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Am I biting off too much?

Hey guys. I'm sure you get sick of all the newbies that register in Jan but never carry on posting. Hopefully I won't be too bad!

For a couple years now I've wanted to do a Triathlon. And this year I'm a mouse click away from entering the London Tri in August at sprint distance.

However, my last competative event was Mountain bike racing that I did through my teens, getting on for 15+ years ago now. I have continued to ride in the mean time, albeit not the 30-40 miles a week I used to. I would envisage fitting toe clips and road tyres to my MTB. As buying a road or TT bike is not financially viable. It's even longer since I ran any real distance (3mile Cross country running with my school!) and probably the same amount of time since I swam. And never in open water or wearing a suit.

I do however, have an active job that involves standing and lifting things all day long and I would describe my overall health and fitness as "not terrible" Certainly not overweight and relatively slim. I'm not expecting to set a blistering time and tbh don't envisage (at the moment) going all the way up to OD or even Ironman distances. I just wanted to stop procrastinating and do it at least once!

So the question for £1M "Is the 6.5 months between right now and the event long enough?" I can see myself training an hour or so a night during the week.

Thanks for reading


  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    you have MORE than enough time.

    An hour a day would see you acheiving a goal of finishing with ease, generally speaking.

    Get yourself checked with your doctor that you can exercise 9standard advice b;lah bl;ah blah), grab a newby sprint distance program off the web and get going.

    keep us informed of your progress too!

  • iadamaiadama Posts: 60
    I did the whole of last season with a MTB with road tyres and toe clips - and I wasn't the only one, you'll see people with similar at most events. Might be worth you looking at clipless pedals though - I've just switched to those and the difference is noticable, especially when doing things like single leg drills to improve your pedalling action.

    And as the others say, you'll have plenty of time to train, especially from what sounds like a reasonable fitness base. Welcome to the addiction and financial ruin that is triathlon
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Welcome, we all started somewhere on this mad journey!

    My first triathlon was on a £60 iron Halfords MTB complete with knobbly tyres - 6 1/2 months - think I put in 6 1/2 days. Yes you will finish and that is the aim; if (yeah if!) you get hooked just write blank cheques, sell all your possessions, children, relatives etc as you will need bling.

    Seriously, you can spend as little or as much as you wish. I have even seen an MTB with aerobars.

    As you have an MTB then SPD clipless pedals would be useful as would road tyres.

    Re London Triathlon, it is not an event I would want to do myself but a lot of people like to do it for the prestige as it is one of the few triathlons that makes it onto the box and as Didds says get in a Super Sprint or two in to get the feel or even a Sprint
  • I did the London Tri Sprint last year as my first triathlon since the mid 90s and the intervening years had not improved my fitness levels one bit but the distance was still very manageable. The main thing i would say is to get some swimming time in - preferably in the open water and with a wetsuit - as this is the area i had the most troubles with (swimming training is not always easy living in Norway). I think that generally running and bike riding are easier to pick up for most people but swimming skills need to be worked on so you feel comfortable in the water, especially when you are in the middle of a few hundred other swimmers .

    Good luck!
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    It's more than enough time - and five hours a week will easily get you there.
    To begin with you could divide up those hours into half hour sessions..to give you ten a week. Three bikes, three runs, three-four swims.
    And half hour sessions mean you're not slogging yourself for an hour with no purpose.
    Regular, planned training in each should give you good results.
    Once you've got a base look to incorporate some bricks to get practice going from swim to bike and bike to run.
    Oh, and practice transitions (nearer the time!)
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    there you go - jac just saved you £50 a month coaching fees Top advice IMO!

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Click that mouse NOW,don't finish reading the rest of this drivel go to the website and enter,and whilst you have got your credit card out go to the British triathlon federation website,click on the events tab and enter more of these lovely events,take your family away for the weekend so they can support you,I have yet in over 20 years to not enter an event which was not family friendly.
    Over 6 months,just enough time to train and enter the UK Ironman (entries still available I believe).
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Jon.E - hardcore reply - like it
  • You will be fine. I did my 1st tri last year with the same amount of time as you have given yourself I was only going to do 1 I ended up doing 3 sprints and a 10k run and I am well and truly hooked (and poor now). I am hoping to do 7 this year if the WAT doesn’t cost to much.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    You could do it with one session of each per week easily.

    A sprint isn't too tough as at worst it shouldn't take more than two hours at a slow pace, so just get some endurance in and you'll be fine.

    Don't go trying 10 sessions as someone suggested as you'll just put yourself off it all.

    Get started with one session a week and see where that takes you.
  • huwdhuwd Posts: 228
    Go for it and report progress to encourage others!
  • As others have said go for it, race 1
    I was in the same position this time last year, except that I couldn't swim at the time I entered.
    There were plenty of people doing it on MTBs and I swear I saw someone with a bike with a basket on the front.
    I wouldn't hesitate too long if I were you, I had an email from the organisers last week advising that they expected the event to be full before the middle of January.
    Good luck
  • Race1Race1 Posts: 58

    Cheers for all the fast responses You'll be pleased to know I am now £74 lighter!

    But that was the easy part. I have a "Triathlon for Beginers" pdf from 220 magazine showing an 8 week training plan for beginners. So I will try to follow that for now.

    I think I will follow HUWD's advice and post little status updates from time to time.

    All the best
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Brilliant,now just post your progress on the forum,ask as many questions as you want.The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Plenty of help and feel free to visit
    for more help.Best of luck,
  • jibby26jibby26 Posts: 261
    I'm sure you won't regret it. I went from just wanting to finish a sprint tri at the beginning of last season, to finishing 6 sprint and 1 olympic distance. Once you have the tri bug there is no end to it.

    If you want a half decent idea of what to do on race day I can't recommend Conehead's rookie days highly enough. The day was packed with useful tips and training, I've even signed up for the long distance one this year. If your interested see http://bcttt.com/training/ .

    Best of luck, and look forward to hearing your progress.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Exactly Jon.E
    The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
    Collectively we have done every howler imaginable I would have thought and hopefully we have learnt from our own and the mistakes of others. No such thing as a daft question here, you will not get flamed and curtly told to search

    £74, its a start; about the only other thing that I can think of that starts will a small fee and eventually costs thousands is a marriage licence

    Good luck and keep us posted and don't forget a post race report
  • Had to smile at Race 1 comments about Newbies starting in January etc. having procrastinated for the last year over entering a race!

    Followed his example and put my money where my mouth is and entered the Duston Sprint in April. Intend to undertake my first race on my trusty MTB afterwhich I wil lbe looking to upgrade to a suitable road/TT bike, I am reasured after reading previous threads that there will be plenty of advice available.

    Not quite sure my family is fully aware of the future implications my involvement with this sport, particularly financial!
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    "I swear I saw someone with a bike with a basket on the front."

    I was at a triathlon last year and saw this bloke!

    http://bcttt.com/wp-content/uploads/200 ... 4x1024.jpg

  • You could get buy with 2 hours a week. Easily. You'll be hooked soon and you'll feel you want to do more.
  • wyno70wyno70 Posts: 189
    Well done and good luck.

    I started much the same as you, 4 years ago but with the intention of completing an Olympic. I'm now preparing for Ironman Switzerland in July.

    Back then, I said I would never go that far but word of warning, PREPARE TO GET HOOKED. It's addictive stuff!!

    Well done and good luck.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Thing to remember about training is not to just pump out the miles and lengths its to train smart.
    As a question about swim drills and running drills.
    Another thing to start doing after a few months training is brick sessions!

    Well done for choosing triathlon and you will love it. Get ready to get your wages paided straight to wiggle.
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    You don't know how long we've been waiting for the newbies to start joining! It's been a quiet few months in here so thanks for posting!

