2009 is your year to taste triathlon. As a triathlete, you'll surprise yourself as you face fears and set personal bests. You'll be more confident, have more energy and smile more often. People will be drawn to that difference. Triathlon is a rewarding sport for people of all ages and abilities. I hope to break down your obstacles: time, money, fear etc. Give triathlon a chance.
You're drawn to triathlon as a sport. The swim-bike-run combo looks fun. Your friends are training or already racing. You have a bike somewhere. But still, you're not sure.
You think, "I'm not an athlete."
I disagree. Instead, I think Nike's Bill Bowerman nailed it with his powerful statement:
"If you have a body, you are an athlete." --Bill Bowerman, Nike.
This is the easiest excuse to overcome. Why? Because deciding whether you are or are not an athlete is up to you! It's your choice!
You don't have to be skinny, fast, young, strong or aggressive to be an athlete. You only must be willing--willing to try something new. To possibly surprise yourself and others of what you thought was possible. Are you an triathlete? Do you want to be? Then do it.
Find a safe place to begin, but begin.
- Volunteer at a triathlon and help other first-time athletes cross their first finish line. You'll learn a lot watching the race and talking with other athletes.
- Train for a relay triathlon. Pick the segment you are most comfortable with and find two friends to form a relay team.
- Check out an online triathlon community. You'll find me at active.com's newbie triathlete community. Come say hello, I'm a volunteer moderator.
"The more you run, the more you are a runner. It sounds simple and it is. There's nothing more to becoming a runner than running. It isn't how fast or how far you run. It isn't even how long you've been running. It's only that you run that makes you a runner."
Bingham's concept applies to triathlon as well. Triathletes swim, bike and run. Some run faster, some have more experience, some prefer longer distances, but we've all found the value this rewarding sport delivers. Triathlon offers an experience. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's amazing. But it's an experience worth having.
Surprise yourself and say yes to triathlon. Grab a friend and get started. You can train for a sprint-distance race in 4-6 hours a week, for 6 weeks, as long as you train correctly. Since fitness is specific, you must swim, bike and run. And, you must add time, distance and intensity gradually to avoid injury.
Other common excuses:
I have no time.
I can't afford it.
I'm too old.
Photo: Me at Ironman Florida's transition 2. Each minute mattered in my race. Even small choices are important.