I want to complete a triathlon. (Day 34)


There. I said it.


It was about two years ago when I started thinking I was ready for another challenge. I had finished some mud runs and distance races and had two thoughts:


1.) I do not want to run another marathon for a spell.

2.) I want to do something else fun and challenging.


But I haven’t had the courage to come out and say it to people until recently. Well, here it is folks: I don’t know where or when, but I want be a triathlete. Soon.


Of course, there are a few things in the way – there always are. There’s the tiny fact that I don’t know how to swim, for starters – I can make swimming motions when I find myself in water, but I was never taught to actually swim and I have no idea what a mile swim looks or feels like. I’ll learn.


I used to bike a lot for transportation, and I’ve been known to take a recreational bike ride here and there, but I don’t know what a bike race looks like either. I also have a second-hand Walmart bike, which I’m not sure will work or not. I’ve been told that whatever your bike is, it’s good enough, though I told this to a friend recently and was interested by her look of horror.


And then there’s running. I ran a 5k a few weeks ago that was awesome, but I don’t really run anymore since I began my 6-day-a-week power yoga practice. I am signed up for a 10k on March 16, so that’ll hopefully give me the kick in the butt I need to start running again.


Ok, so when you put all those together, I sort of sound insane. I credit all of this insanity to yoga, which increases your comfort level with (and even helps you to seek out) intensity. Yoga says to me, “Oh, you work crazy hours at your job, go to grad school, work as a yoga teacher and practice? Eh…there’s some space there. Do more.”


It also encourages you to test your edge, which is what I’m really after. Ryan said recently that falling is how you get better at poses, and it really is – if you’re scared of falling in a pose, you’ll never reach your potential. Your inner voice will be left unsatisfied. It will nag. If you do allow yourself to fall, again and again, you’ll experience growth and authenticity. You’ll discover space in your body and mind you didn’t know was possible.


That is how I feel about learning how to swim and ride a bike – I’ll probably fail, and then fail again. But that second fail is going to feel better, and then eventually I’ll succeed at something. Right?


That being said, I am ready to jump in. I do have a few initial questions, however, for any triathletes reading:


1.) Are you wet the whole time?

2.) How long does it take to transition? Are you supposed to rest, or do you frantically try to pull on socks over wet feet?

3.) Where do I find a training plan?

4.) I’ve ever been to a spin class or a swim class. Should I do that, or should I train on my own?

And any other advice or thoughts would be great. Thanks in advance and happy March!

5 thoughts on “I want to complete a triathlon. (Day 34)

  1. Hey, saw your post on Reader and noticed your q’s at the bottom 🙂 I’ve been into triathlons for 5 years, not toooooo long in the grand scheme of things, so maybe I’ll be able to help a little bit.

    (1) For a short triathlon like a try-a-tri or a sprint, yeah, you’ll probably be wet the whole time. For a sprint distance, you might dry out by the end of the bike, but I find that you generally just replace the lake water with sweat!
    (2) It doesn’t take long to transition. You generally try to do it as quickly as possible to remain competitive – pull on your shoes, take a gel, and go.
    (3) Check out Beginnertriathlete.com for training plans and general advice. It’s a great resource for all the basics, including training plans.
    (4) You’d probably benefit from taking a swim class or joining a masters swim club, especially if you’re not sure how your body will find a mile long swim. The swim can be a bit of a ‘washing machine’ at the start of a tri, even if they use a wave start.

    What distance are you thinking of? Are you considering a try-a-tri, or jumping right in to a sprint or an olympic? Whatever you choose, good luck and happy training! I’m looking forward to reading about your progress!

    1. Wow, thanks for such an encouraging and thoughtful comment! I’m thinking of doing a sprint in June and possibly then an olympic in July. Does that sound crazy? I’m not really sure what is doable, but I guess that’s a good thing. I really appreciate your advice and answers!

      1. No problem!
        I bet you could do a sprint and an olympic this year, if you already have a good level of general fitness, which it seems like you do judging by your post. You’ll probably find that riding a commuter bike will be a challenge for an olympic distance course, but it could definitely be done. You might also have to see how you find the swimming – if it turns out to be your ‘limiter’, for lack of a better word, working hard at it over the next few months should have you ready for a sprint by June.
        I’m excited for you! Good luck!

  2. Great to see you’re wanting to compete in triathlon. To answer some of your questions:

    1. You are not wet the entire time. Your triathlon specific race suit will dry out on huge bike. You’ll only continually be wet if you dump water over yourself, like most triathletes do on the run course.

    2. As soon as you come out of the water, you put all your bike gear on and GO. You try to make your transition time as fast as possible. If it’s not fast, you risk being pulled off the course later because of time restraints.

    3. The Ironman website has training plans you can buy, or find a local coach to hire and they will personalize a plan for you.

    4. Swim classes aren’t necessary. But if you don’t know how to properly swim, it might be best. Local YMCAs or gyms have Masters swim classes that are great and you can work with a coach. Spin class is also great, but not a substitute for being out on the road. Spinning should be seen as a supplement to your outdoor training. You can also buy an indoor cycling trainer from a local bike shop which will enable you to ride your regular bike indoors.

    Triathlon is a great sport; mentally and physically challenging. I’d suggest starting with a Sprint triathlon….don’t go into a half ironman or full ironman for your first tri; that would not be a good idea. The Sprint distance is the least distance you can race (although in some cities you can find a super sprint).

    Have fun, and enjoy training!

    1. Thank you for your expert advice! It is really helpful. Wow, there is so much more to consider after making the decision to jump in. I think I’ll start with a sprint…I hope to keep you updated on this blog – I hope you’ll jump in with another comment if you see I’m talking about doing something completely outrageous. I’d ask you to help keep me from embarrassing myself, but I don’t want to put that difficult job on anyone.:)

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