Costco members will ;nd swimming,
running and cycling gear and accessories
seasonally in the warehouses and regularly
Mississippi, a marathon runner. When
Vesey wanted to cut back on running to
reduce the wear and tear on her body,
Bernardes suggested taking up swimming
and cycling, and encouraged her to compete in a local sprint triathlon. Vesey
enjoyed the challenge. “It was really hard,
and I wasn’t very good, but when it was over
I wanted to do it again,” she says.
To date, Vesey, now a certified fitness
coach herself, has completed an Olympic
triathlon and several Ironman triathlons.
Her advice? “Take it one day at a time and
surround yourself with people to train
you, support you and cheer you on, and
you can do it too.”
Of course, it’s important to see your
doctor before you begin any exercise pro-
gram, particularly if you are obese, smoke,
have a pre-existing condition, have a fam-
ily history of premature death and are a
male over ;; or female over ;; who isn’t
active and in good physical shape.
Take baby steps. “Most people have a
tendency to jump in, and then after a week
they get tired and sore and they take time off
to recover and don’t continue,” says Ber-
nardes. “Instead, start with ;;-minute seg-
ments in one of the three disciplines: Get in
the pool and swim a few laps, or get on a bike
or take a short run, and rotate.”
The goal is to work up to ;; minutes or
so each day, aiming for four to five hours of
training per week for at least three months
before the competition. “In this way, exer-
cising becomes a habit, and this consis-
tency makes working out easier,” says
Bernardes. “It becomes part of your life.”
Lean on your strengths. Think about
your skill set before you begin to train, says
Bernardes. Can you cycle, swim or run?
Once you know the answer, you can focus on
the areas you need to improve most. If, for
example, you’re an experienced runner like
Karen Vesey, who regularly ran ;; to ;;
miles a week, concentrate more on cycling
and swimming. If you’re a swimmer, cycle
and run more to get ready for competition.
Balance your training. If you don’t have
a background in any of the three sports,
you’re better off spending half of your
training time on a bicycle, since that’s the
biggest section of each race, says Friel.
After that, split running and swimming.
“Get out the door to get in two swims, two
bikes and two runs every week if you possibly can,” suggests Friel.
Hiring an instructor, teacher or coach
can help you with proper form and help you
meet your goals. One of the best resources
for beginners is the website Beginner
Triathlete.com, where you can create a cus-
tom training program at no cost, including
a beginner exercise program, beginner
sprint and even couch-to-sprint training.
YOU’LL NEED three months to get
ready for a sprint triathlon, so keep this
in mind when you search for races on
TriFind.com. “The search engine allows
you to sort events by state and race
distance,” says triathlon expert Joe Friel.
“You’ll also find listings for beginners.”
Visit teamusa.org to find the latest
list of events. Select “short” (sprint distance) and the preferred dates, location
and other details to find races sanctioned by USA Triathlon. Many races
take place in the spring and summer, so
January can be the perfect time to
begin your training.—CF
Avoid injury. Most injuries occur
during the run because of the pounding of
the feet on the ground. “That’s why it’s
good to start small—say, with a minute or
two for the first month or so—and slowly
build up over time,” says Bernardes. “This
allows the body to adjust to the demands
without the risk of getting injured.”
Other safety steps include always wearing a helmet when cycling and not wearing
headphones when walking or riding,
except on stationary equipment. For more
information about gear, see “Gear up.”
Get support. Working out is easier if you
do it with friends or an exercise partner.
“Your friends may not all have the same fitness goals, but they can still support you
while you pursue yours,” says Bernardes.
Joining a triathlon group or club can also
help keep you motivated. “The triathlon
community is very supportive,” says Vesey.
“If you go to a big race you’re competing
with the professionals, but people are
always willing to help each other out.” C
Chrystle Fiedler is a writer and author who
specializes in health and ;tness topics.
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