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Training for My First Tri

Posted May 28 2009 11:24pm
Here's a peek at the month before my frist sprint tri (which was Aug 5), click to enlarge. Prior to this, I had been swimming, biking, and running; there wasn't much rhyme or reason to anything but my runs. Just to post the links again, I used training plans from Runner's World and Women's Health to guide me. They have excellent tips for starting from scratch and 8week plans if you're interested!

**Disclaimer: This was only what I did the month before my first tri, this is not a training plan for everyone! It's just meant to provide an example, a starting point that you might adjust to your own needs.**

I'm not a great swimmer, I blame the tube they "accidentally" left in my ear until college. When I first got into the pool I was used to keeping my head above water. See, aren't you feeling better already? It took me a few times to finally get back into keeping my head in the water, and when I first started I couldn't do more than a lap or two without stopping to catch my breath. The more I swam, the more comfortable I felt, and the longer I was able to swim without feeling completely winded. Bilateral breathing is something that I'm still working on. The two workouts I aimed for the following:
1- 200m warm up, 800m straight, 200m cooldown
2- 200m warm up, 3x50m as fast as I could 30sec rest, 100m, 200m [optional], 3x50m as fast as I could 30sec rest
I have two speeds (that I can tell), my normal pace, and then what I perceive as alot of effort for the 50m sprints. The faster pace is one that I cannot keep for 100m, despite my efforts. I have started to incorporate some kicking laps, as I noticed my legs are lazy when I'm just going at a normal pace for awhile. Maybe that's ok since I'd like to save some energy for the bike and run? I really need to take some lessons to improve my form!

In the water

When shown in minutes, this was a spinning class. When marked in miles, I was able to get out for a ride on my bike. I have a tendency to push myself more in a spinning class, as I'm still getting used to a road bike and now clipless pedals. I actually haven't done a tri with the pedals yet, so no, you don't need them!

Look at those sneaks ;)

It was strange to run so little, but you don't really need to be running every day. Apparently my runs consisted of tempo runs (in orange, I just tried to keep a challenging pace for 2-3mi with a .75mi warmup and cooldown) and brick workouts. More on bricks in a second. I did my tempo runs at the track with a watch.

T2: are my legs moving??

Wait, what are we building? This term is actually used to describe the transition between the bike and the run (T2). As in, your legs feel like bricks. I'd say it's essential to try this at least once beforehand so you know what to expect. Hop off your bike, put on your running shoes, and go. No really, move! :) It really feels like you're going nowhere! Does it get easier? MMmm, I don't know if I have a good answer to that one yet!

A Few More Notes
I like to strength train, and you can see I didn't give that up. What I tried to do is complement the workouts I was already giving my legs and shoulders. You'll also notice PT on my calander, this just refers to exercises I learned going to physical therapy, aimed to strengthen my knees/thighs/hips and prevent injuries. This is serving as a great reminder to be better about these :)

Another thing I noticed is that I didn't have many true rest days. However, my strength training wasn't intense, and most workouts were under 45min in duration. Do you need to work out every day? Definitely not! And I don't know if I'll be able to follow such a schedule this summer. While I'm going to try to swim, bike and run 2x/week, there will be days I have no time, and days when I have more. My approach will be to try and double up-- maybe a spinning class in the morning before work and a 30min swim at lunch time or after work. Or follow up a run on a hot day with a jump in the pool (wouldn't that feel nice?). Hopefully I will also have time for my new love--Body Pump (called Group Power in my current gym), which is weight lifting in class form. But we'll see how it all shakes out!

My philosophy is not to stress if you miss a workout-- I plan in enough variety and quality workouts, that I will be prepared :) Training for a sprint tri is completely do-able with a busy schedule. I really don't know if I'd be able to manage training for an olympic distance tri, though. Maybe some day!!

Ok, next up I'll compile some tips and answer all your questions. Let me know if you have any others since my first post! I was a bit on the fence about adding these pictures, as I haven't been as good with my eating of late and don't quite look like that right now ;) I'm hoping that they provide me the motivation to get back on track and re-focused on enjoying life!
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