Posts Tagged ‘Beginner Triathlete’

Beginner Triathlete Tricks of the Trade

February 5, 2015 1 comment


I read a lot of articles about triathlon training.  Most of them focus on advice for seasoned triathletes – how to improve power output, functional threshold training, stroke efficiency, etc. etc.  That’s great – I’m sure this is helpful reading to the many triathletes out there who already log 10-15 hours per week and are looking for those extra tips to get them on the podium.

I’m not them.  And though I’ve been racing for a few years, I’m still effectively a beginner at this sport.  And as a kind-of-beginner, I’m still looking for tricks of the trade to help beginners get their foot in the door, so to speak, in this amazing-yet-insane sport.

Here’s one that I stumbled on myself that I’ve fallen in love with: Hijack a day use locker at your local gym!  It works!

The only way I can get enough sessions of swimming, biking, and running (plus some strength and flexibility training, in a perfect world) in each week is to do 2-a-days.  Get a work out in before work, and another in later in the evening.  It seems like a lot, but the body gets too tired to do the same volume of training in a single session, and my boss wouldn’t like it if I was an hour later getting into work each morning.  The problem is: after a tiring training session in the morning, and a full day at work, I just want to go home – eat, socialize, rest, and get to bed.  How do I make myself go back to the gym for that second session?

The answer: Leave my stuff in the locker.  The gym has all kinds of signs up that tell you that lockers are day use only, and not to leave locks on overnight.  But when I’m there at 6am, why not leave my stuff in the same locker all day and come back to find it at 6pm?  It means the morning’s gym clothes aren’t stinking up my car all day at work, and the afternoon’s gym clothes aren’t freezing cold from sitting in the car all day!  PLUS, if I don’t haul my ass back to the gym in the evening, my lock’s going to get cut over night and all my crap will be stolen (okay – really, are they gonna take dirty gym clothes?!?)

I don’t leave my wallet or phone or anything else so valuable in there that I’d rally be upset if it was stolen – if someone breaks in and steals my sweaty shoes or shorts, well, hopefully they really needed them.  But knowing I have to go back and pick them up forces me to get back to the gym, and not make excuses to skip the second workout.  It works really well – keeps me motivated, keeps me on track, and keeps me training!

So locker 122 at the local YMCA is mine.  They don’t know that, but it is.


Rest Day is the Best Day

May 1, 2014 2 comments

worn out

I find it interesting, in a frustrating kinda way…

When I do a tough swim training session, I feel the effects almost immediately.  Within hours, my arms, back, shoulders, and chest are all tired and lethargic.  I feel gassed quickly, but I bounce back pretty quickly…

When I do a tough bike or run session, I feel a bit tired afterwards, but the muscular soreness and stiffness doesn’t kick in usually until the next morning.  My legs get tired, particularly my hamstrings, and I find myself waddling around the office more than walking the next day…

When I do a tough strength training session, my body skips a day.  I feel great right after (which sometimes leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  I usually feel great the next day (which definitely leads to a bad habit of not stretching, or doing any active recovery).  But two days later, it’s as if a time bomb went off on my limbs.


I don’t get it.  at.  all.

On a possibly related note, somehow I managed to go the entire month of March AND the entire month of April – up until Tuesday April 29th – not having done a single strength training session.  How I let that happen is beyond me [Note to self: Tracking your workouts is only useful if you look back at your progress and notice trends like these].  Tuesday I got back at ‘er.  Wednesday, of course, I felt great.  Today: Boom!  Big Time!  I feel like I’ve been hit by a bulldozer!

I did have workouts scheduled for today.  They all just got moved to tomorrow.  Listening to my body > Mindlessly following a training plan on paper.  Today is now a rest day.  I’m kinda excited to go home from work tonight with no plans to workout whatsoever!  Rest Day is the Best Day!

… and hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be able to walk without looking like a penguin.  Fingers crossed!

[Edit:  Ok – I do get it – all kinds of different muscle groups and different energy systems and delayed onset muscle soreness and all that jazz.  I know there’s science behind this stuff… it’s not actually a magical bomb going off…]

Friday Stray Thoughts

April 25, 2014 1 comment

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –

Yesterday morning I went for a treadmill run.  I realized it was the first time I’d been for a pre-work early morning treadmill run in a long time (lately I’ve been focusing on swimming during my early morning sessions, and saving my running for outdoors after work or on weekends).  Getting on the treadmill means going to the gym.  Going to the gym means stepping on the gym scale.  Apparently I’ve gained 4 not-happy lbs since I last stepped on the gym scale.  Not impressed, but what can you do.  Keep moving fighting the good fight, I guess…

– – – – –

In other possibly related news – Easter chocolate is really tasty.  It’s possible I’ve had more of it than I should these past few days…

– – – – –

16 days to go until my first race of the year: The Sporting Life 10k.  I’m not sure if I ever mentioned on this blog that I signed up for this race?  Well, I did.  And I’m really looking forward to it.  My Personal Best 10k time is from this same course in last year’s race.  And in my training runs so far this spring, I’m running a reliable 30 seconds/km faster than I was this time last spring.  Does that mean I’ll beat my PB time by a full 5 minutes?  Doubtful.  But maybe it means I have a real shot at giving my own PB time a run for it’s money (sorry – every Friday needs a bad pun, amiright?)

