Training for a triathlon at any age

Before summer slips away, set a fitness goal for yourself. I mean now. Sit down, take a few calming breaths and figure out an achievable goal that’s meaningful to you: Bike from one side of town to the other? Play 18 holes pulling a cart? Run/walk a half-marathon?

Keep in mind the word “achievable.” Small steps bring big rewards. You live a healthier lifestyle one day at a time. What are you going to do – starting today! – in terms of setting a fitness goal and working toward it?

Am I too old to try a triahthlon?

Dear Marilynn: I’m 55, in fairly good shape, and I’m thinking about trying my first triathlon this fall. I just got a brochure for an over-50 event from AARP. The distances are a 400 meter (quarter mile) swim, then a 20 K (12.4 mile) bike ride, finishing with a 5K (3.1 mile) run. I’m sure I can run that far but I’m not too good at swimming. And the most I’ve ever ridden my bike is 10 miles. What do you think? – D.K. Houston

DEAR D.K.: Funny, I got the same brochure, and I say: Follow That Instinct. Sign up and start training. Why not? Triathlons aren’t just for young people. Or crazy people.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Indeed, setting a goal and working toward it is a fun and effective way to step up your fitness routine. And it’s perfectly reasonable to think that – with proper training and perpetual smiling – you can go the distance. Indeed, the distances you mention are well within the reach of most healthy, active people, if they make up their mind to do it. That’s why having a goal is so important. It takes you places you don’t know you can get to until you try. Maybe AARP should call their over-50 classic a TRY-athlon.

Train with support. AARP calls the 50-plus swim/bike/run series of nationwide events the Tri-Umph! Classic. When I called (800-424-3410) for more details, I learned they are offering all kinds of support for 50-and-over registrants, including a 12-week, self-paced training guide and a chance to work out with certified trainers, depending on where you live.

The Web site has leads on other sources to help you get ready, including a site called with lots of tips and helpful information for triathletes. To register and get your packet or training materials, call (866) 812-2277.

Embrace the challenge. And yes, you can train for a triathlon at any age, if you have the determination and enjoy a good challenge. If you decide to do it, it’s a good idea to find a friend to do it with you. Another possibility is to find two friends, with each of you doing a leg. This won’t do that much to advance your own fitness, but is a whole lot of fun. Good luck!

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