She came to the gym to train with me the following week. She said (joking) that I tried to kill her! She then proceeded to say that she came to the conclusion that she was inside fit not outside fit. At first I thought she was talking about inside her body but then I got it. She is fit if she is training in the gym. She can run pretty good and pretty far on the treadmill. She can swim good in the pool as long as she can see the black line and touch the end after each 25. She is NOT fit outside the gym. Running outside is different then running in the gym on the treadmill. Outside you have a variety of weather conditions and natural inclines that will challenge you.
The more I thought about what she said the more I realized that a lot of people fall into this category. Those are the people that think because they run on the treadmill, and take spin class, that in a month they will be able to train for a triathlon. To all of the people in that category, I would tell you to do the following before you commit to the race:
- Go to the nearest open water and swim in it. Do this with someone who is a good swimmer and CPR certified!
- Take your bike outside (hopefully you have a bike) and find a good course to ride.
- Go for a run outside on a rolling hill course.
Once you do all of that you can determine how long it will take you to get ready for your first triathlon. A sprint triathlon seems like a pretty short distance. When you put it all together outside with all of the natural elements it becomes a little more challenging.
In summary I would tell anyone training for their first triathlon to ask themselves if they are inside fit and outside fit. Then I would set a realistic time frame to train for the race. If you don't set a realistic time frame you are setting yourself up for failure, injury, or just plain having a miserable time. Triathlons can be a ton of fun but be smart with your training.