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A triathlon is a multi sport competition involving three stages: 1) swimming, 2) biking, and 3) running. Also part of the race are two transitions: one after the swim, before the bike and the other after the bike and before the run. The distances can be varied depending on the type of race you are competing in.
If you've never done a tri before, it's not difficult to learn how to get ready for a race and here's how you do it:
Step 1: CommitEdit
Triathlons are hard. No matter the distance, training for a race is incredibly mentally taxing and takes a lot of discipline. The first step in training for a triathlon is to commit yourself. Write it down as a goal that you are going to complete a certain race and re-read it a couple of times leading up to the event.
Step 2: Plan to SucceedEdit
Now that you're committed, it still might seem challenging to actually complete an entire race. The way to get through this obstacle is to work backwards from race day. Plan out all of your workouts ahead of time. Know that if you put in the time and follow your plan, you will have no problem completing the race. Make the plan realistic and do-able for you, both in distance-covered and in accordance with your schedule. Once the plan is in place, all ambiguity is removed and it's just a matter of going through the motions at that point.
Step 3: Hold Yourself AccountableEdit
The reason people don't do things is because there aren't any consequences. The consequence of running a red light in a crowded intersection is getting into an accident, so you don't do it as a result. Think of ways to set up boundaries for yourself that ensure you will complete your training. You can try creating a spreadsheet, getting a training partner (best way), joining a team, telling your friends and family about your goal, or even going so far as to take away pleasures if you miss a workout (for example: if I don't get up and get in the pool in the morning you are not allowed to drink coffee that morning or have a beer that evening). People act or don't act because of the consequences of their actions. Build in consequences and hold yourself accountable to training and sticking to your plan.
Step 4: Hit the Road (Pool)Edit
Now that you're committed, you have a plan and have consequences in place to hold yourself accountable, it's time to put in the work! There is no secret science to training for a triathlon. The bottom line is that you need to put in as many miles as possible in the pool, on your bike and running - that's it, it's that simple. One foot at a time on the road, one pedal at a time on the bike, and one stroke at a time in the pool. Just one foot or arm in front of the other.
Step 5: One Day at a TimeEdit
You're going to have good days and bad days. There are going to be days when you really do not want to train. All of that is normal and ok. Don't worry about all the miles you need to cover; just focus on today's workout; just focus on the next mile. Live in the moment and don't worry about anything else. Break down your training and your workouts into smaller, more manageable segments and just focus on them. You can always take one more step or do one more lap. Stay in the moment and focus on right now.
Step 6: Be PositiveEdit
Don't let negativity cloud your thoughts at all. Constantly look for the good things that you're doing each day and the progress that you are making toward your goal. There is going to be a lot of short term sacrifice and pain for a long term goal; accept this fact and focus on the positives each and every day. Notice your body changing shape, embrace a healthy lifestyle, wear tighter clothes, anything t build your confidence. Confidence leads to competence and not the other way around. Feed your mind with positive reinforcement and convince yourself that your training is going well, that you're making amazing progress and that you're going to dominate the race...after a few months, you'll start to believe it and you'll actualize it on race day. Good luck!
Step 7: Don't Listen to PeopleEdit
People are going to love to give you their advice or tell you about the one sprint-triathlon they did 20 years ago. Don't listen to anyone. Know your plan, work your plan and put on blinders.
Step 8: Have Fun with ItEdit
Finally, racing is fun! Buy the workout clothes, get some spandex, eat some gels and get into the triathlon lifestyle. Play around with nutrition and find out what works well for your body. Treat yourself like an athlete because you are. Eat your special meal before the race and get excited. Just because you have a full-time job doesn't mean you can't pretend to be an Olympic athlete while you're training.