Most people believe that getting in shape takes a great deal of time and effort — but that’s not exactly true. Getting in shape takes a minimum of both time and effort. There are two problems, though. First, getting in shape can be an intimidating undertaking, in part because so many people believe it’s impossible. Second, staying in shape once you’re there takes consistent work — and while most of us have no problem getting to that first stage of fitness, staying ahead of our gains can seem nearly impossible.
For the moment, let’s pretend you’ll only ever do a single triathlon — and you need to get in shape for that one. How do you do it?
First and foremost, your number one goal is preventing overuse injuries like tendonitis. For those of you out there who are insanely lazy, there’s good news: you don’t prevent overuse injuries through overuse. And that means you start training very, very slowly.
You’ll want to spend a couple days a week running and walking for a maximum of 45 minutes. You’ll want to spend another couple days a week swimming for a maximum of 45 minutes. You’ll want to spend two more days biking for a maximum of 45 minutes. And on the seventh day of the week? You rest. Even God needed rest, if you believe all that.
After about a month and a half of this regiment, you can increase the duration of your daily workout to an hour and a half a day with the same two day running/two day swimming/two day biking/rest pattern. That’s a much bigger time commitment than before, so it might be helpful if you break up the working out: half in the morning and half during the evening.
After a few more weeks of this new regimen, it’s time to start mixing and matching. Try 40 minutes of running and swimming, 40 minutes of biking and running, 40 minutes of running and biking, etc. One day a week, do all three together for a longer workout.
A few weeks before your triathlon, try to push yourself as far as you can go one or two days a week on your day off. You’ll be ready in no time!