Talent Plus Team Equals “Success!”
Many triathletes think of triathlon as a lonely sport. And it can be if you let it! However you will get a whole load more enjoyment from the sport if you make an effort to find some like minded friends to join you in the journey to fitness, competition and success.
You will also need support from family and friends. Make an effort to get “buy in” and support from home. There will be plenty of times you feel completely exhausted, and worn out by the training and also by trying to manage training, work life, family life and some “down” time for you. You need the emotional support from those closest to you to keep you going, give you a bit of motivation and get you back up and on your game.
You will get incredible satisfaction along the way from seeing your times improving, feeling fitter, looking more toned, and getting results. But life will be a whole lot better if you have support. You can do things like arrange a family holiday around the race venue or get them involved in fitness as well.
Most triathletes are a certain breed of person. They tend to lean towards the over achiever side of life. Some can border on the obsessive: analysing their food, completing training logs, weighing themselves, training 6 days a week and using their holidays to race. Some people cannot understand it: often work colleagues might give you a little banter. Take it in good humour but do not let them get you down. Find friends who will get behind you and kick your butt when you have a “down” day.
Join a club
Even if you enjoy a solitary cycle or a quiet run, it is still a really good idea to join a club. You do not have to training with them all the time but go along to a few sessions a week. You will get some training tips, improve your technique and certainly find some training buddies. This will make the whole process so much more enjoyable and increase the likelihood that you will actually stick with it through the good times and bad. It will also help you focus, and push yourself harder than you would otherwise during training. The other benefit is doing races together when you are part of a friendly “gang” of athletes and have people to travel with. Sometimes it can be quite daunting turning up to a race without knowing anyone. If you are not near a triathlon club- you could start one! You may be amazed at how much interest you get! Or you could look out for a swim club, or a running club.
Successful triathlon is not just about the swim, bike and run. There is so much more to get right. Preventing injury, getting the right equipment and nutrition are all critical. Make the effort to find a local bike shop or triathlon shop in your area. These people are often a major source of knowledge about events in the area, about getting the right gear and assistance with getting your bike set up right. They may also be able to give you some tips on training and link you up with some local cyclists or runners to train with.
Many beginners start to get injured when they increase the volume of their training. There are all sorts of things that can cause problems like flat feet, spinal weakness, core weakness, tight hamstrings and muscle imbalances from years of sitting badly or repetitive training. Seeing a sports physiotherapist is a great idea in the early days to get these problems ironed out before poor habits become entrenched. Also make daily stretching a part of your routine as this will pay dividends as you continue to increase the mileage. Ask the physiotherapist about the best stretches and a few tips of strengthening any weak areas you may have. Very often the GP does not specialise in sports and will not be able to provide much advice except take a pain killer and have a few days off. See a sports specialist and get any niggles sorted out early.
There is so much advice out there from interested friends, fellow athletes and cyberspace.
You will need to have a look around and find a couple of websites that you will stay up to date with to give you updated knowledge, advice on strength, training, nutrition, forums to discuss issues that may arise. Get involved in discussions and stay up to date. These sites will also provide you with motivation as you see the incredible goals other people are achieving.
Magazines are also a useful source of knowledge and worth having a look at from time to time.
Make it a discipline to keep a training log. This is really helpful to track your progress as you develop as an athlete. It will also provide you with motivation as you look back and see just how far you have come.
If you are really serious, the fastest way to get success, is to hire a coach. Their prices range depending on how much time they spend with you and whether it is online chats or face to face meetings. If you are just starting out though, simply joining a club will give you enough knowledge to absorb for now.
So get involved, stay focused and enjoy your success.