6 Thoughts Runners Have When Signing Up For A Triathlon
It might seem like a large leap when going from a runner to a triathlete, but it actually is a natural progression for many people. Participating in a triathlon allows us to compete in a different way. We still get to run a leg of the race, probably the area in which we shine the most. And similar to a half or full marathon, a triathlon is an endurance event that really tests mental grit and physical strength. Along with a running portion, athletes must also complete a swim and bike leg of the event. This is great for those who cross-train by taking a spin class or by doing laps in the pool. With proper training, it is possible to crush a triathlon of various distances. But after really thinking about if we are ready to sign up or not, the second we do we are swarmed with thousands of different thoughts.
Oh, snap we just signed up for a triathlon.
Here are some of the many popular thoughts that probably cross the runner’s mind.
What Was I Thinking?
The fear of the unknown is the scariest part about a triathlon. Runners don’t know what to expect and can’t compare it the way they can compare a 5k to a 10k. Chances are if they signed up for a triathlon then it’s something they kind of have faith in that they can do with some training. But that doesn’t mean the runner isn’t left thinking, well, “what was I thinking?!”
And this thought pops up multiple times. From right when the confirmation email comes through to the first day of swim training to researching gear we now need. Not to mention when we are about to take the plunge on race day. Seriously, what was I thinking?!
I Am Going To Drown
The biggest concern most new triathletes have is the swim portion. Some runners can barely keep afloat yet alone swim underwater with the help of a nose plug. Then there are those who a deathly afraid of the ocean. We are talking waves that can take us out, sharks that can grab us as a snack and the other critters that may or may not brush past us.
Was that seaweed or a fish that just brushed my leg?
Even if we are okay swimmers, chances are the runner is going to think “I am going to drown!”
Many triathlons feature their swim portions in bays, rivers, and the ocean. This calls for a bit of unpredictability. This can be nerve-racking for any athlete. But keep in mind that depending on the event, the swim portion isn’t that long. Plus it’s the first event so the athlete gets it over with first. And many triathletes say they also stressed about the swim the first time but learned that it really isn’t that bad.
And no, you won’t drown as Long as you have basic swim skills. Wetsuits help the athlete float and there are lifeguards on duty in case of an emergency.
Um…I Need A Bike
There are a few essential pieces of gear that triathletes need. Of course, this includes a bike. Those who attend spin classes frequently might be riding often but don’t have their own set of wheels. Or maybe its time to go back home and take back your old bike that has been collecting dust. Yes, you need a bike and start training on it before race day.
Those with thinner tires work the best for speed, so that mountain bike that’s been sitting in the garage might not be the best option. However, this doesn’t mean purchase a new or expensive bike the first go at a tri. If the athlete never does one again, it could be a waste of money. Instead, look to borrow one or purchase a used one from a buy/sell marketplace like on Facebook.
What If I Can’t Get Out Of My Wetsuit?
After signing up for the event you immediately start researching all the other gear needed—especially for the swim. But when it comes to the wetsuit, one thought comes to mind: “what if I can’t get out of it?!”
When envisioning race day we think about all the logistics like how in the world we are supposed to strip down with the wetsuit clinging to the skin? It’s easy to imagine struggling to get the suit off, tripping over ourselves as we pull and tug in embarrassment.
The good news is that while this is a real concern, there is a solution. Practice taking the suit off during practice swims. For race day, scoop water into the suit to make it nice and slippery to slide right off.
How Am I Going To Get Through Training?
Probably the first thing that is done after registering—and making it Facebook official—is to look up online training plans. And then we realize just how much training a triathlon takes. This includes running, swimming and biking six days a week—for weeks.
How in the world will I get through this?
Easy, one day and one workout at a time. Chances are the runner did three training runs a week for other races plus cross-training. And it was doable. So is tackling triathlon training. Reserve swimming with friends at a community pool at night and get the bike and runs done early in the morning before work. Just make a schedule and stick to it.
Let Me See What Time I Need
Yeah, it is the first triathlon but that doesn’t mean you aren’t super competitive. We bet you look at the age groups results from the year before to see just how well you need to do in order to place. Running a 5k in under 30 minutes? Check. Now, all that needs to be done is swim your heart out and cycle as fast as you can.
Or we might start reconsidering this whole triathlon thing after seeing those impressive times. The good news is that either way, it’s a PR.
I Am An Olympian
Even though it isn’t race day yet, it’s hard not to imagine that you will feel like an Olympian after completing this goal. It’s a triathlon and finishing it is a major victory. Cue the motivational music.