Triathlon: It’s The Journey Not the Destination

When someone first thinks about doing a triathlon, one of two things likely cross their minds. Either, “Holy smokes, that looks like a lot of fun! I think I’ll do that,” or, “That looks like a whole bunch of no thank you.” To each their own, but if you’re in the first camp, power to you. Doing three sports for one event can seem a little daunting. 

On the surface, a triathlon can be intimidating, and you are asking a lot from yourself mentally and physically for a compact moment in time. That is normal. You may already enjoy running, biking, swimming, or you may be new to all three. As long as you have the desire, the motivation will come. 

Where to Start

Pick a triathlon. Set a goal. Create a training schedule.  

Knowing the distance you are signing up for when choosing your first triathlon is essential. If you are entirely new to all three disciplines, a Sprint triathlon may appeal to you. This kind of triathlon consists of swimming around 500 meters, biking 12-15 miles, and running the standard 5k (3.2 miles). 

If you feel that a Sprint may be too easy for you, try an Olympic. This triathlon consists of a .93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run.

If the Olympic distance piques your interest, but you still want a little more, look into a half Ironman distance. In a half Ironman triathlon, you will face a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, followed by a half marathon—13.2 miles. 

The more extensive the race, the more time you will need to dedicate to sleep, nutrition, and training. If this is your first race, veterans will tell you to start with a Sprint, as this will give you a good idea of what triathlon training will require in mental and physical levels. You can keep training and move up from there.

Training Does Not Have to Be Complicated

Starting your triathlon training journey does not have to be expensive. Depending on where you live, you may be able to do your training outside or at home. This is a good idea if you have space for exercise equipment, and access to a pool or natural body of water for swim training. Otherwise, many gym memberships are very affordable and may provide personal training services.

Craigslist and Facebook marketplace are excellent avenues to find used treadmills, bike trainers, hand weights, and barbells. There are several Facebook pages where athletes sell their gently used gear for deep discounts, and they only ask that you either be in their local area or willing to pay the shipping cost to get the item to you. Buying used gear is an excellent avenue to find out what you like without having to spend a lot of money.

Check out a local or online book store for books on triathlon training for beginners. Secondhand stores like Goodwill and Play It Again Sports may also have used gear or training literature. Once you decide how you feel about the sport, you can consider upgrading your gear. 

Many communities have triathlon clubs. These clubs are composed of people of all abilities. One of the best things about training with a group of people is that you become part of a community with lots of wisdom to impart. Not only will you have an inside group to tell you the best ways to train, but they may also help you with training. Triathlon clubs might have their own training sessions or attend gyms for small group training. 

Discover What You Are Capable Of

Looking from the outside in, a triathlon can be daunting, but training for your first triathlon is quite like eating an elephant: one bite at a time. Just keep getting in the water, on the bike, and on the run, and you’ll start to feel more confident about it. Every day of training will be different. There will be days when you wonder why you started the journey in the first place, and other days that your workout was so good you feel invincible. 

With every training session, you will not only improve your physical and mental health, but you will also discover new things about yourself, such as being capable of running or walking a distance you never thought possible at a speed you would have never dreamed of. You’ll know all the training was worth it the second you hear the crowd cheer your number on, and you step across the finish line.

Deciding to take on a triathlon can be exciting and frightening. This is a test of your mental strength as well as your physical strength. If your mental health is suffering, your race training may suffer as well. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition that makes everyday activities difficult and physical fitness even more so, SokyaHealth can help you take that first step toward wellness. It is okay to reach out, ask for help, and admit that you are having a difficult time. The staff at SokyaHealth can help you make goals and stick to them, especially if you’re looking for mental health or substance abuse recovery guidance. Your journey and goals are personal, and the help you’ll find at our facility will be the same. We offer customized treatment and support so you can make your dreams a reality. Call 866-932-1767 to find out more.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

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