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Triathlon or no? (Read 629 times)

    I'm relatively new to running (since May) and have run only two races so far, a 5k and a 5 mile. I ran the 5 mile on Saturday at a 9:21 pace, which isn't horrible considering the humidity was 93%. My speed and distance have improved a lot over a short period of time.

     

    I'm also a good swimmer and I bike a lot. I don't have a great racing bike, it's a hybrid, but I've put a fair amount of miles on it, up to 53 miles in a day.

     

    The opportunity has arisen to do a sprint-distance triathlon next month: Half mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. It's women only (yes I am female), and the event website says it's a great event for both competitive athletes and first-timers. There is a training session tomorrow evening where would-be competitors can try out the race course.

     

    I'd really like to do this race, more for personal accomplishment than competitive athleticism, but am feeling less than confident. Should I go for it? Any advice?

    navghtivs


      If you are OK with swimming and cycling, you should be fine with a sprint-distance tri. 

        Go for it!  You may be hooked.  In April, 2009, I did my 1st sprint triathlon, and I loved it so much that I continued to swim, bike and run until I ended out finishing my 1st Ironman in May, 2012.  (Since that race, I've been somewhat of a lazy bum, but that's another story). 

        I love being active, and I love the balance that the 3 sports provides. 
        Rather than only running (or only biking, or only swimming), the mixture between the 3 is a great from the norm.

        Brian

        2014 Goals:

        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

        #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

         

          Yeah, the variety of running/biking/swimming is what's really interesting to me. I get bored if I focus on only one thing for too long and running is fun, but I'm ready for a change in pace and this race seems like a great opportunity to do it in a relatively low-key environment. Brian, If you did an Ironman four months ago I'd hardly call you a lazy bum for taking some time off...!

            NO! To quote Tracy Chapman:

            ". . . run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run . . ."

             

            Only kidding. Give it a go. You'll probably enjoy it and even if you don't do another it'll be good to know you've tried it and can tick it off the bucket list.


            Feeling the growl again

              The only reason I would advise someone not to try a tri, assuming they have overall acceptable base fitness....especially if they view it as non-competitive...is if they are not comfortable with the swim part.

               

              MTA:  and this from a runner who has only done 2 tris.

              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

               


              jules2

                Yes but practice running then cycling and vice versa before the day as you need to teach your legs,to cope with the change failing which you could find yourself imitating that famous clip of Bambi on the frozen lake. Good luck

                Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

                  I've done 9 sprints in the last 16 months. They are a blast and go by so quickly. Do it for the experience and so that you know the feeling of getting off of the bike and starting your run where you can't feel your legs moving, but you know you are going forward. After you do your first one, you will want to do much more just like KerCanDo140. 

                   

                  And if you are doing 50+ miles a day on your hybrid you should have no problem with 13. The swim will be new to you as well. Especially if it's either open water, or your first time swimming with other people in the pool all going in both directions down each lane and under ropes. Good luck and just remember to have fun.

                  "It's a must that you outwork your competition today! Think training is hard? Try losing!" Eric Thomas

                    Thanks... Yeah the swimming part I'm most nervous about because it's the one I do with the least frequency. I have swum half a mile before; it wasn't easy but I wasn't gasping for breath and dying by the time I was done. 

                     

                    I don't regularly bike 50 miles a day, haha, that's just my max and it took me about 4 hours in extremely hilly terrain. 12 should be no problem. I'm not concerned about the run at all.

                     

                    The swim is in open water, but in a small lake. No waves or sharks

                     

                    I think I'm going to try the course tomorrow, since it's just a fun training session with no risk involved and what seems like a friendly atmosphere.

                      The only reason I would advise someone not to try a tri, assuming they have overall acceptable base fitness....especially if they view it as non-competitive...is if they are not comfortable with the swim part.

                       

                      MTA:  and this from a runner who has only done 2 tris.

                       

                      Some of the sprint tri's are in a pool, and do a serpentine through the lanes.  For a very weak swimmer, a tri is do'able.

                      Some sprint tri's are in the open water, and most of them are wave starts by age group with different colored swim caps.  When a swim cap is going along the water and another swim cap color passes it, the support crew that is in the kayaks nearby know they have a weaker swimmer, and keep their eyes very close to them. 

                       

                      (I signed up for my first triathlon 6 weeks before the event without ever swimming a lap in the pool beforehand.  Baptism by fire!  We had a boat and went on the lake frequently, and I'd NEVER jump off the boat without a jacket for fear that I'd drown.)

                       

                      But, yes, swimming is essential for a triathlon, and for the most part, I agree with your statement..

                      2014 Goals:

                      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                      #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                       

                        Thanks... Yeah the swimming part I'm most nervous about because it's the one I do with the least frequency. I have swum half a mile before; it wasn't easy but I wasn't gasping for breath and dying by the time I was done. 

