Triathlon - Beginner what to expect
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02-02-10, 10:41 PM
So I have been on the road biking threads and have learn more from this site then anything else so far and just noticed they had the triathlon one down a little farther.
New to everything and trying to get everything in place to start out. Swim lessons at the Y and just hitting the indoor bikes and treadmill til spring comes, i am in minnesota so if it hits 35 out it is warm enough to run outside for me.
A little background...went to college for sprints in track, never ran more than 400meters...joined military ran 2 miles...went to iraq ran for something to do up to 5 miles...last three years have done marathons...i am getting the swimming....the bike will not be a problem...and i can run
The problem is time for me, i am in above average condition i would think, i have the fast twitch muscles and not the slow ones that are ideal for longer distances. I can run or bike as long as i want it will just take me a while to get there. I am 32 years old and can run a 51 sec 400m but a mile might take me 10 minutes or more.
So i am looking at results and times and basically i would be finishing about last place, a little discouraging. I am not do it to win or anything just to finish is all. Ultimately a IM is my goal but i need to get faster.
So any suggestions on what would help me gain speed over a long period? any help would be very appreciated.
02-02-10, 10:46 PM
What bike do you ride?
02-03-10, 12:05 AM
10 minute miles is not bad, and i don't know what kind of swimming and biking stuff you do but as i have said before, the key to getting faster is:
Intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals, intervals.....
Maybe not so much the really short ones, but maybe 5 min intervals are a good starting point
If you can run a 51 sec 400, then start with that, and then lengthen the distance. Also have some long runs weekly, and some middle distance runs every other day (that's one off, one on, not the other six).
You are also in one of the top 3 most competitive age groups so try not to get discouraged by the guys who run 7 minute miles in the marathon and are not pros.
02-03-10, 07:44 AM
thanks for the info so far still figuring out what bike to purchase in the next month or so. Specialized tarmac or roubiax, trex madone, or a cervelo...still have to ride each and see what one fits the best.
02-03-10, 07:52 AM
A couple of data points:
I am 2 minutes slower in open water than in the pool for 400 m
I am a good biker, capable of riding 22 + mph for hours in a group. I can usually average about 18 mph for a 20 to 30K bike ride.
I ran Boston a few years ago in 3:21:20. I am usually in the 23 minute range for a 5K at the end of a Tri.
So, what I am getting at is expect to be slower than you ever dreamed in each leg of your first Tri. It just works that way.
02-03-10, 10:55 AM
What to expect: a lot of pain, a lot of exhaustion, and a whole lot of fun!
Work on your distance running. That's the maker/breaker of many triathletes.
Do some bricks (bike followed by a run) so you know what to expect during a tri, trying to run on tired legs.
Learn how to pace yourself on the bike so you don't explode on the run (my biggest problem).
Learn to take in nutrition when and where needed, especially for the longer distances.
Above all, have fun! None of us are the next Tim Deboom, or anyone like that, so we are all merely doing this for our own enjoyment. So have fun, and use tris as a way to set goals while getting in better shape.
02-03-10, 03:37 PM
If you do a 51 sec 400m, finished marathons, and run 10 minute miles, you need a running program with structure to improve your speed. If you're doing swimming and biking as well, your training for running needs to be smart. Use one day for a long easy paced run, gradually increasing your distance. The other two need to concentrate on speed. I could tell you waht I do but what works for me won't necessarily be the best for you. Do a google search on tri training programs and pick one that feels right to you.
With that speed, you have some amazing potential. I can run a marathon under 3 hrs but would have a hard time doing a 70 sec 400m
02-03-10, 04:48 PM
if you can run full marathons i don't think you have much to worry about but here's a few random thoughts that i have for ya:
running: since you're stuck indoors try to get long distances on the treadmill. i HATE treadmills but you gotta do what you gotta do. i also find it weird/sketchy/dangerous/difficult/clumsy to sprint on treadmills. so i'd suggest just sticking to distance. try to run 3-4 times a week and slowly increase your distance and/or speed. (ie run for 40 minutes at 6mph pace, working up to 60 minutes at 6.5mph pace and so on)
once you're able to run outdoors then i'd start interval work: 10 minute (1 mile) warmup, then do fartleks. i like to do: 15sec sprint, 15sec jog(almost as slow as walking); 30 sprint, 30 jog; 45 sprint, 45 jog; 60 sprint, 60 jog; you can stop here and/or increase this in the future, but then go backwards: 45spring 45jog, 30sprint 30jog, 15sprint 15jog.
