Learning the Lingo

If you’re like me, getting started with triathlons is incredibly overwhelming to the point where you say “How about if I just swim some laps, ride my bike around, run a little, and then go run a race?” I have friends who, when they start something new, go out and buy all the books, read everything they can, study, break out the graph paper and make charts, and just love to study it all out. With most things that’s not me. I usually like to see how little effort I can put into something and still get by. Then what happens is that I pick up a little here and a little there and over time I find that I’m suddenly an expert, and it didn’t seem all that hard.

But with triathlons, I’ve been into them for almost two years now and I still feel so lost. I don’t know who the famous triathletes are, I don’t know the names of bike parts, I don’t know why a tri bike is better than a road bike or even if it really is, etc. But I’ve found a few things that make it easy to learn while not making you feel overwhelmed or stupid for asking dumb questions. Here are the simple steps:

1. Subscribe to the TriTalk podcast.

2. Subscribe to Inside Triathlon magazine, or another triathlon magazine if you prefer.

Actually, just do those two things. What will happen is that with the Tri-Talk podcast you’ll learn all about little training tips that will help you, and it doesn’t feel like heavy stuff. Sure, some of it is, but you can just tune that out and pick up whatever sounds interesting to you. Listen to a few episodes and you’ll start feeling like you’re already an expert on triathlon training and you can impress your triathlon friends at parties.

What the magazine gives you is a bigger picture of the entire sport. You’ll learn names, history of triathlon, places, races, tips, equipment, etc. And again, it doesn’t feel like opening a book and getting out the graph paper. Put the magazine on your coffee table, in the bathroom, in your car, or wherever you find yourself with a few minutes here and there. Pick it up every few days and read an article. Within a few months you’ll start feeling like you know something, and you’ll start becoming more comfortable with the whole sport.

It may sound a bit too easy, but it is that easy. Granted, you may still want to get out the books and get more scientific, but if you start off with the two steps above then digging into a triathlon book won’t seem all that daunting.