Triathlon - Want To Be A Triathelete - Starting From Zero
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08-21-05, 09:01 AM
Ok, so, a friend of mine recently competed in a triathlon, "sprint" distance I think, and we were talking about it and he's gotten me very interested in competing myself. I already bike 4-5 times per week, and am in decent shape, about 5'10" 170 pounds (I lift weights too).
For all intents and purposes though, I'm starting from zero. I've never competed before, and I'm not the greatest swimmer in the world. But I want to try, very very much. What kind of advice can you give me? Any training/nutrition tips? Online resources? Things you've done? I'm not going to enter one now, I have to get conditioned for one first. Maybe in the winter. Any good cross training activities to help me prepare?
What kind of equipment? Do I need a special Tri bike or can I just use the Allez Elite I have?
08-21-05, 10:23 AM
Sprint Tri's are chock full of first timers in decent shape who just want to tri it out. If I were you and there was an event that I could still do this year, I would go for it. The swim will probably be a 1/4 or 1/2 mi so unless you have no swim experience at all you can make your way through it...most likely from 10-20 min. You'll pass a ton of people on the bike which is good for your motivation and the run is only 5K. A fair number of people run-walk the run portion so my guess is you will do OK. Once you get one under your belt, you will have an idea of what you want to do next time...plus you'll be hooked.
Your Allez Elite will be fine for the bike leg...if it's a hilly course, it might even be preferable.
Check out www.trinewbies.com and www.beginnertriathlete.com for some tips.
Jump in. The water is great!!!
08-21-05, 10:29 PM
At the tri I did yesterday there were plenty of road bikes, some with aerobars, most without, so ride whatever you are used to.
I saw some (presumably) first-timers doing the backstroke and looking over their shoulder every now and then; it certainly makes breathing much easier. As a longer-term alternative I found the Total Immersion series of swimming lessons (there is also a book and a DVD with drills on it) to be quite useful, since my swimming also started from zero a short while back. See http://www.totalimmersion.net for more info.
At some point you might find it useful to combine bike and run workouts, with the run immediately after the bike, just so you know what to expect in the event itself. If you have ever done much running (you don't mention any) the feeling you get in your legs at the start of the run is quite different from what "regular" runs feel like.
08-21-05, 11:22 PM
I'm a newbie doing a sprint next month. I've raced CX and run 5K/10K's. I'm in decent aerobic conditin. I'm not a big swimmer. The sprint has a 250 and 500 yd swim. I did 10 laps today (250 yds). HOLY CRAP! I realize how inefficient I was, had to backstroke just to rest and stop at the sides a few times. I'm gonna just have to survive and save some energy for the bike/run.
08-22-05, 06:14 AM
I have an allez elite. It has been fine for triathlons. I added aerobars which helps. Once you catch the tri bug you can blow $$ on a tri bike.
I agree with the recommendation of doing total immersion swimming.
I've done a few sprints this summer (first year doing triathlons), and I've done fine with a mountain bike (with slick tires). So your road bike will suit you well.
By all means, jump in and do one, this year if you can (our season here ends in a few weeks).
If you have time to build up to one, then you'll want to work on running and swimming a bit. Master's swimming is a fantastic (and potentially time intensive) way to improve your swimming. Less involved might be finding some open water swims in your area. It's very different from pool swimming, and the more used to it you are, the more rested you'll be when you get on your bike.
As for running, I recommend starting slowly. Your cardio will last much longer than your legs will. If you don't take time to acclimatize them to the pounding, you risk shin splits, ITB, or other injury. If you spend the first few weeks finishing your runs before you get winded, you'll go a long way to avoiding injury.
Triathlon 101 is a good intro book.
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