For the beginner triathlete it can seem to be a very steep hill to climb when one is not athletic at all and has so much to learn about the three disciplines, swimming, biking and running.
That’s only the beginning. There is much to learn about diet, nutrition, equipment, how to begin training, how many hours to train, and many other topics.
Of course many people are accomplished swimmers or runners perhaps, but there are many, many people who are in mid-life and are not athletic at all, but would like to take up the sport of triathlon. Getting a start on beginner triathlete training is a step in the right direction.
To me, this is all very good news and bodes well for the direction many people are choosing to take their lives. It’s great that they have all these questions and are taking it upon themselves to learn new skills and to break down barriers.
I don’t believe people who are new to something should dwell on the negative, but rather should look at tackling something new as an opportunity to expand their horizons and find out how amazing they are and the true potential they possess.
So many people go through life in the shackles of sameness and repetitiveness because they have a fear of change. Or they fear that life has already passed them by and it’s too late. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reason for the spectacular growth of triathlon is that most people know someone who has taken up the sport and they have seen the change in that person.
It inspires them to find the courage to go on their own quest for a better way of life that could well change their lives for the better, forever.
It’s very gratifying how often I see a beginner triathlete commit to a new lifestyle of health, fun, and fitness that triathlon has made possible for so many. More often than not, it ends up being a success story.
Just the fact that I had visitors from 112 countries last month to Ironstruck.ca goes to show that triathlon truly is the fastest growing mainstream sport in the world.
It really inspires me to put as much relevant information on my site as I can to help people from around the world find their way as the take on the challenge of triathlon and all the benefits it has to offer.
I have devoted many pages on the ironstruck website to swimming. This is the biggest stumbling block for many people when it comes to becoming a triathlete.
Every time I set up my booth at an expo, I will have dozens of people come by and say “I would love to try triathlon but I can’t swim”. Or they will say they are afraid of the water or that they are too old to learn how to swim.
I tell them that swimming is a learned skill just like anything else and it’s most likely one of the best things they can learn how to do whether they are 25 or 55.
Swimming is such a great skill for the beginner triathlete to learn and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
It is a skill one has forever once you learn it. It’s not unlike learning to ride a bike for the first time.
You learn balance and technique and eventually it becomes second nature. I have yet to encounter one person yet who has told me they don’t know how to bike so they can’t become a triathlete.
That’s because we all seem to have learned that skill at an early level and it’s just something you never forget how to do. Unfortunately, most parents were not inclined to devote the same amount of time teaching their kids how to swim.
It’s too bad because in our lifetime we spend so much time around water. It might be a lake when we go camping, a river when we go fishing or an ocean when we spend the day at the beach.
Water is water and it seems to me that people who know how to swim are fortunate because you just never know when it will come in very handy.
At the very least you will feel more comfortable near the water or on a boat and quite possibly it might save your life or the life of someone else one day.
SPORTS NUTRITION EDUCATION-TRIATHLON DIET
Yes indeed, when you take up triathlon you will most likely be getting an education in nutrition on the way and that’s just another one of the positive spin-offs that come with taking up the sport.
What you will find is that you begin to work very hard at learning to become a better biker or swimmer and you want to make the most of it. Soon you will realize that you are working against yourself if you devote all that time to training and at the same time have a crappy diet.
You will meet people in the course of learning about triathlon who will give you many positive suggestions about proper diet and what to eat for best results while training and during a triathlon event.
Triathlon is a great way to surround yourself with people who are forward-thinking and who will give off positive vibes that will encourage you as you begin the learning process. Some may be experienced triathletes and some will be a beginner triathlete like you are.
It is not unusual at all for people to change the way they look at nutrition for the rest of their lives regardless of where their triathlon journey takes them. They learn some very valuable information about what works best for health and fitness and are reluctant to go back to a poor diet.
FREE TRIATHLON TRAINING
Coaches are great for getting you on the right track as you begin training for a triathlon, but much of your triathlon training can be free if you play your cards right.
As you get into the sport you will meet many people and some of them might be very accomplished triathletes in their own right and have no problem sharing what they have learned with the novice triathlete. Although it is important to get used to training on your own–as triathlon by it’s nature is a solitary event once the gun goes off–it never hurts to hook up with an experienced triathlete for a run or bike training session.
During the course of that bike ride, run, or group swimming session you can pick that person’s brain and ask questions about triathlon racing and training. Remember, even the most experienced triathlete was a beginner triathlete just like yourself and most will remember what it was like trying to absorb so much information and will be glad to help.
Always keep in mind that everyone has things that worked for them, but might not work for you, but you can always take what works for you from what you have been told and leave the rest.
Triathlon is very much about trial and error. The time to figure things out is when you are training and not on the day of your event. Try new foods and drinks on your bike rides, try improving your bike and swim techniques in the months before your big day.
