Making The Jump From Runner To Triathlete: How To Know You’re Ready

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To start running we simply put one foot in front of the other. Over time, we get faster and better. We get excited to run, finding it is our therapy, our passion. We start running races, 5ks, 10ks, even half marathons. We do things that we never imagined completing, finding out that our minds are so much stronger than our bodies, but along the way, we build strong bodies. And then somewhere down the line, the idea of participating in a triathlon sneaks its way inside our brains.

Suggested as food for thought, this idea is digested grows and grows. We think why not? We might just be ready to make that jump from runner to triathlete.

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Becoming A Triathlete

A triathlete is a person who completed a triathlon, a race that includes a swim, bike and run. There are different variations of the sport, but it essentially means doing three sports in a single race. An Ironman is a triathlon, but the most prestigious since it includes a 2.4-mile run, 112-mile bike ride, and a full marathon. Not all triathlons are Ironman races. Newcomers should start with the smallest event, the Sprint which consists of a 1/4 to 1/2 mile swim, 10 to 13-mile bike ride and 5k.

Becoming a triathlete might be a natural progression for a runner who is looking to challenge themselves in a different way while still racing and competing. It isn’t a requirement to be a runner or ever doing a race to become a triathlete. It just takes courage, determination and a whole lot of training.

How To Know You Are Ready

This biggest hurdle to get over is self-doubt. It can be really intimating even for those who completed long distance races because it is something new. But there are a few signs that are a good telltale that you should take the plunge—regardless of how nervous you are of the swim.

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You Have The Endurance

A triathlon is straight up an endurance event. So if you have completed long-distance running events, it might be the right time to make the transition. If you could run 13.1 miles, you can do a sprint triathlon. It will take the endurance and stamina to go the distance, but just like you train for a half marathon, you just need to consistently train for the triathlon.

You Are Easily Influenced

If a friend recommends an upcoming triathlon and that you should jump on board with them, and you don’t instantly say no, this is a major sign you just might be ready for one. There comes to a certain point in our running where we pretty much don’t say no to any distance race. So when someone suggests joining them in their triathlon journey and you only hesitate out of fear, start some research about the race, what it entails, and when to start training. You might as well go for it! You already know that you can do anything you put your mind to, so if you are easily influenced (in this positive way) sign up.

You Are Worried Only About One Part Of The Race

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If you never ran before, or rode a bike or know how to swim, maybe a triathlon isn’t the first race you should train for. But if there is one aspect of the race that is making you worried, all that means is training in that key area and building up that confidence. Some people aren’t the great cyclists but know that 10 miles riding flies by fast. For most, it’s the swim that makes people the most nervous. Know that the swim comes first so it is out of the way. Plus depending on the race, it might just be a small distance. Be proactive and take the time to swim laps. It isn’t the same as swimming in a bay or ocean, but you need to train. Practice in your wet suit so you feel prepared.

You Already Have A Bike —Or Have Time To Get One

Nothing new on race day also applies to triathlons. That means actually having the bike to train with, not getting it the weekend before the race. If there is at least 12 weeks before the triathlon, there is time to get the bike and start training. You are probably ready to dig deep into training if you regularly bike ride or take spinning classes.

You Have Time To Train

It takes commitment to getting in weekly swims, bike rides and runs. In order to make it to the finish line, you will have to train. Besides having time in any given week, you need at least 12 weeks to train if you already have a solid base. Most beginner training plans are 16 to 20 weeks.
You won’t know what to expect at your first tri, but chances are you will be hooked after.


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