Jump to content

Would like to start training for my first triathlon, need some advice


Geared
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

 

It's taken awhile to get to this point after months of umm and ahh and well COVID, my ultimate goal is to compete in olympic to full ironman. will decide once I have actually experienced it first hand. 

 

I am coming from a heavy strength sport background, and have been researching awhile (google research dangerous) annoying people with questions, and slowly been building up the necessary gear, before COVID cut me off at the knees for 2020

 

long story short, I have managed to drop from close to 130kg peak bodybuilding size, down to 88kg and I still think I can get down another 4-5kg before investing in any other wearable gear (wetsuit and try suit) 

 

anyways, the reason for the post, I have set up a wahoo kickr4 with my new road bike and I have a treadmill in there as well, so I can start on my base fitness (its shocking) 

 

I have signed up with Zwift and Trainer road and I am busy setting everything up. (I will try training peaks as well, but seems like the majority favour Trainer road) 

 

Now, I need to choose a base plan to follow while we stuck at home, as I am setting up my trainer road account. obviously this rules out pool sessions which is a ball ache. 

 

Now from what I have read, its best to start with a sprint triathlon, and I was fully onboard for the trinity ones. 

 

Now that I have a lot of time on my hands to train (building up slowly)

 

it's time for my stupid questions.....

 

when choosing a base foundation phase, do I choose one for sprint, olympic, half or full ironman ? 

 

and secondly, what do I do with the swimming training portion ? leave it out ? 

 

the idea is to keep repeating these until such time as I have a comp in mind, and can start peaking for that comp. 

 

as soon as things open up, I will investigate a proper swim school, cycle club, running advice or hire proper coach to assist me through my first Tri 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The key to all successful attempts begins with a goal. And more often than not the goal is an event. But with the times we're in, picking and committing to an event is difficult at best. 

 

Get training partners for all 3 disciplines, and no, they don't have to be the same person.

 

With regards to the swim, if you're not aiming to be a competitive age cat racer, the swim will not be the most critical leg. The saying goes that the race is never lost on the swim but it can be lost on the bike. Identify your weakness, and spent time on that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running.... You can be a bog average swimmer, a slightly above average cyclist and a kick ass runner and win age group races.

 

The longer the race the more this rings true.

 

My advice would be to work on your running strength, do some speed work and in the background make sure your cycling is up to speed. If you have the ability to swim, you can train that once a week and ramp it up towards an event when there is eventually one on the horizon.

 

I am a strong swimmer (comfortable sub hour at IM) but one thing you don't want to do is burn too many matches getting through the splash. I try to finish the swim as quickly but efficiently as possible so it feels like my HR is up but my body feels like it's just warmed up and is ready to go!

 

I'm no coach though, so my advice could be utter nonsense. You're probably better off chatting to the guys at a tri club....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll second the running priority.

 

Build up your running base, slowly. This is where your injuries will come from if you don't do it right. Theres going to be a lot of confused muscles, joints and tendons when you head down this new sport.

 

Cycling is easy, you'll have mad strength in your legs so you just need to get your slow twitch guys firing, and obviously your lungs. But I imagine you'll have a blast on the bike.

 

I'd leave swimming for now, get a coach later on if you've never really done it before, even if only for a few sessions so that you learn the right stuff from the get-go, because (from experience) this is one place where Mr youtube teacher is not great.

 

For the plan, I'd choose olympic or most probably half, just because I worry the sprint will have too much focus on speed and not enough building of low-and-slow base ground work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much that answers my questions !

my fear was a more direct approach to pure speed, that my future endurance goals would suffer, so I feel better about choosing closer to my end goal so possibly Olympic. 
 

I feel better about not having to focus too much on the swim, I was a strong swimmer in my youth. Hoping some of that comes back with age. 
 

I most certainly just need a lot of aerobic endurance training, built up slowly over time in the cycling and running department , running has been the one thing we avoided for many years lol 

 

again thank you, i am excited too get started. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris gives great advice.... I kind of forget that people don't run so take for granted that everyone has some sort of running base.

 

Slowly is the key. Seriously. Running takes time to build good strength and even if you don't stick to your plan perfectly, the trick to that is consistency while NEVER over doing it.

 

You can over do it when you can run a marathon on any given day of the week and not miss training the next day....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much that answers my questions !

my fear was a more direct approach to pure speed, that my future endurance goals would suffer, so I feel better about choosing closer to my end goal so possibly Olympic. 

 

I feel better about not having to focus too much on the swim, I was a strong swimmer in my youth. Hoping some of that comes back with age. 

 

I most certainly just need a lot of aerobic endurance training, built up slowly over time in the cycling and running department , running has been the one thing we avoided for many years lol 

 

again thank you, i am excited too get started. 

 

And welcome to the club!

 

I warn you its addictive. Judging by your first post I suspect dedication is not a problem for you, so it'll be exciting to see how you go with learning new types of diet and 3 sports (or 4 if incl strength) to fit in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Geared and welcome to the journey and lifestyle as it becomes a lifestyle choice for many.

