The beginning: How to become a triathlete
Hi everyone, my name is Johanna Lechner, I’m 23 years old and a German age group triathlete. This year I will participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in South Africa. I’m happy to share my story with you!
Approx. 2 years ago I joined a triathlon team in my home town and started focusing on triathlon a bit more. Before that I participated in several regional triathlon races and it was fun but after I while I felt like I needed to do more I wanted to be better and stronger and I wanted a more structured training. Additionally, I trained a lot on my own before I joined the team. This can be very convenient as you can train whenever you like but on the other hand it’s harder to find the motivation to go outside and train in the worst weather conditions when you’re alone. Throughout the team, I met my trainer and soon I recognized I needed to start from the very beginning. As a former swimmer, I had nothing to do with cycling and running and especially my running technique was terrible!
Having a run and a swim in one day was very hard in the beginning and it appeared very often on my training schedule – unbelievable! After a year, I wanted to intense the work with my coach for individual training schedules that would perfectly suit my ambitions and capabilities as well as my race calendar. Good for me … I told my trainer that I registered for my first Ironman 70.3 race AFTER we agreed that we will work together in the future! Haha! He was very shocked in the beginning saying that it’s way too early for me to participate in such a race. But it was too late and we had to go for it! J
Honestly, I must say that I was very impressed by the mileage and time my team mates spend doing their training. Often I was like: “How do you handle all that? You all have a full -time job and family and social life and …?”. I just continued my training and followed my trainer’s instructions. And after a while I recognized, you can’t just wake up in the morning and realize you finally became a triathlete. It’s something you must work on, something you need to turn into. Not only your training schedule but your mentality, your thoughts and your social environment. You don’t really do that on purpose. It happens because you love the sport and you think about it every day. You realize it when you start falling in love with triathlon bikes and the latest wheels. When you start doing researches on race- and wet suits and finally when your colleagues give you that crazy look when you show up in the office in the morning with wet hair, drying your towels and swim suit and leave the office in the afternoon with running clothes for the after work run (of course you find that totally normal by then).
Most people have a passion for one of the triathlon disciplines before starting with triathlon. Mine was swimming. I swam a lot in my childhood. This now helps me because I don’t have to learn freestyle techniques bottom up. Most triathletes once were cyclists or runners and struggle a lot with swimming. My biggest struggle is the power in my legs to paddle really hard and the few running experience and endurance I have to finish my triathlon with a fast run. Everyone has something he or she needs to work on, this is no excuse not to start with triathlon.
I hope that more and more people stand up from their couches and train and fight to achieve their goals. Not forgetting their health and safety. Your mind can be ready to go for a marathon or a triathlon but this does not necessarily mean that your body, your muscles, your bones are ready to cope with such a race. Please always listen to your body guys and then… go for it! J
Huge thanks for the blog Johanna. If you'd like to follow her triathlete exploits then check out the below: