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Newbie scared and confused by training plans

Hi all,

I know that all you pros out there are obsessed with meticulous training regimes but to be honest as a total noob its scaring me a bit. I've got 12 weeks til Eton, and I'm not even sure I should have entered the sprint - maybe I should be doing novice. Anyway so the 12 week bit, I'm looking at 12 week plans of complex swim drills and %HR and fartleks and, well to be honest its all a bit much.

My question is this - I want to go to Eton and finish. I plan to run 2/3 times a week, bike 2/3 times a week (plus commute 8 mile round trip 3 days) and swim twice a week, plus throw in some brick sessions swim-bike, bike-run occasionally and have a rest day of course. I'm aiming to finish, any more is a bonus. I know I won't be supa-dupa if I don't do all the complex stuff, but at the moment its scaring me off a bit - surely its better to actually swim, bike and run at all at this stage than stress the small stuff?

Also given current fitness state do you think I'll actually make it to sprint distance? Currently can run 5K - just - in about 35 mins (I know I'm a tortoise), I can cycle forever and cycle fast, and I can breaststroke for a bit....in a pool.... but I'm working on that. Am I attempting too much too soon??


  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Don't worry. The complex training plans are for people that are trying to improve aspects of performance. If all you want to do is just finish the sprint, then you don't really have to worry about all the complexities of things like lactate thresholds, intervals etc. You just need to have a base level of fitness - so one or two runs a week, a couple of cycling rides, and a couple of swims would do. If you have a weak area, e.g. swim, then concentrate a bit on that. Nothing that needs to be too fancy. You are starting off from a relatively low level of fitness, so you don't want to be doing too much too soon. The runs, rides swims don't want to be too much - a 20 minute run, and hour cycle ride should be OK - you want to avoid injury. A some point get some confidence that you can do the distance - especially in the swim.

    The key thing is to have fun, and enjoy the process of feeling fitter etc (the enjoyment may well be 30 mins or so after you've finished the run/ride, but it will be there!) Don't worry about comparing yourself with other people - the only thing to compare yourself with is how you were before you started. Good luck.
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I agree totally with Jack; enjoy your training, that's what it's all about. 12 weeks is plenty of time to train for a sprint. You don't need to do complex training, the key to your success will be consistency and you will only acheive this if you enjoy yourself and don't overdo it.

    You will learn alot from your first race and the serious stuff can wait for the future.

  • DocmartinDocmartin Posts: 17
    You will be fine! How do I know? Well let me tell you a story..

    Last year a colleague at work told me they did triathlon. Having previously done some running and having got into mountain biking I was mildly interested. Gradually my interest grew and around Christmas, when they told me the first one they were interested in doing was in June I thought 'OK, it sets me a goal, why not?'. So from Christmas onwards I started doing exercise 6 times a week focussing on the swim (I even had a lesson!), using spin classes, on top of runs and rides. No real structure, just tried to do something 6 days a week and get fitter. I also found out about 220, this forum and learnt the lingo (T1, T2, Conehead etc).

    The March edition of 220 arrived and out fell a flyer 'We are pleased to tell you that the sprint triathlon you thought was in June has been brought forward to April'. WTF!!!!

    I entered anyway.

    I joined a local tri club (only got to two swim sessions before the event but they were worth their weight in gold - or even my weight in gold which is a much larger quantity...). I practised brick sessions and bought a tri suit, which I kept hidden under tracksters and a sweatshirt until the day. the weekend before the event I went, with my colleague down to the event area and cycled the route (strongly recommend - or even drive round it if nothing else).

    Three days before the event I was more nervous than I have been for decades (and I can put 5 of those behind me). I did my last effort on the wednesday and then just rested (I was knackered anyway from having put some extra effort into the sessions for 4 weeks.

    the day dawned. Sunny and freezing. My colleague and her hubby took me there (partly, I think, so I couldn't duck out). Registered; set out my gear in transition, did a short warm up run and then went to the pool.

    I am a slow swimmer so was in the early cohort. There were people breaststroking, back stroking and endeavouring to drown, from what I could see. Now both the pools I trained in had uniform depth the length of the pool. I jumped in expecting the usual short drop and then stand up. As I sank like a stone in the deep end I remembered that most pools.... have a deep end. Then followed a 400m swim in chaos. Did a time almost a minute slower than in practise sessions.

