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First triathlon - goal is to finish!

(50 Posts)
eightytwenty Sat 16-Feb-13 23:34:04

I've decided to do a triathlon this year - either a novice event (may), or a women's only(July) or both.

Anyone else signed up or thinking of signing up to one?

I am new to this getting fit lark. I started swim training 18 months ago, and running/ spinning 3 months ago. I am still overweight, but am getting fitter and have (almost) lost 3 stone this year. I can now do all components but haven't started 'brick' training, and need to work on speed as slow in all areas!

Belugagrad Sun 17-Feb-13 13:08:32

I have done a couple of beginner triathlons. They are really fun, people overtake each other at different stages which I found really motivating. I'm best at swimming and running, so had a good start and then caught up those speedy cyclists in the run. I found most other people friendly but also most triathletes hate the swim and love cycle. They're fun events. Are you doing an open water swim?

Belugagrad Sun 17-Feb-13 13:21:32

Also congrats on getting fit! And tris are good cos it's usually staggered start times, I always am the slowest there but staggered times mean I'm not last over the finish line! smile

littlemrssleepy Sun 17-Feb-13 13:32:43

I am. Planning to do the women only shock absorber at Eton Dorney which I presume is the one you are thinking about. Likewise, my aim is to finish! If I were you I would start brick training soonish - the jelly legs take some time to get used to! I can do 20km bike in 40-45 minutes, but I have to start my run very slow to cope with said jelly legs. At the moment I'm starting at 7.5kmp/h for the first k, then 8, 8.5, 9 and 9.5 for each km after, so it's taking about 35 mins for the run. I'd like to do it in 30. Swimming I'm not too worried about - always been a good swimmer and quite happily swam a mile up to a week before each dc's due date (only stopped cos I was worried about waters breaking in the pool!). I am signed up to some open water training though as I guess that is a different kettle of fish! My 5 year old wants to go the scootathlon at Eton - 400m scoot, 400m bike, 250m run. Bless. I say go for it - I'm really enjoying it and although I'm worried about it all falling apart and coming last, I would still be dead proud tbh!

eightytwenty Sun 17-Feb-13 21:58:09

Thanks for the replies!

smile at southern thinking sleepy! Actually one in Edinburgh!

Def will be pool based at this stage. Though wouldn't rule out open water in the future - do have a wet suit and managed to get out a few times last year, however it's mainly sea swimming up here which can sometimes be a bit scary!

Beluga - think I'm still at the getting fitter stage, as opposed to fit!
I've only done one 5k (last Sunday) - as only started running in November, and then had a 2 week break for Xmas. My time was 38 mins, so v slow. No idea how much I'll be able to improve on that between now and may/ June - and no idea what the effect of coming off a bike will be. Will start brick training in the next few weeks, though am v scared at thought of them. My cycling is confined to family rides (6 miles today - broken by lunch & at kids pace!) and an hour of spinning per week. Have just booked a babysitter for a few weekends so Dh and I can go out together. My swimming is my fave - though again slow 11-12 mins for 400m. Can't see ill be making massive strides on that time any time soon as progress in swimming is much slower than the other two disciplines - even though I've been doing 2.5 hours per week for 18 months. But at least I absolutely know I can swim it comfortably!

Any other tips from your experience?

Don't even have a road bike at the moment - and am thinking my ladies ridgeback will be enough to get me through at this point. Likewise am probably happy to forfeit time by not wearing a tri suit! (V wobbly stomach needs to be kept hidden).

Belugagrad Mon 18-Feb-13 12:16:51

Its brilliant you can run 5k, after cycling running always feels slow, even if you have a good pace. I'd seond gatting on with brick training as it is very tough and you need to prepare yourself. For my cycling training all I did was cycled to the gym (about 2 miles!!!), locked my bike and went for a proper run, so on the day it was tough (this was literally all the cycling training I did and on the day I hired a mountain bike as thats all that was available and my own bike at home was the whimsical kind with a basket). So what I'm saying is, you're training for the bike is already looking pretty good!

The tris ive done have all been in the pool and they were sprint distance so not too full on. Its a shame the swim goes so fast as its my fav bit too. I havent ever worn a tri-suit either - im not sure what id look like!

