When I need extra motivation to train, I sign up for a race. I love working towards an athletic goal, and I can't justify skipping a workout when I have already registered and paid. Plus, nothing compares to the feeling of crossing a finish line!
If you are struggling to find the motivation to get or stay active, consider signing up for a mini triathlon, a "Try-a-Tri." I think it is the perfect race for "newbies;" it is short, so the training is not as overwhelming, but you still get the race experience. A "Try-a-Tri" usually involves a 300 meter swim, 10 km bike and 2.5 km run.
If you don't want to compete in an actual race, no problem: motivate yourself to be active by pretending you are training for a triathlon. Cycle on your stationary bike at home and then go for a walk or a jog outside. Or, at the gym, do ten minutes back-to-back on three different machines to mimic switching sports like in a triathlon. Mixing up your routine will keep your workouts fresh, and will ensure you don't hit a fitness plateau.
If you do decide to sign up for a Try-a-Tri, get excited - today is the first day of the rest of your active life! From now on you can start calling yourself a triathlete!
To train for the event, aim to complete each sport once a week. Start doing a 20-minute swim, 20-minute bike and 20-minute walk/run. Progressively increase the duration of your workouts until you are swimming for 40 minutes, biking for 45 minutes and running or jogging for 30 minutes.
After a few months of continual training, make one of your workouts a "brick" workout. In a brick workout, you do two sports back-to-back without resting. For example, try biking for thirty minutes and then, without resting, running for ten to twenty minutes.
Make sure to stretch after every workout, and try to strength train and do core work once or twice per week.
Lastly, if you are nervous about open water swimming, just know that you are not alone. Most newbie triathletes find swimming the scariest and most stressful of the three sports. Don't let your fear deter you from racing! If you can't overcome your fear, enter a duathlon instead. In a duathlon, you don't have to swim: you run, then bike and then run again. If you decide to push through and complete the triathlon, try to practice swimming in open water before race day.