A common misconception about triathlon is that you must be fit and athletic to commit to your first swim-bike-run event. When we look at who crosses the finish line first or pay attention to the popular social media accounts it begins to make sense why. We tend to compare ourselves to established athletes who have been competing for years, some even decided to race professionally. But we often forget to consider, they too were first-timers at one point.

Fit and athletic comes in many shapes and sizes. And depending on who you ask, there are numerous definition for those intimidating words. But committing to triathlon is just the beginning of a journey where you become a healthier and more athletic version of yourself. It’s an opportunity to pursue a thrilling goal, and improved fitness and endurance are just byproducts of the effort you put in to get to the start line.

Below are four tips to help you achieve your goal:

 

1) Strip It Down

When strategizing how to finally achieve your daunting goal, it’s important to make it less overwhelming by reducing it into small attainable steps. If your desired race is six months away, you want to break it down into monthly, weekly, even daily tasks that you will patiently execute. This applies to small improvements in nutrition, acquiring gear you will need on race day, and allowing yourself enough time to execute a proper training program.

 

2) Get After It

 New participants are often extremely diligent planners, attempting to predict and button-up every aspect of the process to the point of getting stuck in the strategizing mode. There are many moving parts in multi-discipline endurance events, and you may never cross the finish if you don’t begin moving towards your goal despite a couple unanswered questions. Select a race and you’ll be surprised how quickly you begin to evolve. Suddenly, the answers will surface along the way.

 

3)Find Your Flow

Getting initial traction and making forward progress is the hardest part. But if you remember that action precedes desire you will be successful. Action creates momentum, and momentum breeds desire that just keeps driving you forward past all blocks. The few initial workouts may feel forced and you will need to be disciplined to overcome the resistance. But once you get moving, it becomes your new normal and it’s just a matter of ticking off the daily tasks as you get closer to your goal. As time passes, you will notice physical changes and some workouts feeling easier than few weeks prior. As the momentum builds, your excitement will increase and you may even notice you’ve become an inspiration to those around you.

 

4) Win Daily

It’s important to realize that all humans are driven by the same thing- progress. Of course, progress is easier to identify on a macro scale. If couple months pass since you begin training you’re more likely to notice improvements in all three disciplines. Your growth may be less obvious on a micro scale, so how do you stay motivated from one day to the next? It’s crucial to stay open-minded and maintain a high level of awareness to identify small wins each day. You may not be able to measure improvements in fitness between Monday and Wednesday, but what about other aspects of the journey?

It’s possible you will feel more relaxed in the pool, maybe you’ll improve the efficiency of your morning routine and get out the door faster, or you’ll finally find comfort in learning to change a flat tire on your bike. Even minimal, but daily acknowledgment of progress produces confidence, and if your confidence increases you’re likely to see blocks as milestones you’re just eager to crush.

Genetics and an inborn gift of athleticism are not a factor when it comes to drive and discipline. It’s about having a clear vision and the patience for your own athletic evolution as you reach for the next level.