Health & Fitness

First-time triathletes gear up for SoBe Triathlon

Try Jacobson, instructor with the South Beach Triathlon, talks to some of the participants training for the event on on April 3. They are working out on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at Lummus Park. They are training with Frankie Ruiz, who co-founded the Miami Marathon.
Try Jacobson, instructor with the South Beach Triathlon, talks to some of the participants training for the event on on April 3. They are working out on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at Lummus Park. They are training with Frankie Ruiz, who co-founded the Miami Marathon. rkoltun@elnuevoherald.com

It’s never too late to run a triathlon for the first time.

About 10 to 20 percent of racers will complete their first triathlon at this year’s South Beach Triathlon, to be held Sunday.

The South Beach Triathlon consists of two courses, the International course and the Classic course. The International course includes a .93-mile swim, a 24.25-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run. The Classic course includes a .5-mile swim, a 20.7-mile bike ride and a 4-mile run.

“It’s a great event to get involved in because it combines all three sports. You can take a runner, and add swimming and biking to it,” said Rachel Scherdin, a certified triathlon coach with Nutrients Lab.

To Jean Poholsky, 44, a cyber security analyst at BankUnited, training for the South Beach triathlon has improved her health — and even lowered her life insurance rate, she said.

I’ve always been inspired seeing women doing triathlons, but I never figured that I could do it myself. I always thought I was too old or not in good enough shape.

Jean Poholsky, competing in the South Beach Triathlon, her first ever

“I’ve always been inspired seeing women doing triathlons, but I never figured that I could do it myself. I always thought I was too old or not in good enough shape,” she said.

Poholsky is one of 12 BankUnited employees who are training for the triathlon as part of a fitness program developed by BankUnited and its insurance company, UnitedHealthcare. Many companies are developing similar programs to get their employees in shape and lower their insurance costs.

The group started training shortly after New Year’s. Different training exercises included weekly and bi-weekly company runs, welcoming those outside of the group as well. Frankie Ruiz, co-founder of the Miami Marathon and one of the program trainers, noted that as the training progressed, athletes became more confident and connected with each other.

“[These triathletes] have a date and an event that they’re focused on. It forces them to develop a training plan and be committed over time,” said Jeanette Martin, employee wellness program administrator at BankUnited.

The training wasn’t easy.

“I had to work on improving in three events. I didn’t come into this being strong in any one event and it was overwhelming at first,” Poholsky said. “There’s a lot of information on the Internet and there’s a lot of triathlon clubs and running clubs. It’s just a matter of finding those groups.”

She joined the FIU Biscayne Campus Triathlon Club, which trains every Saturday at 7:30 a.m. In fact, she has already registered for the City Bikes Biscayne Bay Triathlon (FIU Triathlon), which will be held May 29 at FIU’s Biscayne Bay campus. (It’s a sprint distance consisting of a 400-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride and 2.8-mile run.)

“It’s a great way to make friendships outside of the gym. The triathlon community makes it more enthusiastic for people to become a part of the team,” Scherdin said.

For those who are interested in doing a triathlon for the first time, Scherdin says it’s important to have a plan.

10 to 20 percent of triathletes participating in the South Beach Triathlon will be competing for the first time

“Make sure you have all your equipment in check the week prior to the race. Wake up early enough to give yourself extra time to get there. You can’t make up for lost time training, so the week before don’t try to make up for all the training you didn’t do.

“Nutrition is also really important. Have a plan with your nutrition and be practicing that weeks prior to the actual race,” she said.

South Beach Triathlon

Consists of two courses, the International course and the Classic course. The International course includes a .93-mile swim, a 24.25-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run. The Classic course includes a .5-mile swim, a 20.7-mile bike ride and a 4-mile run.

For more information, go to www.southbeachtriathlon.com.

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