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Triathlon training?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by WaylonJennings, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. I've run a handful of marathons and half-marathons, but for a long time I've been seriously thinking about trying to take on a triathlon. I imagine that's a natural next progression.

    Has anyone done one of any length? How did you train? What resources did you use? Thoughts on the training and the event? I imagine it has to be a fulfilling accomplishment.
  2. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Start swimming. A lot.

    When I decided to train for triathlons I thought it would be easy. I could run a 5k no problem. I could bike my bike to the moon and back (or so I felt) and I knew how to swim and did the mile swim at scout camp lots of times. How hard could it be?


    The first tri I did was one of those little indoor swims with only 300 meters to do. I thought I'd be out of there in a hurry and off to kick some butt on my bike.

    I didn't practice at all and I was doing the breast stroke just three lengths of the pool into it. I was so tired I ended up needing to walk for a portion of the short little 2 mile run. I didn't feel especially proud of finishing this one because I felt I did pretty poorly for being such a stud in my own mind.

    So swim. and swim lots.

    The next tri I did was one that had meaning to me. My cousin died during the swim portion of a tri and I decided to be part of that triathlon the next year in a memorial wave. It was very gratifying to finish the race and kind of got me partially hooked on the sport.

    If there is a local gym that offers tri training or swim coaching, it's a great way to get your swim stroke dialed in to be an efficient motion that wastes little energy.

    And if you are serious about it, get a decent road bike and some aero bar attachments. The bike doesn't need to be super fancy, but the aero bars will save you some time and energy as you can sort of rest your upperbody and just let the legs do the work.

    There are triathletes on this board much more experienced and knowledgable than me, though. So hopefully they will point you in the right direction.
  3. joe

    joe Active Member

    ServeItUp has completed a bunch of Ironman triathlons. He should be a good source.
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Ha ha, WaylonJennings is tri-curious.
  5. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    What he said. I think he's insane, but Serve will have great tips.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    There's a program called Team-in-Training that helps train people for marathons and triathlons. The program is free, but the catch is that you have to help raise money for Leukemia research (I think you're supposed to raise like $2,000). I know several people who have done it and swear by it.
  7. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    Start slow. Start easy. Yes, you've run some marathons, which is cool because a lot of triathletes are ex-runners who got tired of being hurt all the time. It's also cool because you have some aerobic fitness to work with and that does indeed count for something. That said, don't enter into this commitment (and it is a commitment, same as getting a marathon done) full-bore just yet. Do two workouts in each discipline each week, which leaves you one day off; when you're starting out it's a good idea to take a break so you don't burn out.

    Swim coaching is HUGE if you've never swum before. As I mentioned on the Olympic thread I'm an ex-swimmer so I can get away with swimming once or twice a week and I've got technique down. Join your local Y or a municipal pool (my employer gets us a 50 percent discount on Y memberships), find out who the swimming instructors are and pick their brains. Or schedule some time to have them work with you.

    Or find out who the tri-heads are and chat them up about getting started with swimming since (this is the God's honest truth) they love to talk about their sport. If you're not married this could work to your advantage socially, but I digress...

    Now, I'll disagree with my associate Idaho on the bike. If you're pointing at a sprint you could conceivably finish on a beater bike from the back of your garage; I've seen those in the transition areas alongside mountain bikes. It might not be the most pleasant thing you've ever done, but it's possible. If you're aiming higher, a good road bike is a valuable investment since you also can ride it to work.

    Aerobars are totally optional. My brother-in-law has done two Ironmans and said he never got comfortable with the aerobars because it messed with his back in a bad way. There's a treatise to be quoted here about bike positioning but I'll spare you that because I've gone on long enough. So far this thread and the LiveStrong thread are good resources so check back occasionally.

    And I appreciate the recommendations from the others. Yes, I am insane. 8)
  8. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    In a good way, Serve. That's why we love ya. ;D
  9. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Now serve ...

    If you'll notice, I said "if you're serious" when I was talking bikes.

    If just getting to the finish line is all you want, then anything that rolls is, indeed, sufficient. If you eventually want to see your name near the top of age-group or overall results, a good bike -- doesn't have to be super fancy -- is a must. It can be the difference between a 15 mph pace and a 25 mph pace.

    A swim coach is so helpful. You'll go from struggling (if that's where you are) to slipping through the water fairly well in just a few weeks. And just keep on swimming. It's the perfect no-impact exercise. Get some good goggles. There's no sense in saving $4 on goggles. Get the good ones and you'll be happy. Just visit a swim shop and they'll hook you up, skip going to Big 5 or Dicks unless you know exactly the kind of goggles your face works best with.

    But I will agree about the eye-candy at triathlons. There are few things I find sexier than a fit, athletic woman. The only thing I can think of that's sexier is being a doctor and the mother of the four cutest kids on the planet.
  10. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    My first tri started with an open-water swim. Imagine my surprise about 20 yards in of free-style that I looked up and realized I was way left of the main pack. Things you don't think about training in a pool. The training is a great way to get in shape and spice up your routine. You learn how to count strokes and pace yourself. But I learned there is a big difference between covering a tri's distance in a gym and in real conditions.
  11. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    ain't that the truth.

    once you get a few tris under your belt, practice your swimming at the lake -- during a rain storm -- that ought to replicate the scene nicely for you
  12. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    No, that is how you replicate an open-water swim. My biggest weakness as a triathlete is swimming in open water. I can't navigate worth beans and the buoys seem to shrink while I'm swimming. And I'm too proud to draft in the water so I struggle through on my own.

    At Ironman Canada I got groped in the swim. Not rubbed, nudged or pushed, groped. As in you-need-to-buy-me-dinner-first groped. Didn't mess me up but it was a little unsettling. Rubbing's racing in the open water, but groping is not.

    Idaho, mea culpa. Reading comprehension has gone to the pooper since I got out of school.
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