In precisely 11 days, I will have (hopefully!) completed my first triathlon.
I haven’t stuck to my training plan; in fact, I haven’t even looked at my training plan. I could potentially regret this when it comes to triathlon day, and in general I would always advocate following a structured training plan.
However, the reason I’m taking part in this triathlon is purely to see whether I enjoy it. I don’t have a goal in mind; therefore, a plan isn’t necessary for me right now. Please don’t mistake my lack of structured plan as a lack of motivation, as that is definitely not the case! This is also not to say that I haven’t but the work in – I have, but in my own disjointed, unscheduled, rather messy way.
So, here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few months…
- I don’t dislike cycling (i.e. I really like cycling but don’t want to admit it)
Whilst running will always be my one true love, I am beginning to find an unexpected joy in cycling.
There is something liberating about riding through the spectacular Surrey hills. Running up and down a hill is challenging, but it’s just not as exciting because you will never achieve enough speed – and, unless you run ultramarathons, you will never go as far.
Unlike running, cycling is a low impact sport; it’s easy on the joints and great for building muscle, especially in your quads, glutes and calves. This has been great post fibular fracture, and I have generally felt stronger since incorporating cycling into my workout schedule.
2. The cost of running vs. triathlon
As a sport, running is relatively accessible; compared to triathlon (and pretty much every other sport), you need a lot less equipment.
I have been ever so lucky as I’ve borrowed some key items including my wetsuit, tri-suit and race belt – plus my bike and helmet were hand-me-downs. If I did not have access to these, the cost to train for my first triathlon could easily have been in the thousands!!
This does not even take into the consideration the cost of the triathlon itself, which is (understandably) pricier than any running race I’ve ever participated in. The triathlon that I am taking part in is a large-scale event, taking place in historic grounds. It’s also in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – it’s no surprise that these events are so expensive to organise and execute. However, it’s still a barrier to entry which I cannot simply disregard.
Whilst there are alternative methods to getting hold of lower cost equipment (e.g. buying second hand or hiring out kit), I would still argue that triathlon is not an accessible sport. I believe that participating in sport should be available to all those who wish to partake, not just those (like me) who are privileged.
3. I am good enough
Although one of my goals for this year was to be kinder to myself, I often let negative thoughts take over.
‘I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough’; this is an unhelpful internalised message, but unfortunately it’s a thought process that I re-visit time and time again.
I have been experiencing a fair amount of triathlon related imposter syndrome, and whilst training for a triathlon has not miraculously changed my mindset, it has made me re-think the way that I speak to myself.
*Insert other melodramatic goal orientated statement/positive mantra of your choice*
But in all seriousness, two months ago I refused to get on the bike unless someone was riding with me, and the thought of swimming in open water terrified me (it still does, but less so!)
Stop doubting yourself. Take a deep breath. You are good enough. YOU ARE BEYONCE**
**Don’t follow Beyoncé’s ridiculous 22-day diet plan though. Still disappointed in you for promoting this Queen Bee.