UNC Health Talk

My First Sprint Triathlon: Part Two (Rodney’s Perspective)

Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner
Rodney Jenkins

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system. Rodney, our ‘Garner Ironman,’ is helping first-time triathlete-in-training, Theresa, achieve her goal of completing our July 14th Sprint Triathlon. Follow Rodney and Theresa’s journey through their blog posts over the next few months.

Training a Newbie Triathlete

One Sunday morning back in January, I was watching Dr. Sanja Gupta’s Fit Nation series on CNN. The focus of that day’s show was the formation of their triathlon training team. As a triathlete, the story immediately caught my attention. CNN follows the training of six lucky people as they take on the challenge of their lives and train for their first triathlon. They come from different backgrounds and all are new to the sport. They are given bikes, wet suits, gym memberships, personal training and nutrition coaching.

After looking at this story, I immediately thought about our inaugural Rex Garner triathlon. Why couldn’t we do the same thing that CNN was doing? As a Rex Garner Group Exercise Instructor, I have been fortunate to meet, observe and workout with a great number of dedicated athletes. We have runners, cyclists and swimmers who are dedicated to their training. We also have professional trainers and registered dietitians. It quickly became clear to me that we- Rex athletes and co-workers- could in fact take on the task of training someone that had a desire to become a triathlete.

Theresa (right) and Rodney's wife Angie, both Garner Wellness members, go for a run as part of Theresa's triathlon training
Theresa (right) and Rodney’s wife Angie, both Garner Wellness members, go for a run as part of Theresa’s triathlon training.

I first found a good training program for first time triathletes. I then had to find a way to virtually share our training program with everyone involved, so I created a Google training calendar. Last but not least, I had to recruit Rex volunteer athletes to support and train our prospective triathlete. That was the easy part, because everyone that I spoke with expressed support and excitement about having an opportunity to help someone else meet their personal fitness goals. Now it was time to select someone to train!

Our lucky candidate turned out to be Theresa. When Theresa and I met, we discussed the training program at length and how she would partner with Rex members who would serve as her support team. She was very receptive to the idea and I knew we could make this program work.

So here we are on week 4, and Theresa has embraced the challenge. I know that with her determination, and help from our training and support team, Theresa will be a triathlete. Stay tuned for future blog posts from Theresa and me as we work toward her first triathlon at Rex Wellness Center of Garner on July 14!