I want to apologize to beginners for over-simplifying things. It’s been more than a few years since I completed my first tri, and I seem to have selective amnesia.
This spring, a funny thing happened: a brand new triathlete started living with me. Well, he’s been living with me for a long time, but he’s just become a triathlete. We have long had a deal that if he completes a triathlon, I will brew a beer (his hobby). So he dutifully read Your First Triathlon and wrote his training plan on the calendar. And he confessed that he is intimidated by the whole endeavor. This is a guy who is no stranger to the logistics of triathlon. He’s seen plenty of them and heard me talk about them and witnessed me competing in them and (wait for it) not die doing it. I guess I’d figured that would set him up for training confidence.
Then I realized I am completely intimidated by the prospect of brewing beer. I am a girl who is no stranger to the logistics of home brewing. I’ve seen plenty of it and heard him talk about it and witnessed him brewing beers without burning the house down (not to mention drinking my fair share of the finished product).
It’s that thing about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish. If you give a man a triathlon…okay, well maybe the analogy breaks down a bit, but you get the idea. It is human nature to fear what we have not done. But it is also human nature to dig in and get it done, and that’s when we learn.
I’d grown so accustomed to doing this that I’d forgotten what it was like to be a newbie.
So let’s get this straight. If you are doing a triathlon, of any distance, for the first time, you are doing a big, new, scary thing. A thing that involves way more stretchy fabrics than anyone needs to wear. A thing with its own confusing lingo. (Before you got into this you thought a brick was building material and T2 was an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, right?) A thing with early mornings, and physical and mental challenge. In this blog, I try to simplify things. I firmly believe just about anyone is capable of being a triathlete.
I try to give tips in bitesized pieces. But that doesn’t mean this is easy. I won’t give step-by-step suggestions for overcoming first-timer anxiety. You probably won’t overcome it until you are in the water, but you still have to jump in and do it. Remember why you registered for this thing in the first place. Was it health, curiosity, friendship, a sense of adventure? Think about that motivation. Trust your preparation, even if it wasn’t perfect. And a glass of wine the night before the race also will not hurt.
So go to it, newbie. You’ve got this.