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Starting out..help please

As a birthday gift my darling hubby (NOT) has entered me into the London Tri 08, thanks to me opening my big mouth and saying I needed a new challenge! Previously completed London Marathon (05), various run distances and Tough Guy, but think Tri is totally scary and feel out of my comfort zone..but always wanted to do one!

Not too sure where to start on training, started to swim 4 times a week (only up to 30 x 25m), running every other day(ish) about 30min, and as for bike have'nt dusted it off yet! have a cheap road bike from halfords, not too sure if this will be good enough but don't really want to buy a new one yet..not planning on breaking any records, just want to finish.

Will hopefully enter some sprint distance tri in the spring to get a feel for the event as petrified of the whole idea of transistion and making a complete fool of myself (nightmares of getting stuck in a wetsuit, going wrong way, not finding bike ect..) [:D]

Sorry, waffling on.. back to question, should I concentrate on my weakest dicipline or try to split my time equally between the 3.. or any other recommended ratio's?

I Have subscibed to 220 mag, so will surely get lots of good advice from there, but some individual reponces would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



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    FabioFabio Posts: 2
    Hey Sparkies,

    i'm new to the whole forum thing so go easy on me.

    I was in the same boat a few yeas ago, and entered my frist sprint tri without really knowing where to start.

    All i did was a fair bit of training on all diciplines, but tended to concentrate on the run more as this was my weakest.

    one thing i also found useful on race day is to get there early and check out transition e.g. where you enter it from the swim and exit on the run.

    don't worry abotu making a fool of yourself, i think we've all done it.

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    tony btony b Posts: 57
    Hi Sparkies

    Well done for joining in the country's fastest-growing sport ( I think it is anyway)!

    I've been doing triathlon for a couple of years now and will reel off a few things that helped me. I started in super sprints and worked up to Olympic this year. Work on all three but give more time to your weakest discipline. Your strongest discipline will not lose out this way so when you come to race day you will hopefully be reasonably confident in all three.

    As long as it's in good working order, a cheap bike will be okay, but if you have a slightly 'nicer' bike (not necessarily expensive) it really will be more enjoyable to ride and so your more likely to use it. So don't rule out a new bike just yet.

    Don't go mad on distance/effort over the winter, you can increase that in early spring. For now I would concentrate on technique, mostly for swimming (books, videos, lessons), but also for cycling (position is important, and make sure you spin those legs) and running. Get some running shoes (if you haven't already) that suit your run style.

    Hope you find this useful
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    Tim CTim C Posts: 4
    Hi Sparkies,

    I did London this year after drunkenly signing up in Jan. I had only cycled to work before, had never run, and hadn't swum in years, so I had a lot to get to grips with. I learnt loads over the last few months, and my top tips would be

    1) join a club. I was very nervous about this, never having done organised sport, but they were very welcoming, and of all sizes and abilities. I was pretty bad at motivating myself esp swimming, but once I got up the nerve to go to swim sessions I really improved, and did far more than when I just went to the pool on my own.

    2) Practise racing. This is the best reason to join the club, as they will have small duathlons, swim runs etc, which get you transition practise cheaply. You won't make a fool of yourself whatever you do (everyone has lost their bike before) but the more you do transition the better and more comfortable you will be. Sprint events are great for this, but you should do it more often than a couple of times.

    3) Re training, you are already doing more than I did, but don't forget the bike. The pool is the same temperature when the roads are cold and wet and dark, so I would focus on the bike more than the swimming for now, then do spinning classes through the winter unless you are brave enough to go out in the wet and cold.

    4) do bike runs. Running after cycling is a horrible experience (I found) that only gets better by practising. I didn't do enough of this before london, and really suffered on the run, even though I had done a fair amount of running on its own before. I do 2-3 bike runs a week now and it has really helped.

    5) I would suggest one swim session per week, getting up to 2000m or so per session in sets, one bike/run (1hr bike, 30min run) and one long session of 2h running or cycling would be enough to finish easily in a good time. You have lots of time to work up to this, but I would do this from about April. Obviously the more training you do the better, so you can squeeze in a short run or another swim or ride.

