Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Adventures in Tri - iTRYathlon training, week 1

The idea of a tri has been in my brain for awhile - Monica and Sheila ran last year, and both raved about this event.
The sticking point for me is always the swim. I'm not a great swimmer - I can float around just fine and can (probably) prevent myself from drowning, but to use swimming as a method to get from point A to point B, it's not looking too good. The idea of (a) a mass start and (b) swimming in open water is kind of terrifying to me.
this is what I think of when I picture a mass swim start
However - iTRY is a reverse sprint tri! Run 3 miles, bike 9, and pool swim for 200m.
So, I'm tri training!
Training officially started on Saturday with a local Tri La Vie group. The 6 week "Expess Triathlon Training" is a beginner-focused coached program for swim, bike, run and race preparation. We started with about an hour intro to the program, followed by a 3 mile loop on the bike, and a timed run.
The bike was fun, because it was a moderately hilly loop, and I learned how to use the gears on the bike - gears are SUPER HELPFUL.
Immediately after we racked our bikes, we headed out for a timed run in the transition area to get a feel for running AFTER the bike. While we won't be using this in iTRY, it was an interesting experience - maybe the key to me running faaaast is to only run after a bike ride, when I can't feel my legs anyway?
The training going forward
This week, I introduce swim. Like I said, I'm not a strong swimmer. I can play around in the pool and manage to not sink, but that's the extent of my water skills. My training this week calls for 30 minutes of getting acclimated to the water, plus our Saturday training. After the Saturday training, I'm hoping to have a better grasp of what I need to work on to improve. Discovery during last week's attempt at swimming, I need goggles that fit and don't leak.
For the bike and swim, I am following the plan laid out for me by TLV and Coach Martha. I'm maintaining my marathon training, though - I've scaled back on the intensity (1 speed work/tempo day instead of two, the rest easy runs), but will keep building mileage. My hope is that the cross training involved will help with the running overall, and I'll reap the benefits after iTRY as the marathon training progresses in September and October.
The training for a spint tri seems to be pretty manageable. If you're a beginner athlete, it's a good stepping stone to get acclimated to different sports, different disciplines.
For me, I have gone through marathon training a few times, so I kind of know the intensity involved in a heavy training program. While I don't currently find the load challenging, I am lucking out that I am just starting marathon training - as I build mileage in both training cycles, I expect it will not seem so easy breezy.
Lessons from the week
  • Gears are on your bike for a reason. They're meant to be used. Figure it out, and use them.
  • Hey, did you know your bike can tilt down so you can easily hop on? I don't know why this never came to mind for me as I tried to, like, jump over the stupid bar thing. This leaning the bike down a bit method is far more graceful.
  • When coming in to transition, take your helmet off AFTER you rack your bike, so your hands are free. Noted.
  • Swim goggles should FIT. Coach Martha says goggles are packaged so they can be opened, and resealed - I'm going to raid a swim supply store near me tomorrow to test this theory.
  • Here's a great article on beginner cycling - It Gets Easier: Cycling Advice for New Cyclists.
  • It helps to be organized. Running can be simple - throw on shoes, get out - or complicated. Garmin, headband, sunglasses, handheld, gu, nuun, ipod. I'm admittedly in the second camp most of the time. Add two other sports to the mix, and things get fussy. I spent 20 minutes getting out of the house the other day to go for a 25 minute bike ride, followed by (a failed attempt to) swim. It was ridiculous. I need to get things better organized so I can easily transition between the sports.
iTRYathlon will be held on August 24th at Northwod High School in Irvine. Registration is open now for $85, with a price increase to $95 after July 31st.
Here's my disclaimer: entry and Tri La Vie training has been provided to me by Renegade Racing and TLV. I don't accept sponsorships or free stuff unless it's something I'm interested in, and the opporotunity to participate came up when I mentioned I was considering the event - last week's training was already in the books before the entry was offered. I'll be blogging my training, as a beginning triathlete, but all opinions and lessons learned are mine. 


  1. This is great! But since it's a reverse tri shouldn't you call it irT training?

  2. It all sounds exhausting.

    And that is the PERFECT picture for what I feel a mass swim is like. Terrifying.

  3. I wish I lived closer, I so want to try a tri and this sounds like a pretty perfect beginner tri. I'm excited to follow along and live vicariously through you. I don't know how to use my bike gears, I need someone to teach me!!

  4. Hooray for you! I LOVED this event...and the swimming is actually super easy at the end because the amount of people has thinned out so it's not nearly as scary as an open water swim!

  5. yessss!!! and, i've been participating in tris for 2 season now, seven in and i have yet to do a mass start, always been waves. you'll do great, and all the cross training will definitely help with the running :) have fun with training!!! :)

  6. PS - organization is key - otherwise everything takes FOREVER. since i'm so deeply involved at this point i have a rack in my house with all my tri stuff on it, makes it easier. a backpack or bin could do the trick too, i just have WAY too much stuff.

  7. i would totally do a tri, because thanks to that pesky broken foot, i became a boss at swimming, and i love spin, but i dont have a bike. so no triathlons for me. womp.

  8. REALLY excited to follow your training and journey with this one! I couldn't do it :)

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