I have competed in triathlons for 8 years now and in my time of doing so, I have heard every excuse in the book about why friends and family “can’t do a triathlon”. I’m here to tell you that just about anyone has the physical capabilities to do a triathlon. Even those who only dust off the cardio cobwebs every few weeks. While there are many excuses not to do a triathlon, I will go over the top 3 that I hear consistently and the various ways to navigate around them.
Swimming can be a daunting exercise for those who have never had any skill swimming experience. Sure, many of us have had the “chicken—airplane—soldier” swim lessons as a kid, (that’s how they teach a basic backstroke if that phrase isn’t familiar to you) but swimming for an extended period of time, no way. But just like getting in the gym, you have to start somewhere. There are swim professionals that can help adults and kids learn proper swim technique and even coaches that focus on triathletes specifically.
What many people often don’t understand is that the swim is typically only one-tenth of any triathlon distance race. So even if it takes a while to master your stroke, it is helpful to know that the struggle will be over quickly.
Besides, you’re made of about 70% water anyway. Don’t let the fear of what you’re made of be an excuse for not doing a triathlon!
Who knows? You may even find it relaxing as a perfect, low-impact supplement to other higher-impact training programs.
The bike is often something we learn to do at a young age. It gives us the freedom to roam
and explore. The bike is the longest distance of any triathlon and usually requires the most time to complete. However, a lot of the endurance you build during your running and
swimming turns into great biking fitness. The bike offers a new way to decrease load on joints while still improving cardiovascular fitness. It also allows you to explore the county roads and bike paths during the warmer months. Finding the right bike is usually one of the bigger hurdles to get over. Just like finding a significant other, finding the right bike requires time, patience and ultimately a financial commitment. Your first bike doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Set a price range, talk with a local bike shop, and find the bike of your dreams. The equation for the number of bikes one should have is typically n + 1.
Time to Train
Surprise! This one is among the top excuses people give for not exercising — and as it turns out, it’s not that great of an excuse! Despite what people think, the vast majority of triathlete’s have multiple commitments outside of their sport such as family, work, and school. It all comes down to effective time management and the right training plan. Many have misconceptions about the variety of distances available for a triathlon. There really are a lot of options to fit any time constraints on your training program.
For beginners, I recommend a sprint distance triathlon. This consists of a ¼ mile swim, 10-15-mile bike, and a 5-kilometer run. This type of race requires approximately 1 hour of training 5-6 days a week.
Which, coincidentally, is about half of the average time people spend watching TV each week.
There are many variations in the volume and intensities that it takes to complete triathlons. So before you say you don’t have enough time, think again. Start small and build up to big.
How much TV (or other time-wasting things) are you willing to trade to be healthier and more competitive?
Swim, Bike, Run!
A triathlon can be a grueling, intense, brutal race that lasts hours.
Or it can be a fun, centering, hour-long endeavor that helps you move to the next level in your fitness journey.
Whether you’re a land mammal who doesn’t care for the water, a foot-dragger who only runs if chased, or flat out think you don’t have the time, I encourage you to give triathlon training a shot, even if it is just a check off your bucket list.
You may discover that starting small finds you growing webbed feet, enjoying a good run and discovering time you didn’t know you had.
Who knows? When you’re out of excuses, you could be the next Ironman…or Ironwoman.