    So... Sign up. Enter today if you haven't already. You've got looooooads of time! I reckon that in a couple of months August will seem too far away and you'll be looking for events earlier in the year as well. And that promise you made to yourself of... "I'll use the MTB and if I enjoy it, I'll buy a TT" will be broken by march. Come August you'll have loads of shiny new kit and a hole where your bank balance used to be.

    Good luck and keep posting.
  • This was me January last year. Pissed about deciding whether to do the OD at London as my first Tri, and left it too late, as when I finay plucked up the courage to enter, it was full, so I had to make do with a Sprint. My intention was to do it on the hybrid bike I was riding at the time. However, once I started training I found that it was so much fun and I had so much focus that August was too far away so I started looking for smaller Tri's sooner to test out my training and prepare me for London.

    Long story short, from havingnever ran or entered any time of race up to the start of 2009, during 2009 I ended up doing 10 Triathlons, including an OD championship, and a HIM, numerous aqauthlons, three half marathons, and various other events. I'm the proud owner of a carbin fibre road bike, a wetsuit, various running shoes for all condiions, and hole wardrobe of lycra and compression gear, I'm two stone lighter, fitter than I've ever been, and poor.

    This time last year I though I would never be able train to be fit enough to do a Sprint Tri in August, this year I'm now trianing to be fit enough to do IMUK in August. How things change, once this Tri thing get's under your skin it's a bugger to shake off, and does take over your life, but what a life it's become.

    Once you get a few events under your belt you'll get this strange feeling of being invincible. a 400m pool swim used to scare me, now I'm entering 5km swime vents, I can confidently swim in pool, lakes, rivers, resevoirs, the sea etc. I think nothing of popping down the shops on my bike, but the shop I'll go to might be 50 miles away. The though of doing a half marathon run used to fill me with dread, now that's a Sunday morning training run. I've also entered a couple of HIM events early in 2010, not as races but as long training days. What have I become.

    Welcome to the world of Tri, and long may you enjoy it. Ask any question, it doesn't matter how stupid, as sometimes they are the best, and await the learned and no so learned responses.
  • Wow, i was considering posting almost the same thing! and thankfully, the responses have put my mind to rest.

    I was planning to compete in my first triathlon this year, which i got the date confirmed yesterday as the 6th June. I am doing the super sprint distance to start off with. But it has panicked me that i do not have enought time to get fit enough for it.

    I have started off with using the training programme from last months issue, but have just booked a holiday at the end of this month and i am stressing about falling behind on the programme.

    Thankfully, the posts have allayed my fears that i should have enough time to train. Hopefully!
  • It's just trying to get the balance between "training to compete" or "training to complete". Currently, I'm not competetive, but I enjoy completing the events, and I also enjoy the training element almost as much.

    Obviously, to compete needs significantly more traing and structure.
  • Race1Race1 Posts: 58
    Right I thought I'd write a little impromptu update of what I've been up to over the last weeks or so.

    I swam for the first time in 15ish years. And very soon (about 1/2 way down my first length!) discovered that I had forgotten how to front crawl with any sort of prowess! Resorted to breast stroke for my first 30min session. The subsequent sessions have been 1/2 Breast Stroke and 1/2 Front Crawl. I've managed to do the 750metres required in half an hour (well 24 lengths of 33.3M pool) but wheareas on the first day I needed a good couple mins at each end to recover. I'm now nearer 10-20seconds rest between lengths. Also trying to get to a point where it's all Crawl. So obviously that's an area I need to work on. Also need to work on treading water. As 10 seconds is perhaps not enough!

