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Begginer Triathletes – Hints and Tips to Starting Racing and Training!

Every beginner triathlete starts his journey to the finish line by first going through a proper self-analysis. Determining your strengths and weaknesses in your lifestyle is the only way to accurately pinpoint the next step in your journey.

If you’re like the majority of Americans, you likely eat too much of the wrong kind of food, even if you’re in great shape. To start your journey, focus on making healthier choices when it comes to food. You’ll starve your muscles to death if you eat junk food all the time but workout often. If you’re unsure whether or not you fall into this category, start a quick log of the foods you eat throughout the day. Keep it up for a full week. After seven days, look back at what you had for each meal and snacks, and then ask yourself if there was something you could have done to make some better choices. Perhaps you replace that soda in the afternoon with an iced tea, or include a side salad at dinner instead of another serving of buttery mashed potatoes. Stay true to yourself and you’ll soon see your eating habits change.

As you train more and more, your body will tell you what foods you’ll need to stock up on. Obviously, more carbohydrates in your diet are essential for long workouts, much like the need for more protein. A lot of athletes will forget to include some veggies and fruit into the mix to supply the appropriate vitamins, so be sure not to skip the salads.

You’ll know right away whether or not you’re in good shape. If climbing a set of stairs makes breathing difficult, you have a bit of work ahead. On the other hand, if you’re capable of completing 1000 crunches in a row without breaking a sweat, perhaps you should simply focus on fine tuning your racing skills.

The purpose of finding your overall fitness is to give you a gauge of where to start. If you’re deathly out of shape, as mentioned above, focus on losing a couple of pounds and simply increasing your respiratory capacity. Go for a jog or walk 3-4 times per week, and focus on eating healthful foods. Once you’ve gotten to a point where you’re physically capable of completing workouts, go ahead and jump into a training program that will allow you to complete your first race!

If you’re already at the point of being able to start a program, or are so fit that you can probably do a triathlon right from the get-go, look at the different training options available to you. Analyze how much time you have each week to devote to training, how long in advance you have to train, and what kind of commitment you’re ready to make.

Determining where to start off depends upon whether you’re an eight time Olympic Gold Medalist, or local pool doggy paddler. One requires a bit more work and dedication than the other.

Take a good hard look at where you lie within each discipline. Maybe you ran all through high school and college, but have never hopped onto a bike or jumped into a pool. Perhaps you’ve surfed the couch for the last three years, and really don’t have any recent experience with swimming, cycling, or running.

If you find that you’re lacking in any category, get yourself acquainted with the sport by using one of the resources below.

*Swimming: Join a swim club at your local pool. Focus on getting proper swim stroke over attaining fitness and strength. No matter how fit you are, if you do not have proper swim stroke, you will never reach your swimming potential.

*Cycling: Join a weekly ride from your local bike shop. Just walk right in and ask the guy (or gal) behind the counter when the next ride leaves. Make sure you’re on a ride for beginners, otherwise you may find yourself all alone on the road.

*Running: Again, find a local running group to meet with. Runners are perhaps the most friendly athletes around, and always welcome additional people.

Have you taken the time to define some goals for your triathlon journey? Are you shooting for a specific time in a race? Are you just hoping to finish without collapsing? Perhaps you merely want to get into shape and live a longer and healthier life? Whatever your reason may be, set a clear, defined, and attainable goal.

Examples of excellent goals are:

-Finish my first sprint race in under 2 hours

-Finish my first sprint without having to be taken away in a stretcher…

-Lose 50 pounds and 2 inches from my waist

-Finish in the top 10 overall -Win my age group at Race X

Regardless of your goal, make sure that it is something you’re able to measure. This is very important, because otherwise you’ll have no way to gauge whether or not you’ve met your goal. Once you do meet your goal, set another one, so that you’ll be motivated for your next triathlon. Keep in mind, however, that there is one goal everyone should have that cannot be measured very well: HAVING FUN!!

Triathloning is a lifestyle, and as such to truly “start” being a triathlete will require being a motivated individual in all aspects – nutrition, overall fitness, athletic background, and goals. Once you find what motivates you, stick with it and let it be the driving force that transforms your life!

About the Author

Matt LeBrun is a writer for Triathlon Hints , a website devoted to supplying beginner triathletes with all the info they need to know to have a successful and enjoyable triathlon experience. Visit Triathlon Hints for more articles on everything triathlon related!

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