Sunday, August 28, 2005

Triathlon training - How to train for a triathlon in 7 days

I started tri training the week before the race.

Day One, multi sport training and transitions
The first thing I felt I had to do, was get in some lake swimming, having never really done an actual distance swim in a lake before. Also, I thought I'd practice the transistions, and see what the different parts of the course feels like.

The lake swim went much better than I expected. The race was being held in Folsom Lake, which like just about all lakes in this area, are actually reservoirs. This means the water is nice and warm. Perfect for swimming in. In all honesty, I liked open water swimming better; if feels more relaxed, which I think is a mental thing. I paced out the distance of the buoyed off area, and thought that is maybe, at most 200 yards. I swam back and forth a few times, felt to see what it would feel like to sprint up the beach, and then did a little biking.

The important thing I learned from this was that I somehow dehydrate a lot on the swim. Usually I wouldn't need any water for a 12 mile bike, but as soon as I started pedalling coming out of the water, I felt parched. The was very usefull knowledge, since I hadn't originally planned on having a hydration plan for the race at all. The bike course was set to be on a narrow bike trail, heading down river from the reservoir. This means that the first three miles are a very quick and curvey drop, then three miles of mainly flat trail with some hills, and then you turn around and go back. This also means that the last three miles consist of a steep climb. The climb didn't worry me, the downhill is what I was concerned about. I was worried that with the long cranks on my bike, and the campus pedals, I might touch down, which could be very dangerous on a busy narrow path. For the day of training, I just went down the hill and back up, to see what sprinting up the hill would feel like. The sprint nature of the race is what really concerned me, not having done a race of anykind this short in many years. The shortest thing I've done in the last two years was a 1/2 marathon in Janurary 2004. The sprint up the hill felt tiring, but I thought I wouldn't be in to rough of shape.

Next I did a quick transition to the run, to see what it would feel like. This is point where I thought I'll have a slight ace in the whole against others. Anyone racing in the competative division, I assume will be wearing bike shoes. Most road bikers are going to have road bike shoes, which will require wasting time to switch to running shoes. Since I run SPD across both my bikes to keep it simple, I figure I could just run the race in my bike shoes. Ehh, its only 3 miles, that's nothing! So, I practiced to see what it would feel like going from the bike sprint up the hill, to the run wearing bike shoes and no socks. The conclusion: Lots of sand. I'll have to make sure to wipe my feet off good before putting the shoes on. Plus, I only made it about 1/2 a mile before my shins started hurting. I figured this would be something I could easily race through, but since I had the frisbee tournament later that evening, I decided just to walk back. I think the stiff shins were caused from the swim, anyway, and not from the shoes.

Day 2, Sunday
Sleep. I hadn't gone to bed unti 4am because the coffe from the frisbee tournament kept me up. Super sore from frisbee.

Day 3, Monday
Go to spin class.
Ok, that didn't happen because I got back from work to late. Instead I went for a hard, 5 mile run. My legs were still super sore. I spent time stretching before and after, which really helped.

Day 4, Tuesday
Bike to work and back. Still somewhat sore. Took it slow. Lots of spandex passing me on the way home. Nice ride though.

Day 5, Pool swim
Yeah, about that swimming thing.
I went to the pool this night. First time swimming in a pool in about
1 1/2 years. The life guard actually came over to see if I was alright. No,
serioiusly, he did, I'll get to that later.

I wanted to take a swim at the pool so I could actually know how far I swam, and get one more swim in before the race. I also wanted to try out my newfound idea of calm relaxed swimming. My goal, swim five hundread yards with out stopping. This is something I haven't done since high school, and even then, I did it very, very few times.

I didn't give in and do any open turns, surpisingly nailing every flip turn. (By "nailing," I mean I flipped, pointed a different direction, and some part of my feet, whether it be solid, or just a toenail, touched the wall before continuing on." I felt surpisingly ok aftwards; my relaxed swimming worked. When I finally pulled myself out of the pool, though, I had a huge headrush. Head rush doesn't really describe it. My brain hurt. Alot. That's the best description. Intense brain pain. I sat there for a while holding my head, trying to figure what was going on, which lead the life guard to come over and question my well being. Eventually I just jumped back in, did a short cool down, some breast stroke sprint, and headed home. Oh, well, if that happens in the race, I'll be to busy concentrating on biking to worry about little things like supplying oxygen to the brain.

Day 6
Yoga, to stretch out descently, and a little bouldering at the gym. Ok that's not really training, although the yoga definitely helped.

Day 7
Critical mass, drinking afterwards. Its best to get you body used to the dehydrated feeling at least 24hrs in advanced, that way, there's no shock to the system.

Day 8
Race, post coming shortly.


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