    6) In the 6 weeks before the race, I would do a longer bike/run once a week, of about 1.5hr bike, 45-60min run to get used to the race length.

    Hope this is helpful. Have fun!

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    Tim C, excellent way to end a drunken night!! Think thats how I ended up doing Tough guy!

    Fabio,Tim,Tony: Cheers for taking the time to reply and for the great advice.. will get started on a training plan very soon rather than just keeping on doing same old thing!

    Have looked into finding a local tri club but nearest one is over an hour and half away so not sure how this would work around training sessions, (and also need to pluck up courage anyway).Will keep on looking though!

    Have a 10k to do in Oct and will then look out for some sprint distance tri's in early spring and then build up the distance. It's the olympic distance I'm down for in 08.. must be mad!

    Thanks again, Good luck in your training/future tri's.


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    kiffy68kiffy68 Posts: 8
    hi sparkies,i did london this year olympic distance.when i started training in april.i could only manage three mins on treadmill only swim one length front crawl.i was ok on the bike though.so i gave up smoking and had some swimming lessons.i completed the tri in 2 hrs 56mins which i was well chuffed with.what an amazing feeling to finish ,i have now lost about 2 and a half stone and dont need an asthma inhaler much any more.on the 2nd of september i go to hamburg world champs as the only awad in the british team.as i am registered blind.so first tri london second tri world champs .how mad is that. im sure you will have great day next year,ill be back there as well.as im totally hooked now.i would recommend an open water swim day,i found there was such a big difference between pool and open water.oh and i managed the full 1500m front crawl at london.good luck !
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    Wow kiffy68, well done on the London Tri, thats a brilliant time having started training in April!! Your message definately inspired me, thank you.

    Great news on getting into the team for the champs in Hamburg, you must be so excited if not a little nervous. If you have time would love to hear how you get on.

    Good luck with your training and the championships,


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    Sparkies, I know what it's like to get into triathlon training on your own without a coach or a club or any of that sort of support system. So, stay strong within yourself and look for motivation wherever you can find it. A lot of triathlon training time is solitary time, which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it - I like that about triathlon training, and even the racing aspect is mostly about me pushing myself and racing against myself (and the clock).

    Luckily, the Internet can be a great friend when the solitary aspects become a negative factor. You can do searches on the web for training plans, training tips and even extracts from books on the subject. You can keep checking in with the Triathlon Chat forums (www.tritalk.co.uk is pretty excellent, as well) and asking for help, advice and motivation. We're out there, and rooting for you all the way!
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    Hi Sparkies, you're 'way ahead of me when I first started. I couldn't run for more than 50 metres or so (yes, really) and was terrified of cycling. You can build up basic fitness quite quickly but I would strongly recommend taking some swmming lessons if you don't already have good technique because of the 3 disciplines it's the one where good technique makes the biggest difference. And join a club because there will be people there with a lot of experience who can guide you, and it's much easier to keep up your enthusiasm for training if you have other people to train with.
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    Hi Sparkies, a similar thing happened to me last year and i did my first london tri in Aug (olympic distance). I would recommend a book by Gale Bernhardt called Training for Multi Sport Athletes, its got loads of training plans in it. DOn't worry about your bike for now, just get used to it and once the winter is over get out on it as much as possible (should be nearly 50% of your training I guess as you spend the longest time on the bike during the race). Think about buying a new one in early spring. Depending where you live - find a lake that allows you to swim in it, I use Heron Lake just off the M25 ( you don't want to turn up for a open water swim without never having done one). Also join a masters swim club, they are great for copached sessions (or a local tri club). Use the wetsuit hire via London tri website. Its excellent value for money and you get to keep it for the whole season. I have just returned mine and now I have done a few events I will buy my own.

    ENter yourself into some low key events before london so you get used to the whole transition thing. I started with a pool based sprint distance event, then a open water sprint distance, then a challenge diststance finally building to olympic in london. I am looking at a half iron man for next year.

    Good luck, hope this helps. I have met loads of really good people through this. Its great fun. See you in Lon 08.

