So maybe this weekend you were thinking, what the heck am I getting myself into, or getting myself into, AGAIN? A triathlon… Really?
So here’s the plan. A half mile swim followed by 12miles on a bike, and then 5 kilometers on your feet, in that order. Here’s the reality. You can swim any stroke, take as long as you need, use a noodle if you need to. You can ride any bike, even one with a bell, basket, and flag, enjoy the ride and talk to a lot of people. You can walk, run, jog, skip, or jump to finish the 5K. This is as much a race as you want it to be. And that’s where you come in. It’s time to decide what you want this to be.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~CS Lewis
Goals are an important part of any process, and especially important if you are doing something for the first time. You must decide what you want this event to be about. First timers often decide their first goal is to finish. This is a great goal. Repeat offenders may try to improve their time or fitness levels, overcome difficulties with certain parts of the race, or do more of the race than they have in the past. Everyone should have a goal.
Just as important are the means to achieve a goal. How are you going to get there? What’s your plan? Some of you are going to play this day by day and try to decide what to do each day based on how you feel and how much time you have. Others will plan things out more long term, either week by week, or for several weeks. I can’t tell you what to do, but certainly some long-term check points are probably in order so that you can be sure you’re on the right track. We need to know that what we are doing is working, we need evidence of progress. So put things in your plan that will provide you with evidence of progress. You gain confidence and have things to celebrate.
The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. ~Ayn Rand
Let me give you an example so you can understand what I mean. I always have many goals for the race, but here are two that I will be focused on in these early weeks of training. I’d like to lose 20 pounds and I’d like to increase my running so that I can run 60 minutes without stopping.
Ok. What are the means to achieve these goals?
First goal: To lose weight I must record what I am eating and try to keep my daily caloric intake to around 2000 calories per day. I use this website to record both my food and exercise and the process of doing this recording keeps me more honest about what I am eating. http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/default.htm The website will give you information about nutrition and calories for your height, weight, and activity level.
Second goal: Right now I am running about 15 minutes without stopping, doing a total of about 30 minutes of run/walk. In order to achieve my goal, I must add 5 minutes of total time to each walk/run each week and work to lengthen my run. So at the end of 6 weeks I will be doing 60 minutes of walk/run, with significantly more running than I am doing now. How much more than 15 minutes of running at a time will be determined by how my back responds, but I am hoping to be back at the 3 mile mark in 6 weeks. I must run 4-5 days per week. You can see my training schedule at the bottom right of the website. I plan week by week, based on my work and family schedule, but I do have a long term check point.
So your turn. We are about 18 weeks out. These first 6 weeks are a great opportunity to get started on fitness, to add strength training to your routine if you are not already doing so, to make some goals and start a plan to achieve them. If you are truly starting from scratch and want to swim, bike, and run every week to see how you feel about triathlons, there is a GREAT 6 week plan posted here at the website for beginners.
If you have goals but are not sure about the means to achieve them or need some suggestions, drop me an email and I can help. Every plan is individualized and every person responds differently, so I hope you will give this some serious thought in the next week.
Life is full of obstacle illusions. ~Grant Frazier
Train safely, stretch, hydrate, eat well, sleep.
Safe journey. Wind at your back.