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training tips for v time poor

Lots of this will sound like excuses but it is not meant to be, and I'm sure there are others in the same position as me.
I've tried following the Joe Beer plans, but find I can't stick to them for several reasons.
1. Haven't got access to swim coach locally or masters session (or even adult improvers classes at local pool)
2. 2 small children to ferry around in the evenings to Beavers, Cubs etc
3. Teacher, so lots of marking in evenings, parents evenings, open evenings, etc
4. 2 football sessions per week of 1 hours, on a Monday and Thursday

I try to ride on my bike to and from football - but only approx 1.5 mile each way. I occasionally ride the 16 miles home from work on a Friday, hilly and not easy with marking or laptop. Most of my time is available at weekends, although obviously this is family time with shopping, trips out, swimming with kids, etc.

I reckon I can get 1 swim, 1 bike 1 run in per week, slotted around the football. I tend to complete sprint distance tris, using breaststroke, but would like to try an olympic this year. I also tend to do at least one half marathon per year, to keep the incentive for training going.

At the moment I tend to run for 45-60mins, trying to keep HR under 85%, which slows me down quite a lot - I can run for 60mins at around 90% (according to recent maxHR test over 30mins on bike), and ride for around 1-1hr 30mins. When I go to the pool I try to work on crawl but get no further, and resort to ploughing through breadtstroke lengths, mixing up quicker lengths, with long glides to reduce stroke count.

What are the best sessions to do in the time I have?
I would like to improve my swimming and develop crawl, although only manage a length at the moment without blowing out of a**e, even though I can breaststroke for 1 km.
I would also like to improve my run speed - I can knock out a 6:40mile in a one off, but slow to around 8:30 for a longer distance.

Any tips or help would be great.


  • Get a good book on swimming - I found Total Immersion quite good. Buy a pull buoy and some hand paddles and get working on your technique; I was similar to you last year, yet with 10 or so sessions I'm now able to swim 2km front crawl at a reasonable (albeit not earth shattering) pace (40 minutes).

    Most of my problem with crawl was from not gliding enough with each stroke and dropping my legs - a common problem. Once you sort these things out, you can generally go a great deal faster and further for less effort. You also don't need to plod away for hours in the pool to correct these things - just do some focused drills and the technique will come.

    You could try biking on a turbo trainer at home, if you're really pushed. It's boring, but it means you can do it whilst still looking after the kids/watching telly/etc.

  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Shopping; is that going to Tesco, ASDA whatever and getting the same stuff? 2 hours of mind numbing traipsing around the same aisles getting the same stuff, falling prey to the supermarkets item placements to get you to impulse buy, snarling at the other driver who pinches your parking space etc. etc. Get it delivered; result time saved = more family/training time and you will also probably save money by not impulse buying and saving on petrol.

    Family time; get them involved with your training. I have many happy memories as a child of riding my bike whilst my Dad went on 8 mile run on a Sunday, do the same with your children and other half.

    Turbo trainer.
  • dhcmdhcm Posts: 67
    This is fine for sprint tri - I have friends who have completed in OK times on similar amounts of preparation. And the football counts too.

    If you only have time for one session per event, go as fast/hard as you can for each - no point in messing around with low intensity if you are unable to build up the volumes.

    Some suggestions for getting more in:

    1. Use your commute more. I fit more than half my training time on the commute, mainly running since its 6 miles to work. 16 miles is ideal for a cycling session. Having to carry a backpack might not be comfortable, but it will make your bike leg seem alot easier on race day!

    2. Keep your shoes with you for opportunistic runs. A fast 15 minute run is a tough session, and you only need 30 minute slot for it (incl. changing, warm down, quick shower etc) - quick changing is good practice for transitions too!

    3. Turbo trainer. Get copy of 220 magazine a couple of months ago, the one with the freebie Rides DVD. Do this once/twice a week on the turbo in the evenings.

    4. Swimming. There is a discontinuity between 1-2 lengths and more lengths. Once you can swim 3-4 lengths comfortably, building up to 60+ is straightforward enough and even with a mediocre stroke (like mine) you will be alot faster than with breast stroke and wont find it any more tiring than breast stroke. Getting to the 3-4 lengths compfortably stage is the hard bit. Best to enroll in a total immersion course if you can, or at least spend some time looking at the swimsmooth website. Are you breathing out under the water - that tip was key for me! Otherwise, just try and slow the stroke down, have a long glide phase (almost swim doing the catch up drill at first), kick lightly to keep your feet at the surface of the water.

    5. Get your kids enrolled in a swim club, take them to training sessions, and do your training at the same time. Alternatively, take them to cubs, go for run while they are at cubs, then pick them up?
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    For what it's worth, the HR test done on the bike really doesn't apply to running. The two should be treated separately.

    i.e. 90% on the bike isn't 90% while running. HR is likely to be quite a bit higher when running.

    If I were you, I'd do 2 separate tests and have different max HR's for each.

    Then again, that's all abit technical and I'd say you're doing enough.

    I certainly did less traning than you in my first two years of Olympic tri's. Main thing is to not get too obsessive and make sure you keep enjoying it.
  • thanks for the replies. I'm not obsessive and do enjoy it. I also know I'm never going to be a top age grouper, but that doesn't matter. I would like, though, to do everything a bit better. I feel I will call myself a triathlete when I have completed my first tri doing crawl - but that is just me and my target.

    I like the look of the swim smooth website and will check out some more of their articles.Not sure I will buy the DVD though but you never know. Next time I go to the pool, I will ignore all the other swimmers and pretend I am a beginner again, and practice specifics, for a length, and stop at the end of each length drill, until it starts to come together.

    Been to football tonight, but taken a longer way there on the bike to get an xtra 15 minutes of time in, and an extra incline, and ridden back up the 1 in 5 on the way to my house (only 100m long) in a much bigger gear than normal to build a bit more strength.
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