Already on the blog we’ve covered basics to get you swimming, biking, and running. You may be thinking, okay! Let’s get on to the race already!
But here’s my question to you: What’s your fitness level? Can you walk a 5k? Can you run it? Can you hang through an entire 60 minute spin class? Can you swim 10 laps in the pool without stopping?
If you can’t, I would argue that you’re not ready to train for a triathlon.
While it may seem easy to focus on each discipline as an individual challenge to conquer, a triathlon is about putting these three events together in the shortest amount of time. This means that you’ll be working on sustaining an aerobic heart rate for potentially over two hours (though we’re going to work on getting that time down, trust me.) This is what your training plan will do- help you improve each individual event while also raising your aerobic threshold, allowing you to go farther for longer periods of time.
Before I even registered for my first tri, I had a good baseline of fitness in place. I could run three miles at a 10:30 pace, I could attend a spin class and hang. Swimming was my achilles heel. I could swim, yes. I could get in a body of water and not drown. But I wasn’t a SWIMMER. I wasn’t able to put on the cap and goggles and go back and forth back and forth across the pool. So before I started training for a triathlon, I made it a goal to swim one mile (with rest). It took me 6 weeks of swimming 2-3 times a week, but once I hit it I knew I was ready to train for an actual race.
Having a triathlon in mind gives you a great goal to work for because it puts you on a timeline to train and keeps you accountable in building your fitness. Sure, you could follow an 8 week plan and complete a race and call it a day. But my secret, selfish hope is that you will become a triathlete, not someone who did a triathlon once. And to become a triathlete, you have to fall in love with the sport. And that means you can’t be miserable and worrying you’re going to have a heart attack or pass out from exertion during the race. A triathlon is meant to be fun, not torture.
This week we’re going to get you working on your baseline fitness up to task so that when you begin your triathlon training plan, you’re ready to soar, not suffer.