Monday, March 26, 2012

Putting Together a Triathlon Training Plan

Even though I have not officially decided on which Olympic distance triathlon I will be doing this year, I am almost certain about the Terrapin Sprint Triathlon on May 6. Assuming I do the General Smallwood International Triathlon on July 8, I have 15 weeks to train. I am jumping right into triathlon training on Monday, though, since I only have 6 weeks to train to the Terrapin Triathlon.


Luckily I have a somewhat solid base in running and have a rock solid base in swimming. The problem for me is the bike. Last year I bought a nice hybrid bike which I will use since I can't justify paying $1,000-2,000 for a road or tri bike when I have never done a triathlon before. I know how to ride a bike fine and I actually really enjoy riding, the problem for me though is climbing.

Even though I have never done a triathlon before, I decided to create my own training plan. I have a lot of circumstances that do not fit into the majority of the training plans I found online and I don't want to pay for custom training. I know my strengths and weaknesses and I don't necessarily care about how speedy I am.

I have put together a plan of sorts but I decided to only lay out which workouts I want to do each week. My schedule changes from week to week and I have found that I get stressed out when I can't do the workout that is written for a particular day. I am also going to be revising and editing the plan based on what is and isn't working, and if I fall behind at all.

Swim
I am a very strong swimmer and even though I haven't been to the pool since December I know that this is by far my strongest leg and that I don't need to put much time into training for this leg. Since I was a swimmer for such a long time I really don't have to worry about much. I love doing freestyle but I also like backstroke and butterfly and like doing kicking and pulling drills. Just because triathlon has long open water swims I am not going to limit myself in the pool. I am planning on swimming twice a week for 30-45 minutes and focusing on enjoying something that I have spent my entire life doing.


Bike
This is the tricky part for me. I know the bike is my weakest leg so I want to really spend a lot of time getting myself comfortable in the saddle. The big dilemma that I have is that I don't live in a very safe area so riding outside is not really an option until classes end and I come home to Pennsylvania for the summer. I have a bike trainer and I strangely really enjoy riding on the trainer, but I know that getting outside is crucial. Luckily I should have enough time after school ends before the General Smallwood International Triathlon to get in the proper time on the roads. I also need to get comfortable using my clipless pedals. I can use them fine on the trainer because I can't fall over, but going out on the road with them terrifies me.

If only this was me..

Run
The run in a sprint triathlon is 3.1 miles and the run in an Olympic distance triathlon is 6.2 miles, both of which I know I can successfully complete. Because I am running the Rock N' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in September I don't want to lose a lot of my running fitness while triathlon training. I really struggled to do the long runs while training at school though so I am excited to be able to focus on shorter distances. With that being said, though, I want to establish a nice base for when I transition back to half marathon training.


The plan:

  • 2 30-45 minute swims a week 
  • 4 bike rides a week, including a brick, a long ride, a recovery ride, and a hard ride
  • 5 runs a week, including a brick, a longer run, a recovery run, an interval run, and a whatever run
I know there is more running than what most people incorporate into triathlon training, but I am setting some big goals for myself for running this fall and I want to go into training as prepared as possible. I am also planning on adding open water swims when possible and doing two bricks a week in the summer.

The part of my training that I need to work on the most is my nutrition but that will be a whole other post so stay tuned! 

3 comments :

  1. It looks like you are doing a lot of biking/running. I am not an expert, but you don't want to burn yourself out. I have been doing each sport 3 x a week with one brick workout during the week (only a 20 minute run) and will be adding a second brick on the weekends as my ironman gets closer. You can probably get away with just one brick though since your goal is an oly. I guess just listen to your body and adjust your schedule as needed.

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  2. Awesome to see someone else putting together their own workout plans! I put together my own based on a lot of criteria and focusing on what event is coming up as well. Just like Sarah said, listen to your body. I didn't and broke myself off because I was determined to follow my plan to a 'T'. Now I have a much more realistic one incorporating crossfit endurance, some traditional training, and crossfit football. Good luck and I'll follow to see how it goes.

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  3. Yayyyyy. I'm so excited for you!!!!

    If you ever want to chat about training or anything like that, shoot me an email. Us triathletes love to talk about training :) I just started getting into tri's last year, so I had to learn everything you are learning now, not so long ago. Hell, I'm still learning things every day.

    If I could offer some advice…get some kind of run in, every time you hop off the bike. It doesn't always have to be a long one…just something. It'll help get your body and brain accustomed to running after cycling. It will also help a lot with your endurance.

    Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. I am always email other triathletes whose blogs I read and asking questions to the guys at the local bike/tri shop. I send my coach at least 4 emails a week.

    Be sure to rest one day a week for the first few weeks. You don't want to burn out your muscles.

    Congrats on the training and good luck!!!!!

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