A Beginners Journey to Triathlon
Taking on a Triathlon may seem a daunting process! We were recently contacted by two friends who decided to take up the challenge of completing a Triathlon; both complete beginners. We hope their story will inspire others to take on a challenge and also demystify some of the worries some may have around the sport.
Adam and Kerry's story
At the start of this journey, I worked full-time for North Wales Fire Service, and Kerry in a busy office-based environment. In June 2018 my colleagues came up with a challenge to see if we could train and complete the Always Aim High Events Sandman Sprint Triathlon in the September of that year. In the meantime, I bumped into Kerry, a friend of 20 years, and got chatting about one thing and another. I mentioned that we're going to take part in this challenge and asked her if she would like to join us as part of it.
Kerry accepted and between us decided we would train together for the next 3 months and work towards completing the triathlon. Kerry at the age of 45 had done some running and had completed a couple of 5k and 10k races; however, I was starting completely from scratch. At 52 years of age, I had never considered taking part in sport or events and I was overweight.
Neither of us had done any road biking or open water swimming so this was quite a scary thought; to think we were hoping to take part and complete a sprint Triathlon in just 4 months' time. We had no idea what to expect or how to prepare.
One of the first things we had to do was sort out a bike for each of us to train on and for the day of the triathlon. I had an old road bike, but Kerry only had a mountain bike, which was slow and hard work on the road. Eventually, we settled on my sons’ bike which was the wrong size but the best option for first-timers with no budget. Once we had sorted ourselves out with a couple of wetsuits we were set to start training!
Having not trained or taken part in anything like this before we started the training slow and steady with some short runs on the flat and mixed this with some short bike rides on the flat cycle track along the coast.
A couple of months into the training we decided to recce the routes so we knew exactly what to expect on the day. All this information was available from the Always Aim High Events website and proved invaluable as we could actually practice the run and the cycle ride and gauge this against our training. We could then work out where our strengths and weaknesses were and adjust our training accordingly.
Through the duration of the training, we both slowly lost weight and the improvements to our health and wellbeing started to become noticeable; race day came around very quickly and the nerves started to kick in. We had a fantastic race, all 3 disciplines went really well and we both achieved respectable times, a “buzzing day”!
We both achieved so much that day, going from nothing to completing our first triathlon!
It was at this point we decided to carry on with the training and work towards some events in 2019, the first of which was the Anglesey 10k, then on to the Anglesey 10k Trail, a fantastic race for Kerry as trail running is one of her favourite disciplines. We carried on training 2 or 3 times a week working around shifts, family commitments, and the good old British weather, varying the training around running, cycling, and swimming. As the weeks went by we could both see the health and well-being improvements, our weight was still slowly falling and we were feeling healthier and more motivated.
As we moved into the summer period we decided to take on the Always Aim High Events Adventure Championships, the Slateman in Llanberis, the Snowman at Plas y Brenin, and the Sandman at Newborough. This was a big challenge for two amateurs! It involved working out our own training schedules and working around the general commitments of daily life. This challenge was made easier for us by the support and the ease of approach of Always Aim High Events.
Having already taken part in the Sandman the previous year we knew that the events were not just for the elite athletes, they are for the likes of us who are working hard to improve our general health, with achievable goals at each stage of our journey. There is a friendly atmosphere and great support from the crew and the marshalls.
We both feel that one of the hardest parts of this is not just the training and the commitment, it’s actually the thought of getting to the start line and taking part in something where you feel totally out of your depth. There are so many thoughts and emotions running through your mind, ‘have I trained enough?’, ‘what if I can’t run for the whole distance?’, ‘ what if I can’t finish the event?’. All of this is of no consequence because as soon as you hear the start signal the feeling is amazing! To be part of something you have worked so hard for, the atmosphere is electric. There are so many other nervous first-timers too. Crossing the finish line is an amazing feeling!
So if you are thinking of taking up the sport I would urge you to go for it; it has definitely been one of the best decisions I have made!