 

There are unlikely to be any local triathlons this year and gyms will probably not open until August and probably September.  With winter, there won't be much open water swimming, so you can put swimming on the back burner and focus on building endurance and strength in cycling and running.

 

As Jewbacca say, the swimming is the shortest distance and unless you are a really good swimmer there is not much to be gained as becoming a good cyclist and even better runner.  So you only need to become a proficient swimmer to complete the distance and that will only happen as an when gym pools open up and warm weather arrives

 

The guys have mentioned, if you want to enjoy your triathlons become a runner.  You will enjoy them much more if you can run them rather than run/walk them and as a poor runner you will hate it.

 

With the above in mind and the timescale of races probably only happening next year, you have plenty of time to build a good base and become a proficient cyclist and runner.

 

The Trainerroad specific plans are quite good and will give you a good structure and base, so start with the Olympic plan as ultimately you get into the sport you will want to do a half and full.  Getting a good base from the Olympic distance you can do sprints to gain experience and this sport is all about experience, your own experience and that of a coach if you decided to go that route at some point.  As Chris says, YouTube will give you an idea but not the experience.

 

So as we have a good 6-8 months probably before Trinity Sports races, Redhub and even Ironman East London, you have plenty of time to progress through the Olympic and then Half base plans. 

 

You welcome to PM if you need further help if you have more questions.

 

Once again welcome and enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im no triathlete but purely a cyclist and swimmer ( water polo ) . In my 30/40s i cycled every day and swam twice weekly . A fellow cyclist did the iron man from Haartebeespoort to Megawatt Park once . I seconded him on the cycle and run . At the half way distance on the run he wanted to quit so i put my bike in the my bus carrying all our goodies and started running with him to get him through the bad patch . I ran with him up to the entrance Megawatt Park . On the run i reminded him of all the hours spent training in his canoe , bicycle and running shoes . He completed it in just short of 9  hours which for a first is good . Not being a runner and being able to run about 20 km with him surprised me . The point here is that a good base of one discipline helps one get through a triathlon be it short or long . The next day i was not too sore and just spent the next week spinning my gears on my training rides to get the stiffness out . As mentioned swimming is not the most critical discipline but dont come out the water last its a schlep navigating past all those stranglers  on their Makro Specials  . Good luck and enjoy 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again many thanks for taking the time to advise , it is appreciated and I am picking up a lot of direction. 

 

for now my major frustration is figuring out the technology in the pain cave, setting up Zwift and accounts and linking everything up, and wrapping my head around what must go where or link to lol

 

so far I am sitting with :

 

- wahoo kickr4 

- treadmill 

- Garmin 530 bundle

- Apple TV 4K with TV 

 

I have a MacBook, few iPads and iPhone, so this next few days will be discovering how best to set it all up. 

 

I have chosen an olympic base and build phase to repeat until an event becomes available.

 

I have chosen the lowest volume to start and will increase to mid and high on repeated phases. 

 

Based on the advice above :

 

on the advice above, I have deleted the swim sessions off my calendar and replaced them with the shorter run sessions. so my week pretty much looks like :

 

3 x run sessions 

3 x cycling sessions 

 

and I will design and do 2 strength and conditioning sessions a week, nothing over the top. 

 

even though I have my own app for my athletes, for designing training for my physique athletes, this is on another level lol 

 

Nutrition (and exercise science) is my actual bread and butter work wise, excuse the pun, and i have worked with numerous endurance athletes (Nutritionally only, as my training qualifications and experience only lends itself to strength and power, my nutrition qualifications and experience (many decades now, however have allowed me far greater scope of practice) , as in my world, endurance nutrition and strategy, sweat and fluid rates, is where I truly get to geek out and stretch my knowledge to the max, prepping physique athletes is one thing, but geeking out with fuelling an athlete for 6-15 hours, really excites my passion for nutrition. 

 

this is probably why, from the earliest days, I said if I ever got the itch to do endurance, triathlon would be it, as it truly (to me) tickles every area I am passionate about, whole body glycogen depletion during the swim, leg specific glycogen depletion on the cycle, and into the run, working out digestion rates, rate of oxidisation of glucose (1g/min) vs a glucose fructose mix (1.5g per min) to avoid the bonk depending on duration and intensity of event. when to bring in EAA and Caffiene, using various nutritional methodologies such as train low, sleep low, recover low to increase metabolic flexibility. Using intra and extra cellular buffers such a beta alanine (intra cellular) and baking soda (extra cellular)

 

Triathlon for me tests every limit , from mental strength, patience, to building the necessary vascularity, and cell respiration, mitochondria density, from basically nothing, at an advanced age of 43 lol while continuously working through the continuum from anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. 

 

other disciplines offer this this, but not many quite as expansive as triathlons. 

 

 

sorry for the waffle, I am getting way ahead of myself here, but I am salivating at the prospect of improvement, and mixing my experience of nutrition, with my total lack of experience in the one thing I advise on lol 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again many thanks for taking the time to advise , it is appreciated and I am picking up a lot of direction. 

