By Jason S., an Organic Grains Athlete
In 2007 I decided to do my first triathlon. I had no idea what I was doing but I also knew that I didn't know what I was doing - so I talked to anyone that I could about training for swimming, biking and running... I read books, and I joined a local running club and learned how to do interval and tempo training, and I learned how to race 5km's at maximum effort. I had a friend teach me how to ride a bike, and then how to ride a bike in a group setting. I learned how to flip turn in the pool, and I learned how to sight in open water, and then I learned how to race different triathlon distances.
At every distance, I learned more about my body and what it takes to prepare and race at a new distance.
It took me about six years of learning before I felt like I knew what I was doing, and I enjoyed the benefit of the knowledge and experience I gained during those years and the two more years of racing before I stopped training and racing at that level.
It has been two years since I've stepped away from consistent and focused training and racing. Now I'm ready to start again, but this time I will be doing it a little bit different... Here's my game plan for starting triathlon training again:
- I'm seeking medical advice. I'm making an appointment with my GP and getting a physical to make sure my body can handle consistent training and racing, which is important. I will also set a goal training weight and goal race weight with my doctor. Last time it was no less than 136lbs for racing and 138-143lbs for training.
- I'm making sure that my gear is in good working order.
- Bike: Make sure my bike it tuned
- Run: Purchase quality shoes, shorts and shirts to be comfortable
- Swim: Buy goggles that don't fog and swim trunks that others can't see through! ;)
- Testing my current fitness to know where I am and what is possible for me to physical accomplish:
- For Biking: FTP test
- For Swimming: 1500m time trial
- For Running: Get a vDot test for 5km
- Strength test
- Set goals! Having something to strive for is important for me.
- I'm laying out my training plan and pulling my friends around me as training partners and cheerleaders. I have to make sure I am balancing my life and work because it is critical when training and racing. So I'm limiting my training to 12 hours per week, which means 1 hour per weekday and some fun long runs, rides and races on the weekends!
- Ease into it
- Knowing where I am will help me slowly build up to where I want to be. It's easy for me to push too hard too soon, which could mean going too far or too fast, lifting too much weight or eating too little food to try and cut weight too quickly. I have to remember that I once ran a marathon does not mean that I can get off the couch and run one today! With that in mind I'll be slow and steady with my training.
- Stick to the plan
- Being consistent in training and racing is a key to me being healthy and performing at my best, so I'm going to hit my workouts whenever I can.
- No excuses and no sleeping in. But this doesn't mean I can't miss a workout for important events or reason, but I know the difference between when I "need" to miss a workout and when I "want" to skip a workout!
- Check and celebrate progress
- I seek medical confirmation of my progress by checking in with my doctor to make sure my body is OK and I'm able to continue training.
- I test my performance again
- And I Celebrate improvement!
- Re-set my training and racing plan based on where I am, what is possible, and what I want to do next.
So that's my plan! My main goals are to be safe, be focused, be patient and be consistent. And of course celebrate each minor and major win along the way!