                         

                        I don't regularly bike 50 miles a day, haha, that's just my max and it took me about 4 hours in extremely hilly terrain. 12 should be no problem. I'm not concerned about the run at all.

                         

                        The swim is in open water, but in a small lake. No waves or sharks

                         

                        I think I'm going to try the course tomorrow, since it's just a fun training session with no risk involved and what seems like a friendly atmosphere.

                         

                        Nervousness in the water is somewhat scary.  The race can cause anxiety, and some people who can swim decent get the "freak outs" because they haven't prepared mentally for the abnormal things that occur during an open water swim race.  I've never had it, but I've heard about people who have that were decent swimmers.  In fact, a good friend of mine that swims smooth and fast was traumatized by an open water swim because he forgot to turn at a turn buoy, and swam an extra 200 yards before he noticed the kayaker yelling at him to change course.

                         

                        Unlike swimming by yourself in a pool or in open water, there'll be people very close to you.  YOU WILL BE FINE!  But, you'll want to prepare for people touching your toes and pushing your feet down in the water (which is not efficient for you and not comfortable to have somebody do to you).  They'll accidentally hit your shoulder or your goggles or your hand and cause you to think you're going in the wrong direction.  You'll stop, and other's may nearly swim over you.  It will happen (probably).

                         

                        Basically, you'll want to go into the race knowing that it's not like swimming by yourself.  If you do go in with that mindset, you'll be able to handle it without any issues or any "freak outs".  Just like any type of racing, you need to mentally prepare.

                         

                        ---

                        You cannot win the race on the swim.  Therefore, just swim it, and don't race it.  The difference in time between "swimming it" and "racing it" is minimal.

                        You'll want to race the bike and race the run, but swim the swim.


                        Enjoy!

                        Brian

                        2014 Goals:

                        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                        #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                         

                          That's really good advice - Thank you. I don't think I'm going to have a nervous breakdown in the water, but I'm sure it will help a lot to know what I'm in for, especially in terms of proximity to other people. 


                          Feeling the growl again

                            Nervousness in the water is somewhat scary.  The race can cause anxiety, and some people who can swim decent get the "freak outs" because they haven't prepared mentally for the abnormal things that occur during an open water swim race.  I've never had it, but I've heard about people who have that were decent swimmers.  In fact, a good friend of mine that swims smooth and fast was traumatized by an open water swim because he forgot to turn at a turn buoy, and swam an extra 200 yards before he noticed the kayaker yelling at him to change course.

                             

                            Unlike swimming by yourself in a pool or in open water, there'll be people very close to you.  YOU WILL BE FINE!  But, you'll want to prepare for people touching your toes and pushing your feet down in the water (which is not efficient for you and not comfortable to have somebody do to you).  They'll accidentally hit your shoulder or your goggles or your hand and cause you to think you're going in the wrong direction.  You'll stop, and other's may nearly swim over you.  It will happen (probably).

                             

                            Being young, competitive, and stupid, I started the swim for my first tri too far forward.  I was not a bad swimmer, but I was not all that fast either.  I was not prepared for the amount of pulling, shoving, and downright deliberate grab-you-and-push-you-down-to-swim-over-you.  Now this was in the early days of the internet and I really didn't have access to the resources we have today to educate me on what to expect.  Lining up further back would have helped to some extent but I can see that if I had gone into that as a timid swimmer who got scared at going underwater unexpectedly or something, it could have been a traumatic or dangerous experience.  Instead, it was just frustrating.

                             

                            Really bad things rarely happen to people on the bike or run.  From an outsider's perspective, most serious problems I hear coming out of tris happen during the swim.  So I think it is wise to at least be confident (not necessarily fast) before taking on the crowded swim of a tri.  Starting far enough back helps too.  Big grin

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             

                              "Starting far enough back helps too.  Big grin"

                               

                              Thankfully, the last wave of athletes is at the back, reserved for first-timers and non-competitive folks. I think that will be seriously appreciated Smile

                                So the "trial tri" was a little different than expected - .25 mile swim, 5 mile mountain bike, 5k trail run

                                 

                                I did better on the swim than I thought. I KNOW I rushed into it too fast, though, and I wasted a lot of energy that I should have conserved. It was a big mistake, but hey, mistakes are for learning from and I didn't drown. It was really disconcerting to swim with other people. I don't think I really panicked, but I'm glad for the advice to get accustomed to arms/elbows/feet in your face. 

                                 

                                The fact that the bike and run were on a trail made the course very difficult. The trails were rocky, rooty, muddy, with steep hills (saw a lot of face plants from fellow competitors). It made a street cycle/run look like a leisurely stroll!

                                 

                                I feel like I'm in better shape for the "real" triathlon next month. The swim is going to be harder... But honestly I think the cycle and run will be a lot easier than this Smile Thanks to everyone for their advice!! 

                                 

                                I finished!

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