Training for the Savageman: My Personal Story

Training for a triathlon is tough. Everyone realizes it at some level, but it isn’t until you’re juggling three different training schedules and battling winter weather to get in a bike ride that you realize just how tough. It’s especially hard for someone like me, who hasn’t competed in much beyond a couple bike races and a 10K here and there. Oh, and I guess I swam in high school, if we’re counting that.

So you might ask why a guy like me ended up registering for the Savageman Triathlon this September. The reason is simple. We lost my mom to melanoma last year, and it has been really rough on my family. When I heard about a triathlon benefiting melanoma research in Deep Creek, I couldn’t say no. I’m not alone in losing a loved one to cancer, so I won’t dwell on that. Instead I’ll share how I turned that passion into a drive to train.

1. Use Your Family

I couldn’t have done this without my family’s support. Now maybe they are just excited because my wife wants to stay in the Lake Pointe Inn at Deep Creek, or because my kids love kayaking, but they’ve been invaluable. Talk to your loved ones about what you’re doing, and then when you don’t wake up at 5am to run, you’ve got somebody on your back about it. We’ve got my training schedule on the fridge, and the only person more excited than me to put a sticker on each run is my 7 year old daughter.

2. Join a Community

I don’t hang out with a lot of runners, and I hate running alone. I need someone to motivate me. If you’re like that, then check out sites like or that help you connect with other athletes in your area. I’ve made some great friends through my training, and I never could have got this far without them.

3. Push Yourself (But Not Too Much)

When it came to swimming, I was pretty weak. But I was far weaker when I pulled a muscle in my upper arm after my first workout. It’s important to listen to your body and be able to distinguish between the pain that is making you stronger from the pain that is actually injuring your body. It’s not always easy.

4. Eat Better

This is a tip that everyone should follow, but it is so important for when you start training. Fast food and processed snacks taste great, but they leave you feeling sluggish. Switching my diet to have more fresh food and less caffeine (coca cola was my vice!) has given me so much more energy to pursue this race.

5. Get the Right Gear (Not the Best Gear)

When I decided I was going to do a triathlon, I wanted to buy all the best gear and all the trick pieces to be the fastest. Luckily, my budget did not allow, and I soon realized that was very unnecessary. I recommend buying new running shoes that fit your feet perfectly so you don’t injure yourself, and fixing up whatever bike you have to make sure that it is in good working order. Anything beyond that is gravy.

About the author: Mike Halderman is a father of two and a future triathlete. Cheer him on as he competes in the Savageman this September.

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