Hey, David! I'm really interested in participating in marathons and triathlons in the future and was curious to know how you got started?
It basically went like this:
1.) I’ve been riding bikes for fun for years (mountain since age 10 and road since age 18).
2.) I was getting heavy from stress, a poor diet and lack of exercise. At one point I was up to 215.
3.) I thought, “Why the hell not?” Endorphins are my drug of choice. I don’t throw myself down mountains, drop off waterfalls and climb mountains for no reason; I do it to challenge myself.
4.) After riding for several years, I decided it was time to change things up. I added running to the mix, and found out it’s another passion of mine. It’s a different one, with a different high and working different muscles, but I’m hooked just the same.
5.) With biking and running both becoming fixtures in my life, I decided to tackle triathlons this year. Only problem is I’ve never properly learned how to swim. Yes, I’m a whitewater guide and have spent the greater part of the past four summers in the river. However, combat swimming in rapids witha PFD on is very different from the speed and endurance swimming of distance/triathlons. It’s still far and away my weakest link, but I’m trying to work on that.
Basically it all boils down to the fact that without my daily dose of adrenaline and dopamine, I’m miserable. I’ll drive myself insane if I can’t be active. As a byproduct, I’ve also discovered and fully adopted a healthier way of living. Eating right is the other side to the coin, and while it may cost me a bit more money to buy organic produce and free-range chicken, it’s worth it my eyes. I’ve cut out almost all junk food, not so much by necessity but by choice.
It’s a battle between me and myself. Pure and simple. Can I exert my willpower to make myself ride, run or swim every day? Can I see how much i improve from month to month and year to year? Can I overcome injuries and not let them hold me back? Can I transform myself from a guy with body issues (Yes, I certainly had them and still do to a small extent) into the example of fitness and health the perfectionist in me requires? The answer lies in the miles on the road, the rocks on the trail, the steady cadence of legs in motion or the smooth rush of water over my shoulders.
My advice would be to start small. Don’t run before you can walk; that’s the fastest way to injure yourself. Increase your weekly mileage 10% each week. Don’t worry about buying a fancy bike; the old heavy bike you have will give you a better workout and speed will come later. It took me a year of running to reach a half marathon and four years of road riding to reach competition-level fitness.
Do it often. Build it into your schedule. Even two weeks of missed workouts is enough that your body will start to forget what you’re doing and you’ll lose performance.
Find other successful people, others working on themselves like you are. There’s few motivators to work out than the idea of letting your teammates down if you don’t show up. Chances are they won’t care, but the sense of community and accomplishment you get together is invaluable.
Hope that answers what you’re looking for, I’m happy to share anything else I know or anything I’ve learned =)