I’ve decided to be a beginning triathlete. Triathletes participate in triathlons, athletic events involving swimming, bicycling, and running. You may have heard of Ironman competitions, which are the big deal of the field, involving an open water swim of more than 2 miles, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishing off with a marathon. Not for me, thanks.
As it turns out there are less extreme versions of triathlons, and I’m going to focus on whats known as a “sprint”, swimming 500 meters, biking 10-20 miles, and running 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles. At 61, 62 by the event, sprinting is a misnomer. However, the distances involved feel accessible.
Why do I want to do such a thing?
- I’ve long been intrigued by the idea. Beginning to train is a way to check it out.
- I do want to improve my fitness level. I’ve always felt better physically, emotionally and mentally when I’m active, and owing to a variety of mundane life circumstances, that’s slipped in recent years. No time like the present for reversing that trend.
- Most important to me, I’m curious about the process. How will I do with training? Will my 61 year old body tolerate the process? Will my 61 year old mind be a fair witness and support a healthy approach to this goal? Can I keep this interesting and fun?
And now for the cons.
- I have a mixed history with these activities. I’ve had a number of bike accidents over the years, and another crash would not be a good thing. (I’m riding a much more stable mountain bike now)
- I’m a reasonably solid swimmer, however I have a wonky shoulder (see #1) that may limit my training.
- I don’t exactly love running, the pound-pound-pound gets to me.
- It will take significant training time. Is this how I want to spend these hours?
- I live in Boulder County, an international training site for elite and very competitive athletes. I’m middle aged and not naturally gifted, I’ll be mediocre at best, is that tolerable?
So, like any good scientist (my early training) I’ve set up an experiment. My plan is to begin training, with the goal of completing a sprint triathlon in 2018. The starter plan is to have 2 swims, 3 bike rides, 3 walk-runs, and 4 other “fun or supportive” exercise activities per week.
I’m most of the way through week 2, and so far, its going well. I finished week one with a mini-mini version, biking 35 minutes, run/walk 15 minutes, and swimming 15 minutes. I was fine during that workout and afterwards, I wasn’t overly sore or tired. My plan is to review weekly and adjust training accordingly, with a more intense monthly review, to also include the bigger questions: Is this still fun? Is it a worthwhile use of my time and energy? If it is, I’ll commit to another month, and if not, then I’ll make a change. Stay tuned!