What I Wish I’d Known When I Started Triathlon Training

Please enjoy the following guest blog post from Liz Welding from The Reds Tri Team. Liz learned to love endless mind numbing hours of exercise from a young age as a swimmer – perfect for triathlon!  She was lucky enough to swim collegiately and then gravitated towards marathons and triathlons when living in Hawai’i – a triathlon mecca (and most fun place ever).  She’s been coaching swimming for over 15 years and triathlon for a decade.  Liz has qualified for 70.3 Worlds three times in addition to being the female rep for New Mexico in The Best of the US triathlon and is currently working toward her 5th Ironman. 

Well I’ve been participating and coaching triathlon for 15 years and there is STILL lots I’m learning – but I tell you one of the best things I’ve learned is to keep your sense of humor.  Triathlon will throw all kinds of things at you – but each time you navigate a curve ball, you’re a little better for it (and you collect great war stories to hash over with other athletes which is half the fun of this sport!)   My husband’s first race he wore his helmet backwards – and not just on the bike #run #helmet.  That’s still one of my favorite stories.

Getting started in triathlon can be intimidating sometimes – and, of course, I wanted to know the nitty gritty how-tos of doing my first triathlon (next blog!), but there are some things I wish I’d known that would have helped me feel more at home trying to figure it all out.

You have every right to be there – and if you need help, ask.  Most triathletes are super nice.

Although sometimes it feels like it, not everyone around you has ‘mastered’ the sport of triathlon – far from it!  Even those big tough athletes with popeye arms and calves the circumference of your thigh don’t have magic knowledge of triathlon (trust me, I coach some of ‘em. yikes!)….if they growl at you, just pat them on the head 🙂

Set small achievable goals – learning comes in stages so allow for this.  Set yourself up for success (it’s more fun and typically more productive).

Consistency, not perfection, with training – perfection is the enemy.  It’s easy to get into all or nothing thinking:  If I don’t have time to do my whole workout, I’m not going to do any of it.  Or, I’ve missed 2 workouts this week so I’ll just blow the rest of this week off and start next week.  Consistency, not perfection, is a much more productive (and practical) way to approach training – you’d be surprised at how much progress you can make with consistent training.

Be a student of the sport – Fitness is developed over years.  The cool thing is this means we can all keep getting better (if you don’t think so, I coach a studette (lady stud) who is in her 60s and has set PRs in every race she’s done in 2016!).  The frustrating part for some is this requires a long term approach to developing your best athletic self…..so head down, bum up!  Your most studly years await!!

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