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So, I’m Training for a Sprint Triathlon!

What’s a sprint triathlon? It’s a shorter (and presumably faster) version of the traditional triathlon. Apparently tris come in all sorts of lengths. The one I plan to do is a half-mile swim, 14.4 miles cycling, and 3 miles running. This is very do-able for me, and probably for a lot of people. I’m not concerned about finishing competitively, but want to do my best. What concerns me the most about a triathlon is the swimming portion, but I already swim 3/4s of a mile pretty regularly in a pool, so I figure a half-mile shouldn’t be too bad. I don’t own a bike, but I belong to a club that has a pool and stationary bikes, spinning classes, etc. and so should be ok. I plan to rent a bike and wetsuit for outdoors practice. I’ll rent a bike for the actual triathlon too, which is in my hometown 3,000 miles away.

I found this 10-week triathlon training plan that gives me a baseline of what my training might look like. I’ve timed myself swimming a half mile in a pool with no rests and can do it in a half-hour or less which is good enough for me. I can cycle 14.4 miles in a little over half an hour, which is like 28 mph on average, but that is on a stationary bike, in the gym. I rented a hybrid bike this week and wow, it’s hard to go that fast “in real life,” over actual pavement, and with traffic. It’s harder to pedal strong on a moving bicycle on real terrain, but it’s also just intimidating: I don’t want to crash! I’ll have to practice more. I’d like to have a good time on the bike which is my easiest segment physically.

What will I wear? The water will be about 70 degrees, so I don’t need a wetsuit. I bought some tri-shorts, which are like a hybrid bike/run short. Now I just need to get a good sport bra that I can swim in that holds well while running, and a swimmable tri-shirt or tank. After the swim I’ll need a cap, socks and sneakers.

I’m training in San Francisco for a tri in Connecticut. I’m doing some open water swimming and had a lesson with a swim coach my first time swimming at Aquatic Park. I rented a wetsuit because the water here is around 55 degrees. The great thing about wetsuits is they give you added buoyancy, in addition to keeping your body warm. I was nervous in anticipation of swimming in open water, but under Suzie’s direction I was remarkably calm and really enjoyed my lesson with her. She gave me great tips and later sent me a follow-up including a mini workout for my pool swimming.

Here’s a photo of where I’m swimming in San Francisco:

aquaticPark

I’ll follow-up with more updates on my experiences training for a triathon…

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