You guys really seemed to like last week’s Why Not Try a Tri post, so I thought it might be interesting to turn this into a series and share some more tips over the next few weeks! Last week I talked about the basic equipment you need to go from runner to triathlete. There are certainly more equipment options available, but these are the bare minimum.
Before I get into training basics, let me point out that most advice also works if you want to skip the swim and try a Du (Duathlon). I am the first to admit that swimming can be intimidating and is often the sport that people are unfamiliar with. If you’re not ready to get wet (yet), look for duathlon events in your area. A Duathlon is typically Run, Bike, Run (instead of Swim, Bike, Run). It’s my multisport event of choice at this time too!
Do you see me on the left (look for pigtails)?
To get started in training for your first race, there are a lot of free online training guides available. Here are a few resources that I can recommend:
- Beginner Triathlete: A very active website with discussion forums, online tracking of your training, and training plans (both free & paid options). I met most of the triathletes I know today through this site – it’s a great resource!
- Tri-Newbies Online Training Plan: With a little searching, I found the plan that I used for my very first race. I printed it out, stuck it to the fridge, and started training. I know it works, because I survived my first tri!
- Fitness Magazine: The magazine published an 8-week schedule to get you ready for your first sprint triathlon.
If you’re looking for something customized for you, your goals, and abilities – I’d love to work with you!
What can you expect from most beginner training plans?
- 2-3 days of running
- 2-3 days of biking
- 2-3 days of swimming
- 1-2 days of recovery
You’ll see a few of your workouts will be in the form of bricks.What’s a brick? A brick is two exercises performed back-to-back, with very minimal rest. Typically, you’ll see these as a bike, followed by a run. After your first one, you’ll see that one reason they may be called bricks is your legs can feel pretty heavy when you start that run! Practicing makes that transition a little easier. :)
When you do a brick workout, use it as a chance to practice your transitions (or going one sport to another). Your goal is to get ready for the next sport quickly and calmly, which can be tricky to do. More on this in a future post!
Some plans may have to practice all three sports (in a shorter distance) before the race. This can be good for some to help calm race nerves and make the actual race day feel more “normal”.
While you’re training is the time to figure out if and when you want to take in calories during your race. Depending on how long you expect to be on the course, you may or may not need anything. I typically like to have a little sports drink on the bike and a gel for the run. I don’t always use the gel, but I like having it with me, just in case. As I talked about in How To Fuel Your Running, practice your plan in training. This is your time to try new gels, drinks, whatever and find out what works for you.
Strength Training & Yoga
One thing that can be missing from some plans is strength training and stretching. I recommend keeping at least 2 days of strength training and 1 day of focused stretching (like yoga) for injury prevention.
This is one area I could do better at myself, so Do as I say, not as I do.
Questions for you:
What other triathlon/duathlon questions do you have that I can cover in an upcoming post?
Any other tips you would add to the list?