General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Am I ready? Rss Feed  
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2013-07-01 10:38 PM


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Subject: Am I ready?
Hello everyone,

So I thought about two / three months ago I would start training hardcore for a sprint triathlon. I've literally worked out 6 days a week (taking a few days off here and there) non stop. One or two workouts a day. Strength two days a week, swim 2-3 a week, run 2-3 a week, bike 2 times a week and bike/run once a week.

Granted I could have been trying harder but my times have improved slightly. My running is around 7:30-8 minutes a mile today, it used to be around 9:30. My biking is getting better, not sure how to really quantify that. My swimming still sucks, but it is better.

I've gone to swimming lessons and went from being able to swim 50meters and being out of breath to swimming 125 meters today. 125 meters is when I am absolutely exhausted, and thats about 5 laps in a pool (includes the distance from kicking off the wall).

I want to sign up for a triathlon this summer but just dont think I could do it. I am referring to the swim portion, and it is not a matter of giving up - it is just a matter of me not wanting to drown out there!

Some of the sprint triathlons here are in the ocean and are 1000 meters long. I can barely do 125 meters in the POOL let alone an open ocean.

Should I forgo signing up for a triathlon this soon and keep training? I really want to do one and have been looking forward to it all summer - but I just dont know how I could possibly swim 9-10 times my maximum limit.

Thanks.


2013-07-01 11:27 PM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
sounds like you are making a lot of progress.

Maybe have a swim coach take a look at what you are doing and perhaps they can help with the endurance.

usually it is BREATHING properly that is the gateway to longer swimming.

You didn't say how far your running and biking distances were..

You could sign up for a race in late sept and set that as a goal...and keep in mind you will bail if the swimming isn't there.
But you would be surprised at what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

Good luck!!
2013-07-02 8:01 AM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
Great progress as far as the engine but I think more focus on swim skill is a must. Swiming takes time but you are way better off learning good habits from the start.

Don't sign up until you know the swim won't put you or your rescuer at risk.

Find a Duathlon which will allow you to race the bike and run and get used to transitions and get a swim coach.
2013-07-02 8:18 AM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
IMHO don't sign up before you're sure you can do the swim distance, and then some.

I think most people will be able to do a sprint triathlon if they can do the swim, but on the other hand, I've seen people being rescued after 50m in a lake, well, they can only go rescue so many at a time. Stay safe and don't collect failures. There's a long way from 125m to 750m.

BR
2013-07-02 8:56 AM
in reply to: erik.norgaard


2

Subject: RE: Am I ready?
Thanks for the replies.

My running distance is 1.5 miles or so @ the 7:30 - 8:00 pace.

I can bike 12 miles at approximately 16 mph (with slight hills)


I'll definently keep myself from signing up any triathlons soon. I will tame down my run / bike workouts and increase my swim workouts.
2013-07-02 9:17 AM
in reply to: justinruns


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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
My two cents.....

I wouldn't be scaling back your workouts i'd be increasing them. "Usual" sprint distance is 750m swim/20km (12.5 mile) bike/5km (3 mile) run. You need to be able to complete these individually before you should be signing up unless you have about 6 months to prepare and train.
I'm curious as to what you're doing in your training to fit in so many sessions?? Scale back the quantity but increase the quality of your workouts.

Spend and hour in the pool twice a week instead of 30 minutes 4 times a week, do one pace run of 1.5 mile where you keep to 7.30-8.00min pace and one long run of 3 miles where your speed doesn't matter. Your bike pace looks solid so maybe just up the distance to 15 miles but throw in some 30 second all out efforts in there to boost your recovery rate.

Never forget to have at least one full rest day every week, that time off to recover is just as important as every workout.

I hope you reach where you want to be and remember.....if you get the option always buy red because it's faster!!


2013-07-02 9:35 AM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?

Hi Justin - I was in exactly the same situation as you a year ago - decent runner and cyclist but complete non-swimmer.

Firstly, read my post about how I fixed this - it will save you a lot of time:

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp...

To your question of "are you ready?" - I say go for it. You won't set any records in the swim but it will be great experience.

However, your first event should be an easy one. Look for one with the shortest swim possible (the official sprint swim distance is 750m but you will find them shorter than that - my first one was 400m). And do it in a lake (or even a pool) - don't do your first one in the ocean.

Also, WEAR A WETSUIT. The buoyancy will give you tremendous confidence in the water.

(If you've never tried swimming in a wetsuit, try it before your race. You should be able to rent one from your local sports shop)

Good luck!

2013-07-02 9:43 AM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?

By the way, you may not be able to swim 400m (or whatever) non-stop but I bet you can do it in stages.

In my first race, I would swim 50m, then float on my back for a minute, get my breath back (remember, in a wetsuit, you can happily float around all day). Then swim another 50m, then float...you get the idea.

So...unlike others on this thread...I say go for it!
2013-07-02 10:47 AM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?

