Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Triathlon Has Taught Me…-

Here we go!

Here we go!

Triathlon has taught me many things…already…even though i’m a neophyte to the sport, i’ve learned so much!

What I want to talk about right now is the fact that triathlon has taught me how to pace myself.

The concept of pacing oneself is not only important in the sport of triathlon, but in the sport of life as well.

Looking back on my life, there are numerous instances where it’s blatantly obvious that I had no ability to pace myself. I have always been such a “go go go” type person, and although I can be patient, I tend to either be going 100 miles an hour or idling. There hasn’t always been a moderate speed. 🙂

When I embarked on training for my first race, I learned very quickly that I must slow down a bit in order to progress. Take for example the fact that during one of my first training runs, my heart rate was roughly 180 and I was miserable the entire three or four miles! Yes, it was hot and muggy that day (go figure, typical summer day in Louisiana), but I simply wasn’t used to easing up. I have always just gone out and ran without knowing exactly how fast I should go. Obviously, the feeling of your heart wanting to burst isn’t what you want during easy training runs!

You see, when you have no concept of being able to pace yourself during workouts, you’re gonna burn out…fast. The same thing applies to life. You simply cannot go 100 miles an hour ALL the time. There has to be balance.

The same thing applies to relationships. Think about it…what happens to most people who meet someone and their relationship instantly goes from strangers to couple without a “dating period?” It’s not the wisest way to do things. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but in most cases, if people don’t take the time to get to know one another, and pace themselves, things fizzle out as fast as they started.

Again, there MUST be balance!

The sport of triathlon has taught me this. Working to promote balance in my life will forever be a challenge, as i’m extremely passionate about my profession and that tends to take over most of my days. Balance is healthy. Extremes are not.

As I progressed in my training program, things began to fall into place. I began to realize that both my resting heart rate and training heart rate were improving. I also began to notice that it required less effort to do workouts that were previously a challenge. My race pace in the run improved substantially, and I FINALLY discovered that “Zen-like” feeling many runners describe. Before this, I had no clue. It’s all about rhythm, balance, and pacing oneself.

It’s also about being in the moment.

All of these things are tied together. You cannot be in the moment if you aren’t able to pace yourself. Again, it’s not always been easy for me to slow down and relax. Through training for my first race, I have come to value “rest days” tremendously…not just because my body needed them, but because my mind needed the break as well.

I can honestly say that for the most of my journey leading up to The Austin Triathlon, I felt I was at 100%! The week before my taper week, I began to notice that overtraining was rearing it’s ugly head, so I made the decision to back off a bit and omitted the final three crazy-insane workouts from my schedule. I’m glad I did. I listened to my body. It was more my mind than anything. My body felt great but it was wreaking havoc on my mental/emotional health. This required me to slow down a bit. Learning to listen to one’s internal cues is a blessing!


8 responses

  1. I’m so proud of you! it was awesome reading about your journey, SO proud of you girl

    September 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    • Hi Lauren!
      Thank you!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 I seriously can’t wait to do it again…I need a new goal! I’ve felt lost without one this past week!
      Hope you are doing well!

      September 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  2. Yay congrats on your race!!! Sounds like it went really well and now of course you have a time to beat for next time!

    I really like hearing how and why people do these things and what they get out of them personally. Physically I don’t think it’s such a big deal but the mental side of it is what interests me. It is such a good thing to push yourself to your limits and see what you are really capable of. Love it!


    September 12, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    • Hi Anna!
      Thank you!
      now I know what to expect, and most definitely can set some training goals based off this first experience!
      I had NO idea this would change my life so much. the mental side of all of it was most definitely what I needed, and why I will continue to do races. I physically can handle it but I know my mental strength needs a little more challenge, and IT’S TIME!
      Yours in Health,

      September 14, 2009 at 1:11 pm

  3. That’s sooo cool!

    And what is so so cool is from what I’ve noticed, most personal trainers either come from a gym/body building background or an outdoor/racing background. And you’ve got both!!!! WOW! That is such a great asset.

    September 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    • The best of both worlds! 🙂
      I think all trainers should experience various forms of challenge/competition. There are simply way too many lazy trainers. There, I said it…it had to be said. lol

      September 22, 2009 at 10:50 am

  4. Hi Sarah, I hear you loud and clear on this – I’m in training for my first triathlon and holding myself back is proving to be a bit of a challenge, although to be totally honest the swim does it automatically because I REALLY need improving in the pool. Anyway just want to say I’ll be popping in from time to time for a bit of motivation!!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:32 am

    • Hey Candice!
      When is your tri? I have learned SO much about my capabilities through all of this…and I still am. I will do other races and will continue to push my limits! It IS possible! What are you needing to work on with the swim? The swim is where I need to improve as well. Capitalize on this need for improvement and bust your butt during workouts! My training plan essentially made me swim twice the distance as I was supposed to in the race during one brutal workout. I did get to rest a bit here and there, but still. The fatigue factor and knowing I had done so much proved to me that I could do anything! Tri’s are a blast! I wanted to do a sprint one this coming weekend, but am sitting out. I am trying to figure out just how much I should do, so I don’t turn a positive into a negative. Back when I did fitness competitions, all the training and prep became a negative for me, so I want to avoid that. I want to have fun the entire time, as I pretty much did with this first one!
      Can’t wait to talk to you more! Pop in anytime and let’s chit-chat!
      Yours in Health,

      September 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

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