I am also a plus size athlete working to lose that weight and get healthy. I have said since I was like 12 that I would always like to do some form of a tri. Well as life would have it I am almost 30 and 5'8 - 235lbs, and now really would like to reach this goal. I am currently working with a personal trainer and do cardio 4-5 times a week for 45-1hr. I love to swim and hate to run. Biking is ok, but I don't actually have a decent bike. I was reading through all of these messages and was hoping for some advice as how to actually get started? I am hoping to do a sprint tri this summer, is that even possible? Also, I have no idea about the gear, the transitions, and do I need a wet suit? Can I just show up in my swimsuit and basketball shorts with a tank and do it? I am going to find a few of the books posted, but any other advice? Oh, and I am in Reno, NV so it seems like most of the possibilities are in CA - any suggestions for an easy starting place?
Hey, congratulations on getting started! I wouldn't wait until I lost the weight to race. I am 5'4" and weighed about 191 pounds when I signed up for my first triathlon. I couldn't swim, nor run very well, but I wanted to do triathlons and decided just to get started. There is something motivational about having a race to train for. My advice to you would be don't spend a lot of money on clothes because you are going to lose weight and they might not fit you for very long. I didn't buy much more than bike shorts, sports bras, and tops in the beginning because once I was serious about it, the weight just fell off of me. I am still a little heavy now, but I gaurantee the training is much easier without the weight.
Also, don't get frustrated. Running will be especially difficult and maybe even painful because you are carrying around some extra baggage. Listen to your body and don't push so hard you hurt yourself. Also, depending on how overweight you are, a heart monitor is a vital necessity. I worked with my doctor in the beginning because I was worried about my heart and losing the weight to fast. Once you get into shape, the heart monitor can be used for different purposes, like training to your fullest.
Good luck and try not to get frustrated. Keep working and the muscles and endurance will come!
I have a friend that completed the LA Olympic distance Tri at 325 lbs. No small feat. He was dead last but got a police escort all the way in with lights and sirens blaring. He was ecstatic to finish.
He uses a hybrid bike, basically a road bike with bigger tires, a mountain bike type handlebar and what we affectionately call "a Barkelounger seat".
All I can say is "Go For It".
A must read, "Slow Fat Triathlete" by Jayne Markus. It's hilarious and VERY inspiring. I reread it every season, just to get me going. Also, "Triathlons for Women" by Sally Edwards is really great.
No matter what your size, you're amazing. Keep kickin' butt!
Runners and athletes come in all shapes and sizes. You should NOT wait until you lose more weight. If you feel you are ready for the challenge, then I say, "Get out there and do it!"
I am a runner, not a triathlete, and while I have never struggled with weight, I stand on the sidelines at Tri's (watching my husband) and marvel at the sizes and shapes going by. You should wear whatever you feel comfortable in. My husband, who is a runner who happens to do tri's, feels the most comfortable in his running shorts - so that's what he wears. He puts a wet suit over them for the swim (he needs all the boyancy he can get), but just wears his shosrts and racing jersy for the next two legs. Do not feel you need to wear certain clothes and can't compete until you can. He's an awesome athlete and could never fit into one of those one-piece wonders. He's too tall and skinny. He sure does pass a lot of people - especially on the run - who are wearing the "preferred" outfits.
Most running/biking clothes have a ton of stretch. If you invest in some now, they'll probably still fit while you continue to lose. The only thing I wouldn't buy until you are sure of the size is a wet suit - too big a financial investment - but there are tons of people doing tri's without them. Our sons occasionally race with their dad, and neither of them has a wet suit.
The only other advice I'd give as a runner is don't make the mistake of wearing cotton. It will chafe. It will hold the sweat and weigh you down and it will make you cold on cooler days. Invest in a top and bottom in a high tech fabric. You will be glad you did. Also - spend as much as you have to on a good running bra. You can swim/bike/run in it and it will be worth every penny you spend. Finally, don't scrimp on your running shoes. They will keep you healthy by helping you avoid injury which will be cheaper in the long run.
Bottom line - wear what you want, sign up when you want, as long as you are having fun there are no rules about any of that.
Good luck, God bless, and keep us posted.
Congrats on starting, you have officially completed the most difficult part. I am a Clydesdale and find good deals at sportsbasement.com and performancebike.com. I am glad you read Michael Pate's book When Big Boys Tri, he is a great guy who I keep in contact with. Becareful when you do your first tri..........they are addicting! It is amazing how training becomes a way of life. Keep in touch and let me know how you do. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am overweight...thus I am an average guy.
Go for it and sign up for whatever race you want....even if you know it will be hard.
I'll tell you this much:
I felt in love with a beauty peagent. She kept saying no and I kept insisting.....eventually... I married her.
Just race, run, swin...do whatever you feel like doing.
One more thing...I've noticed that no one will laugh at you. To the contrary, they will for sure encourage you to keep moving.
Great job making a goal and really working for it! I was injured training for a marathon and that's when I discovered triathloning. After only one year of competing it's now my passion.
Don't worry too much about your times, just finishing for this first race. You'll find that the excitement of the race will get your adrenaline going and you'll go faster than you thought you could. Also, don't worry too much about those pesky transitions.
If you find you really enjoy tri-ing, I'd get a true road bike. Also, don't worry about the clothes, just try to be comfortable on each event. I wore a tri top and regular bathing suit bottoms for my first race. I left the bottoms on and just put bike shorts on over them for the bike, then just took off the bike shorts and threw on running shorts over the swim bottoms for the run. It worked out fine. No rashes, anyway!
