Daily Archives: January 23, 2016

A Triathlon…Who Me?

Perhaps you’re considering a triathlon or have had these thoughts “I could never do that,” or “Who me?”  I’m here to erase your uncertainty and say “Yes you can,” and “Yes you!”

Many folks think of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI when they think of triathlon.  Understandably, it is one of the few televised triathlons and the largest triathlon event in the world.  But triathlon comes in many shapes and sizes, as do triathletes.  It only takes the thought “I can” to start your journey to becoming a triathlete.

i tri man

Most beginner triathletes start with the Sprint distance triathlon, have a hybrid or mountain bike and borrow or rent a wet suit (if it’s an open water swim).  There are many venues for triathlons including indoor events that are held in a pool, on a stationary bike and treadmill.  For the beginner, the sprint distance triathlon isn’t necessarily about sprinting or being fast, it is referred to as sprint because of it’s relatively short distance (usually 15 – 18 miles total) compared to the Ironman Kona (140.6 miles).  For the Elite athletes, of course – the sprint distance is ALL about speed.

The sprint distance is a great distance to enter the sport and learn the skills necessary to complete a triathlon, such as swimming, biking and the details of transition.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Swim

Many years ago I started running.  I ran my first 5K and loved it.  Over the years I progressed to the half marathon distance, but running was always very painful for me.  A friend suggested that I sign up for a local sprint triathlon and I had the same thought, “Who, me?  I could never do that.”  My friend was super encouraging and ultimately, I ended up signing up for my first sprint triathlon – the 2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon in Nanticoke, MD which was a 750 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and a 5K run.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Bike1

Fast forward to 4 years later and I have complete numerous sprint, Olympic distance triathlons as well as several 70.3 Half Ironman distances.

Triathlon is about consistency – which is one of our core beliefs at I Tri.  Stick with it (whatever “it” may be) and year after year you will get stronger, more confident and more satisfied with your fitness level.  You don’t need to have fancy equipment or an expensive bike to step into triathlon (take a look at the picture above and see the beast of a bike I rode in my first sprint).  These items can come if you find triathlon is your passion and can be useful motivational tools to keep you growing (i.e. “if I complete my first Olympic distance, then I will allow myself to invest in a better bike.”)

There is a lot of fun in learning the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon also is more complex in terms of the details of racing and nutrition.  Some of you may find that joining a triathlon club or finding a beginner’s coach is great place to start.  We highly recommend a USAT certified coach to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that self coached beginners frequently make and mostly to prevent unnecessary injury as a result of going out too far too fast.  Having a coach to lay out a personalized training plan and guide you through the specifics of training, fueling and competing in triathlon is money well invested.

Triathlon is for you – you need only have the thought, “I can.”  Take the steps to your first triathlon today – let us help you!  Together we can Tri!

 

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

 

Food & Fuel

Someone once said to me that no amount of training can make up for a crappy diet. Said differently, what we chose to eat (the types of foods, the amount of foods, the timing of foods) significantly impacts our bodies and can outweigh the hard work we put into fitness training if we aren’t paying attention.

i tri man

As you begin your journey into fitness, you will come to realize that in order to be fitter that you must use both exercise and food together. You will not find sustainable results if you focus solely on food or exercise alone. You can place yourself on a restrictive “diet” and put yourself into calorie deficit to hit a weight loss goal, but your body (heart, lungs, muscles) will be no stronger, healthier or in shape by ignoring exercise. Eventually the restrictions will be unsustainable and you will find yourself on the weight gain path again, quite possibly having lost valuable and precious muscle in the process.

You can set off on an intense and extreme exercise plan. But if you continue to eat excessively or non-nutritious foods, you will sabotage your hard physical efforts and fail to achieve the results you desire. You may find yourself scratching your head as to why you are not looking more like you want to with all of your hard efforts.

Fitness is about balance. It is about finding physical activity that you love and enjoy while taking positive steps with your fuel (your food) to nourish your body properly. Neither of these things is something that you can “fix” all at once. They are both a process. They are both a journey. And they go hand in hand.

Healthy Food

It may very well have taken your body years and years to get into the shape it is in today (quite possibly one you are not satisfied with – or better said “out of shape”); you have developed eating habits and acquired tastes for foods that may be less than nutritious, highly processed and significantly contributing to your out of shape state. Food is a powerful substance – often triggering strong emotional responses (memories) or providing comfort when we are experiencing strong emotions. We use food often times as a drug – to make ourselves feel better or feel less. When we are caught in this cycle – it can be very challenging to break the cycle. Learning to be patient with yourself, take small steps to educate yourself on your food motivations and selections, and how you ultimately want to use food will be key on your fitness journey.

At I-Tri Fitness, we refer to food as fuel. It is a necessary part of powering our awesome bodies. We use it for power. We use it to give us energy. We teach that getting stronger and healthier with exercise also requires that we understand more about the fuel we want to use to sustain our engines. Throughout our website we will provide awesome recipe ideas, healthier cooking tips, and some strategies to help you become more aware of what food means to you, how you are using food and how to overcome some of the obstacles that may you may be facing with food.

Remember, fitness (and that includes exercise and fuel) is not about perfection… it is about what we do most of the time. Let’s work together to make what you chose most of the time healthy and nutritious.