I really planned out my station on the day, so everything was in the right place at the right time for quick transitions, its worth practising this and you can apply it to everything, taking the kids swimming etc, lay out your stuff and try and beat your time! This is what I do at swimming lessons every wednesday and im always first in the cafe ;-) I also got some of those elastic laces so you dont have to tie your shoe laces. They were a good investment!

You're really inspiring me to go for a tri this yr. I had a break last yr from all exercise as I had my first baby and have started running and swimming again and have started looking for events...its just the cycling thats my issue.

Thistledew Mon 18-Feb-13 12:51:25


I am aiming for my first Tri this year after a challenge from my friend. She is a runner, and my sport is cycling, so it will be an interesting competition. I am hoping to do a competition in June or later but haven't signed up to anything yet. A friend of my friend is supposed to be setting up a new one this year in Tooting, but is having some problems, so we are not sure if this will come off. I'm going to suggest the Eton Dorney one to my friend, although the women only event is more expensive than the open competition.

I'm thinking of starting off with a Sprint event - is that what most people do or do they go straight for the standard?

I have started training for Tri only this year: my cycling will be my strongest section and I reckon on a flat course I should be able to do 20k in about 35 - 40 mins. Swimming will be my next strongest: I used to swim for my school and was quite good, but haven't really swum since university 13 years ago. I have started to get back into it this year and am building up my stamina. Running will be my weakest area: I can't actually run 5 k at the moment. I started with one of those C25K programs in January and was beginning to make good progress until I crashed my bike quite badly 3 weeks ago, and am only just now able to walk properly again, let alone run. The upside is that my swimming has really come on, as that has been the only exercise I have been able to do for the last 3 weeks so I have been going a couple of times a week.

bacon Mon 18-Feb-13 17:38:45

Not for me but my husband was flying last year. My only recommendation is reading up on food, carbs and nutrition its very important that you eat the correct food at the right times. We've seen people completely exhausted and collapsed because they haven't eaten correctly.

My husband was very focused and went running even though he was so exhausted. He'd use the concept 2 rowing machine (in living room) as a warm up.

He also had one to one swimming lessons for a while to get him to the standard as the local tri swim club was too fast for him. Amazing at cycling

Sadly he went too thin, looked terrible and lost his strength (no good for his job) and it was killing him for time. He decided to give it up which is a shame but the training was too much after long manual days and stress of running business. Good that he's gained a bit more weight and has about 34" (was 40") waist very tall and farmer but its a serious commitment and you have to be very focused.

Join a club if you need to get on.

eightytwenty Mon 18-Feb-13 17:59:32

Thistle - that sounds a nasty accident. Hope you're fully mended now. Heard that lower injury rate was supposed to be a benefit of triathlons!

Goodness bacon. I'm not worrying about being too thin any time soon! More that every extra lb I'm carrying is a hindrance, especially with running.

I've never been fit in my life. And I was only slim (ish) at university. Rest of the time overweight - to a greater or (currently) lesser extent.

I guess at this stage the ambition is soley to participate and finish. I have no care about timings or glory. But the guys I swim train with are all about the journey, so I guess that is how I'm seeing it. And I hope I enjoy it cause I am already seeing a fitness benefit.

Re food bacon - I have a desk job unlike your active husband. Need to make sure I don't over eat as you don't lose that many cals from exercising at my pace / distance. It's more about bang for the buck iykwim.

Sprint and novice distances here seem to vary between 400m swim, 6-10 k bike and 2.5-5 k runs. Not sure whether a shorter course will just mean that people do it faster.

Belugagrad Tue 19-Feb-13 08:46:33

I think some people can take any sport too seriously - triathlon itself can get quite full-on as you aren't really a triathlete unless you compete - if you see what I mean? (ie. lots of ppl do a bit of cycling/ swimming and running but arent triathletes).

I think its as much as a commitment as you want it to be and I wouldn't say you need to be terribly focused really. I only did sprint races described as 'try a tri' so i knew there would be beginners and like i said, i had good swimming and running foundations and didn't even do any cycle training and I managed! It is meant to be fun and I think it is a fun event to try and doesn't have to be as big and scary as lots of tri clubs like to make out (the tri club attached to my old running club was pretty intense!!).