Most of all, have fun!!
my favorite book for training was Total Immersion by Laughlin and Delvesit drastically improved my swimming--couldn't have finished without it.
One thing I have not seen mentioned on the posts- don't be afraid to register as an Athena/Clydesdale. I started my tri racing as an athena, although many other women could qualify, they didnt enter the weight class- I guess they were hesitant to admit they were 150+- not me! Less competition meant I usually placed, and getting that ribbon was a motivator because I never would have placed in my age group at that point. I started racing in a speedo/swim suit and would just add bike shorts in the first transition and race the rest of the time in that. In sprint races I have even done them in just a speedo. Saves time in transition. Just use some glide or other lubricant to avoid chafing. Biggest thing is to practice in what you will race in and even practice your transitions- changing in and out. Have fun and best of luck.
I signed up for my first sprint triathlon about 3 years ago. I was scared to death about the 3 mile run. I taught myself to swim in a POOL. I borrowed a bike. A very fit tall thin person encouraged me. So what if you can't run fast. Walk if you have to. I did not have a trainer. I entered as a Athena thinking that there would be large women in it. There were two women. 146lbs 21 year old TRACK STAR in a two piece speedo & ME 170lbs 45+. I was the biggest woman there. I told her not to kill herself. It would be the easiest thing she ever won. I BEAT HER out of the water. We biked about the same speed. She did stomp me in the run. Two other women had signed up that morning she got second I got 3rd.
Last year I did 3 sprint triathlons. My weight has fluctuated mostly up. To this day I do not own a wet suit. In most of the events I have entered the water was too warm for them to be permitted. Any time that I may make up in the swim wearing one I would LOSE trying to get out of it. I have a swimsuit tri shorts. I am never speedy but I finish. The feeling is incredible.
Don't wait! Enter this year.I have friends that won't swim cause they are too fat. When they lose weight they will swim. They have been saying that for 5 years. They are smaller than I. Competing in these events will help you with your body image. It will tone up your body making you appear thinner than you are. It will silence your skinny friends. They will envy YOU! The doctor will quit giving you the diet & exercise lecture.
Great post! I am plus size and am signing up for my first tri this month and was doing some looking online for others like me! I have nooo idea what I am going to do for clothes and everything else so I am planning on doing a lot of websurfing over the next few weeks/months.
If anyone wants to do an email exchange for support or whatever please let me know.
All of you are very inspiring. This coming season will be my 3rd full season. I ran my first tri at 5'11'' and 260lbs. Last year I competed at 226lbs and I have set personal records (PR) in ever race I have entered. I still race in the "Clydesdale" division and even get a trophy/medal every now and then. I have been the "biggest" person at a lot of races, but I can honestly tell yo uthat I have beated a lot of "skinnies". I have even gotten the, "hey (big-guy) great ride" a time or two. I really don't know what to say when I hear that, I just nod and say thanks.
For those looking for wetsuits for "larger" sizes, I have a QR (Qunitanna Roo) suit and I paid $150. It orginally retailed for $250. You can find deal on last years models on the internet and have them size better/fitted better at any scuba shop that does wetsuit repair.
Keep the posts coming. Thanks to everyone, keep it up and HAVE FUN!!
Melissa, and all the ladies on this post,
Congratulations, I respect you all. I have never done a triathlon, but I tried a half marathon last fall. I am a guy, 5'8", 165 lbs., by no means overweight. However, in the half marathon last fall, I got to mile 7 and really had to slow down. Then, a woman about 5'4", full figured, wearing hot pink spandex shorts passed me briskly. I don't know her weight but she was definitely heavier than me. Her substantial butt stetched out those pink spandex running shorts and looked like 2 bouncing beach balls! lol I thought, "I can't let her beat me! She is fat and a woman!" She looked older than me, too! Well, I picked up the pace and tried to stay with her. I was behind her for about a mile? Needless to say, I was enjoying the view. I pushed my self to exhaustion and near collapse and had to stop and walk. She kept on running! I was humiliated. She wore me out with her superior stamina and endurance and cleaned my clock! I learned a valuable lesson. Women can be both strong and competitve at any size. Many plus size women athletes are in a lot better shape than me. It's hard to admit, but I will! Good Luck and keep up the pace, you are in great shape and look good too. Jeff, South Carolina
Thanks to all of you for such wonderful advice and support! I am a Life Coach and I am taking my own advice this year to take the risks necessar to do what I really want to do!! Previously, this would have been a real "die" to have anyone even see me train in a pool - forget a public event!! But with everyone's kind words here, I feel so great about continuing with my training. Thanks for all the support and tips - I'm so excited to do this!!
Please keep up the posts - they're great motivators!
Hi Everyone, Thanks so much for all the advice and motivation. I have been sick for a while and now have fallen and am hurt, so working out isn't happening right now, but I haven't been on this board in a while and it has been so encouraging.
For those of you who have mentioned books. I have read Jaynes, BIG FAT TRIATHLETE and she actually posted on this board. If you haven't read that or WHEN BIG BOYS TRI, they are a must read. Very Motivational. I just bought TOTAL IMMERSION this week and I start private swimming lessons in two weeks. If you know of any other books out there let me know.
Thanks for all the websites for clothes and stuff. I will be checking them out.
Also, for those of you that are in the same boat as me congrats for getting out there and doing what most people like us think is the impossible. Keep up the good work. I know you can do it. If you ever want to talk my email is Mommymeepa@aol.com
I also have a blog where I am journaling my journey along with some family stuff. I haven't blogged for a while due to being sick.
Have fun with your training everyone. You can do it.
Blog address: www.mommymeepa.blogspot.com