I ran a sprint triathlon yesterday and an acquaintance at work asked me if I won. I about choked trying not to laugh. Seriously, look at me and think before you ask a question like that. For the vast majority of triathletes, like marathoners, it’s not about winning. The win is that you did it – not what place you finished in.
I’ve talked on the blog about the importance of keeping exercise plans simple and doable. My favorite sport is triathlon, which is not particularly simple due to the fact that you race in three sports, one right after the other. The training involves doing each of the three sports several times a week with various combinations. For example, this week I will swim 1000m and ride my bike 10 miles on one day, do swim drills for 30 minutes and then run for 3 miles on another day, and then bike 15 miles followed by a 3 mile run on another day.
Triathlon training rarely seems simple. And yet, this season, I’ve realized that I am making it way too complicated by looking at books, magazines and blogs trying to find the perfect training plan. The fact is, I am doing this for fitness and fun. I will never win a triathlon. I leave that for the hardcore athletes out there who are willing to put in the time, sweat and pain it takes to cross the finish line at the front.
But that’s not why I do it. I tri because it’s fun. It challenges me to stay fit and improve my fitness levels all the time just so I know I will cross the finish line upright, with a smile on my face. What I’ve realized is that if most days of the week I either swim or bike or run and occasionally combine them, I will meet my goal. And on top of that – I mostly walk. My knees hate running. Maybe I hate running and they are just speaking for me. Anyway, walking fast is great exercise and even in a triathlon I’ve found that a steady, quick walk is almost as good as a run to get across that finish line.
So keep it simple. Find an exercise or sport you enjoy and just do it. Enter races occasionally just to prove to yourself that you can do it. But most of all keep moving! And in case you are making excuses why you can’t improve your fitness, yesterday there were two women over 80 years old and a paraplegic in a wheelchair- all who finished – upright with smiles on their faces. So yes you can.