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You Too Can Complete a Triathlon!
By Rebecca Feist, MS


Triathlon participation in the United States has grown at an amazing pace over the past decade, and currently is at an all-time high. Factors contributing to this growth include media and societal attention, increased accessibility of training and races and availability of shorter sprint races that allow participation at any fitness level and age category.
It only took one triathlon to hook Sarah March. The 43-year-old mother of two finished 24th out of 200 women in the Wendy’s International Triathlon in Columbus, OH. “The top 10 women in the race were all in their 40s: Age is not a handicap,” March said.
The responsibilities of parenthood and Sarah’s full-time job limited her training time, but for the two months leading up to the triathlon, which required swimming half a mile, biking 17 miles and running 3.1 miles, she did her best to train daily on at least one of the components. “I learned to manage my time better,” she said. “You can do effective interval training in 20 minutes. Scientific data supports good results from short, fast bursts.”
Already a regular in group exercise classes, March focused on cross-training. At the Wellness Center, she participated in a personal trainer-led total triathlon-training program and Yin Yoga for runners and cyclists; worked with aquatics instructors on swimming technique and endurance; and consulted with a Registered Dietitian on a training diet.
March credits her friends and training buddies with helping her reach her goal – after they convinced her to sign up for the triathlon in the first place. “It makes a real difference if you have obligations to friends,” she said. “It’s easier to train and commit to race day.”
Families also participate in these fitness events. An increasing number of adult triathlons are adding youth events to their program in what is commonly called a “triathlon festival.” Race directors have recognized a growing demand to provide something for children who join their parents at a triathlon festival.
Ultimately, it’s personal commitment that matters most. “You have to get there for yourself ,” said March. “Anything is achievable. You just have to believe it.” Don’t be left in the triathlon splash or dust. Everyone is doing it and you can too!
Rebecca Feist, MS, Fitness Operations Director and Personal Trainer at Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center of The Washington Hospital. For more information, call (724) 250-5228 or visit www.wrcameronwellness.org

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