Usually around Christmas, I get really excited about the coming year and all of the possibilities it may bring. I make a list of priorities and set some new goals, some of which revolve around health and fitness. Perhaps you are a runner, a cyclist, or a swimmer and you are looking for that one goal that would make 2015 your best year yet. Maybe you have participated in the same events year after year and are growing tired of the "same ol’ thing."
Hopefully you are looking to take your health and fitness to the next level and are looking for something different to gain back that edge. Whatever your goals are I wish you the best of luck in achieving them.
Do you want to take your health and fitness to the next level in 2015? Do you set tough goals and enjoy the reward of achieving them? If you answered yes, I would love for you to consider the sport of triathlon. In case you have never heard of triathlon, the sport combines swimming, biking and running in a single event. According to a Bloomberg report, triathlon participation has grown 600 percent since 2000. In January 2014, the NCAA overwhelmingly approved triathlon as the Next Emerging Sport for Women for Division I, II and III colleges. According to USA Triathlon (USAT), women make up 36 percent of its membership base, thus validating the recognition at the collegiate level. Kids’ races are popping up all over the place and we have some local races in Savannah and Hilton Head. My daughter competed in her first kids’ triathlon last year and is hooked! Can you imagine how obesity rates would look if more kids swam, biked or ran?
Triathlon "races" have different distances. A Sprint Triathlon consists of swimming anywhere from 250 to 750 meters depending on whether the swim starts in a pool or in an open water format like an ocean or lake. The bike portion of a sprint usually is around 12-14 miles and the run portion is usually a 3.1 miles (5k). Olympic distances are usually double that of a sprint. half-iron distance is double the Olympic and full-iron distance is double the half. As you can see the sport has many distances to test the athlete. There are many races within a short drive and they are well attended by local athletes.
Intimidated by triathlon? Don’t be. I was predominantly a cyclist when I signed up for my first sprint. I could barely swim 25 yards without getting winded. My legs don’t like the pounding a good run produces, however, I knew I was missing something in my routine. I was ready to change my game and take on something that seemed impossible, perhaps crazy. Like my daughter, I was hooked after my first race and motivated to race again. I am competing in my first Half Ironman in 2015(new goal).
Gear? You don’t need to break the bank to participate. "I only have a cruiser type bike." From Cruisers to mountain bikes to high end race bikes, you see them all at the race. I would tell any beginner to use what they have for their first race before spending any money on higher end equipment. "I am too old". There are men and women twice my age racing in many of the same events I participate in. One of my friends just completed his first race at age 50. "I don’t have a lot of time to train." Like any goal, if you find enough reasons not to succeed, you won’t succeed. Make your commitment and go forward! There is race on August 1 at the Landings in Savannah that starts in a pool. You have time to train for it!
Resources? We have great local resources to help you get moving. Richmond Hill Swim Club offers punch cards for swimming which are very economical and their schedule allows for lap time throughout the week. If you want to learn more about swimming and meet some great people, join their masters group. You find all skill levels in the Masters group and they have great workouts and coaching at a great price. Georgia Game Changers has fantastic staff that will help you get your run as efficient as possible. You can find everything you need for running at their store. Don’t like to go it alone? Coastal Triathlon Club has members of various skill levels who are actively engaged in building the Triathlon base in Richmond Hill and the surrounding area. CTC offers access to coached running, swimming, and biking workouts as well as the knowledge you can glean from others. Their members will mentor and train with you from start to finish. They will be hosting a Triathlon 101 in early 2015. They have a website and Facebook page. There are plenty of local resources to help you get into the sport. Oh, and I know there is a Bike Shop opening in the spring right here in Richmond Hill. Exciting times!
Make 2015 YOUR YEAR by signing up for and completing a Triathlon. You will appreciate your slimmed down waistline, your increased energy level, and that addictive thrill of accomplishment when you cross the finish line. Don’t forget to smile for the camera!
John Cameron is a local Triathlete and President of Coastal Triathlon Club