We’ve all been there Â— you see your gym bag sitting in the corner, you have your shoes half on, but you just don’t want to do it. And when the majority of your fitness routine is mindless elliptical training or your own living room and the latest DVD workout craze, it’s easy to get bored. You need motivation Â— so sign up for your first triathlon, and start the excitement!
When your primary motive for exercise is seeing the number on the scale go down, it’s easy to get discouraged. That’s why it’s so important to set your sights on a goal completely unrelated to the scales or what you see in the mirror. That’s exactly what a triathlon can be for you. It’s an opportunity for you to focus on achieving something you never thought you were capable of.
Swim, bike, run
A triathlon is comprised of three parts: a swim, a bike and a run. The distances vary widely, so there is something you can accomplish no matter what your athletic prowess. And you don’t have to jump right in. If you’re feeling a little intimidated, start with the “tri-a-tri”: a 375–400 m swim, a 10 km bike and a 2.5 km run. After that, the distances continually double, so there is always a new challenge in place for when you feel ready. Or, you can attempt the same distance again and just try to do it faster.
If you need some extra motivation, try talking a friend or family member into training with you. If you have made plans to go biking on a certain day, you are far less likely to back out if you know someone is waiting for you. But even if no one you know is interested, don’t be scared. There is a real sense of community at triathlon races. Most participants aren’t aiming to qualify for the Olympic team or break world records. They’re just every-day, average people who want to get outside and push their bodies to new heights of achievement. Can’t find a washroom? Someone will point the way. Forgot your goggles? Your neighbour will surely lend you a pair. Triathlon races are a great way to meet interesting new people — and who knows, one of them might soon become your training buddy!
Triathlon training is perfect if you find you have trouble staying committed to an exercise plan, because it offers so much variety. Since you have three different cardio activities to work on, as well as strength training to keep you well rounded, you are constantly doing something new. You might finish a run and think, “I never want to do that again!” But you won’t have to for a couple days, because swimming or spin class are next on your training roster. Training for a triathlon gives you permission to try a little bit of everything all the time.
The variety isn’t just great for your mind; it’s excellent for toning your whole body, too! Swimming develops on your arms and shoulders, biking strengthens your legs and butt, and running brings it all together. Before you know it, you will be in the best shape of your life!