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    husslerhussler Posts: 237
    Hey Sparkies,

    Great to hear that your taking the plunge! welcome to the world of triathlon!

    My story of life in tri started last year (may 06) where i got roped into doing a sprint distance race, my experience was as follows.....

    swimming: could only do breast stroke and had never done a single length of front crawl in my life and come race day with no training haha i decided to try front crawl after watching a video of Thorpe swimming i thought it cant be that hard!! it was a pool based swim and as the hooter went off, i frantically started thrashing around to no avail i managed 6 lengths of a 'type' of front crawl i then did the rest breast stroke.finishing the 400m in 12 mins!!

    Cycling: i had always been out on my bike as a kid and i used to bike to work but had only ever rode a mountain bike and bmx, i bought a cheap race bike off ebay for £150 and learned to stay upright on those stupidily thin tyres.The bike leg went without any problems and i thought i was flying until i saw the split times of the faster guys haha

    Running: Anyone can run surely? was my thoughts! little did i know of the pain of running off the bike for the first time! i struggled through my first race to say the least but i had finished and that was my aim. My next aim was to be able to swim the whole distance front crawl, so my main focus was swimming, along with practising the run off the bike i did loads better in my next race.

    Just over a year on and with the help of a coach, i have learned to swim properly with the help of a masters club at my local pool and video analysis of my stroke i now swim upto 4000m in a session and have a 400m PB time of 5:45! My cycling was my strongest event at the start (and still is) but i decided after doing 5 races last year that i needed a new bike so i bought a Specialised Transition competition tri bike and have never looked back! its so much easier to ride a decent bike. I am now very strong on the bike with a 10 mile TT time of 23:20 and im usually around the 30min mark for a 20k bike leg give or take a few mins depending on course. My running has now become my weakest part but the running off the bike feeling doesnt bother me anymore.. thats just practise. To top it all off this season i have qualified for the Royal Air Force Elite Male team and for GB in the World Champs in Vancouver next year! all with practise and hard work so anything is poss, as you are doing more than i did when i started a year ago!

    If you would like some sessions that i did to improve my efforts let me know and i can forward you some! [:)] But as general overview, to improve in the pool you need to be swimming 3 times a week otherwise your body 'forgets' how to swim and you spend most of your next session re learning how to do it again. I wouldnt worry about open water until next year, it is different but you need to be confident in your swim before attempting lake or sea swims. Cycling improves by time in the saddle, i found that just by going everywhere on my bike rather the car etc gave me a good start before introducing specific sessions. And finally running will again improve for a start by just doing it, a top tip from me is after a bike session always try and do a short 10-15 min run off your bike so you get used to the jelly leg feeling, its so much easier if you do.

    Hope some of this helps!![:)] Let us know if you want some sessions emailing!

    Cya good luck!!
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    Hi. I did my first tri this year at London. I used a training programme from a book by a guy called Tom Holland, called "The 12-week triathlete". It was great. Each distance has a "finish" and "performance" programme and are great to follow and a good motivation once written in the diary! London is great fun and you will enjoy yourself, honest!

    The biggest thing is to make sure you have some open water swimming practise before the day. We went to Cotswold water park near Cirencester. it is totally different from the pool.

    Lastly, just relax and enjoy the training and the race and we will be there with you again next year

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    Thanks guys for all the advice and encouragement. Have been getting on with training and really enjoying it, sooo much better than just plodding out the miles for a marathon! As soon as new season starts will just get stuck into some sprint distances and open water sessions for the run up to the oly distance at London.

    Again thank you [;)]

    Sparkies x

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    hobbes7hobbes7 Posts: 10
    Hi Sparkles,

    Welcome to the club.

    I recommend two books that helped me. Triathlon 101 and Triathlon for Dummies. They explain things easily and make it less scary :)

    Get into a group training program, runs, rides, swims etc. That is a great resource and makes you feel like you are a part.

    Check out the web sites and forums like you are doing!

    So far so good :)


    www.tdottriathlon.com Another great resource :)
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