Ten months. Wow, I’ve been at this triathlon training project for a while.
And I’m still at it, and have my first sprint-length race, complete with open water swim, in late June. The big change for me is that I am now following a training plan leading up to this longer (for me) race. I’m using a plan from Joe Friel’s Your First Triathlon book.
The major change I’ve noticed is that the workouts are a bit more structured than I’ve been doing on my own. I’ve been doing 2 bikes, 1 or 2 swims, and 2 or 3 runs each week through the winter. This plan has me continuing with that, but now adding in some sport-specific drills, and there is also an optional twice weekly strength training program that I am following.
I’m two weeks into the plan, so its a good time for me to reflect on how its going. I’ll go in order of competition events.
Swimming–nothing has really changed at the moment. I’m swimming twice a week, 800-1200 m each time. I haven’t started any speed work, I am paying bit more attention to form, and my first chance at open water swimming will be late May, if it warms up. I found some sources on line for relatively inexpensive wetsuits, so I may get one, just in case.
Bicycling–My recent rides have been indoors, as it’s either been cold and snowy or warm and very windy. I’ve been attending more to cadence, trying to increase my pedaling speed. This is a bit of a challenge as my native rhythm is slow, and I can tell it will take a while for this increased cadence to feel natural. Friel also has all sorts of drills for pedaling that are based on a shoe locked into a pedal, despite his recommendation in his book that you ride whatever you’ve got, like a hybrid or mountain bike to start out. This is a bit frustrating. I’m on a hybrid, and with my history of crashes, that’s probably where I’ll stay. So, I’m taking what applies and leaving the rest.
Running–This week I had my first “strides” workout–short (20 second) sprints with an emphasis on quick foot turnover. The goal was 28 right foot strikes in those 20 seconds. I was uncertain about these, given my generally slow natural cadence, and I did fine, hitting or surpassing the mark on all 4 sets. It was actually fun, I wasn’t sore afterwards, and so I’m a bit excited. Maybe I will develop a little more speed in my running!
Strength training–I’m doing this twice a week, and the first two weeks were focused on low weights, high repetitions, with the intent of getting muscles used to the activity and an emphasis on correct form. Week one was a doozy. First, I misread the directions (my bad) and ended up doing 3 sets of 30 rather than 3 sets of 20 for the first day’s exercises. I was kinda sore. This was most noticeable for my right arm and shoulder. I had surgery for an arthritic shoulder 3 years ago, and while I’ve been very functional for the past 2 years, this weight work really exposed some places that hadn’t been worked in a long time. I was very sore for a few days. The good news is that now, at the end of week 2, I don’t have pain or residual soreness, so I think this will prove to be very helpful in the long run. Its interesting, for sure.
So, two weeks into this training plan, and 10 weeks to race day, I’m feeling pretty good. My body has accommodated to the changes thus far, and I’m hopeful that over the next stretch of workouts I will continue to get stronger on all fronts, so that by race day I will be feeling good and ready.
My review for continuing to train: Is it fun, is a good use of my time and energy, do I want to continue? Yes, yes and yes!