The shortbread cookies are done and the turkey dinners are a fading, fragrant memory.
But the hangover of overindulgence and sedentary holiday habits can last far beyond the holiday season, says Kirk Lewis, co-founder of Westshore Triathlon.
“We see a lot of people around this time of year who have resolved to make a change in their lifestyle and get healthier,” he says. “And I like to think that we have a pretty good way for them to do exactly that.”
Lewis and company took the opportunity of the new year to announce the first Langford Triathlon will be held July 5. The open water swim happens in Langford Lake, with the cycling portion happening between Langford and View Royal and the run section on the paths and roadways around the lake.
“The great thing about our group is that there is something for everyone,” says Stephanie Carter, who co-founded Westshore Triathlon in 2011 and for the past three years has helped organize the Westshore Triathlon and Duathlon in April.
“We get all kinds of people joining us,” she says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female; it doesn’t matter what your age might be or where your fitness level is now.”
Westshore Triathlon Tri Club member Donna Porter says part of what makes deciding to do a triathlon a great New Year’s resolution is that you can start at any level and train with others who are in the same boat.
“It’s the motivation that really is the key here,” she says.
“It’s easy to beg off going for a run or a swim if you’re trying to do it alone. It’s a lot harder if you know that 10 other people are waiting for you to show up and join them.”
Support from fellow club members also helps keep participants on track, she adds. “You’ll be struggling a little and the others are encouraging you, telling you that you can do it, and suddenly you find that you can.”
For readers thinking no path can possibly take you from your present fitness level to doing a triathlon, Carter points out that it’s all about managing expectations. “You may not be doing a full event on the first year,” she says.
“We have a number of categories that allow for anyone to shoot for a completed event. For example, you could aim for finishing the Super Sprint category.”
The Super Sprint includes a 400-metre swim, a 10K bike route and a 5K run, jog or walk.
“The shorter course is really possible for anyone to shoot for,” Lewis says. “And the term ‘race’ is misleading. You’re really just competing against yourself.”
The Tri Club offers such supports as access to personal coaching, for a fee, as well as four coached sessions in the pool per month.
“For some people, we have to start by teaching them how to swim,” Carter says.
There are also group bike rides, group runs, motivational speakers, insurance coverage, safety vehicles for certain group bike rides – and this is important – a club t-shirt that tells your friends and neighbours you’ve abandoned the couch for a healthier lifestyle.
“Really, the race is just the reward for me,” Porter says. “It’s the reward I get for the months of training and my effort to stay healthier. And in the end, it’s doing it with this great group of people that really makes all the difference.”
More information on the 2015 Langford Triathlon and other programs can be found at westshoretriathlon.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 250-893-4335.