so you'll go 15,15,30,30,45,45,60,60,45,45,30,30,15,15 straight thru. then usually i like to do a slow 9:30-10:00 mile, and then repeat the fartlek again(however many times you want).
i generally do intervals 1-2/week and distance runs the other 2-3 times a week.
cycling: if you're truly new at this then my only advice is miles, miles, miles. get your butt(gooch/taint), legs and core in cycling shape by just pounding out the miles. helps you get used to your gear as well.
once you're able to cycle 25-30miles with confidence at a fairly good pace (16+mph if there's no stops/lights) then i'd say you're ready for cycling intervals. if you start intervals to early (IN MY OPINION) you'll just make yourself overly sore and recovery time might take longer and de-motivate you. that's just my opinion though. (having burnt out legs now makes me smile and enjoy the pain where as 3 yrs ago i woulda been annoyed/demotivated/thinking i suck)
swimming: i own a shirt that says "I'd be a much better triathlete if swimming were as easy as your girlfriend" lol. for swimming it just takes pool time and a coach def helps. i took a $35 6week class at my local Y and even though it was taught by a 15 yr old girl she still helped me out a lot (she swam for the local HS varsity swim team). having someone watch me and give me tips on my stroke was by far the most helpful thing for me. after that it's just practice practice practice.
as far as racing/race day, that's a whole nother subject/thread
02-03-10, 08:52 PM
Thanks everyone for all the info and support, and taking time to write back i do appreciate it. I cant wait to get my bike in the next few weeks and jump in the pool soon. As soon as it stops snowing here (minnesota) i can get out and put some real miles on the road!!!
02-03-10, 09:14 PM
I agree mostly with transammam. After you get through your first one, and you will, you can really start hammering on fine tuning. The long distance running you have built up will give you an advantage over many of the others. However, I must prod you on 10 min miles. Why bother? I would rather run 8 min mile(s) then walk when I couldn't run the pace, run some more, walk, run etc...
02-03-10, 10:10 PM
oh yeah. PRACTICE YOUR TRANSITIONS. really. and don't try to pull anything over a wet body. it does not work. seems a bit silly putting hours of training in to shave 10 minutes off your 40k and wind up with a 12 minute transition.
02-04-10, 06:20 AM
^ with that thought... All of my friend have given up on Speed Suits because they think they look like a sausage in them. Me, I could care less what I look like if I don't have to worry about putting dry clothes over a wet body, and a Speed Suit is a god send. Makes the wet suit slide right off, and then it is just gloves, helmet, and glasses and gone.
02-04-10, 08:57 AM
I have no idea where to begin with a suit and what to use in a event? I understand most wear some sort of wetsuit, then padded shorts for bike and then run in the padded shorts i assume? A little nervous about transitions also!! do you wear the padded shorts under the wetsuit?? doesnt it get bulky and uncomfortable?? thanks for the info
02-04-10, 06:10 PM
not regular biking shorts, the kind we are talking about is a tri short. they have about half the padding of a cycling short so it does not bog down, but still is comfortable as cycling shorts on the bike. Then you can also get a tri top, or just get a trisuit for both things.
02-04-10, 08:23 PM
my wife is afraid i have to shave my legs and chest, I said i have to cause all the other guys do, what do i tell her? actually if you guys write something then she can read it!!!
02-04-10, 08:28 PM
Heh! I shave my legs, mostly because my wife likes it, and it is easier to clean road rash. But most people don't, so there is no reason you have to.
02-04-10, 09:08 PM
Hello everyone - I am 'Fossy09's' wife. I just needed to clarify - I am not afraid of him having to shave his chest and legs.
I said it would be ridiculous if he shaved his body... at this time he is training for some small local triathlons - I would say shaving the body is a bit drastic.
02-04-10, 09:17 PM
Ther eis no reason whatsoever to shave your body. Even the reasons for shaving your legs are somewhat weak reasons, but I do that anyways. Shaving your body is something swimmers do, for decreased drag. Since you will almost invariably be wearing a wetsuit in any tri, your skin will be covered, and thus, no reason to shave your body.
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