    Been commuting to and from work regularly. (10K round trip maybe 35mins) A tip I picked up from the TCR show was to spin at a high cadence as when you Transition to Run at the race your legs will try to move at that speed. I know I said in my first post that I was unliklely to get a new bike, but I fear I'm close to mullering my Credit Card! Quite fancy a TT bike, but everyone says they are hard work if riding in traffic. So possibly looking at a Bianchi with some aero bars and SPD-Sl's and Shimano Tri shoes and lycra shorts and tops and etc etc etc This mountain bike with it's fat tyres are "definelty" slowing me down (excuses excuses )

    I'm never been a great runner. So I started small. 2K, 3 times a week. I started timing myself and was pleased to find I was amazingly consistent with my times (10mins ish) After a month I upped it to 3K and that seems to take 19mins give or take. But I'm pacing myself better so Im not a hyperventilating mess when I get back. Discovered that I should stretch properly after a few days of sore legs. I could also work on my form a bit, I seem to be taking quite short steps. Did a couple brick sessions and they were hard going. Should improve with time though.

    Overall, I'm happy with my work so far. I'm aiming to complete, not compete of course. (though under 2 hours would be nice ) I've had a couple of comments that my arse and tummy have shrunk considerably. Which is nice. I need to look at my Nutrition a bit better than I am. I'm being motivated by Eddie Izzards marathon programme and I've watched Ironman 08 and 09 which both motivate me and make me feel fairly inferior in equal measures.

    But my major concern at the moment is that following a minor bit of surgery (pre-existing condition) I may not be able to train fully (if at all) for a couple/three weeks and I'm worried that my body will regress a bit. But I guess that's life and I'll just have to push abit harder on my return. Thankfully I have time on my side.

    Oh, and I bought Joe Friels book "Your 1st Triathlon" which seems so far to be ideal for a numpty like myself.
  • moonshinemoonshine Posts: 335
    You will be fine

    London is somewhat gobsmaking - satnav is good to find your bike in transition But worth doing

    Time you have to train even with some time off is fine - if I managed it anyone can

    but beware the addictive bit - my plot was London on a MTB which turned into a Giant OCR road bike- then did a Try a tri as a try out - then as that was in a pool did an OW sprint. This year is a sprint, olympic, half marathon and a half ironman - no idea what's possesed me but its worth every minute - though have to admit to enjoying the training and the competition is just an excuse to train :roll:
  • mickwoodmickwood Posts: 93

    Get in there my son!!

    I, like you, decided triathlon was for me this year. I made that decision about....3 months ago? I wasn't a runner, didn't swim and had just got a bike a year earlier.

    I now have a slightly smaller belly....slightly!, a new bike, tri-suit, wetsuit on it's way for my birthday and I've entered 4 Tri's already!
    (East Leake, Duston, Emergency Services Tri and rather stupidly the Helvellyn Triathlon!! - I like mountains what can I say?)

    So...worry not my friend, train little and often. Change disciplines to keep it interesting, get yourself on BCTTT and ENJOY!!
  • AtomicAtomic Posts: 126
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  • jthetjthet Posts: 45
    Did my first Tri last year as an "Oh my god I'm 40" thing. Half IM distance (Because I had no perception of how long it was when I entered). Made loads of mistakes but loved the journey. At some time during the training it seemed to go from an uncomfortable experience to becoming almost natural; from a few lengths front crawl to looking forward to sea swims, from a painful lesson in bike clips over 5km to enjoyable saturday morning 2-3 hour rides and from painful short distance runs to running where you finish feeling like you want to do it again. Biggest worry was looking a complete **** on the course and had anxiety dreams of coming in a good solid last. But I got there, loved it, found many fellow competitors of a "normal middle aged bloke with kids" standard on the same race, didn't finish last and now well and truelly addicted. During that journey got loads of motivation from the folks on this forum and even met a few of them on race day.

    Biggest problem now is "I am sure I can get my times down?", "will spending the kids inheritance on a brand new planetx actually make me go faster?

    Welcome to the journey. A little and often and its amazing how the body adapts (Though the wallet takes a bit longer....)
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