Triathlons are both intense and intensely rewarding, but they’re also extremely intimidating to prepare for. The trick, as with many things, is to start small.
We never forget our first.
Your first triathlon is likely to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever experience. But it’s also one of the most intimidating undertakings you’ll ever put yourself through, at least at first. I’m not going to lie to you – it won’t be easy.
You’ll have to work hard and train harder. You’ll have to change how you live and eat. You’ll have to push yourself beyond limits you didn’t even know you had.
But it will all be worth it.
I’m not really doing a whole lot to make the whole idea of running a triathlon any more palatable, am I? Let’s back up a bit. As with many undertakings in life, the trick to getting yourself ready – to getting in shape – is to start small.
Start with manageable stuff, turn it into habits, and before you know it, you’ll be in the best shape of your life.
1. Start Counting Calories
Ask anyone who knows about fitness, and they’ll tell you that getting in shape is only 20% exercise. The rest is tied to diet – how you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat. And the truth is that most people are downright awful at keeping track of those numbers.
That’s why apps like MyFitnessPal are a godsend. By training yourself to log everything you put in your body – however small or negligible it may seem – you’ll be able to get a better handle on how much you’re eating. You’ll probably be surprised at first; many of us eat a lot more than we expect.
But knowing is the first step to managing. Once you know what sort of stuff you’re eating, you’ll be able to start tweaking your diet to be healthier. And that’s the first – perhaps even the most important – step to fitness.
2. Set Aside Fifteen Minutes A Day For Exercise
A lot of people are intimidated by the gym. I get it – you’re training side by side with people in better shape than anyone you’ve ever seen. What if they make fun of your or laugh at you (they won’t).
Believe it or not, whipping yourself into proper shape doesn’t need to be a huge commitment – it doesn’t even require a gym membership. Just spend fifteen minutes every day doing some light workouts, and gradually increase the time and intensity as you go on. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to start training in earnest.
3. Get Your Friends Involved
The best piece of advice anyone ever told me about getting in shape is to find a workout buddy. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to get up and train when you know you have a friend (or better yet, several friends) waiting on you to do so. Better yet, you can all share the pain of preparation together.
You can motivate one another when either of you us feeling discouraged. You can work together to better yourselves. And you can share in the glory when you all finally cross the finish line together.
Training for a triathlon can seem overwhelming – but it doesn’t need to be. Start with the small hints outlined here, and you’ll be whipping yourself into shape in no time at all.