Take any suggestions you heard or read and try them out and see what works for you. It’s exactly how I tell people to view my Ironstruck website. Everything on this site is basically what I have learned over the years. I suggest to people that they take what they want from Ironstruck and leave the rest.
What I say on Ironstruck or write in my books is not written in stone, it’s just experiences I have encountered over my career that might have been good or bad, but at the same time it’s all experience and to my way of thinking, it’s still the best teacher.
“And it’s free” for you to enjoy and learn from if you choose.
TRIATHLON GEAR AND CLOTHING FOR THE BEGINNER
Most people have no idea how much triathlon has changed over the years.
People who are coming into the sport now are exposed to the best of triathlon clothing and equipment.
They can buy triathlon bikes that are as light as a feather and will make your wallet just about as light as that feather as well. Wetsuits are state-of-the-art and every year they seem to be lighter and full of promises of making you swim faster.
It is not wonder the perception is that the sport of triathlon is very expensive and unless you have thousands of dollars to invest there’s no sense even taking it up. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When I think back to the POC bike (piece of crap) that I tackled Ironman Hawaii with back in 1984 it reminds me of what people can accomplish if they count on their determination and spirit more than they count on their $4000 bike and $600 wetsuit.
I knew a triathlete who did really well in Ironman Canada back in the early 90’s and finished sixth over-all two years in a row. He was invited to Ironman Japan as a guest entry. He told me this story about the morning of the Ironman in Japan.
All the top triathletes had their bikes in a certain area as is normal for Ironman races. Some of the top triathletes were looking at this POC bike that was in the racks among theirs. It belonged to a Russian and was not much more than a basic, beat-up road bike.
It’s a good thing they took a close look at that bike in the transition area because he was so far ahead of everyone on the bike course that he was soon out of sight. He left a lot of very expensive triathlon bikes in his wake that day and was another indication of how a vibrant spirit outclasses a shiny, expensive bike any day.
Back in 1984 I couldn’t even find a pair of tri-shorts and barely knew the front of my shabby bike from the back. I was so lost when that gun went off that it seems like only divine intervention would see me through the day.
To this day I really believe that perhaps I had help from somewhere saintly but at the same time my desire to cross the Ironman finish line at Kona on that memorable day never waned from the moment that cannon sounded.
It was not about the best bike gear and smartest looking tri-clothes that day long age. It was all about wanting something so bad, that everything else–every obstacle–was overcome by an intensity of spirit I never knew until that day I possessed.
So by all means, don’t believe for a second that how much money you have to commit to triathlon will be the determining factor to your success.It’s great to dress to the nines and get yourself the best biking gear money can buy when you take up triathlon if you can afford it, but if you can’t, don’t let that stop you from taking up the sport.
If you have the heart and desire to make a positive change in your life and take up triathlon despite being short of finances you will find a way to succeed. So what if your bike is used and doesn’t have all the cool accessories. It’s the size of your heart not the price of your bike that will be the main ingredient that will help you realize your triathlon dreams and goals.
It was true 25 years ago and it’s true today.
SPRINT TRIATHLON-OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON-IRONMAN TRIATHLON
Everyone has their own dream. It is just as monumental for some people to be a beginner triathlete and finish their first sprint triathlon as it is for others who strive to cross the Ironman Triathlon finish line.
Hang on to your dream and believe in yourself and one day your dream will become a reality. The remarkable thing about accomplishing your goal is that it reinforces in your mind just how much is attainable for you–just how much is within your reach once you figure out how to get there.
That’s why for some a Sprint Triathlon becomes an Olympic Distance Triathlon and then an Ironman Triathlon. With each successive accomplishment the realization dawns that there are few limits to what a person is capable of doing once the snowball starts rolling downhill.
Scott Tinley, one of the early Ironman Hawaii pros once said “swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles and brag for the rest of your life”. I would take that one step further. Accomplish your triathlon dream or goal, whatever it happens to be and for the rest of your life the seemingly unattainable will become attainable, the impossible will become possible and you will no longer doubt yourself no matter what the challenge.
Your triathlon success just might be the catalyst for you to write that book you have always dreamed of writing. It might just give you the confidence to leave the job you dread waking up to and instead make up your mind one day do what you love to do. Every good thing in this world comes with an element of risk. Often it is only when we find the courage to face risk and overcome it that we truly begin to live. Sure there is always the risk of failure in the back of the mind of a beginner triathlete. The thing is, the minute you commit yourself to training you have already won a great victory.
Believing in yourself is not restricted to the playing fields, but to every single thing you do and every aspect of your life. Taking on the challenge that triathlon represents and becoming a beginner triathlete might be on of the best decisions you ever make.
At the very least, you will become fitter, learn new skills and possibly meet some very cool people. Always keep in mind that even the greatest pro Ironman in the world was at one time a beginner triathlete.
This is for all of you who dare to try and become all you can with what you have.
It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high
achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
–US president Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910.