Full disclosure here, I work in the fitness industry and have done for my entire career. Most people think that everyone who works in the industry has some kind of healthy superpower and that everything fitness related comes easy… I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case. Most of us are just like our members and regular gym goers. We face similar struggles with time and motivation so please be reassured we do not all jump out of bed every morning with our surfboard abs and make videos for social media or fitness models on shoot.
Now please don’t get me wrong, we absolutely believe in what we do and we practice what we preach, especially at Fitness First Middle East.
So when I was first approached to join in with a Triathlon, I had visions of how hard it could be and how complicated I thought it would be considering I’d never trained for this kind of event before. The good news is the initial concerns I had, became curiosities and eventually, I realized there was no need to be so overwhelmed with this type of event.
I’ve always been an average jogger, I hadn’t ridden a bike properly since I was a kid and swimming was more of a weekend dip in the pool to cool down in the Dubai heat. So the thought of swimming 1.9km, cycling 90km and running 21km back to back seemed like a BIG challenge. I accepted the challenge and decided to take the training 1 day at a time. I had 6 months to prepare for the DIT back in 2015. Everyone thought I was crazy to be doing the 70.3 as my first triathlon goal, but I was all in. I broke down the training and started with some runs, rides and swims at my own pace and each week I just tried to go a little further and a little longer – and that’s it! There is no big secret how to train for your first triathlon. The key for me was to not over complicate it or overthink it, do what I was capable of week on week and gradually I was improving.
To build my confidence in the water and in a triathlon setting, I signed up to some shorter distance races in Dubai. I remember my first triathlon vividly. I was living in Abu Dhabi at the time so I drove up the day before and stayed with some friends who were also doing the race but as a relay team. I woke up in the morning, after some broken sleep due to being a combination of nervous and excited about the race. My biggest anxiety was about the swim, I knew that if I could complete the swim I would be fine for the ride and the run. My nerves had me on edge, I could barely speak I was so nervous (very unlike me!). We arrived at the beach, registered and bike racked ready to start the race and I just went for it. I told myself I’d made the choice to accept the challenge and I had been training for it, turning up and doing it was the easy bit!
And I was so right, I loved every second of it. There was nothing to be nervous about, there were hundreds of people there doing the same thing, cheering and encouraging each other. The experience was hugely satisfying and It spurred me on for the rest of the training. As I prepared for the longer distance I began to find my rhythm. I had a great support system at fitness first which held me accountable and gave me people to train with. I learned a lot about myself in this process as well as training for something new. It changed up my usual style of training which was great for my body and my results. I have since completed triathlons individually and as part of a relay team, it’s worth it!
I would recommend a triathlon to anyone, no matter how short or long the distance or if you’re in a team or individual. It is a fun and enjoyable experience which will stretch you to new realms of results. Check out the sessions available to you and get started. Getting started is the hardest part… Once you start you will love it!
National Fitness Programming Manager