– – – – –

16 days is really not so far away.  Though my running splits may be faster, my running overall has been less consistent than I would like.  I’m getting 2-3 runs in per week… I guess that’s really not terrible.  I keep planning to do 4 runs each week, but it never seems to work out that way.  I’m thinking hoping the realization that my first race is right around the corner will help with the training motivation.  Nothing like a race coming up to kick your ass into gear, right?

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

Monday Morning and the Return of the Iron Pig

April 21, 2014 4 comments

ride alarm

I love long weekends.  Do you love long weekends!  I love long weekends – especially long weekends with very little in the calendar.  My long weekend this past weekend was PERFECT!  3 amazing dinner gatherings, great times with family and friends, some lovely beers (really quickly becoming a fan of the new Block 3 Brewery that recently opened in the tourist town of St. Jacobs, just outside of Waterloo), some SUNSHINE!!!, the Easter Bunny, and a great long run on Saturday!

What a great weekend!

But the weekend is over, and it’s back to the grind.  Back to the office, and back to the training plan!  And I actually feel really good about both of these things.

This spring hasn’t been the model of consistent training for me.  Maybe it’s the Winter Blahs.  Maybe I came down with a case of Laziness.  Who knows.  Who cares.  We can only go forward from here!

This week marks a new phase in my training plan.  Today was the arbitrary day when the combination of warm (and dry) weather aligned with morning energy and enthusiasm: Today I busted out The Iron Pig for my first bike commute to work of 2014!

My bike commute is 12.5km each way – a handy 25km round trip, mostly through parks and along trails, and away from traffic.  What a good extra boost to my training this will be once I start bike commuting 4-5 days a week (and where the alternate option is the bus – not a car – I’ll be biking as often as I can).

I struggle though with how to define this riding – is this “training”?  Does work commuting count as “training”?  On the Pro side: Time in the saddle is time in the saddle, and I realized this morning how much commuter training really is just as good a workout as any exercise bike (which is how I “trained” all winter).  On the Con side: My hybrid isn’t my road bike – it’s a very different riding position, I’m riding in sneakers on flat pedals (not clipped in, and thus all the work I’m doing is pedal mashing), I’m not following a training plan but rather just trying to get from A to B, and I’m much more restricted by traffic and traffic lights riding through town than I would be on the country roads.  Waiting at a red light doesn’t feel much like training.

So at the end of this week, when I look back at my ‘volume’ of training, the picture could be remarkably different if I include the 100km and ~4hrs of commute bike riding (assuming 4 out of 5 days) than if I exclude it.  By the end of the summer, this could have a huge impact on my training volume, which I guess really only matters if I look back on it in future years by comparison.  And for pride points.  It matters there too.

I’m honestly on the fence on this one, so I’d love your input:

Would you count bicycle commuting as bike training?

How do you track your runs?

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment


Okay – this is pretty much just a glorified re-blog of an article from Canadian Running: How do you track your runs?  Go read their original article.  It’s a great piece (with apologies to anyone born before 1977 – or for that matter anyone born after 1977 who actually knows what a ‘mile’ is 😉 )

(Canadian Running is a great magazine – I actually pay them money to get a physical copy of the magazine sent to me by snail mail every month.  Who does that anymore – read a physical magazine? or use snail mail?!?  But I like what they write and am happy to stand behind them.  And they didn’t ask me to say that either!)

I used to plan/track/run my runs in terms of kilometers.  Now I track them in terms of time instead.  For me the argument (though not perfect, I grant) is thus: it allows for a consistent comparison of effort from session to session, regardless of factors like weather, terrain, perceived effort, or motivation.  I want to manage the training stress I put my body through – I don’t want the amount of time at elevated heart rate or stressed legs to change based on the day’s conditions.  Even leading up to a race, I don’t train for the distance I’ll run, instead I train for my anticipated running time (plus maybe 10% to make sure I can run strong through the finish line).

Oddly enough, I still track my bike training sessions in distance (the plan I follow lists them in miles, but the internet helps me fix that 🙂 ).  And I’m really not sure why the running by time argument hasn’t translated to biking yet…

So what do you do?

Happy Friday Everyone!  Have a Great Weekend!!

