Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Triathlon "Plan"

There are just 15 days left until my first triathlon. Although I bought a couple of books to help me prepare (which I may review here at a later date), I soon realized that there was no way I'd ever be able to adhere to a structured training plan with my crazy schedule of teaching classes and tending to two preschoolers and a newborn. More than once it has crossed my mind, WTH was I thinking signing up for this thing? Anyway, I realized I was going to have to make my own training plan, more or less on the fly.

The first step in making a triathlon plan is to assess areas of strength and weakness. Since I teach up to 5 spin classes per week, I knew that cycling would be the easiest stage of the tri for me. Running would clearly be my weakest link, since I have tried and failed a number of times over the years to convert myself into a runner. Swimming would be my wild card.

In theory, the most training should go towards the weakest discipline. I've failed that theory for two obvious reasons: I'm committed to teaching my classes, which means I would undoubtedly train most in my strongest discipline. And also, I hate running. I know there are people out there who are avid runners, who describe in lucid detail the joys of running, the freedom of hitting the road or the trail, the thrill of the runner's high. I am not one of them. I have to force myself nearly every step of the way. My body rejects running like a transplanted organ.

Swimming has turned out to be the bright spot in my training. Until I started taking a lap swimming/stroke improvement class at a local rec center this winter, I hadn't done any "real" swimming since college when I'd hit the pool once a week or so to get in a workout. I was as surprised as anyone to find that even in my 9th month of pregnancy I could paddle along at a pretty decent clip. (Not to mention I had little to none of the annoying aches and pains that plagued my dry-land workouts.) There is also something enjoyable about swimming: Most ambient sounds are blocked out (except for one's own breathing) and there's the weightless feeling of gliding through the water. I think swimming has regained a place in my regular workout routine!

With a just over two weeks to go, I will be focusing on getting in a few more bricks, particularly bike to run. I'll also be doing a few practice transitions for the sake of improving efficiency between stages and so I don't forget anything! I realize that the sum total of my training plan amounts to "um, like, fit stuff in when you can, or something" but this being my first triathlon, my primary goal is just to finish. If I decide to do another tri, I'll definitely focus my training more, since I'll want to improve on my performance in this one.

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya, I tried to do a tri pre-2nd baby and found it was too much. It's a lot of training to do with small children and teaching. Although I do love to run and the cycling was just OK at the time, I found that I absolutely loathed the swimming. Mostly the whole "getting wet part". So you got me on that one. Maybe together we'd make a perfect triathlete;)

    Good luck!!!