You’ve decided (or think that you’ve decided) that you want to do a triathlon. Where that idea came from is worthy of discussion and will be a large factor in how long you remain involved with the sport but for our purposes in this article we’re going to assume a few things. The first is that you have chosen to do a triathlon. Secondly, that you have not done one before. And third, you do not really know where to begin in your quest to fulfill this goal.
This short article will offer a few tips for you to consider in preparation for beginning the training process of becoming a triathlete, with a completed race under your race belt! It is by no means complete and it does not go into specifics. We’ll discuss those topics and many others as we go along here. But for right now, have a seat, get comfy, and read on. Before you start swimming lap after lap in the pool, before you sign up for that century ride next weekend, before you lace up your beat-up pair of training shoes to go out on your first run, take note of the following tips meant to help you mentally prepare for the task ahead.
1. Part of your goal in training most likely is to, at some point, compete in and finish a race. Makes sense, right? Of course. Picking the right race for you and for your situation is critical to your continuing to enjoy and participate in the sport. Basically, short and nearby is a better option for your first race than long and far away would be. There will be plenty of time to pack up the family in the camper and head off for places undiscovered in search of that perfect triathlon - later. In truth, one of the joys of being a triathlete is the fact that there are races in every part of the country and all around the world for that matter. Now though, you are just getting your feet wet, so to speak. Short and nearby, okay?
2. Rent or borrow right now. Do not buy. Triathlon can turn out to be a fairly expensive sport very quickly if you let it. While it is really fun to shop for all the cool stuff that is available to us triathletes – wait awhile before opening up your pocketbook or wallet and watching your paycheck disappear. When you get around to doing that, it will be fun, but for your first event, see what you can rent or borrow – until you know that this is something you want to do again, and again and again…. Oh, and one other thing. Yes, that old Schwinn cruiser will work –for now. Any bike will do for this first triathlon. The goal and purpose is to have fun!
3. With number 2 above firmly imprinted in your mind, here’s the exception. Running shoes! This is one piece (pair?) of equipment that it would be wise to invest in. It would be wise to go to a running store, have one of the professional staff fit you, have them perform a gait analysis, have them get you in the proper running shoe for YOU and YOUR feet! Your feet will thank you for this consideration. Maintaining happy and contented feet will be a huge factor in whether or not you want to do another triathlon!
4. You do not need to train as much as you might think. Remember why you are doing this. Is it to get on the podium and achieve national recognition? Or is it something else. Something that’s been burning inside you for months or years aching to be fulfilled? To do something different and have fun? If you’re strapped for time in your week that’s okay. We all are. You can reasonably expect to complete a sprint distance triathlon by training no more than 5 or 6 hours each week. Obviously the more time that you can devote to your training the better (with qualifications that we won’t go into here)but do not think that if you don’t have an extra 10 or 15 hours in your week that you need to start your search for some other activity. 5-6 hours each week for 8 to 12 weeks and you will have a very satisfying race experience. Check out our own CAB4 Triathlon pre-designed training plans by clicking here for one that fits your time schedule.
5. Plan out your days! If you do not already do this or if time management is as challenging for you as it is for me, now is the time to practice, practice, practice! Whether you choose a coaching service, purchase a pre-designed training plan or work up one for yourself – you’ll have to fit it into an already busy schedule – yours! It can be done, but not without a good deal of planning.
6. If you’re going to do this, then, you’re GOING TO DO THIS! If you make the commitment, be prepared to see it through to the end. Be consistent in your training, be disciplined in time management, be patient with yourself (and your coach!), be honest with yourself (and again with your coach) about how you’re feeling, if you have to miss a workout. Life happens! To all of us. Our schedules get rearranged daily! That’s fine. Just know that to reach your goal, the time will need to be put in. It can be adjusted, it can be tweaked and shifted and manipulated to varying degrees, but it cannot be eliminated.
This is just a few of the many tips that we’ll be talking about in future articles but I think we have enough here to get you started. As I stated at the beginning of this article, Triathlon is a wonderful sport! It’s full of learning and growing experiences, a great way to meet new friends and establish new relationships. It can also be a very fun way of getting fit and staying healthy if done properly. Putting your program together in the proper way for you – how it fits with your current fitness level, how it fits into your current lifestyle, the time management, the nutrition part of it (which we haven’t even started talking about yet.) are all questions that we’ll continue to write and talk about. We’re here to help you build a unique life experience through participating in this great sport. Our website address is Come check it out! There’s much still to be done with it to make what I envision it to be but we’ll get there. It’s just another part of our journey.
Train hard, with purpose and a smile!
Coach Art

Author's Bio: 

Triathlete and Triathlon coach, Art Bradley founder of CAB4 Triathlon offers individuals of all ages and fitness levels the chance to Build a Life Expereince through participating in the sport of Triathlon. Art has finished every level and distance of triathlons available, run marathons and countless other road races and has in that time developed a philosophy that is positive and encouraging and seeks to share with others the positive influences that being healthy and physically, mentally and spiritually fit can offer. "Training for a Triathlon is about so much more than swimming, biking and running. It is about living! It is about stretching yourself not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well, to be the best that you can possibly be. There are no limits to what you can achieve!"