Any time you try something new or venture outside of your comfort zone, you are bound to feel a little nervous or apprehensive. But once you've identified an exciting new goal for yourself, take a moment to consider what, exactly, it is that concerns you. Are you unsure how to train? Are you worried you won’t have enough time to train? Are you concerned you won’t be able to finish the race? Consider this: What is the worst that can happen? When you answer this question, you remove a bit of the unknown and, hence, its power to undermine your efforts and confidence, allowing you to devise a plan of action to combat any obstacles that may arise.
The first thing you need to do is find a sprint triathlon that’s at least twelve weeks away and register for it. Having an event in ink on your calendar will do wonders for your motivation.
The next step is to create a training plan. A solid training program for a sprint triathlon typically involves five to six workouts per week over a twelve week period. Ideally, each week you will run twice, cycle twice and swim once or twice. If the race you choose is more than twelve weeks away, take advantage of the extra time to build a fitness base that includes walking, yoga and strength training. There are many websites, such as beginnertriathlete.com, that offer a variety of free training programs online.
When it comes to having the time to train, you simply have to be willing to honor and prioritize the commitment you’ve made to yourself. Schedule your workouts into your day as you would any other appointment and consider your workout time to be non-negotiable; the grocery shopping can wait! Enlist the support of your family and ask them to pitch in a bit more with household chores. Better yet, sign up to train and race with a friend who will encourage you and hold you accountable.
And, don’t be afraid to get creative with your training: Push your kids in a jogging stroller while you run or tow them in a bike trailer while you cycle; hire a sitter so you can get your workouts in before or after work; team up with your spouse and swap your dinner and a movie date night for a bike and a run; and ditch the camp chair and go for a run while your kid is at lacrosse practice.
As for completing the race, visualize yourself crossing the finish line and know that all the hard work and training will pay off. Even if you aqua jog or dog paddle through the swim, push your bike uphill, or walk instead of run the 5K, you will finish. And when you do, the amazing and rewarding feeling of accomplishment will have you signing up for your next triathlon in no time!