Triathlon Training Kicks a Fitness Dream to the Next Level

When on the road to your health and fitness dream plan on having tough days. In the wonderful world of triathlon training, the tough days have a name:

“Brick training.”

3 weeks to go and my week consists of a couple of these tough days.

Brick training is when you train two of the three sports of triathlon together, ideally in the same order as the race. In my case, so far this has been combining the bike and run.

My first brick training day I came off the bike and started to run on legs that almost collapsed under me. Think of jello, noodles, or pick a gooey equivalent. That’s an excellent description of how my legs felt the first quarter mile of my run after coming off 10 miles on the bike.

All the articles by first time triathletes came rushing back as I fully understood the feeling of going from riding to running.

That’s what they were talking about.

When you lose a lot of weight, you get a lot of questions. The 80 pounds took almost a year to come off, and one of the questions I hear often is “How are you maintaining it?”

I thought my maintenance plan of racing goals were fairly aggressive, but apparently I am hopping on a huge trend of triathlon racing.

Heather swimming in Lake Sonoma

Heather swimming in Lake Sonoma

 

Triathlon has see massive growth in the past decade.

A quick search online for triathlon and your city or county will find a ton of opportunities to join the crowd. The trend for participation comes from several fronts.

Some new triathletes are fitness enthusiasts looking for a new challenge, and others are using a competition as a way to get back in shape.

The most popular distance – the sprint triathlon – is composed of a 500-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride, and a 5k run. It is largely responsible for the huge growth in USAT’s membership roles.

But why such a growth spurt now, some 30 years after the sport began? Menke says it’s a combination of the Olympics — triathlon made its debut in the 2000 Sydney games — a growing group of middle-aged competitors looking to reclaim their athleticism, and a desire for fitness-conscious camaraderie.

Source: CNN.com

The USA Triathlon organization has similar information when you look at their demographics of the participants in the sport. One thing that caught my eye was the age group that saw the fastest growth.

  • The growth in the number of the more accessible shorter sprint races, which made the sport more accessible to those with fewer hours to train each week
  • Media attention on the sport
  • Growth in the 30-49 age groups who are looking for varied outlets for fitness
  • The ego reward of saying you “are a triathlete”

Source: USA Triathlon

Most sane people, whether they are fit or not, would look at this chart and never consider this an option. The more I talk to triathletes I realize it takes a special kind of crazy to put the work needed into a competition like this.

As a comparison, the race I will be doing is highlighted in red.

SWIM BIKE RUN
Short
Kilometer 0.4 – 1 8 – 30 1.6 – 6.3
Mile 0.2 – 0.6 5 – 18.6 1 – 3.9
Intermediate
Kilometer 1.1 -2 30.1 – 50 6.4 – 12.8
Mile 0.7 – 1.2 18.7 – 31 4 – 8
Long
Kilometer 2.1 – 3.1 50.1 – 99.9 12.9 – 29.9
Mile 1.3 – 1.9 31.1 – 62 8 – 18.6
Ultra
Kilometer 3.2+ 100+ 30+
Mile 2+ 62.1+ 18.7+

Source: USA Triathlon

With only 3 weeks to go, there’s plenty of preparation to wrap up.

You know when you have a big trip coming up and you get all excited?

You wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if you packed that essential item, and find yourself lying there, debating getting out of bed to make sure you packed it.

That is just about where I’m at in this journey. Not quite sure how I’ve made it this far and still wondering about my own sanity on continuing.

This quote from one of my favorite authors reminds me it’s just fine to feel a bit frazzled.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
– Douglas Adams

Next week you’ll be hearing about my another one of my training “firsts”. The photo above is a preview of my first open water swim this weekend… and proof I survived.

Go get your fit on – Heather

 

 

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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  • Good lord, Lake Sonoma. You are brave.

    Cath

    • That shot was still during warm up – or the “waiting to go numb” phase.

      Note to self: take someone besides your scuba diving husband who has no sympathy for 55 degree water, reminding me regularly that “At least it’s not the ocean at 43 degrees!”