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When it comes to triathlons… well… NOT!
There are no secrets, and there is no red pill or secret society of triathletes with ancient scrolls of special knowledge about training and competing in triathlons. Sorry!
In the end, this is what distinguishes the triathlon community. Triathletes are people who push themselves to limits that most people won’t. It’s not that a person can’t; it’s just that most people don’t or won’t. However, don’t let this fact cause you to look down your nose at the rest of the world.
Not every person in the world should be a triathlete.
Some of the most significant people in my life and in the world are not triathletes.
Because I am an author, I am often invited to speak at various gatherings. Last night I spoke at a women’s shelter, and some of the women I met are in the process of overcoming a drug addiction and step-by-step putting their lives back together. Too bad there’s not a finish line where we could line-up, cheer, and celebrate their victory, and the countless hours involved in reclaiming your life from addiction.
Which is more grueling — riding 100 miles on your bike, or the first weeks of detoxification?
How To Make Fast Gains In Triathlon Training
There are no secrets, and yet there are ways a person can maximize their progress in triathlon training.
Here are 3 simple things to consider:
#1 – Drop the unnecessary pounds.
People of all sizes do triathlons. You can be 25 pounds overweight, and do a triathlon, but why?
Any unnecessary weight is just more stuff you have to pull through the water, drag up hills on a bike, and carry on your run. You must lose the weight responsibly, but let’s just be frank here: extra weight is making it harder on you.
I recently watched the Olympic trials for triathlon. Most of these men and women were like sticks. Sure, it was all muscle, but they were lean. This also relates to muscle mass. Strength training is an important part of tri training, but it doesn’t help you to add unnecessary muscle mass.
If you walked by a world-class triathlete in the grocery store, you might not be all that impressed. They are likely not to be someone popping out of their shirt with massive sized pecs and biceps. So, don’t hang onto weight you don’t need. If you want to be a bodybuilder, fine — go do that, but the two don’t mix well.
#2 – Train with others.
For the beginning triathlete, training with others is going to help provide accountability, challenge your present level of fitness, and build confidence. That’s why many people do Team in Training for their first triathlon.
Once you lay a reasonable endurance base, consider working one or more or the following into your training schedule:
- Group rides with other cyclists
- Masters Swim Class or tri club open water swims. For example, ACME MultiSports stores (or other triathlon/multi-sport stores) typically post opportunities on their website for your area.
- Doing running events (10k, half marathon), cycling events (Century), and duathlons.
- Running with a partner or running club
#3 – Do a lot of small triathlons.
Sometimes beginners get all starry-eyed about doing an Ironman, or a “real” triathlon like the Olympic distance triathlon. Don’t be a Sprint triathlon snob!
I wish I could convince every newbie to consider it a smashing success if they did 3 or 4 Sprint triathlons in a summer, rather than blowing them off and waiting to do the big one at the end.
You don’t have to reach the pinnacle of your triathlon career in one summer!
Do the smaller ones, get some experience under your belt, build confidence, enjoy yourself, and don’t feel like you have to do a long distance triathlon to have accomplished something significant.
I’m over 40 years old, but I don’t give up easily. It wasn’t too long ago that I was exploring the idea of doing my first triathlon. If I can do it, you can too! I'm proof that with a little determination and training, you can get a great deal of fulfillment participating in marathons, triathlons… even ultramarathons.