Tag Archives: Triathlon

Choosing To Do A Triathlon

Triathlon 101

As I  approach my first triathlon this Sunday.  I am walking through the decisions I made in training for the swim, the bike and the run.

First Step:  Deciding to do a triathlon.

What’s a triathlon like?

Electric Crowd cheering on Triathletes in Chicago

Last year, my brother was doing his first ever international (olympic distance) triathlon.  He’d done two sprint triathlons the previous two years. Both times, I was not able to see him compete.

Now, when I played my trombone in a local jazz big band, I was always excited when my family or friends came out to support me.  I seemed to have more energy.  I played better.  I had more fun.  For those times, when no one could come, I always felt a little sad.  When you have a passion, you want to share it.

Knowing how I felt, I decided that I would make sure to see my brother compete in the 2009 Chicago Triathlon.  I was so happy I did.  It was so energizing.  You see all these people (big guys, little girls, big girls, little guys, some fit people, some not so fit people) all smiling as they cross the finish line.  There is this constant hum of the crowd cheering on everyone even if you don’t know them.  Doing a triathlon has always been on my to do list.  After having seen a triathlon in person, I resolved to be out there in 2010.  It was super inspirational just being part of the energy.

At big events, there is usually a pre-event expo, that is open to the public.  At the expo, you can check out the latest gear and vendors pushing their wares.  Many of the big events will have festivities celebrating the competition such as Bands, DJ’s, and food boths.  So, Its definitely an event you can take your kids to and enjoy as a family.

If you have any interest in doing a triathlon, marathon, 10k, 5k, or any event at all,  Here’s your assignment:

Go to active.com or trifind.com, find your nearest Triathlon event, and attend as a fan.  Be there to cheer on the participants or better yet friends.  They love it, and you’ll be inspired.  If you have the time, volunteer to help out.  Without the volunteers, the events won’t take place.

Next post, I’ll talk about choosing a Triathlon Distance.  Why did I skip the sprint and jump right to the Olympic (International) distance?

Triathlon coming soon…

If you’ve been following along, I labeled 2010, my year of action. I was going to take action to achieve my goals rather than just talk about it.

One of my major goals for 2010 was to lose weight and complete an olympic triathlon. I’m only 10 days away.  (Any normal person would be freaking out right now. — I’m in that category.)

Freak out?

I am cautiously confident that I’ll be able to finish. I’m still darn nervous. I am not a fan of cold water. Lake Michigan water temps these days are between 65 and 70. Contrast that with my backyard pool which averages around 92 degrees, and my local lap pool is about 83 degrees. So, the cold water will be a shock. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to do an open water swim. I haven’t had a chance to try on my wetsuit (that’s a story for another day – hopefully a story with a happy ending).  Also, running after biking has been slow for me.

Triathlon Goal!

Yes, my goal is to finish, but of course I want more than that.  I want to beat last year’s average time of 3 hours.  I am not sure I’ll make that.  All of my workout times have been dramatically slower than the 3 hour pace.

Current workout times:

  • SWIM:  my (0.93 mile) swim time is about 40 minutes
  • BIKE: my (24.8 mile) bike time is 90 minutes
  • RUN: my (6.2 mile) run time is closer to 60 minutes.

If your keeping score at home, that’s 3 hours 10 minutes and that doesn’t even include transition times.  So, unless adrenaline kicks in, or wetsuits speed up swimming, or the bike trails I’m riding now are technically more complex and thus slower than the main triathlon course, or a miracle happens, I’m going to miss that secondary goal.  I’m still shooting for 3 hours.  Its good to push ourselves.  After all, trying is better than not trying at all.

Workout challenges:

At some point, we just have to decide.  Change your priorities.  It has not been easy for me.  I battle the workout blahs all the time.  I have to force myself to workout.  I feel good afterwards, but just starting its a challenge.  Exercise isn’t a habit yet.  Having a triathlon race scheduled and paid for since January has really made it easier for me to motivate my workouts.

I struggle mightily with the food still.  I love good food.

More Triathlon observations to come.  I’m finalizing a blogging posting schedule now that my triathlon training will slow down.  I am going to make an effort to continue the exercise habit and stabilize my writing habit.

I wanted to check in with you all. Of course, my question still stands:  How can I help you achieve your fitness goals?  What do you need to be accountable to make your year of action?  I want to help.

Focus on the Minutiae, while planning many steps ahead.

Oh no, you did not just do that?  Really?  that?  did you?  What were you thinking? I can not believe it.  No, seriously?  you did what?

Yes, yes I did, and yes I will.

In my quest to make 2010, my year of action.  I am taking action.  I’m stopping talking about things, and I am doing.  I have not swam or biked competitively ever.  The last time I ran in a track meet was bout 18 years ago (give or take a few years).  Even when I did run, I ran mid-distance sprints.  I did not run cross country.  So, Can you guess what I did?

Congratulations! You are now registered for Chicago Triathlon, Kids Triathlon and Fleet Feet Sports SuperSprint Triathlon. Please check the event’s official website for updates: http://www.chicagotriathlon.com

Okay, I haven’t actually completed a triathlon.  However, Yes, I did sign-up, and yes I will finish.  You can cheer me on in Chicago Sunday, August 29, 2010 @ 6:00 AM local time.

Chicago Triathlon

I’ll be doing my best triathlete impersonation.  When I finish, I won’t be impersonating anybody.  I will be a triathlete.  I’ve been talking about it for a few years now.  I like biking.  I like swimming, and I tolerate running when I have to get away from danger.

I know, I know. If you are a reader, you may be thinking that I am violating my own advice: Do not tell me your goal, and you will succeed. However, I don’t feel I have accomplished anything yet. I know I have work to do. Signing up is just one step along the way.

I have been taking steps along the way.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.

  • I’ve been reading triathlon books at the bookstore (haven’t bought one yet, if you have a recommendation, let me know).
  • I’ve been reading about improving my swimming form and better breathing techniques.
  • I’ve been swimming once a week for the past few weeks.
  • I’ve been doing some interval short runs/walk combinations to build up my running stamina.
  • I’ve been doing some heart rate walking as well as some elliptical workouts regularly.
  • I’ve been doing muscle focused weights every morning 6 days a week.

This is just the beginning. I’ve got 4 to 6 hours of running, biking, swimming, and weight workouts a week for thirty weeks.

So, as all the pro athletes state, focus on the next day, the next possession, the next move while thinking and planning multiple moves in advance. I focus on my next workout. I focus on my form during the weight workout. I focus on the posture while running, and the breathing while swimming. Build a strong foundation, and build up from there.

Step 1:  Do your research.  Done!

Step 2:  Do a feasibility study.  Done!

Step 3:  Register.  Done!

Next: Step 4:  Build a training and fitness workout plan.

Next: Step 5: Execute the workout plan

What’s the funny thing about my registering for a triathlon?

I don’t own a bike. I do own running shoes.  I own a swimsuit and googles, but not a wetsuit.

How do you train for a triathlon without a bike?  

Guess, I know what I want for my birthday. A Triathlon Hybrid Bike and a Swimming Wet Suit. As Lucy says in her letter to Santa, just send tens and twenties.

If you have any international distance training plans for newbies with 20 to 30 weeks, let me know.

More goals ahead. In the next few weeks, I am overloaded with work for my main job at my technology boutique consulting business.  So, my simpleweight posts will be a little farther in between.  Rest assured, I am making exercise a priority in 2010.

What’s your priority in 2010?  As always, let me know how I can help you.