Being a Triathlete

One of my favorite things to ask athletes taking on a triathlon for the first time is: Do you know what they call the last place finisher at a triathlon? – A Triathlete!

When it is all said and done we are all out there competing to be the best we can be. Perhaps that is completing the swim without stopping, biking the fastest split of the day, or running the entire 5k. I often think about my first race and how much different it is racing today. My first bike was a $400 Giant; I wore bike shorts and a long jog bra top and didn’t own a wetsuit. I remember pulling into the lot with all these fancy bikes that cost more than my first car! I was so intimidated!! But the other athletes and race staff were great: helpful and happy, ready to give tips and encouragement. Remember when you toe the line on race day – many around you are new to the sport too, but regardless of experience we were all first-timers once.

In the blog you have read about injury prevention, training, transitions, swimming, running, and biking technique. How about just having fun?! So here it goes! Here are a few of my favorite things to do on race day that make the event fun and remind me that I am lucky enough to be healthy and doing something I love.


  1. Make the volunteers smile and laugh! These wonderful people are invaluable to the race experience and don’t get nearly enough credit. Joke with them; thank them on the swim exit, bike and run!
  2. When warming up for the swim – look back at the shoreline at all the families, support crews, athletes, kids – there is so much potential in the crowd and a whole lot of love!
  3. When on the bike, take a moment – no matter how brief, and notice a flower, bird or beauty around you. Encourage another athlete. Smile when you see people coming the other way!
  4. On the run – high five a kid (or 10!). The looks on their faces when you take one step out of your way to acknowledge them is priceless!
  5. Cheer everyone in, even (or perhaps especially) the last finisher. Each and every person who crosses that line is a triathlete at the end of the day. They have sacrificed, sweat, been in pain, and experienced the high – just like you. We are all in the same club now – and it can be a pretty cool place to be.

Keep up the training and remember to have fun!

Stick With It!

Even though spring is upon us, it is often cold and wet outside… and, let’s face it, there are days you would just rather sleep in or go home early and relax. But, you have begun to build your base fitness and now is the time to dig deep and stick with it! If you do, I bet you find that your workouts will make your days brighter, you will have more energy and later in spring, you will be truly grateful for all your hard work… it will pay off for you!

Hopefully you have found your balance and you are feeling very comfortable in the water. Now you will want to build strength and endurance… speed will come in time. It is important to build a solid foundation, and add speed training at the end to prevent injury. Each workout you do should have an adequate warm up, drill set, work set, strength training set or endurance set , and a cool down. Feel free to mix and match the workouts I have sent out to build your own custom workout.

This month, do a “time trial” swim so you have some data to track your progress… I find while preparing for a big event, keeping a training journal is very useful. Tracking progress can be motivating, it can also tell you when you need to rest:

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The Art of Transition

Lost in Transition – the art of the 4th discipline.

It has often been written that transitions in a triathlon are the 4th discipline. You can gain time and places or you can literally get lost. I’ve done both! As with most things in sport, how you choose to approach transitions will depend on your experience level, comfort, and individual race conditions. Transitioning from one sport to another can be the most difficult part of the race. Once you get to race time – you have likely swum 1000’s of yards, bikes many miles and run and run and run! But how many times have you practiced what happens between these sports? What follows are some general guidelines for working towards efficient transitions.

Let’s look at each transition separately and the things that can make each difficult. I am going to start with what I will call Transition 0 (T0). Think of this as the set up of your transition area and the preparation to start the race.

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