One evening, over a glass of wine and amidst a rush of irrational ambition, I decided I would like to become a triathlete. I whipped out my credit card and signed up to the London Triathlon. It felt great…
… Until I remembered I couldn't swim, didn't own a bike and had never done a running race before.
That was four years ago. I've now done eight triathlons, two marathons and three 100 mile cycle races and I've absolutely loved all of it. Having a reason to workout outside gave me a fresh perspective on fitness. I love the gym, but swimming in open water, cycling in the countryside and running off road brought a feeling of freedom a treadmill didn’t compete with. The achievement of doing a long swim, cycle or run against the elements quickly became my addiction.
It turned out beginner triathletes are welcomed with open arms to the sport, which is growing fast in the UK. Seeing hordes of Lycra clad athletes used to seem daunting, but everyone I've ever met at a triathlon has been incredibly friendly and inspirational. And triathletes really are all shapes and sizes!
If you've ever considered doing a triathlon, I'd really encourage you to give one a shot. Apparently only one newbie triathlete in 7 won't go on to do a second – so chances are you'll get hooked too!
In the meantime, here are some fun and easy ways you too can work out like a triathlete:
Swimming outdoors is exhilarating, especially on a sunny, fresh morning. Every time I've been to a lake there are first timers giving it a try and laughing about how tricky it is to get into a swimming wetsuit. Lakes often run taster sessions and beginner mornings where a coach will help get you started. If you're in London check out the new, beautiful swimming pond in Kings Cross.
Feeling like Chris Hoy has got to be biggest inspiration to get out on your bike. And surprisingly cycling in a velodrome isn't just for Olympians. The velodromes in Manchester and London offer taster classes for around £30, including the bike and all the kit.
If getting out of bed to plod round your local streets sounds thoroughly uninspiring, then instead head to your local Park Run where you can run 5km with a bunch of other runners and get an official time. And what's more, they're free! Park Runs are springing up all over the country, and are filled with people doing their first ever run all the way up to professionals.