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Getting Started as a Regular Exerciser

Talking Tri-/Duathlon for Ordinary Mortals®: A Series

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When you see the headline in the sports section of your local newspaper that pitchers and catchers are reporting in a month or less, if you are a baseball fan, you know that even if there is snow on the ground spring is on the way. So while in some parts of the country multisport racing goes year-round, for many of us, now is when we start to think about our own spring training for the upcoming season. 

The majority of you that read this column are already regular exercisers and many of you are, of course, already multisport athletes. At the same time, you may have a friend or family member who, perhaps inspired by you, is thinking about getting into the sport. Well, the first step is to become a regular exerciser. This column is the first as we move close to the spring season that will cover thoughts on this very idea.

It remains impossible to become a multisport athlete without first engaging in regular exercise. For those with a lifestyle featuring limited physical fitness, becoming a regular exerciser is a challenge in itself. However, there are millions of people that have met that challenge so why not that friend or family member?

It is important to recognize that the hard part of regular exercise is the “regular” and not the “exercise.” Of all the personal health promoting behaviors that you can undertake (i.e. being a non-smoker, eating a healthy diet), regular exercise is the only one that takes extra time to accomplish. Additionally, if there were no more to regular exercise than a reason why it’s good for you and a workout schedule, then everyone would do it. We are bombarded with that type of information daily. But the bulk of our population is getting heavier and evermore sedentary. 

But isn’t it as simple as getting out there and starting to exercise? Well, no. Many people who have gone a long time with no exercise have gotten up one morning, put on an old pair of sneakers that were lurking in the back of a closet, and gone out for a quick four-mile run. Or have gone to the gym and started lifting heavy weights. And the unfortunate pain the next morning is enough to make a person stop. And why do they stop? Because there was no initial plan in place for how to begin exercising. There was no time spent mobilizing your motivation, a mental process, before jumping into the physical one. To achieve success, some mental work needs to be done before you lace up those sneakers.

For more quick information, check out Dr. Jonas’ books from the list below.

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This series of thoughts and recommendations for beginner and recreational triathletes and duathletes by Dr. Steve Jonas is drawn in part from his book, 101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), text used with permission. The book can be purchased here and is available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Steve’s most recent multisport book is Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. 

His original book, Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals®, 2nd Ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2006) also can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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