Things That I’d Forgotten About Triathlon Training


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“The path not taken will lead you nowhere.” -Me to Myself

I’m almost a month back into my training and today, after a painless 1200-meter swim last night at the Y, feel GREAT! Can I get an AMEN for heated pools? It just doesn’t seem right to walk out from a swim to a flurry of snowflakes. On March 5th. In the South. Mother Nature seems a bit addled. Bless her heart.

Now that, like Stella, I’ve gotten my groove back, there are a few things that I’d forgotten over the past four months that I would like to point out:

Number 1: The laundry. Training really adds to the laundry pile in a way that I had forgotten about. The workout clothes, the swimsuits, the towels, the bike shorts, the skanky socks. Bigger picture: So worth it. I don’t know if it’s the manual labor involved in laundering all of these items or the fact that I’m a month into training that has propelled my pants into a state of fitting better.

Number 2: Accountability. Being back with Coach Caroline has snapped me back to attention. There is a quote that I like by Pamela Theresa Loerstcher that promises a clarity and vision about life by simply knowing oneself. “Know thyself and all will be revealed,” she says. I have a long way to go in the journey of self-discovery, but I know myself well enough to confirm that having a coach and a training plan that requires me to log the details of my workouts is the level of accountability that I need to accomplish my triathlon goals. Bigger Picture: If asked, my recommendation will always be, especially for the newbie’s, to find a coach to work with one-on-one or with or one who offers a group-training program. So worth it!

Number 3: Small goals are ok. Last fall at my first meeting of the Nashville Triathlon Club as a board member, I remember distinctly feeling like an utter charlatan. The board members are all seasoned athletes with amazing race resumes. Then there’s me. At my first meeting I remember a discussion between some of the other members regarding the use of salt sticks in a long race. Thankfully the universe (God) slapped his hand over my mouth before I blurted out my first thought, “I love Pixie Stix!” Ugh.

I left the first meeting feeling like I really didn’t belong, but after some time and getting to know the other members a bit better, I was better able to remind myself that everyone was a beginner at one time or another. It’s ok if my first and second races of 2013 are super sprints. Who says I have to be an Ironman to call myself a triathlete? I understand that sentiment may induce palpitations in the purist heart, but my goals are steadily increasing and who knows what races I will be able to accomplish this year! Bigger Picture: For some people in the world, finding a place to sleep at night and food to eat are the goals of the day. Being able to afford the luxury of competing in an expensive, time-consuming sport is ultimately exactly what I characterized it as: a luxury.

Number 4: Man I forgot how an hour on the bike kills the sit bones. Ouch. Bigger Picture: My sore behind will look so much better in bike shorts because of my training.

Number 5: I still look like a swimmer in distress when attempting flip turns. Bigger Picture: I still look like a swimmer in distress when attempting flip turns.

Number 6: It’s not fun when the shower gel explodes in your gym bag. Bigger Picture: Not sure there is one, but if pressed, I would say it was a good and much-needed opportunity to clean and organize my gym bag.

Number 7: Nudity in the locker room will always and forever skeeve me out. Bigger Picture: None, zero, zilch, zip up your pants fellow YMCA members.

There are 18 days left until my first race of the year! I’m excited, motivated and missing the bottom half of my tri suit. Must find the missing pieces.

On a final note, I wanted to share an article that I found called “Tips For Getting Motivated to Run,” written by Christine Luff in the running and jogging section of About.com. The title suggests that this is about running, but insert whatever training goal is looming out in front of you and put these steps into action. I was already putting some of these into practice and the ones I wasn’t, I’ m going to give a whirl, especially the “cut yourself some slack” part. Here are the steps:

  1. Run with buddies. (Find someone who runs at your pace. Trust me on that one.)
  2. Write it down. (Exercise and food journal.)
  3. Find a mantra. (Hell, yes! I am a ROCK STAR! Humility not required.)
  4. Reward yourself. (Preferably non Krispy Kreme-related)
  5. Talk to other runners. (Real ones, not imaginary)
  6. Don’t think all or nothing. (All of the cookies in the house or none.)
  7. Remember the health benefits. (Loose pants!)
  8. Cut yourself some slack. (But don’t be a slacker.)

For the real explanations of the suggestions on the list, click here to read the article.

Happy Wednesday!

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21 Comments on “Things That I’d Forgotten About Triathlon Training

  1. Love this! I don’t even attempt flip turns. And you’re so right about being and beginner vs. ironman athlete. Everyone starts somewhere and the point is that you are out there doing it!

    • Try and focus on the excitement part not the nerves! It’s so much fun and once you get accustomed to the way things work, it’s easier. I did a mini-tri last year as a way to practice things like transitions. It really helped. Maybe there’s a super-sprint near you that you could use for practice! Good luck!

  2. Great read, nudity in the locker room did get my attention so I had to google “skeeve” . I know we have some funny sayings over here, but hadn’t come across that. But anyway, good luck with the training, and I like Pamela’s quote…

  3. First off, great post! There were parts that made me laugh and parts that I totally understand and am agreeing with you 110%. The part that made me laugh…full nudity in the gym locker room. I so used to be one of the people that ALWAYS changed in a changing room with privacy, but now, I just don’t care. I’ll walk around the locker room butt naked. I totally understand those of you who don’t feel comfortable with that though. I was like that. I don’t know what changed. I will say this though, I refuse to change where I can see myself naked in the mirror. Nope. Not gonna happen.

    The whole laundry thing – I’m right there with ya. I used to LOVE doing laundry, but it seems like my laundry has grown by leaps and bounds since I started doing exercise, etc.

    Last thing I want to mention is your post made me really think about joining a running club or something. I just really need to get out and meet new people. I thank you for that. 🙂

    Hope you’re having a great week!

  4. Wow, you hit it on the nose with this one. I have 30 days and started the training last October so I am a little bit more exhausted/prepared at this point. My first is soon. I had to get over locker room nudity really fast as I am in the gym locker room two times a day and it would be allot of work to try and hide nudity all the time i am there. Laundry… I took over the laundry from my wife because I did not want my performance clothes ruined and I have to do laundry so often I might as well do it all. Oh and she could not stand the smell. Loved this post!

  5. #5…you don’t need to flip turn. If you’re doing an open water swim there will be no wall every 25 or 50 meters. I just read an article saying that it causes your heartrate to go up, which i guess i can see since you have to hold your breath. I’ve never been very coordinated at flipturns.

    I hate nudity in locker rooms, too. I have tried to change in a locker room once. It was empty when i started. At the end a woman came up to me, started a conversation, and then proceeded to try to sell me something. Awkward on so many different levels. I’ll stick to the toilet or shower stall, thanks.

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