in the open water is most likely the most valuable skill of all.
No matter where you go in the world you will be around lakes, rivers, and oceans and being a confident swimmer can be a real asset.
You can teach yourself using the Total Immersion swim technique, join swim clubs, or perhaps by hiring a coach.
The Total Immersion technique(either the original book by Terry Laughlin, or a DVD)is perhaps the best way to understand how to stay relaxed and comfortable in the open water. In his original book Terry provides some invaluable drills that will get the most novice swimmer started on the right track.
There is a link to Total Immersion to the right of this article that includes a 10% discount on most of their products.
ALMOST EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO RIDE A BIKE
Don’t think you can ride a road bike? Sure you can!
Most of us have some skill at riding a bike. The only difference is, the triathlon or road bike you will be using will be much lighter and faster than the bike you rode as a child or teen or the mountain bike that’s leaning up against the wall in your garage.
Your body will always remember how to bike. You just have to get out there and practice and train on a lighter, faster bike. Becoming a triathlete is all about learning new skills.
“That long swim and long bike and then I still have to run!” you think to yourself. “I could never run that far after all that.”
Maybe not, but there is nothing saying you “have” to run all the way regardless if it’s a Try a Tri Triathlon or an Ironman Triathlon.
Once you get off that bike, you have a pretty good chance of reaching the finish line.
You can walk some, and you can run some, but the main thing is to keep moving forward once you are on the run course. The others around you trying to accomplish the same thing will help and inspire you. So will the spectators and volunteers.
You are never truly alone out there, but ultimately it is your courage and spirit that will make the finish line a reality, not how fast you can swim, bike, or run.
Is a triathlon hard? You bet it is!
That’s what makes the accomplishment so special. You have to work at it.
Can you do? Of course you can!
If you want it bad enough you can make crossing the finish line of a triathlon a reality and become a participant instead of a spectator.
Becoming a triathlete might well be one of the most valuable and satisfying accomplishments of your life.
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