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6 Tips for Taking on Triathlons with Runner and Explorer Hélène Rossiter

6 Tips for Taking on Triathlons with Runner and Explorer Hélène Rossiter

Have you ever thought about participating in a triathlon? Hélène Rossiter of Where the Wheels Go began competing at the age of 24 and hasn’t stopped since. In fact, Hélène recently spent 18 months adventuring throughout Europe to find the best places to triathlon train.

As Hélène immersed herself in the world of triathlons, she went from representing Great Britain at Age Group level for the European Ironman in 2017 to qualifying and competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii!

Whether you’ve only dreamed of participating in a triathlon or you’re already competing, Hélène has tried and true advice for taking on the challenge and improving yourself every step of the way.

1. You Don’t Have to Be Amazing

What possesses someone to compete in a triathlon? Hélène loves the challenge of completing all three aspects. The reality is, you don’t have to be amazing at all three of them to be good at triathlons, Hélène shared. With a triathlon, you get the benefit of doing three different sports. If you’re half decent at all three of them, you can be a master of the triathlon.

Fifteen years ago, Hélène rarely saw other women out on their bikes at all. She often thought to herself, “Why am I the only one doing this?” Don’t let your fears of inadequacy keep you from taking on this incredible challenge. You don’t have to be amazing at running, swimming, or biking to enjoy and excel at triathlons.

2. Fit Training into Your Lifestyle

Taking on a challenge like training for a triathlon can seem impossible if you spend most of your time at work or home. But if you want to improve, you have to put effort into consistent training in all three disciplines. The best way to do it, Hélène explained, is to fit training into your lifestyle. Bike to work, swim with colleagues on your lunch break or run during the day. You’d be surprised what you can get done without interfering with your social life.

For whatever challenge you’re training for, get creative about fitting it into your day-to-day life. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. If you want to be truly prepared for a triathlon, make it work in your schedule.

3. Pace Yourself and Prepare

Going from triathlons to the Ironman Wales was a big step up for Hélène. She knew she could do each of the legs individually, but didn’t know if she could put them all together, especially under the weather conditions in Wales.

The hills on the bike ride were brutal. Hélène had to remind herself that there was still a marathon to be run. Pacing yourself during an Ironman is absolutely critical. But the weather and hills weren’t the only challenges Hélène faced. As a competitor with Celiac, Hélène has to avoid any food with flour. She knew she wouldn’t be able to eat at many of the feed stations. With this in mind, she packed little baked potatoes in her bag.

When you’re preparing to take a challenge to a new level, think about what that will mean for you and how you might need to alter your plans.

4. Take Opportunities for Spontaneity

Deciding it was time for an adventure, Hélène booked several triathlons around Europe and bought a van to travel in for 18 months. While Hélène used to be a very well-organized individual, her big triathlon adventure taught her that you don’t need to plan your life out to have a great time.

In fact, not having a plan can lead to exciting opportunities. Hélène was doubtful about not having a plan, but it ended up being for the best. Not knowing what was going to happen for the day enabled her to be flexible and gave her mind freedom to be creative.

As important as it is to be prepared, it’s also a good idea to give yourself freedom to be spontaneous. Take some time to figure out how you might work in spontaneity in your next adventure.

5. Focus on Your Best

Leading up to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Hélène spent a lot of time telling herself she wasn’t good enough and didn’t belong there. Everyone looked so professional and muscular, it was a daunting prospect. Hélène had to remind herself that she legitimately qualified to be there. She worked hard and could only do her best.

In any walk of life, you have to be able to do the best you can do and expect only that. It’s difficult to break the habit of feeling like an impostor. When it comes to training, having a plan and sticking to it can help. Remember that the only person putting pressure on you is you.

Hélène felt serene the day of the race because she knew there was nothing else she could do. It’s the months and months of arduous work beforehand that make the difference.

6. Make the Decision

Making the decision to leave a job she loved, her house, her family and friends wasn’t easy, but once Hélène made it, there was only putting the plan in motion. If you’re thinking about making a life change, It’s a difficult decision to make, but make it. You only live once.

“There’s nothing a girl on her own can’t do,” Hélène shared. Everything comes together once the decision is made. Go for it and everything will work out.


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