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Training for first triathlon

(21 Posts)
PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 24-Jun-15 00:37:27

I'm relatively fit but it's mainly from cycling & exercise classes but with less than 3 months until my first triathlon I need to add some running & swimming. I'm thinking as a starting point for the first month:
Monday: HIIT class
Tuesday 25-35km cycle
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 45 min swim
Friday: 15-20km faster cycle followed by 4-5km run
Saturday: HIIT class
Sunday: rest/family swim

I'm loathe to give up my classes as I really enjoy them but will swop one for a 2nd swim as it gets nearer. Does this sound ok for a sprint Tri ?

pootlebug Wed 24-Jun-15 07:59:10

Can you add a 2nd run? The run following the bike is a good idea, but I'd add another run too. Only needs to be half an hour or so - maybe on the day of your swim?

How are your running and your swimming now? Which is stronger?

TBH if you're fairly fit anyway and bike a fair bit you should get through a sprint tri no problem even if you don't train particularly specifically (so long as your swimming is good enough to do the distance). Depends how well you want to do, really.

CMOTDibbler Wed 24-Jun-15 08:42:31

I agree that you need at least another run. If cycling is your strength, then you are better swapping out a ride for a run or swim session.

shakemysilliesout Wed 24-Jun-15 08:52:48

I would actually seriously reduce your cycling at this point.

Running is the last event and u want to finish strong. I would do tempo and sprint runs.

How is your swimmjng? I find at most events people are weak swimmers so I wouldn't worry but you want an efficient 30 mins swim rather than a plodding 45 mins. Is it open water or pool?

Have u practised transitions? I recommend a character beach towel.

TriJo Wed 24-Jun-15 10:26:13

I'd be looking at 2 swim/2 bike/2 run + one strength session as a good place to start from for a sprint - I don't see any S+C there at all. Replace a HIIT class with a yoga, pilates, Crossfit or body pump class and add one extra run I would think.

Consider getting some technique coaching too particularly if it has been a long time since you have taken lessons, and get some open water practice in if your race is in open water and you haven't done much before. How is your swimming overall? Can you swim an efficient front crawl for 750m comfortably?

Practice your transitions - they should be quick in a sprint. Consider cycling and running sockless if you can, and get some tri specific clothes and a race belt.

I would also disagree with anyone who suggests reducing cycling - the bike is the engine of triathlon, you cannot expect to run well if you have pushed yourself too hard to get through the bike section.

MonkeyPJs Wed 24-Jun-15 11:08:56

Having done some triathlons years ago when I was fit I recommend practicing running after cycling as much as possible, as I found this really tough as after a cycle my legs didn't really work as they should have!

Another tip someone told me was practicing swimming that uses less of your legs and more of your arms, as you need your legs more later. It might be slightly slower, but adding an extra 5 mins on your swim is something you can easily make up later if you have extra leg stregth

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 24-Jun-15 22:44:52

Thanks for all your really helpful feedback. I think adding a short run after my longer cycle would be the best option initially.
Swimming is definitely my weakest part so I will look to get some technique training. Ive got a fortnight holiday with a big pool (& the sea grin) a few weeks before the event so I can swim daily then & as it's an open water event I'm going on some practice swims in a nearby lake in August. Training starts on Mondayshock

PhoebeMcPeePee Wed 24-Jun-15 23:53:31

Just a quick query for all you triathletes: how do you practise transitions after swimming in a public swimming pool? Presumably I'll be wearing a cossie & need to lock my bike outside but surely going to the lockers to dry & change is hardly a smooth transition. Or do you literally come straight from the water, grab your bag & run wet through reception to your bike where you put on your cycling gear or am I missing something obvious smile.

pootlebug Thu 25-Jun-15 06:08:54

Phoebe - you run out of the water in a tri suit, unlock your bike and go.

That said, I didn't bother practicing swim-to-bike on my first one (or indeed ever, in that I recall), I just practiced bike-to-run, which is much more of a shock to the legs imo.

Are you swimming in a wetsuit? By August, wetsuits may be optional as water is usually warm enough, but no guarantees. They help with buoyancy so long as you are swimming crawl (they're hopeless for breast stroke). It does take a few practice swims to get used to swimming in one though, and whilst I note my laziness on swim-to-bike transition practice, it is good to practice taking it off as though it's a race!

CMOTDibbler Thu 25-Jun-15 09:11:46

I did do a swim/cycle direct brick once before my first tri, just to see what it felt like to swim in my sports bra/trisuit and then cycle in a wet tri suit etc.

