I want to do a triathlon this summer and need some help?
Okay so I’m a runner already, in highschool and I do XC and Track, and used to be very good at it. I got out of shape because I had some heel and knee injuries but I’m back now. I’ve been wanting to do a triathlon for a long time now and my family just joined the YMCA near us so I finally have somewhere to swim. My questions are, 1. Some tips for training, (I know basically what to do but just any good workouts is greatly appreciated, but my main question 2. What do you think would be a good starting race for me, and also any in the New Jersey area. I’m very competitive and love a good challenge, I’m looking for something with a 5k run and like a 1/4 mile swim. Don’t care about the biking. Is their a name for a race like that? I’m really confused with this stuff so please help. Also would I be out of place at a triathlon since i’m only 15. I don’t really care if I am because I dont care what people think…. But I just don’t want to be like mocked for people saying I shouldn’t be there you know what I mean? Sory for the long question, but I would greatly appreciate any help Thank YOU!
Mike Rich answers:
What you’re looking at is a “sprint” triathlon. Go to trifind.com or trimapper.com to find a triathlon in your area.
For training you first need to work up the endurance levels to A) Swim for 15 minutes, B) Bike continuously for 1 hour, C) run for 3 miles. If you can swim for 30 minutes, bike for 90 minutes and run for 1 hour you should have no fear of not finishing and should work on gaining speed (spin classes, tempo runs, swim interval practice/efficiency practice).
There are quite a few training plans out there for sprint triathlons. I would suggest 3 runs, 3 bikes and 3 swims per week as a general guideline. You will often do more than 2 workouts per session.
These should be centered around a Swim + Bike or more commonly Bike + Run pairing. We call these workouts BRICKs — referring to the Bike + Run pairing because coming off of a 1 hr bike, your legs are going to feel like bricks for the first 1/2 mile.
Depending on your goal — a) Just finish happily, b) Place in the top 3, c) Leave both men and women in your age division coughing in your dust — your training plans and intensity levels may vary. There are a lot of resources online as well as books. I would suggest these 2 sites…
“Thinking of buying a bike for your next Triathlon race? Never miss these bike accessories. Read what they are below!”
Bike Accessories: Lock, lights, helmet, track pump and lockable skewers.
1. Bike lock
Suggestion: Kryptonite New York 3000 Price: £65 In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)
What came first? The bicycle lock or the bike. It doesn’t matter, because unless your bike looks like you’ve just hauled it out of a canal then its going to get stolen. The first thing you’ll need therefore, is a decent lock. It doesn’t get much more decent than the Kryptonite New York 3000. It’s a lock that will resist all but the most persistent attacks.
2. Bike lights
Suggestion: Knog Boomer and Blackburn Flea Price: £25.49 and £21.99 In-store or online: Online (Probably don’t have these in store)
Even if you the thought of repairing a puncture makes you run and hide under your bed covers you’ll still be able to install the Knog Boomer and Blackburn Flea. Both are beautifully simple to install and with USB charging you’ll save a bundle from not having to replace batteries. Plus they both provide plenty of light and look great.
Suggestion: Bell helmet Price: £31.49 In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)
I hear gasps at the back? I’d be hearing even more gasps if I didn’t give a shout out to the bicycle helmet. Long a point of contention – to wear one or not to wear one? I’ll leave the choice up to you. I’ve written about bicycle helmets previously. The Bell helmet I recommend is a bit of an “out there” choice for those that want to look cool on their bikes.
4. Track pump
Suggestion: Topeak Joe Blow Sport Price: £24.99 In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)
Life before buying a track pump was tenuous. My mini-pump, try as I might, could barely ever reach the required tyre pressure. The track pump on the other hand makes light work of empty tires and means I can cycle without wasting energy due to flat tyres. I highly recommend the Topeak Joe Blow Sport.
5. Lockable skewers
Suggestion: Pinhead Four Pack Locking Skewer Set Price: £53.99 In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)
You may have mistakenly believed the fifth item I’d mention is mudguards. You can’t have the pleasure of road muck spraying on your back if someone’s run off with your wheels, saddle and handlebars. That’s exactly what the Pinhead system secures and it is worth having if you are riding an expensive bike.
“Half Ironman Training can be quite intense. Below are a few training tips that could help you on your next race. Read on and find out what they are!”
The Half Ironman is a challenging event, comprising a 1.2-mile swim, followed by a 56-mile bike, and culminating with a 13.1-mile run. As a beginner, your primary concern will be on finishing the course within the allotted cutoff times, which vary by event. In order to achieve the required endurance, you should plan to train for at least six months. Through consistent training, and proper pacing, any able-bodied individual can have a successful Half Ironman event.
Useful Half Triathlon Training Tips
Choosing Your Event Before choosing which Half Ironman event you’ll do, there are a few things you should consider. First, cutoff times vary by event, so look up the cutoff times for each discipline at each of the events you’re considering. Average cutoff time for the 1.2-mile swim is one hour from the start of your wave. You will then typically have 4 to 4.5 hours to complete the 56-mile bike, and up to three hours to complete the 13.1-mile run. Again, these cutoff times will vary, so know what time constraints you’ll be held to prior to registering.
