Inspiration from a first-time triathlete

As I was getting ready for work on Friday morning my phone vibrated and chirped, indicating that I received an email. I had a feeling the email was a notification that a very special friend of mine had just published a new blog post. I knew she was working on one and yep, I was right.

Her writing is so good that it’s not uncommon for me to stop what I’m doing to read her post as soon as it hits my inbox.

Friday was no different.

Between popping waffles in the toaster and spreading peanut butter on them for the kiddos, I was immediately pulled into her post titled “Being vulnerable through triathlon.” It was another inspiring post from a self-described mom, writer, dreamer and wanderer.

As you all probably know, I have been training hard for my first half Ironman triathlon next month, but I was once that first-time triathlete not very long ago. As a first-time triathlete, I had many of the same nerves and emotions that new triathletes experience at some point along their triathlon journey.

It’s interesting, though, to have the perspective that I have had by watching and helping a first-time triathlete work towards her first triathlon from up close.

It’s been fun and motivating to experience this triathlon journey along with her, but as I mentioned, it has also been so inspiring.

Four things that I have been inspired by has been her ability to listen, how she studies, her observation tactics and her drive to “do.” I want to share, in a little more detail, these four tools, inspired by someone new to the sport.


Any triathlete, new or experienced, must be a great listener. The sport demands that you listen and listen well, whether it’s to a swim coach or a more experienced triathlete giving you advice.

As a triathlete, you also must listen to your body and what it’s telling you. If it says to take the day off because of uncommon pains, you have to listen. Many times, triathletes don’t listen to what their own body is telling them, causing physical and mental setbacks that are tough to overcome.

Listen to those around you and to your own body and you may just learn something helpful.


There are many things a triathlete must learn, not only a first-time triathlete, but those of us who are more experienced. As with anything in life that we want to be successful at, we must study and study well. Triathlon is no different. A student of triathlon can much more easily prepare themselves mentally and physically for the challenges that lie ahead.

Triathlon is still a relatively new sport, but there are so many resources out there to help a triathlete at all levels. Find those resources, whether it’s a book, a magazine, or a blog to follow. Study them and keep learning.


Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

As a triathlete, observation is an important part of training and your future success in the sport. Watching what other triathletes do in training or during a triathlon is more crucial than you may think. Watching and imitating other’s techniques and mechanics can help your efficiency and performance in all elements of a triathlon. Even seeing how a seasoned triathlete gets from one element to another, the transition, is one of the best ways to learn how it should be done, especially when it’s your turn to transition from the swim to the bike, or the bike to the run.

Observing what works and then striving to imitate what you see can help you be more confident in your abilities during your triathlon.


All the listening, studying and observing in world is nothing without “the doing”. Putting on the goggles, clicking in on the bike and lacing up the running shoes is where it all comes together for any triathlete during training and competing.

It takes heart to keep going when it hurts or when it seems too hard. It takes drive to get in a freezing lake for the first time and overcome the anxieties that are felt that first time not swimming in a clear pool. Triathlon takes determination to train and compete, whether it’s your first one or your one hundredth one.

To be a triathlete, you have to do!

During the past eight months, I have been blessed to be around someone so inspiring on her journey to complete her first triathlon. She has taught me more than she knows and I am a much better triathlete because of how she has inspired me as a listener, studier, observer and a doer.

It’s been a fun journey for me towards achieving my triathlon goals and it’s been fun to be a part of a first-time triathlete’s journey as well.

Don’t ever think you can’t learn from, or be inspired by, a first-time or inexperienced triathlete because you can. I know I sure did!