A Jim of All Trades

Triathlon Training Report

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The sprint triathlon I’ve been training for is less than a month away and I thought I’d post a little training report. To recap from my last mention of it, after a few years of doing duathlons, the du I typically do in April was cancelled, so I’m making the switch to triathlons.

I’ve been following to same Gale Bernhardt program I mentioned before, though I’ve modified it slightly. My fear was that I wasn’t training enough, and after asking around, those fears were confirmed. Most feedback I got was to train each of the events at least 4 times a week, where as I was only doing 2-3 times a week per the program. While keeping with the same general program structure and progressions, I changed the schedule around to swim 4 days a week and run and bike 3-4 times a week. I’m happy with the changes and feel like I’m getting a good amount of work, without over doing it, and while still managing my personal life/commitments and full time job. On to particulars…

Swimming isn’t so great, honestly. I’m not horrible at swimming, as in I haven’t drowned yet, but I’m terribly slow and inefficient. I had a lesson in January that was helpful but I haven’t gotten much faster. I might do a second lesson at some point and I’ve connected with a local triathlon club that I’ll hopefully pick up some tips from.  The swim for the upcoming race is only 300m in a pool, and I’ll get through it just fine, just probably about a minute slower than most people in my age group, which is quite a gap for such a short distance. I’ll continue to work on my swimming… It’s just a hard discipline that doesn’t come naturally for me and it’s mentally taxing doing laps over and over, knowing how slow I’m going the whole time. Oh well, we all have to start somewhere.

Most of my biking over the winter was spent on the bike trainer in my basement. I didn’t have a bike trainer before this year and I’m happy with it, but it’s nice now that the weather has improved enough to get a few outdoor rides in per week. Using the trainer can be mentally fatiguing, sort of like running on a treadmill, but I’ve gained from it, am in better condition, and think I’ve gotten a bit better with pacing myself. In the outdoor training sessions where I’ve really pushed myself, I’m faster this year than I was last year, so let’s hope that translates well for the race.

Running has been coming along about the same as biking. I put in a lot of time on the treadmill over the winter and noticed improvements now that I’m back out on the road. The race will show if and how much I’ve actually improved.

Overall, though I’m happy with how things have gone, the gains I’ve made honestly aren’t quite what I’d hoped for. Using a different program might have helped, but in the end it comes down to me and the work I’ve done. I don’t think I’ve slacked off and I don’t skip workout sessions, but I also know the quality of my workouts could have been better in some cases.

We’ll see how the race goes, anyway. This week is my hardest training week and I’ll do a slow taper over the next three weeks leading up to the race. I’ve set personal goals for each of disciplines that I’ll be shooting for:

Swim (300m): complete in 6 mins (see, I said I was slow!)
Bike (~16mi): Average no less than 20mph
Run (~3mi): Average no more than 7:00 min per mile

These are aggressive for me and I’ve never achieved any of those marks before, but I think they’re within the realm of what I’m capable of and if I just set goals for myself that were easily achievable, well, what would be the point?

I’ve also signed up for two other races this year, both sprints with pool swims. One is very local to me (as is the one I’m about to do – it’s nice having a few local options!) and the other is a few hundred miles away, but I’ll be visiting family, which will be nice.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your training and racing. I’ll share how the race went afterward.


Written by Jim

March 25, 2016 at 11:06 am


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