Signing up for your first triathlon can be really intimidating… it took Patrick two years after first deciding he wanted to be a triathlete to actually participate in his first event. It’s really the fear of the unknown that holds us back so once you do your first triathlon, you’ll probably know if the sport is for you or not. As they say… you never know unless you Tri! A couple of great triathlons in our area are: Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon and the Bethany Beach Sprinternational Triathlon.
With that said, triathlons may not be for everyone. After a few attempts of trying to convert Julia into a triathlete – we’ve come to the conclusion that she’s just more comfortable as a runner. Patrick, being more of a cyclist, likes the variety that triathlon training provides. As such, we’ve settled on the fact that Julia is the runner in the family and Patrick is the triathlete. Hence, we’ve named this blog, and our business, a.k.a. our “labor of love”… Run & Tri!
Patrick: For many runners and cyclists, the swim portion of the triathlon is our personal gremlin. Because I basically swam like a rock – I was convinced that I was going to drown within the first 5 minutes of being thrown into the mass of swimmers at the start of my first triathlon. I was in dire need of some inspiration and when I found it… it was all I needed to buckle down and work on my swim and turn that gremlin into a cheerleader. Below is a video that was shown at a triathlon group I joined years ago. I thought, if this man can do it – I can at least attempt to complete a triathlon.
If you’re generally healthy, know how to swim and ride a bike you can prepare for a triathlon in 12 weeks. Every triathlete has had to start from scratch so don’t be intimidated, just be consistent as you build this healthy habit into your daily routine. Our 12-week beginner’s sprint triathlon training plan features a manageable weekly schedule of two swims, two rides and two runs per week, plus a fun recovery day. As you’ll see, it starts with very short, moderate-intensity workouts in week one and becomes more challenging each week thereafter.
12 Weeks to Change Your Life
Julia: Signing up for my first triathlon took enough courage to begin with… the training plans I found were intimidating and just caused me even more anxiety. If your training plan is not fun, you're not going to do it. Our 12 week training plan adds some yoga and stretching on recovery days to add variety and keep things interesting. Feel free to adjust the recovery days to add activities that are interesting to you, just make sure they are low impact and are supplemental to your normal workouts such as core exercises or light strength building.
Before you start this plan, you should be able to swim 200 yards (eight lengths of a standard 25-yard pool) without taking a break. You should also be able to run for 15 minutes and bike for 30 minutes without breaks. If you’re not there yet, it’s OK… take a few weeks to gradually build your endurance before starting your training – increase your time by no more than 10% each week.
For example, start with one minute of running followed by one minute of walking – repeat this cycle until you’ve reached the 15-minute mark. The following week, start with two minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking and then repeat until you’ve done 15 minutes. Gradually increase the duration of the running segments until you’re able to run for 15 minutes straight. If necessary, approach your swimming and cycling workouts the same way.
Print your Plan and Mark your Workouts
When you’re ready to start your training, print the plan out and tape it to your refrigerator. Be sure to place checkmarks for every workout you’ve done, and big “X’s” by the ones you missed. This will keep you motivated to stay consistent. This plan uses a simple effort scale of 1-to-10. A “1” is treading water, a slow walk, or coasting on your bike. A “5” is a comfortable pace for your swim/bike/run and a “10” means you are at maximal exertion and can only hold this pace for short duration.
The rest of the information you need to perform each workout is contained on the “12 Week Sprint Plan” tab within the training spreadsheet. Be sure to click on the hyperlinks to get more information on the types of workouts you should be performing – for example, the swim workouts have links to videos showing what you should be working on for that session and they change every 4th week, building on skills you learned previously.
That’s all for this week’s post on training for your first sprint triathlon. As always, email us with any questions you may have and let us know which sprint you decided to train for in the comments section of this post!
Keep on Running!
Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo
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