The receptionist at the leisure centre let me leave my helmet/shoes/bag with her so I could just come straight out after a very quick towel off to stop myself dripping over the lobby.

Doing a number of practice transitions is a good thing. On Sunday, I ended up helping a lady before the race who hadn't thought through what you did with your number (ie, it goes on your race belt and is put on at T1, not pinned to your tri suit to swim in), and had somehow missed the 'no outside assistance' thing.

Reading the race pack is really, really important to check all the details of your event!

cm22v077 Thu 25-Jun-15 10:50:12

I've been lurking on these tri threads for a while, I too am considering doing my first triathlon, sorry to jump on your thread Phoebe!

My typical training week includes:
2 or 3 1k swims
3 runs (doing couch25k, currently running for 28 minutes each time)

I cycle to and from work each week day which is 3.5 miles each way plus will play a team sport like a hockey match or cricket once a week.

The sprint triathlon I am eying up is less than a month away and is a pool based swim, any tips of what kind of training I should be doing? Or if it's even achievable considering it's so close?!

I'm hoping to try practicing running after cycling this weekend and should probably do some longer cycles to get used to the distance??

I need to do this on a really tight budget so was planning on using my commuter bike, what would you all consider the other triathlon essentials? I guess I should buy a tri suit?

Thanks so much

TriJo Thu 25-Jun-15 11:08:17

It is definitely doable, but I would recommend a planned run/walk interval (5 min run/1 min walk?) for the run if you are new to running.

I would also try and fit in a few longer bike rides at the weekend or just extend a commute just to get used to covering the distance in one go - assuming your race has a 20km/12 mile bike, I would be aiming to do a few 25-30km rides. If your commuter bike doesn't already have relatively slick tyres, it would be helpful to get some.

Keep up your swimming, maybe extend your total distance covered - it sounds like it shouldn't be an issue really given that you can cover 1km, most pool sprints only have a 400m swim.

A tri suit would be nice but isn't essential if you are on a budget. Tri shorts are very useful though, they have a much thinner pad than normal bike shorts and are easy to run in - check out Wiggle or Start Fitness and you should be able to get a good basic pair for under £30. You would wear them and your sports bra for the swim, then just pull a vest top, cycling jersey or t-shirt over it in T1.

cm22v077 Mon 20-Jul-15 12:41:07

Thanks for the advice TriJo, I did my first triathlon yesterday and absolutely loved it!
I purchased a tri suit in the end and used my commuter bike. I was really happy with my times and I've definitely caught the triathlon bug! Only problem is that I twisted my ankle on a dodgy bit of ground during the run, I managed to run through it but it's quite sore today, any tips for recovery?
Thanks again!

Iamblossom Mon 20-Jul-15 13:13:36

Well done cm!!

Was just looking for a thread asking for the same info I was looking for, and found this one, great advice on here. Hope you don't mind me hijacking!

I have done the swim leg of 3 triathlons (hever castle, Blenheim, and Dorney lake all open water), as part of a team, and in the hever castle one also did the run leg due a team member dropping out.

Swimming is definitely my strongest leg, swim a mile once a week with no problems, and can easily do 400m front crawl. I have just done a London 10k run, so as long as I keep my hand in with the 5km distance I am not too worried about that.....what I am worried about is doing it after a 25km cycle!

The cycle will deffo be my hardest challenge and I am v worried about this leg, particularly as the course is hilly. I have only owned a bike for a month, did the distance on a gym bike with a hill programme last week and this morning did 25km on the road.....which was hilly and hard, but I have to say I did really enjoy it!! Took me 92 minutes.

So my questions are:

In a pool swim, what happens if you get stuck behind someone really slow? I will be annoyed if my strongest leg is scuppered by that, and am used to be able to power past weaker swimmers in a lake swim

For training prep do you think I should cycle the whole distance and then run the whole distance to ready my legs? How many times do you recommend I do this? The run is flattish apparently.

What gym exercises do you recommend I do to make them less wobbly after a distance bike ride? There is very little possibility I could have run 5km safely when I got off my bike today!!!!

My bike is a mountain bike, do a lot of people doing sprint tris use road bikes or will I be ok with a mountain bike?

On the cycle, do they usually post signs saying how far you have done/last hill sort of info?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Iamblossom Mon 20-Jul-15 13:14:12

cm where did you get your Trisuit from?

