Notorious wrote:Congrats on completing your first one. I've wanted to get into triathalons for a while now (I have relatives who did the first Ironman Triathalon in Kona). My cardio shape is decent but I'm awful at swimming. Seriously I look like I had my legs and hands duct taped together and was thrown into water.
How were your training days setup? Did you follow any specific diet plan (both training and prerace would be nice to know)? Is your goal to eventually do ironman levels? Keep me posted, I'm quite interested in it.
Swimming is a little hard to master for newcomers. I am honestly at a huge advantage because I have 12+ years of competitive swimming experience behind me but it is doable for a newcomer. The biggest thing that you have to realize is that swimming is more about technique than anything. If you are a new swimmer, you can't expect just swim more yards each day and get faster, you have to constantly refine and perfect your technique by doing drills and other kinds of stroke work. My suggestion for anyone looking to swim is to join a local masters program which will introduce new swimmers to a structured swimming environment, where technique and coaching will hopefully be quite prevalent. Another thing to keep in mind is that the swim is the smallest portion of the triathlon anyways so a lot of triathletes can get away without being strong swimmers if they are decent cyclists and runners. I basically smoked a ton of people coming out of the water, but people passed me later on in the race because they were much better cyclists and runners than I was.
My training days were set up kind of like this.
Mondays: Intensity day.
7am: 2,500 yards of swimming with relatively intense intervals.
9am: 2.6 mile run trying to run under 20 minutes (the only reason why I did a 2.6 mile run is because I have a loop in my neighborhood that is that distance any distance that you can do and hold at a high intensity suffices)
Evening: 1 hour- 90 minute bike ride for about 20 miles.
Tuesday: Distance day
7am: 3,500 yards of swimming. Usually with 500 yard repeats and 500 yard pyramid sets.
9am: 5k run
Evening: 1 hour- 2hour bike ride for about 20-25 miles.
Wednesday: Rest day
I usually didn't exercise this day but if I did it would be a light 1 hour bike ride in an easy gear.
Thursday: Threshold day.
7am: 2,500 yards of swimming doing a lactate threshold set that I did in high school.
9am: 2-4 mile run doing HIIT (30 seconds of sprinting, 30 seconds of recovery or some variation of that)
Evening: 90 minute bike ride usually in a higher gear than what I would normally use.
Friday: Cross train/technique/ active recovery day
7am: 3,000 yards of swimming. Doing active recovery sets (swimming a 100 yard freestyle and sprinting one 25, then resting the next 25), a few stroke technique drills, and 25 yard sprints doing 10 pushups on one side and then 30 second core bridges on the other side.
9am: 2.6 mile run at any pace. Afterwards I would do about 20 minutes of jump roping with core exercises spliced in with intervals.
Evening: Rest, or an easy 1 hour recovery ride.
Saturday: Endurance day.
3 hour/ 50 mile bike ride.
You don't necessarily have to do all three sports within the same day but I chose to because I had the time in the last few weeks of summer. What I think is important is that you split up your intensities throughout the week. On somedays you need to work on your sprinting power, other days you need to work on your endurance and it's very important to get that variety in there. Bear in mind, these distances were more so tailored for the Santa Barbara Triathlon distances. I will probably be increasing these workout distances by 10-20% for my upcoming triathlon.
My diet wasn't particularly special, but I've been eating pretty healthy since I started swimming in high school. My mainstay snacks are, bananas, cliff bars, almonds, whole grain toast, pb and j, carrots, and cereal. At meals I always try to eat either a protein, or some kind of meal with a lot of vegetables. Your body needs the nutrients found in vegetables in order to recover and rebuild properly, and the same thing goes for proteins. I usually drink only water and milk. Sometimes I will throw in a gatorade or a vitamin water in order to keep my sanity.
I didn't lift weights during the summer (partly because I broke my wrist) but I did lift them throughout the school year. As school picks up, I will probably cut swimming from my routine and transition back to weight lifting. Weightlifting gives great returns for the amount of time that you have to invest and after all of this endurance stuff, I am getting really lean anyways. Plus weight lifting will help strengthen the muscles which hopefully will prevent overuse injuries. Next summer I will probably drop weightlifting and transition back into swimming.
I plan on slowly working my way up the distances. Next year I hope to do an Olympic distance race (1.5K swim 40K bike ride 10K run) and after that maybe a half ironman (1.5 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). I would love to do an ironman eventually but I am honestly really afraid of injuring myself. My biggest limiting factor is the run. Whenever I try to do distance running I injure myself so I have to learn how to do 10K's half marathons, and then full marathons first before I even think about an ironman. On top of that, I have never done a bike ride past 60 miles and after bike rides at those distances, I am totally shot. I couldn't imagine doing 112 miles, and then running a full marathon after that. With that being said though, my endurance will come with age and experience so who knows how I will be in a couple of years.
I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions.
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