(Last) Week In Review

March 25, 2014 3 comments

badtriThis may or may not end up being a recurring feature on this blog, largely dependent on how busy lazy I am on Sundays.  We’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes.

Looking Back:

WIR 140323

Prior to last week, I found myself in an unexpected 2.5 week break from training.  This week I’m simply glad to be back at it.  I’ve had a few victories this week – I’m 3lbs closer to my race weight goal (though that could be in part due to the less-than-accurate-lately scale I’m using at the YMCA…), and I managed my first long run longer than 10km in almost a year.

Hopefully now that I’m back into a training routine, I can also get back into a blog writing routine.  As goes one, so goes the other, oddly enough…

Looking Forward:

This week is so important to my training – this week is my chance to prove that I’m back into a training routine, and build off of last week’s results.  My goal is to replicate last week’s volume, while stretching out my long run an extra 2km (per my training plan), and introducing some strength training back into my routine.

5 Things I Think I Think:

  1. I think I’m nervous about the Half Marathon I’m planning (but haven’t signed up for yet) at the end of April.  I have run a Half before (and have also run a 30km race before).  But prior to this week I had let myself cap my long runs at 10km.  I think training to run longer than 10km is a psychological barrier as much as a physical barrier.  It’s about convincing yourself that you can keep going.  I think I really enjoy breaking that barrier.  But I also think I have a lot of work to do to be ready for a Half in 5 short weeks
  2. I think the 35 minute run I went for yesterday was my best run of the year!  The sun was shining, the sidewalks were dry.  And I ran pretty darn fast, by my standards.  It was nice to run outside – off the treadmill – where I didn’t have to watch for ice under foot at each step.
  3. I think it would be nice if pools were open for lane swimming at more times that gave me more options in my training plan – particularly options that didn’t require me to wake up at 5:00am.  The alternative is to swim after 9:30pm.  Yuck!  That’s bedtime (I know!  I’m old!)  Everything in between is booked for swimming lessons, etc.  I understand the need to offer family programming at family friendly hours, but the selfish side of me would love to not have to choose between swim training and sleeping in!  Can’t I have both?
  4. Sports Nerdness: I think I’m really excited about the Blue Jays season this year, even though all the media analysts are predicting doom and gloom.  Sure, a lot of things will have to break right for this team to do well, but the point of being a sports fan is to be unrealistically optimistic about your team, especially before the season starts!  We’ve got it this year boys!  Let’s Go Blue Jays!!
  5. I think the wine bottle buried in the snow in our backyard is finally starting to peak through.  Spring will come.  The snow will melt.  I will get to ride outside soon enough…
bottle top 140323

See the tiny spot in the center of the picture? That’s the mouth of a wine bottle, standing upright, buried in the snow. It’s starting to emerge! Spring is Coming!!

Is it still winter outside where you live?  Or is it spring there yet?

Happy Birthday To Me

March 21, 2014 3 comments


No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday is in June.  But last year’s birthday gift to myself finally arrived last night.  I’m not used to celebrating my birthday in March (I should have baked a cake)!

Last June I penned my name to a Kickstarter Project – a company named Redshift Sports had a great idea: Clip on aero bars that were quick and easy to… clip on (or off, or on again). Their website describes it better than I do:

If you’re going out for a group ride, you can leave the aerobars at home and ride a pure road bike. But if you’re racing in a triathlon or doing a charity ride, you can throw the aerobars on and choose the best position for every climb, flat, and descent.


They also concurrently designed a seat post on a pivot point that allows for different positions between riding in the aero bars vs riding as a normal road bike.  Again, their website describes it better than I do (it’s like they have a vested interest in marketing their product, or something):

The Switch Dual-Position Seatpost lets you replicate the steeper seat tube angle of a tri bike. The steeper geometry opens up your hip angle and maintains proper leg extension, letting you ride more comfortably and efficiently in the aero position.


All the pics above are of the bike in my basement – indoors.  The new parts are installed, and they look mighty bad ass, but I haven’t given them a test drive yet. I’m happy to report that everything came as advertised, installed crazy-easy, and looks really professional.  Even the instructions were clear.  For a Kickstarter project, I’m really happy.

Unfortunately, I haven’t given it a test ride yet.  It’s still cold and ice and crap outside here, and looks to be that way for a few more weeks still.  I always think of the first week in April being when the bike first comes out of the garage.  I’m guessing this year is going to be a bit later than usual.  And since I don’t have a bike trainer at home yet (maybe I should start dropping hints for this year’s birthday gift… which is only 3 months away), I’m relegated to the stationary bikes at the gym for a few more weeks.  But once I do get out on the roads, I’ll be sure to give a proper product review.

For now, they make my bike look distinctly more like a triathlon bike, and that’s birthday gift enough for me!!

Spring is coming, and I’m ready to get out there!

%d bloggers like this: