Why did I decide to start training for a triathlon? Actually it was not my idea, it was my friend Steve W's (who happens to live 600 miles away) that 1st suggested that we start training for a triathlon. I have been slowly getting back into shape over the past year, and training for an event such as a triathlon seemed like something to strive for.
In the past I was on my high school football team and in college I was a member of my cycling team. Unfortunately for the past 5 years I have not doing much as far as physical activity and gained 60 additional lbs. I decided last year to get back into shape, so I started running 2 miles, three times a week. I even entered a race last fall (I got passed by a lady in pushing a baby carriage) I was disappointed, but I kept running over the winter and 2 weeks ago I finished 4th in my age group for a 5k race. Indiana (where I live) and one in Pennsylvania (where Steve W. lives).
Steve W. suggested in February that we start training for a triathlon that we both can compete in. We decided that for our 1st season we should stick with a sprint distance. We are planning on participating in 2 events, one in
Since deciding to participate in these 2 triathlons I have started swimming at the local college and have gotten back to cycling. I have lost all of the weight that I have gained during my training hiatus. Now, I am ready to start racing again.Indiana with the lack of mountains. So I try to do the best I can in the flatlands. There is a local group that rides here in town, I plan on joining them for rides once they start meeting on a regular basis. The only thing that I have changed for my running routine is that now I am running 4 miles 3 times a week, instead of 2.
To start preparing for racing I purchased a couple of books that I thought would be able to give my some guidance towards my goals. I have read Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin and The Triathlete's Training Bible by Joe Friel. Both of these books have given me guidance on how to begin to train for my 1st year as a triathlete.
I have no swimming background at all. For the 1st few weeks of my swimming workout I would go to the pool and try to see what the other people were doing when they were swimming laps and then copy off them. This training method was not working at all. I have greatly improved my form and technique since using the methods outlined in the Total Immersion book.
I have started to get back into the saddle with cycling. It is difficult to train out here in
My goal this season is to finish both triathlons in the top half of the field. I hope that the training methods that I have learned so far help to get me to achieve that goal, it is additional motivation to have my friend come out here and compete head to head with him in an event.
The reason that I wanted to complete a triathlon is because I was watching one on TV and said to myself, "I'll bet I can do one of those". However, I knew that the training would be difficult. So, I contacted a couple of my friends and the only one that had any interest in competing was Steve M. Now, as you already know, one interesting quality about my training partner is that he lives in Indiana while I reside in Pennsylvania. So we communicate over e-mails how we are training, diet, equipment, etc... and the discussions have been detailed and informative. Aside from working out in gyms, the only other workout I did was in the Air Force as a SP. So, a little PT and running but nothing too arduous.
To start preparing for the race, I looked up information on-line and bought the book "Triathlon 101" by John Mora and Karen Smyers. It is a good book and I would suggest it to anyone wanting to attempt a triathlon.
Let me tell you a bit about my indoctrination to the training. As for the swimming, I usually get to the YMCA 2-3 times a week and am up to 1000 meters per time. It took me a while to get to this distance (my first day, I swam 300m and went home thinking that I'd never be able to do this) but like everyone will tell you, focus on technique and it will make all the difference. My guidance for swimming was www.totalimmersion.net. It provides great techniques and reading the articles makes me want to get right back in the pool. Personally, I have found the most enjoyment out of swimming.
The biking I enjoy, but get a little bored going for long rides with no one else around. Not really a great idea considering how PA drivers can be. But I tell my wife which roads I plan on riding and take a cell-phone with me just in case. Only initial advice I can tell someone about the bike training is to maintain perseverance (but that really applies to all three).
Lastly, the run. Let me begin by telling you that I hate running. I think that it is a deplorable action. However, it is part of the triathlon and I knew my own attitude for it, so that is what I focused on the most. I started out by running a mile and then walking for a minute or two and then running again. As far as I am concerned, this is the best way to train for someone who hates to run. I am up to 3-4 miles three times a week and won't admit to enjoying it (even though I am starting to).
I am happy to say that my motivation is constantly growing and the more I train, the more it become habit forming.
In closing, I know that I can train for one of these by myself but it is nice and motivating to have a training partner (even if they are on-line).