Get into a routine
Preparing for an event requires focus and commitment but you need to hit the right balance between training and the rest of your life. While you definitely don’t need to become a hermit for 4 months – eating well, rest and relaxation are really important for your body and mind – you may have to sacrifice a few big nights out with friends and family as the training increases.
Keep a training diary
A diary will help you plan your training and by tracking your progress, giving you a motivational boost when you need it. It’s also an excellent way to log what’s working and what isn’t. Include basic information like time spent training, distance, location, heart rate (if you’re using a monitor) and most importantly, how you felt during and after the session.
Don’t obsess about speed and distance
In the early stages of your training, instead of focusing on how fast and how far you’re going, aim to train at the right effort, for the correct time. Getting obsessed with speed means you’re more likely to over-work your body and risk injury. Set your training sessions at a level and length for your ability level and finish goal – and don’t worry, speed and distance will come as your training progresses.
Get some perspective
One training session is just that, a training session. Some will go brilliantly and you’ll feel totally enthused; some will be a hard, downbeat slog. This is completely normal. Training naturally has highs and lows. Remembering this and looking back at the progress you’ve made in your training diary, will help you stop any negative thoughts in their tracks. Treat each session as a fresh start – and an opportunity to improve your fitness, not to show you how fit you are.
Prepare your kit
Whatever the distance of your tri, there’s essential kit you’ll need – and it’s best to start gathering and testing everything way in advance of event day. It’s a good idea to get your bike professionally serviced or attend a maintenance course so you can do it yourself, and to practice puncture repair if you don’t feel confident.