I think you should go for a sprint as its quick, will build confidence and you don't have to worry about speed as the staggered start (which you usually get with pool based triathlons) will mean you won't be the last in at the finish. They normally ask your estimated time and then slowest ppl start and fastest start last.

I think its all about choosing your race. Choose a friendly event - when I do half marathons or any running event I avoid anything with too many club runners as they are just so fast. Whereas at a Race for Life event you can run but there are always people walking taking the pressure off. Some ppl love all this tri-suit/ ironman tattoo stuff but end of day, its just swimming cycling and running! :-)

Thistledew Tue 19-Feb-13 11:13:02

bacon - it sounds like your DH was overtraining. Any sports coach will tell you that it is absolutely and medically essential to allow recovery periods in your training schedule. Training at an intense level stresses the body and temporarily weakens it. If you allow enough recovery time in your schedule, the body not only recovers, but comes back stronger. If you don't allow recovery time, it goes on getting weaker, and doesn't fully bounce back. You actually end up getting weaker rather than stronger the more you train.

I went to a training day for cycle racing before Christmas where the coach was talking about this, and he told us of an olympic athlete who tried to change disciplines to start triathlon, but overtrained, and ended up in hospital for 3 months, career over.

I think triathlon carries quite a risk of this, as a rest day from running is the day you go cycling, and if you are not cycling, then you go swimming. It is easy not to schedule in any breaks at all. I make sure to have one day a week when I don't do any exercise at all and try to take things really easy, but it is important as well to listen to your body, and if you do feel exhausted and not able to put in any effort in your training session, then stop. Have a couple of days off. It will do you good, whereas continuing to train will actually set you back in your fitness goals.

eightytwenty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:58

Beluga - thanks good advice. Think the pick your race is sound advice.

Thistle - good timing. I had a virus fri nt/ sat and spent the day in bed. Just debating whether I feel up to running today & yet know that I don't have many training slots this week so feel I ought to. I also ran on thurs, and enjoyed it, whereas on Friday it just felt hard work. Wasn't sure if that was cause it was consecutive days, a long gentle incline out, or if I was starting to feel ropey earlier than I thought.

Thistledew Tue 19-Mar-13 20:20:22

Hello All!

I was wondering how people are progressing?

I have been back to proper training these last two weeks, and apart from the occasional whinge from my knee- mostly when I am trying to put down full power on the bike, I don't seem to have any lasting problems.

Can I ask what other people have as their training schedules?

Mine varies a bit week by week depending on how my work goes as sometimes I have to work late, but this is what I aim for:

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - cycle commute (18 or 24 miles depending on where I am working) and run.
Wednesday - swim
Thursday - cycle commute and run
Friday - cycle commute
Saturday - run
Sunday - long ride on bike (around 50 miles)

I try to add in an additional swim where I can. Sometimes I might commute by bike 4 or even 5 days a week but I always make sure I have one day off.

eightytwenty Wed 20-Mar-13 21:40:56

WOW Thistledew... That is some training!

Mine on a good week (ie no interuptions from work/ sick child/ bad weather/ swimming pool poo accident/ closed for gala day/ closed due to leaks) is..

Monday - 2 hour Track & spinning (or just spinning if track closed)
Tuesday - 1 hour swimming (split between stroke development & time trial stuff), and maybe a (3-4k) run as well
Wednesday - 45 min spin (which I want to build to include a short run after)
Thursday - 3-4k run
Friday - short bike ride, 3k run, 1 hour swimming class
Saturday - off
Sunday - 30 min swimming

But reckon at least one of these gets binned on any given week due to above.

Feeling confident on the separate componnents (esp as novice triathlon, so short distances - 250 swim, 9k bike, 4k run). But need to start the build sessions, and will all be at a v slow pace.

Thistledew Thu 21-Mar-13 01:36:55

Eightytwenty- that sounds like a good balanced program. Mine is rather cycle heavy but I use it as a means of transport so don't really want to cut it out.

Are you getting some swimming coaching?

