Sheree, at 30, took on road biking and triathlon with enthusiasm

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How much sport were you doing before that/how would you describe yourself fitness-wise?

I had been doing quite a lot of competitive dragonboating/outrigging but tendonitis in my fingers meant I needed to scale things back so I took to triathlon for a new personal challenge.

How did you approach your training?

I tried to do two sessions of everything (swim, run, bike) each week as well as commuting to work on my bike. In reality that mean spin classes as getting out on my bike in central London was a bit tricky.

How long did you allow for training before you competed?

About 6 months I think. I really hadn’t done any running before, nor did I even own a road bike so it was all quite new.

What was the hardest thing about the training?

Finding the time in the day. To get everything in you often had to do two sessions a day so I tried to integrate them as well as I could. e.g. running to work once a week (8 km)

Is there anything that would have made training easier/more enjoyable?

Living somewhere that I could have hopped on my bike and gone for a long ride would have been great, especially if there was a cycling or triathon club nearby. But the nearest club was too far so I was pretty much on my own.

Did you complete the race first time?

Yes, I started with a sprint deliberately so that knew I could do all of the individual bits – I just had to figure out how to put them all together.

Was there anything that you got wrong – equipment/training/other preparation?

In one of my first races I forgot to take the cleat covers off my cycling shoes so had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t clip into my bike. And I had a bit of a nightmare finding suitable clothing – all triathlon gear seems to be made for rather skinny, small-chested women. As a rather more busty girl it was tricky to get the bra/top thing right but in the end I got it sorted – crop top with triathlon singlet over the top with built in support. Separate shorts. The one piece numbers never looked good or fitted me!

Did you feel like giving up at any point? When/why. What made you keep going?

In some of the races I came close, especially one where I twinged my calf part way through the run but my friends cheered me to the finish, even if it wasn’t the best time I was ever going to do. I’m glad I pushed through and finished.

How did you feel at the end?

Really proud of myself. No one can take that sense of achievement away from your. Sure, there were people running past me much quicker, but you really are just racing yourself in triathlon.

Did you want to do another one straight away/never……? I was hooked (after I’d had a few hours to get some food back into me)

Would you say it has enhanced other areas of your life -if so how?

I think any sporting achievement helps you become more confident and helps you understand what you are capable of doing. I did all my training on my own and in the race it really is just you deciding how hard you want to push yourself. It gives you a real boost to know that you can do it and also some good bragging rights.

Just out of interest – are you still doing them?

I confess I haven’t done any for a couple of years as I had a baby girl (now 2) and am due to have another in April. However a mummy friend and I have signed up for a sprint distance triathlon in August so wish me luck! I’m hoping that this will give me some focus to get up and going again and shift the baby weight but we’ll just have to see how it all goes. At worst I’ll have to walk the run (although I’m sure on the day I’ll find the willpower to keep going!).

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Find out about the Active Women’s Fitness: First Triathlon Package

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Read more interviews from first time triathletes.

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