Originally posted by justinruns Hello everyone, So I thought about two / three months ago I would start training hardcore for a sprint triathlon. I've literally worked out 6 days a week (taking a few days off here and there) non stop. One or two workouts a day. Strength two days a week, swim 2-3 a week, run 2-3 a week, bike 2 times a week and bike/run once a week. Granted I could have been trying harder but my times have improved slightly. My running is around 7:30-8 minutes a mile today, it used to be around 9:30. My biking is getting better, not sure how to really quantify that. My swimming still sucks, but it is better. I've gone to swimming lessons and went from being able to swim 50meters and being out of breath to swimming 125 meters today. 125 meters is when I am absolutely exhausted, and thats about 5 laps in a pool (includes the distance from kicking off the wall). I want to sign up for a triathlon this summer but just dont think I could do it. I am referring to the swim portion, and it is not a matter of giving up - it is just a matter of me not wanting to drown out there! Some of the sprint triathlons here are in the ocean and are 1000 meters long. I can barely do 125 meters in the POOL let alone an open ocean. Should I forgo signing up for a triathlon this soon and keep training? I really want to do one and have been looking forward to it all summer - but I just dont know how I could possibly swim 9-10 times my maximum limit. Thanks.

With all due respect, are you looking at doing a triathlon as a "one and done" adventure, or do you see triathlon as more of a long-term commitment and involvement?

You're definitely undertrained by most people's standards but you could probably complete, i.e., survive, a race by dog-paddling/floating/backstroking through the swim.  But it would likely be a long and unpleasant experience.  And keep in mind that you're not only putting yourself at risk, but also the other competitors and support volunteers.

Other folks in your position have completed races, but the posters here advising you to hold off are doing so with the best intentions for your welfare, not just trying to rain on your parade.

My straight forward advice would be to wait until you can comfortably complete the swim distance in the pool before attenpting an OWS.  Even then it may turn out to be the toughest thing you have ever done.

At the end of the day it's up to you.  But I'd suggest making a logical decision rather than an emotional one. 

Either way, I wish you luck.

Mark

 

 

 

2013-07-02 10:50 AM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
If you're running 7-8 minute miles yet are totally exhausted swimming 125 yards, it's probably not your fitness but your swim technique and breathing. I speak from experience of being in the same boat. I grew up on a lake swimming all the time as a kid but never learned to swim with my face in the water. In March I started swimming "properly" at the Y and was gasping for air after 25 yards. Like hyperventilating gasping for air. I could run 6-8 miles easily and couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was told again and again it was my "fitness" but I knew it wasn't, I just didn't know how to breathe in the water properly.

I read a ton of threads on this forum and found some great drills/advice (just search "swim breathing") and after struggling for a month or so making zero progress I had an "aha!" moment and went from 25-50 yards to 500 yards non-stop in the pool in a single session. Basic problem was I wasn't exhaling fully and wasn't keeping my "glide" arm out when inhaling, so was trying to exhale and inhale at the same time and I was starting to pull too early with extended arm and head was sinking in the middle of my desperate out/in breathing. All I did to turn it all around in one day was to exhale FULLY underwater, keep my glide arm extended, take a "bite" of air, start exhaling again, repeat. It's explained better by more experienced people, but that's what changed it for me.

2 months after that day of being able to go 500 yards, I can now swim 1500 yards without stopping, albeit slowly. So I would recommend working on figuring out your swimming breathing by watching videos and reading the threads on breathing here and experimenting. Once you figure it out, it's the difference between night and day and competing in a sprint distance will not seem intimidating at all.

John
2013-07-02 11:12 AM
in reply to: johnmoran

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
I think you've got time to be ready for a sprint this season. Keep working with a swim coach and eventually your swimming will click and you'll be be Nle to complete the distance and then some.

I'd pick a race later this year but maybe hold off on registration until your swimming starts to come together. Knowing when you'll need to be ready is a great motivator and might be just what you need to get in the pool and get your technique in shape to race.


2013-07-02 11:45 AM
in reply to: JZig

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
I'd wait until you were ready on all three fronts. If you try a race and have a miserable experience, you may not go back again. If you get yourself prepared and cross the finish line with your head held high, it could turn into a long term life style thing and it's a great past time.
2013-07-02 2:00 PM
in reply to: justinruns

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Subject: RE: Am I ready?
Reg. swim:

First, we didn't evolve to live in the water and it's a natural reaction to hold your breath when you get the face in the water. That causes a lot of problem for beginners because now they have to exhale AND inhale the brief time they have their face out of the water. A very simple drill is to forget all about swimming, stand in the low end, breathe in, drop your head under water, breathe out. Repeat.

I remember as a kid when I was about 5 we would stand in the low end and jump and on the count of three all dip under water. I now understand what this was really all about.

Second, a lot of people are surprised by swimming in open water. The comfort and safety of the pool is gone, water is cold, maybe you can't see how deep it is, and if you try standing you don't know what you step on, there are current and waves, add to this being nerveus, exited, adrenaline pumping and a mass start ... Even people who can comfortably do the distance in the pool can panic first time(s) in OWS and panic is detrimental to survival. That's why it's so important to become comfortable in the water, and not just in the pool, before your race,

Stay safe. Don't let your first race be your only race for a sad reason.
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