I used to swim for my school and a bit at uni 10 (+) years ago but have barely been in a pool since. I get moments when the crawl comes together and I start to feel like I could just keep going but most of the time it just feels like hard work. I am thinking of having some lessons to brush up on my technique but don't know whether to have these individually or to find a club to join.

eightytwenty Thu 21-Mar-13 09:38:25

I've done 2 hours of swim coaching for 18 months now. But previously couldn't do the crawl at all.

Now can do it v comfortably but still v slow (12 mins to do 400m).

Think if you've been good in the past its pretty easy to get good again. However I'd really recommend coaching or a club - you'll work harder, with greater variety. I find it mentally and physically stimulating in the way I don't when I swim on my own.

Thistledew Thu 21-Mar-13 16:27:04

Where do you go for coaching? Is it in a swimming class or do you have private lessons?

Part of my problem is that my stroke always used to be breaststroke - I used to be able to swim breaststroke faster than I could crawl, but I know I need to get the crawl sorted for a tri.

eightytwenty Thu 21-Mar-13 16:35:11

I think my breast stroke is still faster. Tbh apparently you (and many people do) breast stroke - certainly at first. I want get timed for both, but need to wait for pool to be repaired.

I go to private classes, with an instructor who is just amazing. I found him through local authority classes, and was lucky that he is the best swim coach in Edinburgh (by all accounts) so when the la schedule changed I followed him to his private class. I also do another la class (which is good as paying for this gives me access to free swimming at any of the city pools). There are lots of master classes as well as people who informally train together too -but I like the discipline and technique training I get from bloc3.

Thistledew Thu 21-Mar-13 17:24:09

It's true what you say about breaststroke, but I used to be properly quick with it.

I will see if my la has any coaches willing to do private lessons. I asked about group ones and was told that there is about a 9 month waiting list! Heaven knows why they don't just put on more classes if there is the demand.

skaen Thu 21-Mar-13 17:28:47

I'm doing the super sprint at Blenheim this year. I was supposed to do it last year but was injured and still not quite running as well as I was. DH is doing it too so evening spin sessions in front of the Killing!

eightytwenty Thu 21-Mar-13 21:30:36

Do you have spin bikes in your homes? Wow!

skaen Sat 23-Mar-13 10:36:21

We have a turbo trainer which fits both our bikes - got it off ebay for £75 and then fix up a phone app to do speed/ distance/ cadence etc. It is so useful and makes it much easier to do something every day.

eightytwenty Wed 10-Apr-13 20:57:27

Hello. How're you getting on? I have only a month to go, and only 3 weekends left so am thinking I really need to do some 'builds'. Just need to negotiate with dh who is currently in bed sick, and to coordinate other life stuff.

Easter holidays and pool closure have interfered with training but am back on it this week.

Skaen - so is your turbo in the house or garage? I know someone with one in the garage. Another reason for me to have garage envy.

Thistle - impressed by your run times.

Thistledew Wed 19-Jun-13 00:07:07

Hello all

How's progress?

I had another 6 week hiatus in training due to a combination of a nasty cough and getting married and going on honeymoon, but I am back into it now, and feeling that I am more or less at a reasonable standard in all three disciplines.

Has anyone entered anything recently?

I have my eye on one in the second week of July. It is run by Humanrace and sponsored by Lidl so all the events are banana themed! I am thinking of the Banana Fritter, which is sprint distance apart from a slightly shorter swim.

I feel I need to have a go at some open water swims, and fortunately there are a few places near me that I can do this.

Does anyone have their own wetsuit? If so, what brand?

What do you wear under it? Do you have a tri suit?

eightytwenty Wed 19-Jun-13 13:06:08

Hi thistle! Congratulations on getting married. Am sure you'll be back in no time.

I did my novice tri in may. Was quite pleased with my swim time, bike time could've been better (if I had more than 7 gears, and if my light weight jacket hasn't acted as a hot air balloon!). Run was pretty slow.

Have a few things to work on - working out the transition in reverse (got v disorientated coming off the bike), and pacing my run without my Nike run ap.

Unfortunately I have plantar fasciitis so can't run at all till its healed. But will start increasing bike training in preparation for a 47 mile cycle I'm doing in September. And have started going to a masters swim class so will improve stamina from that no doubt. Am also down to do another novice tri in September (longer swim and bike but shorter run) with a view to doing a sprint next year.

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