 

for now my major frustration is figuring out the technology in the pain cave, setting up Zwift and accounts and linking everything up, and wrapping my head around what must go where or link to lol

 

so far I am sitting with :

 

- wahoo kickr4 

- treadmill 

- Garmin 530 bundle

- Apple TV 4K with TV 

 

I have a MacBook, few iPads and iPhone, so this next few days will be discovering how best to set it all up. 

 

I have chosen an olympic base and build phase to repeat until an event becomes available.

 

I have chosen the lowest volume to start and will increase to mid and high on repeated phases. 

 

Based on the advice above :

 

on the advice above, I have deleted the swim sessions off my calendar and replaced them with the shorter run sessions. so my week pretty much looks like :

 

3 x run sessions 

3 x cycling sessions 

 

and I will design and do 2 strength and conditioning sessions a week, nothing over the top. 

 

even though I have my own app for my athletes, for designing training for my physique athletes, this is on another level lol 

 

Nutrition (and exercise science) is my actual bread and butter work wise, excuse the pun, and i have worked with numerous endurance athletes (Nutritionally only, as my training qualifications and experience only lends itself to strength and power, my nutrition qualifications and experience (many decades now, however have allowed me far greater scope of practice) , as in my world, endurance nutrition and strategy, sweat and fluid rates, is where I truly get to geek out and stretch my knowledge to the max, prepping physique athletes is one thing, but geeking out with fuelling an athlete for 6-15 hours, really excites my passion for nutrition. 

 

this is probably why, from the earliest days, I said if I ever got the itch to do endurance, triathlon would be it, as it truly (to me) tickles every area I am passionate about, whole body glycogen depletion during the swim, leg specific glycogen depletion on the cycle, and into the run, working out digestion rates, rate of oxidisation of glucose (1g/min) vs a glucose fructose mix (1.5g per min) to avoid the bonk depending on duration and intensity of event. when to bring in EAA and Caffiene, using various nutritional methodologies such as train low, sleep low, recover low to increase metabolic flexibility. Using intra and extra cellular buffers such a beta alanine (intra cellular) and baking soda (extra cellular)

 

Triathlon for me tests every limit , from mental strength, patience, to building the necessary vascularity, and cell respiration, mitochondria density, from basically nothing, at an advanced age of 43 lol while continuously working through the continuum from anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. 

 

other disciplines offer this this, but not many quite as expansive as triathlons. 

 

 

sorry for the waffle, I am getting way ahead of myself here, but I am salivating at the prospect of improvement, and mixing my experience of nutrition, with my total lack of experience in the one thing I advise on lol 

Wow man, you are living the dream of lots of amateurs! Your dedication and excitement excites me sommer for you!

 

I recommend subscribing to GTN on YouTube (tri spin off of GCN). Lots of videos on there that'll help you. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please keep sharing your waffle along the way, I too love the nerdy stuff around human endurance and training techniques. 

 

(Although I didn't study it so a lot of the time I'm just smiling and nodding as though I know what going on...  :ph34r:  but I try)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running.... You can be a bog average swimmer, a slightly above average cyclist and a kick ass runner and win age group races.

 

The longer the race the more this rings true.

 

My advice would be to work on your running strength, do some speed work and in the background make sure your cycling is up to speed. If you have the ability to swim, you can train that once a week and ramp it up towards an event when there is eventually one on the horizon.

 

I am a strong swimmer (comfortable sub hour at IM) but one thing you don't want to do is burn too many matches getting through the splash. I try to finish the swim as quickly but efficiently as possible so it feels like my HR is up but my body feels like it's just warmed up and is ready to go!

 

I'm no coach though, so my advice could be utter nonsense. You're probably better off chatting to the guys at a tri club....

Im also in the strong swimmer camp and its a bit of a waste not being able to go full tilt on the swim.

I have found that if I smash the swim then the rest of the race suffers from it.

So 100% with you on just taking the swim easy and pushing in the other two legs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im also in the strong swimmer camp and its a bit of a waste not being able to go full tilt on the swim.

I have found that if I smash the swim then the rest of the race suffers from it.

So 100% with you on just taking the swim easy and pushing in the other two legs.

 

I hear you, I think pacing myself, and finishing it somewhat fresher will leave me some more fuel in the tank, for the disciplines I still have a lot to develop in (cycle run) 

 

 

Please keep sharing your waffle along the way, I too love the nerdy stuff around human endurance and training techniques. 

 

(Although I didn't study it so a lot of the time I'm just smiling and nodding as though I know what going on...  :ph34r:  but I try)

 

 

haha I shall, I tend to always waffle on, but if there is anything specific you want to chat about, or bounce around some ideas, please feel free to ask, somewhere in between we both learn in the end.

 

 

Join a club. You will thank me later...

 

http://one80multisport.co.za

 

 

Appreciated, I am going to check it out, I went to Triospot on Thursday, to get some gear, and information on clubs, coaches, and so forth, its a bit tough getting the info from more cycle specific shops. this helps a great deal. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

My Profile My Forum Content My Followed Content Forum Settings Ad Messages My Ads My Favourites My Saved Alerts My Pay Deals Settings Help Logout