So I was wandering around the Internet looking for some cool triathlon sites when I stumbled across Trinitysport.com. First thing I thought was, hey, catchy name. Then I checked the place out. As far as I could tell, they had just about all the gear and accessories anyone would need (minus the bikes) to set themselves up for a triathlon of any distance. The prices were more than fair and the site was very well organized, unlike some that are out there. Pretty cool, I thought, and added it to my Favorites list.
Then I happen to be over in St Petersburg, Florida, going for a Saturday ride from Northshore Pool (The ride is organized into different groups - by average speed, which they call out - you should check it out if you ever have the chance). They call out 24 North, and this fellow starts peddling, so I jump up and peddle next to him. It turns out that the guy peddling next to me is Rob Moulds, the founder of Trinitysport.com! We get to talking about triathlon and racing, the how and why he decided to get into retail side of the triathlon industry, and how and why I was looking to start a small coaching business. He said, "Hey, I have a good idea…"
And so this page was born!
Every six weeks or so, Trinitysport.com will publish a new coaching article that I will write. These articles will cover the different aspects of training techniques, racing strategies, mental preparation, approaches to diet, recovery time, and whatever else we can think of that might help you plan your racing and training a little bit better than the next guy or gal.
In return, Trinitysport.com will keep a link to my coaching page, www.martygaal.com/coach, which will tell you all you need to know about my coaching approach. You can also access the rest of my site at www.martygaal.com to find out more about who I am, what I've done, and why I think I can help you become a better athlete.
Now that you know what this page is all about, let's go over a few of the basics you need to know if you are just about to get started in training for a triathlon.
First things first: Start slowly and build your way up.
If you come from a non-athletic background (or just haven't exercised much in a while) you need to consult with a physician prior to engaging in any kind of sustained athletic training routine. However, unless you have chronic health or physical challenges, he or she will most likely tell you what I just did: Start slowly and let time and practice make you better.
The best athletes all started off taking it one step at a time. You should do the same. That means you don't go out and run for two hours in your second week of training, nor do you sign up for a century (100 mile) ride after three weeks of cycling. Those kinds of achievements take time and you can hurt yourself if you try too much too soon.
I will discuss the specifics more in the coming articles, but if you're just starting out it would be safest if you limit your runs to less than forty minutes, your bike rides to around 1 hour, and your swims to around 45 minutes per session for the first few weeks. You should do only 2-3 workouts per discipline per week at this point in time.
The following is a sample of a beginner weekly workout schedule:
M: swim 45 minutes
T: run 20-30 minutes
W: ride 1 hour
Th: swim 45 minutes
Fr: run 20-30 minutes
Sat: ride 1 hour
More experienced athletes, or people coming from a running, cycling, or swimming background, could add a couple more workouts to the schedule above and add a little time to some of the training sessions to turn it into an intermediate weekly workout schedule:
M: morning - swim 45 minutes, afternoon - run 30 minutes
T: morning - run 45 minutes
Wed: morning - swim 45 minutes, afternoon - ride 1 hour
Th: morning - run 30 minutes, afternoon - swim 45 minutes
Fri: ride 1 hour
Sat: morning - ride 1 hour, run 20 minutes
Meanwhile, advanced triathletes (those who have been training for several years and have done a number of races) would also follow a similar routine, but they would add even more time to each training session to turn it into an advanced training weekly workout schedule:
M: morning - swim 1.5 hours, afternoon - run 1.5 hours
T: morning - swim 1.5 hours
Wed: morning - ride 2-3 hours, afternoon - run 1 hour
Th: morning - swim 1.5 hours, run 1-2 hours
Fr: ride 2 hours
Sat: morning - swim 1 hour, afternoon - run 45 minutes
Sun: ride 3-5 hours
Notice that the last schedule did not include a day off. The week after should have at least one day for the athlete to do nothing! Too many days of training in a row is a practice that can lead to what we call overtraining, which is a precursor to athletic burnout. You don't want either of these, which is why rest is a mandatory and necessary part of any well-organized training schedule.
Second: Your gear.
What do you need to show up at the starting line without looking like a total rookie? Let me give you a basic list:
- A bike. You don't need a $4,000 dollar top-of-the-line aerodynamic flying machine just to show up. I've seen some very fast people on some very ordinary bikes, so remember - it's not the bike, it's the engine you've got inside.
That being said, in general, you do get what you pay for when it comes to bikes and bike accessories. More expensive components are lighter and fail less. More expensive frames are aerodynamic and way a mere couple of pounds. Carbon fiber racing wheels are wind-tunnel tested and designed to shave off every possible second in your race. So if you've got the dough, go for it. Otherwise, ride more!!
To find out more about bikes, talk to people you know involved with racing and see where they got their bike, how they like it, and what local shops they recommend. Finding a good bike shop is like finding a good and honest car mechanic. They are few and far between.
- A helmet. Without a helmet you won't be allowed to race. Without a helmet you also increase your chance of head injury every time you peddle down the street. So do yourself and your loved ones a favor - buy a helmet and then wear it every time you go ride. The life you save may be your own.
- A swimsuit. They are all sorts of swimsuits out there nowadays, and you may not know what to get. Personally, I like my regular old Speedo, but I am an old-fashioned swimmer dude. Ladies look good wearing anything from a one-piece, a two-piece, or a tri-specific race suit, while guys nowadays can also wear a one-piece, a two-piece, or a tri-specific suit. It all depends on what you're comfortable with. Just don't show up to the swim start in running shorts!
- Goggles. 'Nuff said.
- Wetsuits - you don't 'need' a wetsuit, but for swims in water less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, I would recommend it. They keep you warm in cold water and make you more buoyant, which will help you to swim faster.
One thing I can tell you about wetsuits is to shop around. They are expensive and each manufacturer makes them slightly differently, so you will want to find one you are comfortable with before you make that purchase.
- Running shoes - again, you will need to find a brand or make that you are comfortable with. You may also want to head to the local professional running store in your town so that they can discuss your feet with you. Some people tend to distribute their weight to the outsides of their feet while others put more pressure on the inside. How your weight is distributed will affect what make of shoes are best for you.
Now, those are the major purchases. Everything else falls under the category of accessories, and here are a few to get you started:
- Extra tubes (700 or 650 - you need to know that),
- C02 cartridges
- tire levers
- allen wrenches
- a portable pump
- a standing pump
- cycling socks
- a saddle bag
- cycling gloves
- cycling shorts
- cycling jerseys
- arm warmers
- leg warmers
- knee warmers
- running shorts
- running socks
- gortex outfits
- water bottles
- extra goggles
- extra swimsuits
- lip balm
- training wheels
- racing wheels
- a bike rack
- a bike stand
- more bike tools
- ice bags
- heat pads
- a massage therapist
- a sports doctor
- training partners
- A Coach!
- And finally, more time in the day!
Best of luck in 2002 and I will see you around!