How to Make the Transition From Running to Triathlonmpinzon
I remember the exact day I decided to get into triathlon. It was late January 2013 and I’d spent the month doing what almost everyone else does: kickstarting a new fitness routine. I had just completed a half marathon the weekend before, but the cold and snowy Chicago weather was exacerbating my knee pain from prior running wear-and-tear.
I’d been trying the different class offerings at my local gym, but I wasn’t flexible in yoga, I didn’t know ANY of the moves in Zumba and Body Pump was so fast-paced! I felt lost and wasn’t inspired to continue pursuing a new fitness regimen.
As I left my gym that day I noticed a sign for a tri club. Triathlon was something I thought of occasionally, but I didn’t quite know where to start. I went home and immediately sent an email inquiring about the club, and before I knew it, I was signed up to start on Monday!
I didn’t have a bike. I wasn’t even sure if I had a swimsuit, as I hadn’t swum in at least 10 years, but I did some digging and I found a two-piece tankini. On my first day as a triathlete, I arrived 15 minutes early for practice, and with my tankini in hand, I knew I’d taken a huge step.
I soon discovered I was the only “runner” in the mix, and that everyone who joined tri club had different fitness backgrounds. One girl was a dancer, one was a cyclist, and another was there because her roommate was doing it. It felt odd to meet everyone for the first time in the pool, but it was reassuring to know we were all nervous, and through that nervousness we formed a bond.
“The best way to transition to any new sport (especially triathlon) is to find a group, club or do it with a friend.”
As the weeks of training passed and winter became spring and spring became summer, a plan slowly started to form. As a club we set a goal to do the Gildan Esprit de She Naperville Tri that summer!
As a long-time runner who really only needed a pair of shoes and a Garmin, I was intimidated by how much gear I needed as a triathlete. Slowly but surely though, I started acquiring my gear. I bought my very first road bike, wetsuit, swim cap, goggles, bike shoes, helmet, and bike shorts.
Each day I’d pack my backpack for the next day’s training, and I’d STILL forget some important piece of equipment (trust me, it’s not fun to swim without goggles, but I made do).
As I became immersed in the triathlon scene, my friend Jamie started to show interest. She said she’d always wanted to do triathlons, but hadn’t had anyone else to do it with. I invited her to come along to watch my Esprit de She race, which was soon approaching.
Race day came, and I was happy to see my teammates upon my arrival to the transition area. After we organized our gear, we mentally walked through the logistics of the race together, and it’s a tradition that I still do before each race.
The race was SUCH a mental high, yet of course a few things didn’t go as planned. Swimming with hundreds of other women at the same time definitely proved to be a challenge, and someone had to point out to me that I still had my helmet on when leaving T2!
My nerves were reassured each time I came across my teammates in transition. We all swam, biked, and ran at different speeds but somehow always ended up in transition at the same time.
After watching me race, Jamie decided to sign up for her first triathlon and became hooked. We’ve even completed an IRONMAN together!
What I love about beginning my triathlon journey with Esprit de She is that each year that I’ve participated, I’ve inspired someone new to the sport to register. The best way to transition to any new sport (especially triathlon) is to find a group, club or do it with a friend. A bond is formed with each training session, each rocky transition and each open water swim.
I encourage you to seek out a tri club by asking friends or inquiring at your local club, and see for yourself how the triathlon community can change your life.
Brooke Leham is a Gildan Esprit de She Ambassador who’s based in Chicago, Illinois. Inspired by Brooke’s story? Join us at the Gildan Esprit de She Naperville Tri on June 12!