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Tri University: Why You Need a Paper Planner

And other ways to keep up your social life after you’ve decided to train for a triathlon.

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And other ways to keep up your social life after you’ve decided to train for a triathlon.

Recent Penn State grad Kristin Goett dishes out advice for the U23 crowd (and the U23 at heart) in her Tri University column.

So, you’re training for a triathlon. Boom. Go you! Pat yourself on the back. You have just entered into one of the most exhilarating and rewarding few months of your life.

Whether you signed up for a local sprint or a regional long course race, time management is going to come into play, big-time, as you embark on your training journey.

Declaring that you are going to do a triathlon already sets you apart from the “young crowd” in an epic way. People will look at you with a sense of awe and Facebook friends you haven’t stalked in awhile might message and wish you good luck. Along with your newfound celebrity status will come the necessity of balancing social life with training life. Even minimal workouts can throw a wrench in routines and relationships. Don’t fear—these tips will help you (and your friends) to stay sane and win at life on your way to race day.

To Plan, or not to Plan…

That is the question, and the answer is, yes, get a planner. Let me say it again for effect: Get. A. Planner. Even if you think your shiny iPhone can do it all, studies have shown that physically writing out a daily schedule means you will not only better remember it, but are more likely to stick to it. Exercising the ol’ pen-and-paper will help prevent workouts from disrupting your social life. Plus, I know you still want to attend that Friday night burgers-and-beer extravaganza after your swim, so write both down and let the good times roll. You better buy a BFF necklace, too, because you’ll want to give half of that heart to your planner at the end of it all.

Don’t be that Guy, be this Guy (or Gal)

We all know of someone who dedicates him/herself to a fitness goal and proceeds to make everyone else feel bad for not joining in. Instead of being that guy or woman, become this person: the person who encourages their friends to take part in your training. Is one of your friends a former college athlete? Bring them out for a run that ends with an uber-Instagrammable breakfast. Does your bro not dig the bar scene on Fridays? That’s cool, the new Friday bar for you two has at least 40 pounds on it and is called the bench press. Encouraging friends to get involved in your training not only allows you to stay on track with workouts, but also helps them to understand why you are pursuing this semi-insane goal and how they can best support you in reaching it.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

Dedicating yourself to a training regimen is awesome, to say the least. There are few things comparable to that feeling of sweet, sweaty success upon completing a triathlon. Along the way to this red-carpet finish line, however, it is important to remember where you came from. Even if you don’t aim to become a triathlon-VIP and truly forget your roots, it pays to credit the people who supported your transformation from average Joe to *drum roll* superstar triathlete. If a friend invites you to an important event, attend with a great attitude—and don’t talk about your training for the night, even if you did run farther than Jane from accounting. There are no amount of miles, finish lines or awards worth missing life events. Remembering those who inspired you to even sign up for a triathlon will motivate you during the race and keep your ego in check afterwards.

The words “daunting” and “triathlon” can sometimes seem like synonyms. Using the art of time management, however, you can swap “daunting” for “exciting” and head into your race with a balanced mind and body, as well as a whole posse of lovably obnoxious friends to cheer you on. Who doesn’t need a sign held by a friend reminding everyone of the time you almost peed yourself during a run? Honestly, we all need it to keep us grounded. So make a plan, be social, get fit, and go tri.

RELATED: Why Collegiate Athletes Quit Tri When They Graduate