The Training Schedule

Sunday 21 December 2014 by

Triathlons are a complicated undertaking. Unlike running, where there is a deal of preparation to be done in eating and drinking correctly the day before, and sometimes an issue of what to do with your excess clothes at the start line, it’s a largely fuss free sport. A gel or two in your pocket for longer runs, a little bit of Vaseline applied to prevent chafing – it’s not really arduous preparation.

When my partner does triathlons he takes a whole box of stuff with him. Two different pairs of shoes, towels, gels, goggles – it’s a treasure trove of supplies. He sets up two hours before, taking his bike to get a position, arranging his wares ready for the transitions between events.

And all that’s without having to consider learning how to swim.

Mum and I will be doing the ‘fun’ distance event. I’ve been forewarned by Carole, who has already done a triathlon, that ‘fun’ is a very ironic moniker. We will have to swim 200m, cycle 20km and run 2.5km. We’re going to have to train for these events individually, and training at doing them one after the other.

It’s six months to May (including May, as the triathlon is on the 31st) and we’ve come up with a plan for training. Given that we are learning several of these skills from scratch, it’s going to be something of an adventure. And I won’t be glossing over the good, bad or ugly parts here!

Here’s what we plan to do:

December: General Strength Training

December is a difficult month – it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s Christmas and you want to stuff your face not hit the road to go running. So, on top of trying to keep up some commitment to the running, December is about getting the body into alignment and improving strength – creating a core of fitness to build on in the following months. It’s also about easing any injuries, working out the aches and pains, so we start January feeling as fresh as it’s possible to having eaten twenty seven packets of mince pies.

This means yoga. Lots of it. And sit ups, and planking and squats and whatever else takes our fancy. Strengthen the legs, strengthen the core, improve flexibility – all these things reduce chance of injury, and will stand us in good stead to tackle the challenges ahead.

January: Learn to Swim

I can swim. Sort of. I know the theory and don’t immediately sink when I get in the water. Mum, less so. I need to invest in a pair of prescription goggles, and we both need to spend some time with either her husband or my partner so they can teach us the basics. We plan to get a month’s membership to the gym to do this (January, the worst time imaginable, but we’ll deal with it!) and have an intensive crash course in swimming while it’s too cold and horrible outside to run.

February: Learn to Bike

We can at least both cycle. And giving us two months to get to this points means I have time to get a bike. This is going to be all about building up endurance – both legs and backside – and building up to the 20km distance. We both feel confident we could cycle 5km, no problem. We’ pretty sure we could do 10km. Further than that is a bit unknown territory, and exploring it is what February is all about.

March: Bricks and Transitions

This is where Triathletes start to get really nerdy. As Mum and I aren’t going for any record breaking times, we’re not too bothered about getting all the time saving equipment to help us go from swimming to biking. Transitions will be leisurely for us at best. But they still need practising.

‘Bricks’ is the act of going from one form of exercise to another. The worst, apparently, is going from bike to running. Doing bricks gets your body used to the feelings you experience when changing discipline, and can give you a real mental boost on the day.

As we build on the ground work we’ve done in January and February, March is going to be all about starting to string everything together and get used to the idea of doing all three disciplines on the day.

April: Building Distance, Building Speed

The ground work done, April is going to be about making sure we’re comfortable with the distances, comfortable with the transitions and starting to build up a bit of speed. We’re not looking to set records, but it would be nice not to come last!

This will also be the time to think about equipment – what we might need and want for race day. Our commitment to this point will likely dictate how much we’re willing to invest.

May: Market Drayton 10k and Race Day!

With the 10k in early May, the first couple of weeks will be about running endurance, hopefully boosted by the fitness and different strengths gained from swimming and biking. After that, maybe a few longer bike rides – as I think this will be the most challenging segment in terms of distance and endurance. Then we’ll be resting up and getting ready for race day.

So that’s the plan, and I’ll be documenting how we do here on House of Blog. Wish us luck, and if any of you have any hints and tips out there, please feel free to share in the comments – we’re likely to need all the help we can get!

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

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