It’s Spring! Try-A-Tri, and Start Training Now

by on January 19th, 2011
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About 10 years ago, I recall telling my best friend “I’ll never, ever do a triathlon. I have no interest in doing so.” Yet this summer, I’ll complete my fiftieth sprint triathlon.

What fueled the conversion? I like to eat. As I approached my mid-40s, my enthusiasm for eating become apparent as my metabolism changed. Between that, and the fact I live a mere mile from one of the best-run triathlons in the area, I decided that I needed to try a tri,

Now I’m addicted. I participate in 5-6 sprint triathlons each summer, and more if I register early enough and can find the time in my schedule.

I’ll always “only” be a sprint triathlete. I don’t have the time or desire to spend hours on a trainer or running and biking in unpredictable upstate New York weather preparing for an Ironman. The amount of training for these events is a full-time job in itself.

Swimming for a half-hour to 45 minutes several times each week, running 8 or 10K, or taking my bike for a 15 or 20 mile spin is do-able, and fits in with my schedule and lifestyle.

My first step is to determine which race or races I’ll do. Planning starts before Christmas, when some races open registration. It’s important to sign up before the field is full. From there, I begin to implement my plan.

Training for any endurance event starts with having a base. In triathlons, this requires spending time swimming, biking, running. Many recommend spending proportionally more time biking and running as the swim is the shortest part of the race, both for distance and time.

To have a framework so I can train consistently and be efficient, I use a training plan. These can be obtained by a search on the internet. Many are free or of reasonable cost.

After a long, cold, grey winter spent pedaling away in the gym, or trotting down heavily salted roads, the sunshine and warmer temperatures of a budding spring are a welcome relief to all. The longer, milder days are also an indicator it’s time to break out of the gym and are a lure to start road work.

If you’re lucky, as am I, there’s an open body of water nearby – lake, pond, ocean – to practice your open water swim. I live near a lake: with a wetsuit, my first lake swim is usually around the first of June. And I don’t stay in long!

I’ve joined the local triathlon club, and have made good friends and get support through my training partners. It’s great to spend time with people who have similar interests yet give me different perspectives on life.

Best of all: I can go home and enjoy a meal and a yummy dessert, knowing they’ll fuel the next day’s work out. Bon appetite, triathlete!

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