    Hauled myself out, ran to T1, race number fell off belt (thank you Marshall for pinning it back on for me) and legged it out, with bike (do remember it) to hit the ride. Back. Run 5k. People yelling encouragement in T zone. Even on the run people encouraging each other. Sprinted to the finish.

    My time exceeded anything I expected and the euphoria has yet to wear off.

    Unfortunately my colleague beat me by 5 minutes. She had two advantages over me. She is fitter and faster. However, come May and the next event.........

    So don't worry about whether you can do it - you can.

    Be VERY worried about the addiction.............


    Do not let people video you in T1. Do not let them play it at a work meeting to all your colleagues with the soundtrack from Chariots of Fire.

    ...though it does motivate you to want to whop their a**e in the next event.......
  • Jellybelly,

    My sister-in-law is doing her first Tri at the end of May. She is from a running background but she hasn't cycled in years and swimming, well, first time she went she managed four lengths. Stopping at each end to catch her breath and this was also while doing breastroke. She has been going swimming two/three times a week for the last six/seven weeks and can now swim 800 metres frontcrawl without stopping. During this time she also cracked a rib (not whilst swimming) and has recovered to be back in the pool. She hasn't done any complicated sets or anything like that, just got in the pool and practiced her swimming.

    She's now really looking forward to starting the Triathlon. If you can manage to do some training sessions, concentrating more on your weakest event, then I'm sure you'll not only get through it but enjoy it.
  • You lot are all fab!! And most importantly have made me want to go out there and do it and stop worrying!

    @conehead - 'fraid I'm a dorset girly - but I notice human race are doing a few noob open swim days so I might get up there for one of those. I am starting lessons next Tuesday - I'm not bothered by water or anything I just crawl inefficiently for a length and then give up!! Nearer the time I'll probably go to one of the quiet bits of Poole harbour (with a friend) and see what murk and depth do to me....

    Right then, I'm off for a run,can't sit here on t'internet all day!

    Cheers all of you - se you at the start (and more importantly, at the finish [:)])

  • Cheryl6162Cheryl6162 Posts: 356
    JellyBelly-come and do the Try a Tri with us in Wimborne on 10th May. It will be a great warm up for Eton and is just a 250m pool swim (in a 20 metre pool) 10 mile bike over a fairly flat course with just the odd hill, then a 3 mile run. The club is fab-the marshalls are fab but most importantly the spectators are fab! Its the most inspirational thing you can do-if you flag along the way the next person to pass you will give you warm and sincere encouragement to keep going.

    I really think this is the nicest sport(s) you can do with by far the best people around to give you support and encouragement and NEVER make you feel inferior!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    Cheryl6162 wrote:
    250m pool swim (in a 20 metre pool)

    how do you do 250m in a 20m pool.. ?


    Half a length, half a length, half a length onwards,

    On into the pool at Wimbourne swam the triathletes ...

    Not quite Tennyson at his best maybe....


  • Hi Jellybelly, I've just signed up for my first tri in May and until September last year I had only done a Race for Life 5km and couldn't even do front crawl, so I bought a road bike and got some swimming books from the library and everything is improving. When I get anoyed at myself for not being able to swim so fast I remember that 6 months ago I couldn't even swim front crawl. I am still worried that I'll be the last or even not finish at all I am enjoying getting out there and have even found a friend at work who has signed up with me and we run once a week together. The most important things I have found are good trainers, heart rate monitor, sports bra and a bike. You obviously need to wear more than this or you'll get arrested. I keep a training diary and when I look back to six months ago and see how much I have improved and how less I ache after it's great.

    I'm doing Woodhall Spa in Lincs on 10th May if anyone wants to cheer me on.
  • Cheryl6162Cheryl6162 Posts: 356
    how do you do 250m in a 20m pool.. ?

    We run the last 10 metres!! [:D]

  • I might try the Wimborne one - I'll see how I feel at the end of the month!! It is very early BUT I suppose that leaves me the rest of the day to go sail training, hmmm!

    I went for a fab spin tonight on my new road bike - but then tried to run afterwards (who put lead in my trainers) so I'll be working on that! Run early tomorrow morning (I have a day off) then swimming lessons tomorrow night!

    I looked at last year's sprint times which helped enormously - not everyone there is wonderwoman! And I have a few mates who've done tris who are very encouraging - in fact one of them is getting me to email my exercise log to him (shames me into exercising - or at least it did today!)

    You lot have been brilliant! I've got 12 weeks and I CAN do it (slowly) so I've just got to get out there! I'll bookmark this thread for moments when I need motivation!

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