First triathlon, a book for beginners by Lucy Smith

Middle-distance runner turned endurance-athlete pens starter guide for triathlons

Champion runner and triathlete Lucy Smith has penned First Triathlon: Your Perfect Plan for Success.

Champion runner and triathlete Lucy Smith has penned First Triathlon: Your Perfect Plan for Success.

This Thursday is one of the few chances to catch the speedy Lucy Smith. 

A 19-time Canadian champion in distance running and duathlon (bike and run), Ironman competitor and mom of two, Smith is a woman on the go. And she just added author to her long resume of accomplishments.

The Sidney-based Smith is co-hosting a launch with Frontrunners for her book, First Triathlon: Your Perfect Plan For Success. It’s Smith’s first book: a simple, comprehensive how-to guide for newbies to the multi-discipline sport that groups swimming, cycling and running. 

“This book is a 16-week guide for first-timers,” Smith said. 

“It’s a download from (16 years) of triathlon racing,” Smith said. Because training becomes time consuming, Smith offers practical reasoning and motivational suggestions to help balance life’s schedule and prioritize the end goal.

The book was released in October and is available online through Amazon (, at Tanner’s Books in Sidney, and at Frontrunners for $19.95 during the book launch. The latter, of course, includes Smith’s signature. 

“The book is marketed online, so when locals kept asking me when there would be a book launch, I finally put this together.”

First Triathlon is the latest in a series of books produced under the Ironman brand by publisher Meyer & Meyer Sport. 

Just don’t let the Ironman brand name on the cover of First Triathlon fool you. Smith draws on the many dozens of triathlon’s in her career, from the endurance Ironman race (3.86 kilometre swim, 180.25 km bike, 42.2 km run) to the shorter sprint distance (750 metre swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run).

“First Triathlon starts easy.”

Chapter one opens with a brief explanation of the sport. “I even provide instructions on how to register for a race, how to join a training group. It’s a short book with a complete, logistical approach.”

A prolific blogger on her website, writing comes easily to Smith, who has always wanted to write a book. 

Smith coaches with Lifesport Coaching, the local outfit started by her husband, Lance Watson, and Paul Regensburg, in 2005. (Watson was head coach of Triathlon Canada from 2000 to 2005.) LifeSport is a leading resource for world-class amateur and professional triathletes, with 11 coaches in all. Because of LifeSport’s knowledge, Meyer and Meyer came to them with the idea and Smith snapped it up.

“I did dream of my first book differently, from more of an inspirational angle,” Smith said. “But it’s been a great introduction (to the publishing industry) and I still managed to slide bits of my own inspiration (into the book).”

Smith didn’t start out thinking she’d be an endurance triathlete and knows what it’s like getting started. She was an up-and-coming distance runner living in Vancouver when she began dating Watson in the early 1990s. Still early in their courtship, an injury kept Smith from running. It gave Watson, a competitive triathlete who was already coaching, a chance to show Smith the benefits of cross training in the pool (swimming) and on a bike. 

“I rode a mountain bike for a long time,” Smith said. “When I finally got a used Cannondale, I had to trade goods for goods to get new bike shoes and pedals.”

Finally, in 1995, Smith raced and won her first triathlon at Panorama Rec. Centre. 

Choosing a first triathlon

Here is a look at putting Lucy Smith’s introductory guide to triathlons to use on the South Island.

There are a plenty of triathlon events in the 2011 summer calendar, namely the LifeSport run Subaru Western Triathlon half-Ironman Series at Shawnigan Lake (May 29), Elk Lake (June 19) and Sooke, Aug. 7. Many triathletes get their feet wet with Canada’s longest running triathlon, the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Triathlon and Duathlon at Elk Lake on July 31. It offers the shorter, sprint distance, and traditional Olympic distance triathlons.