When you are beginning to train for a triathlon, aim to complete two workouts of each discipline (swim, bike, run) per week. After you find success doing this, add in another weekly session for your weakest discipline. Eventually, you will find the right balance for you based on your time availability and your goals. Just remember, everyone's training plan is different. Don't start with a plan that is unrealistic — that's a recipe for burnout!
Ask seasoned triathletes for help and advice. Your local triathlon club will likely have many members who remember what it was like to be in your shoes and are eager to share what they have learned. You may also find some training buddies that will turn into good friends. I met many of my current friends and training partners through the Triathlon Club of San Diego. Instead of happy hour at the bar, my girlfriends and I enjoy happy hour on our bikes. I like to call it, "three parts exercise, one part therapy."
Look good to go fast. I've found that I perform my best when I feel good. Case in point: My only steadfast pre-race ritual is a glossy mani/pedi that matches my race outfit. Women no longer need to compromise style when training for triathlon. Clothing and gear options are now not only functional but can be sleek and stylish too. I love my ponytail-friendly Cannondale Teramo helmet. And the hot selection of Zoot triathlon and running shoes will make you want to get your butt out the door for an early morning training run. (My favorites are the Ultra TT5.0)
Don't focus too much on the competition on your first try. Yes, this is a race, but you are completing an amazing race with yourself. Find your personal limits (so you can crush them next time) and just focus on enjoying the day.
Remember that training for a triathlon is as much about the journey as it is the destination (or finish line!). Enjoy the power of your body, the sound of your breathing, the feeling of sweat, and every step or stroke you take on your way to the start line. Consider the race day the celebration of your journey. Smile, you earned it!
In 2008, Beth raced her first triathlon. She lives in Encinitas, CA with her husband, James. In 2011, Beth and James competed together at the Ironman World Championships in Kona HI. After a successful 2011 amateur season in triathlon, Beth has decided to take the leap into professional competition. When she is not racing, Beth works full-time as a school psychologist.