A woman training for triathlon made me reflect on how women are often juggling so many competing things in life. We often juggle parenting, employment and caring for elderly relatives. We might also be helping charity or involved in community activities. Perhaps it is therefore not actually surprising that women are at the forefront of the popularity of triathlon. Before you write yourself off as a potential triathlon participant, read and be inspired by Rosie’s story.
Taking on a triathlon
If you are thinking of taking up a new sport or activity, triathlon is very likely to be at the bottom of your list of ideas. With its swim, bike and run elements it can seem daunting and has a reputation of requiring hours of training. However, the popularity of the sport has sky-rocketed in recent years, and it’s not just down to the Olympic-winning Brownlees brothers.
Woman have been at the forefront of the increase in popularity and statistics published last year show a 230 per cent increase in female membership to Triathlon England.
One reason could be the Go-Tri series where participants take part in a triathlon with significantly reduced distances. Four lengths of a swimming pool, followed by a 10k bike ride and finishing with a 2.5k run are the usual distances.
Woman training for triathlon
I signed up for one last year and as a steady runner, better swimmer but nervous cyclist I had mixed feelings about taking part. My training had to fit in with a full-time job, commuting and childcare and I wondered how I would do it all.
I spent around eight weeks doing one swim and one run each week which I was easy to squeeze into my schedule.
The bike aspect was a different beast entirely and I have to admit I really did struggle. I live in Yorkshire where I can’t leave my house without facing an eye-watering incline that fills me with fear. My tactic for bike training was to get on my bike the week before the race, cycle to the bottom of my road and keep my fingers crossed on the day; not advisable!
Before the race I was really nervous but found the swim easy, the bike a struggle and the run somewhere in between.It was by no means a breeze, but it was manageable, a lot of fun and gave me a huge confidence boost. I later went on to do an open water swim and I have more triathlons in the pipeline.
I can’t recommend triathlon enough, three disciplines rather than one means you never get bored, there is always something new to learn and you really feel like you achieved something great.
Tri-suit: I did my first Go-Tri without one as I was self-conscious but unless you have Brownlee at the end of your name you’re not going to look good in one. Face up to that and get on with it. I bought one from eBay for £10 and would not be without it now.
Bike: They can be hugely expensive but a decent road or hybrid bike can be bought second hand for a reasonable amount.
Footwear: If you can, spend a bit of money on trainers. Running is the last of the three disciplines and you really do not want to be uncomfortable.
Top tips for woman training for triathlon
Swimming: Most people worry about the swimming, you don’t necessarily have to do front crawl. Many people do breast stroke particularly at the Go-Tri events.
Transitions: It’s worth practising these. Going from the bike to the run is very strange on the legs and takes a bit of getting used to.
Running: If you’re completely new to running try the Couch to 5k, find a club or a Park Run – the distance is perfect and it is great to run with others in a supportive atmosphere.
Useful links for woman training for triathlon
Couch to 5k