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Why you need to do what

It's amazing how everyone loves to give unsolicited advice when you tell them you're doing something (be it losing weight, training for a triathlon [like I am], or just about anything).

"Are you eating enough? Here, have a few of these chocolates; you need to indulge!"

"The reason you're not losing MORE weight, is because ...."

" SHOULD be doing this at the gym; you'll get faster results"

It goes on...

So when a friend introduced me to a 5- or 6-time triathlete (a mom of two as well), this woman told me what I need to be doing: "You NEED to be riding with a group; if not, you'll get run over in the race". (Ah...I thought: I was scared of the swimming and now I'm scared of getting run over!) "You NEED to get involved with a tri group; they get together in the evenings." ("The evenings" I thought. "I can't possibly skip my kids' bedtime to join a group!") "You NEED to be able to carve out time to train with triathletes". ("I AM carving out time to do my own training," I thought.) This is all great advice, but it doesn't work for me. At first, after our meeting, I got intimidated and lost a little bit of my steam, telling myself "I can't do this. What am I thinking?" But then after thinking about it more, I realized her giving me that advice was like everything else: it works for some people but not for all.

Yes, wouldn't it be great to "train" with a group of experts and really fine-tune my skills! But the truth is, I train in the mornings at 6 a.m. when the sun is just rising and my kids are not! (Joining a Wednesday night group or late Saturday morning group takes me away from my kids—who I already don't see the majority of the week while I'm working.) And yes, it would be amazing to join a tri group for the same reason, but I'm the type of exerciser who likes to train on my own (and that's okay!) When race day comes, I'll be mentally and physically prepared to join the throngs.

I'll also be culling tips from the experts in Shape's own offices: we've got people on staff who have done triathlons and some who are doing them just like me. Stick around for my training and I'll try to give you real-life advice on what works—and what doesn't. In the meantime, good luck with whatever goal you're taking on!|

And be sure to check out Shape's May issue (on newsstands now) with Ellen DeGeneres on our cover. In my editor's letter, you'll see just who inspired me to sign up for my first tri!

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