Course profile, typical weather conditions, and altitude should also be considerations in your decision. Whenever possible, choose an event which closely mimics your training conditions. Being prematurely pulled off the course after investing countless hours of training, over many months, is a discouraging outcome. Play it smart by following these training tips, and you’ll be prepared to avoid this heartbreaking scenario.
Swim Training To complete the swim portion of the Half Ironman, you will be required to swim 1.2 miles in less than an hour. As a beginner, you should plan to swim three days per week, with one of these being a long swim that gradually builds until you can comfortably swim 1.2 miles without stopping. For the first few months, focus on proper form, and building your aerobic base. That means swimming at a pace that is comfortable while employing bilateral breathing; breathing every third stroke.
In the final six to eight weeks leading up to your event, keep your long swim day, but use the other two to focus on swimming shorter distances at a faster pace. For example, you could do a main set of 5 x 200 yards with a 45-second recovery between each 200, or even 7 x 150 yards with a 30-second recovery. Push yourself to go faster, but keep times consistent between efforts. This type of work will increase your ability to perform at a higher level, and recover faster. Practice speed work in the pool, and your long swim speed will increase as well.
One final important factor in the triathlon swim equation is open water swim practice. Swimming open water is a completely different experience from pool swimming, both mentally and physically. If you wait until race day to experience your first open water swim, you’ll compound your anxiety level, and set yourself up for failure. If your race will require wearing a wetsuit, make sure you get in several practice sessions wearing one. The confining feeling of a wetsuit can be quit unsettling, so train like you race, and get those practice sessions in.
Bike Training Next thing on your Half Ironman Training is bike training. Cycling fitness is the most important factor in triathlon success. Whatever distance of triathlon you’re participating in, the bike is the longest segment, and you will always want to finish the bike feeling as fresh as possible for the run. This requires a lot of saddle time, and in order to build a solid aerobic foundation, you’ll want to keep the intensity level low while gradually increasing duration. As elite triathlon coach Gordo Byrn, author of “Going Long,” recommends, “[…] you’ll want your backside to give out before your legs.” If your legs are feeling tapped out before the overall discomfort of sitting in the saddle has you yearning for the end of the ride, then chances are you’re going out with too much intensity for the early phases of training.
Once you’ve built your long ride up to a comfortable four to five hours, you can start working on more speed, but always reserve one day a week for a long ride. Find your functional threshold effort or heart rate by completing an all-out 30-minute time trial, preferably on a flat to rolling course. Use this value as a training target for sessions geared toward increasing your muscular endurance. Start out by incorporating two to three 10-minute intervals at this intensity level, with a full recovery between efforts. Gradually increase the duration of your intervals to push that functional threshold and increase your sustainable power. While there are many different systems to train, this threshold will be of utmost importance for a successful Half Ironman race.
Run Training A solid aerobic foundation is most important for run training because more damage is done to the body when running than in either of the other disciplines of triathlon. If you are new to running, pay considerable attention to making small increases in mileage, and do not incorporate speed sessions until you can comfortably run for over an hour without stopping. Pace during these early training sessions should be low enough that you could carry on a conversation. If you don’t have a running buddy to converse with, another trick for checking that your intensity is to practice inhaling for three steps, exhaling for three steps. If you find yourself struggling for air, then you need to slow it down, as the intensity with which you are running is too high and requiring a high oxygen consumption. The only thing to be gained from running too fast, too soon, is injury which will set back your training, and threaten your ability to complete your race.
When you’ve reached your one-hour run benchmark, then it is time to start adding speed work. Run training expert Dr. Jack Daniels, PhD, author of “Daniels’ Running Formula,” recommends two to three quality run sessions per week. Since you will also be swimming and cycling, this may be all the running you are able to fit in. Make sure one of these sessions is focused on maintaining your long run fitness. Your second session could be used for a high-intensity track workout, with the final session directed toward increasing your running functional threshold. To find your threshold running pace, sign up for and complete a 10k race. The average pace or heart rate for this performance can then be used for interval sessions that will increase your muscular endurance, and ability to maintain a powerful run.
Combining Workouts Once you have a solid foundation in each of the three disciplines of triathlon, it’s time to start putting them together in training. Combining workouts, or doing “bricks,” should be a high priority in the six to eight weeks leading up to your race. The most common brick workout is the bike-to-run. Due to the differences in muscle fiber recruitment and blood flow, when you first run off the bike, your legs will not feel like your own. Rest assured, this feeling will pass in eight to 10 minutes as the muscle confusion passes, and your running legs return. Begin incorporating these bricks with short runs off the bike, 10 to 15 minutes long, but in the month leading up to your event, you’ll want the confidence of having run at least an hour after cycling for up to three hours. Some athletes choose to do more, and may even cover the entire distance of the event before toeing the line on race day, but if you’ve been training consistently as outlined above, this won’t be necessary for a good finish. More at Beginner Training for a Half Ironman
You can also check out this video for more Half Ironman Training Advice: