Finish Strong


Triathlon Training Tips

By Tim Reno

At 5:30 Wednesday morning, you might wonder why the pool at the local gym is crowded—two swimmers per lane, and several others waiting near the edge for a chance to swim laps; treadmills are humming and spinning class has been promoted to rock star status. Such is the familiar scene for thousands of people during the months leading up to triathlon season. But how do you stay motivated and continue training once winter, the triathlon off season, hits? For beginning triathlon trainees, maintaining motivation is often most difficult during colder months, but for every trainee these steps are vital to achieving your personal best year-round.

You are not a quitter. Think about it. Say it out loud. There is truth to the adage, “mentally tough physically strong.” There comes a point, even for the best of the best, when each additional stroke, peddle and step comes from a resolved will to win, even if winning is just doing better than you did last time. My first triathlon swim was for a half-ironman distance, just under a mile and a half. I had prepared reasonably well and felt as though I had a chance to place among the top 50 for the event. It was cold, 53 degrees in the water and 48 degrees outside. Twenty minutes into my swim, well after my face, hands and feet had gone somewhat numb, I am not a quitter I am not a quitter, replaced stroke-stroke-breath stroke-stroke-breath. Don’t give up training this fall and winter, but rather push through to spring so you’ll be far ahead of the pack when triathlon season begins again.

You control your life. We can fill our time with ideas from self-help books all day long. You want to feel empowered? Trust me, put down the book about someone else’s experiences and go to bed early enough to hit the gym in the morning. Create a training schedule and follow it. Whether training outdoors or indoors, don’t let the pool, river or road tell you what you can or cannot accomplish. Take control and get excited. The morning of a triathlon buzzes with anticipation. People novice to expert, young to old are actually excited to start what will be a multi-hour test of endurance! Triathlons are hard, but a good attitude and following your schedule will make all the difference throughout the year.

Train hard. Here are some key points for creating your workout schedule, whether you’re a seasoned triathlete or first timer. If you’re looking to be competitive, train six days out of the seven day week. You’re working your body hard and it needs a day to rest and recoup, take one. You should be altering your training each day. Plan on at least one hour each day of running, swimming or biking. You’ll run for an hour, or swim for an hour or bike for an hour. It’s imperative that you go the full hour each day. On Saturday you should do two different exercises, each for one hour: swimming and biking, biking and running or running and swimming. This will keep your endurance up and your body in shape. Hit the weights anytime you like during the week as well. As your endurance and abilities increase you can increase your distance and speed in each event.  

Finish strong. Crossing the finish line is the culmination of months of training and hours of racing. I’m always exhausted by the time the last mile of my triathlon is fading away with each stride; yet—every time—I get a rush of adrenaline as soon as the finish line is visible. I have never come in first. Chances are I never will, but I cross the finish line running as fast as my tired legs can carry me. For that moment, victory is mine. The Olympic Creed states well the value of finishing the race, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” In triathlons, as with life, take each challenge and finish strong.  

If you’re still looking to compete before the season ends, here are a few nearby triathlons left for this year. See you at the finish line!

Oct 17, 2009
Powell 3 Triathlon Challenge
Page, UT/AZ

Oct 17, 2009
2009 Land Rover Pumpkinman Triathlon
Boulder City, NV
Oct 17, 2009
SAC Triathlon
St. George, UT

Oct 31, 2009
Rocktober Triathlon
Alpine, UT

Nov 7, 2009
Telos Turkey Triathlon
Orem, Utah

Nov 8, 2009
5th Annual Nevada Silverman Full and Half Triathlon
Henderson, NV


Tri Training Gear

Kayenne™ Swim Goggles
See all around you with these goggles by Aqua Sphere. The oversized lenses have a patented curved lens technology that provides an undistorted, 180-degree field of vision. The stabilizing nose bridge and one-touch buckle makes the Kayennes fit securely and comfortably in all swimming conditions. These goggles also offer UV protection, are leak and scratch resistant and have anti-fog lenses, making them great for triathlon training. $24.99

Aqua Skins™ Thermal Protection Suits
Ideal for training, Aqua Skins are an ultralight and durable suit engineered with Thermo-Guard technology to provide warmth and protection from the sun. These suits are made from ultra thin neoprene which offers complete freedom of movement like a traditional swimsuit, but also helps maintain the body’s temperature in water and provides buoyancy. This keeps core muscles warm and reduces cramping so swimmers can spend more time training in the water. Suits are designed for pool and open water use, but if you plan to use one outdoors this fall, get Aqua Skins Full Leg Sleeveless Suit as it is designed for fall water temperatures. Other options are available for colder or warmer water. Hoewever, Aqua Skins are built for training not competition. If you’re looking for a wetsuit to compete in check out Aqua Sphere’s new Ironman Wetsuits. $159


About Author

Jenny Willden is the Managing Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide and a self-proclaimed gear and grammar nut. She's a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. A lover of adventure and travel, she's happiest when riding horses or snowboarding in Utah’s mountains. Follow Jenny’s exploits on Twitter @jennywillden or Instagram @jlwillden.

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