TriJo Mon 20-Jul-15 13:43:05

cm Eton Dorney?

Well done on your first, of many I'm sure! smile

Iamblossom Mountain bikes aren't ideal, but are useable for shorter tris. Consider borrowing a hybrid or a road bike from a friend and you will notice a difference. I'd highly recommend that you at least get slick tyres on it if you're going to race on it. Lock out any suspension on it too as you want to keep it as stiff as possible.
Being able to cycle the full bike distance and run around 30 minutes or 5km-ish off it will be a good workout and should give you confidence. The only way to get used to the jelly legs when you start to run is to practice! In a race situation, you'll have a pile of adrenalin taking you out of T2 so that should get you over the worst of it.
Pool swims are generally seeded by anticipated swim time so you should be starting with people who are at a similar standard to you.

cm22v077 Mon 20-Jul-15 14:41:57

Iam, I was aiming to do the triathlon on a tight budget, just incase I discovered I hated it! So I got my suit from Sports Direct, I'm not a tri suit expert but I was happy with it and had no problems. Lots of people recommend wriggle though, I have ordered other stuff from there and they've been very good.
Here's the suit I wore:

TriJo -I did a fairly small triathlon at Wellington College near Reading yesterday, I was eyeing up Dorney for the women's only triathlon last week but thought I'd start off with a pool swim rather than the lake.

Iam, for the pool swim we had to submit estimated times and so we were staggered by 20 seconds, I was nervous about overtaking people but it wasn't a problem, I overtook about 5 people when there was no one swimming on the opposite side, or at the end of the length. I think if you submit a realistic time then you should be swimming with people of a similar speed anyway.
I hadn't managed to cycle the full distance in training and do the run but I think the excitement of day really helps, it's over much quicker than you think and my legs felt fine after the bike leg. We did laps of the bike course so it was easier to gauge when you were near the end, there weren't any distance signs though. It might be worth looking into hiring a bike for the event? I think there are companies that do this depending on where you're based.

TriJo- how's your triathlon season going?

TriJo Mon 20-Jul-15 15:39:52

Raced yesterday and got me a sprint PB, so I'm pretty happy! Have an Olympic distance in 3 weeks time, need a few more good long cycles but I'm running well at the moment so it shouldn't be too bad. Trying to plan what to race next after that, I'd love to fit in another couple of races in August and September, I have a long swim in late September too.

I had been eyeing up the women-only day but last week didn't suit at all. Maybe next year smile

cm22v077 Wed 22-Jul-15 13:25:14

Congrats! How many races would you typically do in a year just out of interest?
I'm really frustrated I can't do any training at the moment because of my ankle, really keen to get another event booked in and improve my time from Sunday.

TriJo Wed 22-Jul-15 13:57:09

I would plan for around 4-5 triathlon/multisport events, but started my season very late this year because I got married in May and went on honeymoon straight afterwards so I lost around 3 weeks of training. I also try to do 2-3 open water swim events during the summer and the odd cycle sportive if I can fit it in.

I do mostly running races during the winter, as that's where my background is and I run better in cold weather. I rarely do running races longer than 10k during the summer. I would generally aim to do 1 half marathon a year and shorter races whenever I feel like it, but I want to give my 10k PB a good rattle this autumn so I'm going to make a plan for a November race.

I've completed 3 full marathons in the past but I don't see myself doing another one any time soon unless I magically get a London ballot spot (5 rejections already and not fast enough for GFA - would need a 14 minute PB).

BuggersMuddle Sat 01-Aug-15 20:48:50

Ooh, I was just about to post a similar thread. I'm primarily a cyclist (commuter and occasional sportive rider) and park run once a week (31-33min 5k currently, but working on it). I have been persuaded into a sprint triathlon, but am a dreadful swimmer (not unsafe or anything, just really slow).

I have a sportive coming up but after that was planning to focus on 3 x running and 2 x swimming, with cycling probably a bit of an afterthought - I can do enough through the odd commute or occasionally weekend ride to maintain my base bike fitness.

I am however starting to dream about coming in last (this is a genuine possibility btw - I'm a bit of a 'tortoise').

What S+C do people do? I'm noticing niggles, so had contemplated Astanga (which I used to do), although DP has a TRX and thinks we should get a set of kettlebells to complement that and do circuits at home. (I actually used to do a serious amount of weight training, but we gave up our gym membership as we weren't getting there often enough for it to be value for money.)

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