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Apr 012013

Any time you begin something new, there is the inevitable learning curve.  That certainly holds true with my journey through triathlon.  In my first few months of training, I collected a vast assortment of bumps, scrapes, and near-drownings.  Prompting my wife to ask the classic question, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”  Newcomers to the sport like me are affectionately termed “newbies” by the greater triathlon community.  We are embraced by the tri-tribe because every experienced triathlete knows that he/she was a newbie once.  And I have found that the triathlon community is open, encouraging, and willing to help anyone who asks.

So to help you with your learning curve just a bit, I thought I’d pass along some sage advice that was passed to me from a few folks I’ve met recently who are much more experienced at this sport than I am (or will ever be).

Mark Teruki – “Get a good fit!”  I met Mark when I was experiencing some dreadful pain in my shoulders and quads while riding my new tri bike.  Mark is Tulsa’s ReTul professional and he put me through an extremely long fit session which was worth every penny.  In the end, Mark made several small adjustments and I’ve never had a problem since.

Jessica Meyers (Pro Triathlete, Tulsa), “Don’t overtrain.  Respect the distance.”   Whether you’re a pro like Jessica, or just a newbie, triathletes can be an intense bunch.  Not only do we like to train to race, but we also tend to race our training.  Jessica explained that the tendency to overtrain is common and can lead to significant injuries.  So have a plan and trust your plan.

And finally,

Andy Potts (World Champion Triathlete, Colorado), “Have fun.”   Never have I met a more gracious ambassador for any sport anywhere than Andy Potts.  I’m not sure if he knew how powerful his simple statement was to me as a newbie as I racked my bike during one of my first triathlons.  It was perspective—and he had it.

So whether you swim, bike, run, skate, shoot, pass, punt, or kick, don’t lose that smile on your face.  Encourage someone today and invite a newcomer to join you.  You never know when that newbie next to you might be tomorrow’s champion.

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