Play Time | Triathlon
Training for a Triathlon
This past weekend, Erik and I recently finished our 2nd Sprint Triathlon. It was a lot of fun and something I think everyone should do. For a few comments as to why we did a Sprint Triathlon please refer to the MOMMBY Blog post "Our 2nd Sprint Triathlon."
How We Trained
Well, this year we really didn't train. That is what I love about the sprint triathlon in our community; it is only a 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3 mile run. Thus, each distance is not very long and something you can more easily strive to do with limited training/ working out. After doing it last year, we felt more comfortable that we would be able to complete the race and with everything going on recently we had very little time to work out. My original plan was to do a spin class twice a week, swim once or twice a week, and run once a week. What I actually did was maybe make one spin class a week or run for 30 minutes once a week or swim for twenty minutes once a week but not necessarily all in the same week.
Ideally, before our 3rd sprint tri next year, I hope to start running a practice tri once a month. I'd also love to practice biking more than 12 miles or running more than a 3 mile run. Anything would be an improvement from this year's training since I barely even ran a 3 mile run or even did the 12 mile bike more than a few times before the race.
What to Expect & Gear to Buy?
Besides doing some training, initially you may have to spend some money in order to get ready for a Triathlon. Originally we only planned to buy new bikes; Erik's bike was over 15 years old and mine was an inexpensive bike that was very rusty and the brakes didn't work very well. What we ended up purchasing:
- Two Jamis Bikes - I got a Hybrid Road Bike and Erik got a Hybrid Mountain Bike; in hindsight Erik probably should have gotten a more road-type bike but we weren't really sure we would continue doing Triathlons. We bought a two year old model and were able to save a lot of money and still get decent bikes.
- Bike Shoes and Clip-in-Pedals - It does really help when biking to either have the clip-in shoes or at least a shoe cage when pedaling. We like the velcro type bike shoes as they are the easiest to get your feet into especially when they are wet and they are easy to close so you can quickly get out of the transition area. You can actually buy a Tri bike shoe which I have heard has a wider opening to again assist you to quickly get your foot into the shoe during transition.
- Aerobars which we added to our handlebars to help get us out of the wind, especially since we did not have road bikes.
- Two Tri Suits - I thought I would just wear a regular bathing suit and then put shorts on top of my bathing suit after the swim...well it is much harder than you expect to try to put any clothes on when you are soaking wet. It truly is so much easier to just get a Tri Suit that you swim, bike, and run in. I like my separate top/ bottom but many people like the full tri suit.
- Two Pairs of Running Shoes - Both of us needed a new pair of shoes.
- Yankz Elastic Shoe Laces
for our running shoes - You can just slide on your running shoes and you don't have to worry about tying your laces.
- Water Bottles with the CamelBak Better Bottle Hands Free Adapter
- I can barely bike as it is so trying to pull out a water bottle without falling off my bike is virtually impossible. Erik hooked up this adapter to my water bottle and it worked great on my bike so I could take sips of my drink while on the bike ride. We did not try one of the aerobars type of bottles as we heard those can leak/splash while riding.
- Bike Back-up kit which included a spare tube, a mini bike pump, a co2 inflation system for filling tires quickly, tire levers, and a multi-tool in case we got a flat tire during the race...not sure why I have this kit though as I have no idea how to change a bike tire. Something I do need to learn.
- Goggles / Swim Cap
- MOMMBY Storage Bags - We used the 9.5X11.5X6 size to store our running shoes in while we were biking. It was raining off an on during our Tri and so it was nice to be able to keep our running shoes dry.
After buying all of our gear for the tri, we joked that we are going to be doing tri's at least until our gear falls apart. After the first tri, the good news was we didn't have any extra gear to buy for the second tri.
Tips for Your 1st Tri
Take advantage of training classes offered. We were able to attend training classes offered in our community. One of the best classes was the transition clinic class. You have to think of the transitions as part of the actual race since the time you spend transitioning from the swim to the bike and then from the bike to the run is included in your overall time. The transition class was where we learned about things like using Yankz for our shoes or we learned first hand how hard it was to put clothes on top of a wet bathing suit.
Please check out some of the gear we purchased as described above for some tips to help with transition such as having tri suits and yankz for your running shoes. Other things you may want to take on race day are:
- Chalk - to mark your spot within the transition area
- Baby powder to put in your shoes to help get wet feet quickly in your shoes
- Small towel to wipe your feet off on or to mark your spot next to your bike for your stuff
On race day you may want to bring some warm clothes to wear while you are waiting to enter the water if you have to wait until a certain time for your swim start. Overall, just relax and have fun.
Goal for Next Year
Complete our 3rd sprint triathlon. I actually hope to more actively train this year and try to improve my overall personal best time but in the end I am proud of both of us for just completing the race. We feel it is important to teach our children not only is it important to be active in sporting events but to also have fun doing it.
Last updated: August 2012