Hello! I am so excited to share with you today’s guest post, which is my first one ever! J
Today’s post comes from Courtney and she blogs over at A Girl With A Mission. I’ve been reading her blog for a while, when we both became new bloggers around the same time. Courtney became interested in triathlons, so she gave it a shot and she loves them! I love reading her stories about training and being in the races, so I figured some of you would too. I hope you all enjoy her guest post!
Courtney’s Guest Post
Hello everyone! My name’s Courtney and I blog over at A Girl with a Mission. I’m thrilled that Lisa is 1) okay and back to blogging after the robbery and 2) has asked me to guest blog for her. Per her request, I have decided to give a little info (as much as I can as a rookie) into the crazy world of triathlons.
In May 2011, I did something slightly wild. I signed up for my first triathlon! Even though it’s only been four months since I first began my triathlon journey, I have fallen head over heels for it. While it can be time-consuming trying to train well for three separate sports, it is extremely rewarding. As a lover of goals, dedication and knowledge, I am so thankful to triathlon-ing (?) for providing all three – constantly! However, coming from a gymnastics and running background, the transition to triathlons was not 100% smooth. Below are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Befriend a fellow triathlete/find a mentor: I have been so fortunate to be connected to my local Y and have contacts in the small community! Through this networking, I have found a few people who know triathlons really,really well. For instance, one man that has offered to help me completed his first triathlon in 1987. Many of yall weren’t even born then, myself included! Knowing that I have that wealth of knowledge at my access is incredibly helpful. Now, I can bombard him with questions such as, “Why is my RPM high but not my MPH?” and “What do you think is best to fuel with on the bike?”, etc. Anyway, if at all possible – find a mentor! Mention that you’re doing a triathlon to those who are active in your life (i.e., your family, at the gym, at your workplace) – you’d be surprised to find out how many people have become hooked to this sport!
2. Find a plan that fits you: While it is an excellent idea to have a mentor, remember that this triathlon will be completed by YOU and YOU alone! So, with that in mind, think about a few things before you decide on a training plan. What is your strongest event? What is your weakest event? Before I began triathlons, I decided that swimming was my weakest and running was my strongest. After two triathlons, however, I have come to find that biking is my weakest event. With that said, my third training plan has been tweaked to up the mileage on the bike, in hopes that I can improve my skills. Once you have decided on your strongest and weakest event, you can construct your plan accordingly, searching for a plan that emphasizes your weak point, allowing you to become confident in that area before race day. I recommend looking at trinewbies.com or beginnertriathlete.com for help. Also, the training page on my blog has the plans that I have used in the past.
3. Be aware of the signs of overtraining: I have recently been on the brink of overtraining. This comes when you are exerting too much without enough recovery and fuel. While mild over-reaching is fine, over-training can take days, weeks, or even months to fully recover from! For myself, it was easy to spot some signs that I was on the brink of over-training: 1) I was unmotivated (not like me at all!) 2) I was sore from activities that wouldn’t normally make me sore 3) I couldn’t sleep despite 8-hour work days and 3-4 hours at the gym each day 4) I had recently upped my mileage big time; and 5) I felt mentally foggy and restless. Over-training is possible, especially now that you are transitioning from one sport to three! Learn to recognize the symptoms of it and let yourself back off if you feel that you are over-training or close to it.
4. Simplicity is key: Once deciding to do your first triathlon, you may be extremely excited to get all the latest gear. Don’t! Triathlons can be expensive on their own (registration fees + one-day membership/insurance with USAT), so there’s no need to go all out for a sport you may decide to never do again. For me, I bought a bike (a beginner road bike), helmet, tri shorts, and goggles. I used current running attire that I had and a simple sport watch to time myself. There’s no need to buy a $3000 Trek bike, bike computer and aero bars. Not only may you be overwhelmed, but you may also be disappointed if you decide to only do one triathlon. The simplicity also translates into the transition areas, but that could fill up another post entirely!
5. Trust your training: As someone who has run 5Ks, half marathons and competed nationally as a gymnast, I never had trouble trusting my training until I got to triathlons. I think it’s due to the three-sport combination, but for some reason, taper week became worry week for me before my first triathlon. I anxiously thought that I should be working out more, that I should’ve done more training, etc. DON’T let yourself think that! If you have followed a plan, put in full effort in your workouts, you will succeed. Take this time to let your body (and mind) rest, which means no undue stress!
I could go on for days about triathlons and my experience training for them. Hopefully, though, that has given some insight into this exhilarating world! Feel free to message me or read my blog to find out more. Also, thank you again to Lisa for allowing me to guest post!