Tri Training, Revisited
I’ve been thinking long and hard on triathlon training again, recommitting without any particular race in mind, though targeting an Olympic (.93 swim, 24.8 bike, 6.2 run) to start. The full Ironman (2.4 swim, 112 bike, 26.2 run) has been haunting me for some time, both horrifying and exciting, and I’m now fairly convinced a need to make a go at one in the coming year(s). I think starting with Olympic distance will help with time organization and adjustment. None of the distances in and of themselves are daunting, but sticking to a 3x schedule (3 runs, 3 rides, 3 swims per week) is harder than it sounds between working full time, family, commuting, etc. I want to become accustomed to a higher frequency schedule before adding greater distance into it.
Tri training was going well in the beginning, then some doubts and issues started creeping in. I’d like to make another go at it, hopefully working out the negatives and finding my groove in all the scheduling madness..
Tri Cons, as I see them:
- This is an expensive sport. Between race fees, pool memberships, and equipment costs, the costs add up quickly. I’ve yet to purchase a tri-suit, wetsuit, or tri-specific bike.
- I began to get a little bored of swimming laps in the pool, as I feared. I was up to swimming roughly 2000 meters at a time, a huge gain over where I started, but the monotony of lap swimming and the artificial environment began to take their toll. Smelly locker rooms, chlorine, waiting for a lane to open…these things began to wear on me.
- Lack of a natural environment: riding road, swimming in pools, and running laps, all with necessary attention to time and distance. I began to feel a little disconnected, wanted to get off roads and out of pools, back onto the trail, and away from counting laps and watching minutes.
- I’ll likely have to shave my beard as they don’t go too well with lycra and wetsuits.
Tri Pros- what I can do to make it better:
- Don’t focus on any races yet. Commit to 4-6 months of training, then find a race. This would allow me to delay race fees and save some money. A wetsuit is needed, but I can skip the tri-suit for now and get by with some tri shorts. As for cycling, I’ll focus on riding in my drops as much as possible and skip the aero bars/tri setup.
- I also miss swimming laps in the pool and despite the drawbacks, I miss the full-body, low-impact feel of a long swim. I think to remedy the ills of swimming, I simply have to get my head out of it. Finding a partner/group to swim with could help to; another session with a coach would probably be called for now.
- I can focus on doing my workouts, with the exception of swimming, in the mountains as much as possible. While doing some road runs will be important as the races are on road, 75% of my mileage can be on trail; this worked fine for me in marathon training, especially for long slow runs. Tempo on road, long on trail. As for cycling, I should simply make an effort to do all my riding while commuting to work. This feels less contrived (I haven’t been too into biking just for biking’s sake lately) and will save large amounts of time for the other training. This strategy worked well a few months ago. As for tracking stats, I’m often stubborn on this. I should simply stop being such a purist, wear a watch, track my distances, and stop thinking about it.
- I miss working hard. I’ve found no combination of endurance activities that compliment each other so well in my life. Bike to work and back, then swim that evening. Long runs on the trails, followed by swim session when the legs are battered. With discipline, a nice synchronicity between the three sports is achieved.
- Tri training seems to work well with my short attention span. While I burned out on my last go at it (primarily from swimming and not being able to afford my pool membership), I think it has the potential to hold my interest for a while…tired of running, then bike. Tired of biking, then swim…
- I’ll finally have an excuse to get an aero helmet and shave my legs.
I’ll be starting tomorrow, logging weekly schedules and stats here.