Tri This: This Year

Well, its the first month of 2018 and many folks are making resolutions and plans.  So I’ll chime in here with a few of my own for triathlon and fitness, along with some race options that I am entertaining for this year.

I started this tri-training project last June Tri This On, with an original plan of beginning training, checking in with myself monthly to see if it was still an activity I wanted to continue, and with the long term intention of doing a sprint-length triathlon this coming summer.

I’ve renewed my commitment to continue training 6 times now, and anticipate I’ll continue, as I am enjoying the process and very much appreciating feeling stronger and more fit. Even more than completing a triathlon, I am realizing that improving my fitness, physically and emotionally is a bigger priority.

I did my first triathlon last summer. It was a mini-sprint at a rec center, and it went well, ( I finished!) considering that I’d had just two months of training. Tri this: Race Day!  I’m planning to do an indoor reverse tri at an area rec center at the end of this month. Run 20 minutes, then bike 30 minutes on a spin bike and swim 10 minutes in the pool.  Seems like a reasonable training event and winter morning’s entertainment. I did a practice version at my local rec center last week and it went fine, excepting my swim being aborted at 6 minutes due to lifeguard training maneuvers.

So that’s another mini-sprint. What about my original intention, to do a sprint length event? I’ve been looking at options for this summer, and I’ve narrowed it down to two. They are both women’s races, with entries limited to 450 for one and 600 for the other. The big jump for me will be that these are open water swims. I haven’t done any open water training, and won’t be able to until late spring. I’m a strong, if not particularly fast swimmer, so I’m not worried about the swimming, other than the mass start thing, which is why I am looking at smaller women’s only races. It feels a bit less intimidating this way.

Looking at the component events of a triathlon, I have some goals for each individual event. As alluded to above, in swimming, I’m going to experiment with some open water swims, once the ice thaws. There are some local training options available starting in May. This also means I’m going to need a wetsuit, which provides some research and shopping opportunities. I’m happy with my basic mileage in swimming, and am considering doing some speedwork and a lesson or two, although I am aware of a distinct ambivalence around coaching and instruction. Time will tell on this.

Running is my most improved area, which is not surprising given that I started from decades of non-running. My goal now is to continue running 3 or 4 days a week and to gradually increase my distance, long runs growing by a half-mile monthly. I’m currently at 4.5 miles for January. I want to increase my endurance and fitness, and I am very focused on avoiding overuse injury. Its also time for new shoes, and so I anticipate visiting my local shop and spending my Christmas gift certificate soon.

Biking is holding steady, and its the hardest to train this time of year, as I’m wary of riding on ice and snow (wary, schmary, I won’t) and in the dark. Outdoor rides are limited by weather and light, and I do indoor maintenance work the rest of the time. I’ll ramp up my distance work as weather conditions allow. Owing to my checkered history with bike crashes, I’m content riding on my hybrid bike, and not interested in going to a less stable, albeit much faster, road bike. I’m aware that this will limit my performance in races, and that’s okay. Even as my ego would like to “win”, it knows that staying healthy and without crashes is much more important. Once I ride through the sting of limitations: age, slow bike, not naturally gifted, beginner, there comes a real relief–I am free to do this for myself and my own growth and learning.

Here I am, seven months into triathlon training. It is still fun and a worthy use of my time and energy. I’m formally committing myself to another month of training and implicitly setting myself up for six more months with my summer plans. Here’s to 2018! Cheers to all of us who are willing to show up and work towards improved health in whatever form that may take. What’s your next step?



14 thoughts on “Tri This: This Year

  1. Do you have Masters swimming available closeby? In our Masters group, we have a number of triathletes who enjoy the workouts. It’s so much easier to swim with friends and the coach pushes us just enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there are both masters and tri swimming groups at my local rec center. I’m sure they would be useful, and a part of me is very reluctant to join in–I think its a leftover from childhood, when I didn’t much enjoy swim team. Like swimming, hate pushing so hard I feel sick. Its a fairly irrational reaction, so I just keep observing and challenging myself.

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      1. For some unknown reason I jumped in and joined Masters a few years ago. It was a horrifying first day and I panicked and couldn’t breathe. I barely made it across the pool. The coach was so understanding and helpful and had me work on a drill to calm my breathing. Since then, I can swim so much further and with better technique when I started. Also, the bond between swimmers and friendships are great. I think a lot depends on the coach. I have several coaches and the one who makes me do too much, I tend to avoid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been pondering for a bit since your first comment, as I’m wondering on my aversion. Finally realized its related to medicine and the horrors of med school and residency, where if I wanted the degree and board certification, I more or less had to put up and shut up. Recognizing now that training is voluntary and giving myself permission to stay or go as I see fit, and that all I am actually at risk of losing is a small amount of money, I feel much more free to experiment with some training.
        Thanks for your support and suggestion–helped in ways you may not have anticipated, independent of whether or not I do formal swim training!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like you’ve made some great progress Steph-you’re overall fitness seems to be building really nicely. I imagine a big part of you continuously progressing is that you keep on checking in with yourself to make sure you are still enjoying it all. Really smart.
    Can’t wait to see how things keep on 😉.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that part of your assessment of your training is the question: “am I still enjoying this?” I can’t remember the last time I asked myself that question about anything! It’s a great reminder though that sport should be fun and rewarding and enjoyable overall.

    I’m excited for you to choose your summer event – a women’s only small race sounds smart to me too! – and work on open water swimming. That’s the aspect of a tri that scares me the most! So I’m looking forward to reading about your successes with that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your support. At this point in my life, if somethings not fun at some level, I reconsider its presence in my life. Now that I’ve decided to include an open-water swim in my triathlon plans, I’m all ready to practice. Only 4 more months until outside swimming in a wetsuit is manageable some of the time. Hurry up and wait. Or move somewhere tropical. Guess I’ll wait.


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