What a great new product that I stumbled upon at the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans expo. This is awesome! I bought one for my daughter so I can sleep better when she is training! Ever worry about drowning in the chaos that is the Ironman swim start? This is the answer!
The triathlon bug has now taken over at the FAANT office. Janet and I have been training for the Inaugural Texas Ironman on May 21st for the last 6 months and Janet has done a great job of blogging about our adventures. (click here to read her blog) The women in our office have now been inspired to “tri” their first triathlon. Grapevine recreation is having a sprint triathlon on June 4th right here in town, so many of the ladies have signed up! Even more are taking the role of Sherpa or cheerleaders to encourage their co-workers. I am so excited to see the enthusiasm for the sport. So here are a few tips for getting ready for your first tri!
Have a Plan. It’s not like you just wake up one morning and decide you want to do a triathlon. Or maybe you did and then realized you have no idea how to get ready for one! There are lots of on-line plans and relatively inexpensive coaching available. Having a plan is like having a recipe for success. Make a plan and stick to it!
Be Consistent. If you have ever jumped into a race very undertrained, the experience is not pleasant. You want your first triathlon to be an uplifting experience, not a painful blur. Stick to your training plan and be consistent with your workouts. After the first three weeks it gets a lot easier!
Review the Course. Knowing the course is very helpful in getting through rough spots in the race. You can anticipate the harder spots and know that the finish in near. Also, occasionally the course is not well marked and you can go awry. Knowing the course ahead of time is always a bonus if the going gets rough.
Watch Your Nutrition. Training for your first race is not the time to try a new diet or new foods. Consistent and normal good eating habits will ensure a stable stomach during the race. You don’t want to spend half the day in the porta-potty!
Sleep is Important. Training is taxing on the body and the mind. Getting plenty of rest will help your body recharge and be ready for the race. The sleep you get two nights before is more important than the night before, so if you have pre-race jitters and don’t sleep well….no fear if you have adequate rest in the weeks before.
Pack the Night Before. And use a List! I always set out my transition and all my gear the night before. The morning of the race is always full of chaos and usually starts a 5am, so packing your bag the night before using a checklist will ensure you have necessary tools like goggles and sunglasses!
Visualize Success. Get a mental image of yourself not only crossing the finish line, but being happy with your finish. Your body tends to follow your mind.
Pace Yourself. Many newbies go out way too fast on the swim or start to hammer the bike, only to find themselves walking the run. Pace yourself. The first one is about finishing standing up!
Don’t Freak Out! Janet can tell stories about panicking on the swim. I can tell stories about crashing on the bike. Neither one of us has ever had a flat tire in a race, but we’ve seen enough of them! Relax. Things happen. Your goggles can fall off, you can crash your bike, and you can forget to put sock on with your running shoes.
Relax and Execute Your Race. We have all had stuff happen that didn’t fall into our “perfect race” plan. Go to plan “B”!
Have Fun. Don’t be so serious about the challenge that you don’t enjoy the day. I remember finishing my first sprint triathlon after years of marathon running and feeling. “Wow! That was fun!” Let’s face it, most of us won’t win our first time out, so our reward is the sense of accomplishment (and the beer at the finish!)
Hopefully these tips will help any newbies and all the staff in my office who are training for their first tri! You will get addicted! Triathlon gets in your blood and you will be hooked!
Texas Man triathlon series is this weekend in Denton, Texas. The girls at FAANT (Foot & Ankle Associates of North Texas) have decided to try to suck in one of our coworkers and do the Half-Ironman distance relay. Janet and I are still tired from the New Orleans 70.3 so we thought a relay would be fun and it would get Lori to drink the K00l-aid of triathlon! I get to swim (why does everyone hate the swim?), Janet is going to smash the bike (I heard there were a few little hills, ha ha) and our newest triathlete, Lori, is going to motor the run! A good time I’m sure will be had by all. I’m happy because the swim should be wet suit legal! I float better that way. The forecast is bleak and includes possible thunderstorms, so pray for good weather at 7am on Sunday! We will update you after the race!
Here’s a shout out to everyone else racing this weekend. Be safe and have fun!
Let’s face it….there will be a day when all of us get injured. Just like the fact that there are two kinds of cyclists: those who have fallen and those that will fall! In a recent survey 90% of runners revealed some kind of injury in the last 12 months that resulted in the loss of more than one day of training. Some of us are just more hardy than others. I have several ultra-marathon running patients (yes, they embrace the fact that most of us think they are crazy) who train like maniacs and think that running a 50K on Saturday and then a marathon on Sunday is just a fun weekend in Texas! These people and their considerably more sane counterparts, a group of which I have been fortunate enough to consider myself a member, almost never get injured unless we fall off a curb, get hit by a car, or fall in a pothole. I define those as the “shit happens” injuries and these always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. There are also runners who tend to be injury prone. Those frustrated souls who seem to be in my office or with my physical therapist on a regular basis who often follow the letter of the training programs and still seem to get hurt.
Injuries suck…and often make us borderline psychotic! (My husband and children will attest to this fact) So, how do we survive this down time and come back from injury even stronger? Cross-training a.k.a. relative rest is the key! Unless you are in a full body cast from a severe accident, there is an alternative exercise that should at least keep your endorphin addiction under control. Yes, you need to seek permission to bike or swim or core train, light yoga, etc., whatever your doctor says you can do even if it is only upper body, you need to move! Everyday! Sitting on the couch eating chips and singing woe is me will not cut it! And you will lose all the cardio fitness you have built with your running program. A good rule of thumb is to try and keep to your program by performing the alternate exercise for the planned amount of time you were going to run. This may require some circuit training, because if you are anything like me, the first time I tried to swim I lasted all of 15 minutes without thinking I was going to drown; but then I got out of the pool and attacked the stationary bike to finish my planned one hour workout. Flexibility and a willingness to try something else will get your through any injury. The best part is that you may find you even like some of the cross training (remember I did my first tri after breaking my foot).
The power of positive thinking is also relevant in this topic. Stop sitting on the couch feeling sorry for yourself and instead make a new plan, a new goal and a new training program. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel (and no, it is not a train). Cross-train, plan and conquer your injury. You will survive and often times be in better shape afterwards!
Run Happy! And Cross-train for fun!!!
I did my first triathlon today...just a sprint...and I'm eating humble pie...I blasted through the swim in 6:42 for 300m, then ran to my bike (barefoot on freezing pavement), had a good transition then off to bike 12 miles....turns out I am a slow cyclist (who knew!) I rode 12 miles in 47:21 then practically fell off my bike....almost screamed out "my legs, my legs, who took my legs" as I got off the bike, then tried to run....pathetic...for a person who normally does about a 21 minute 5K or less, I ran a 24:00 and was happy to have that time! I finished 3rd in the old lady 40-year-old age group and was thrilled not to come in last! I know have an enlightened sense of awe for all those triathletes I used to make fun of :) Bottom line...I had fun (and I beat my brother - he had a flat - I'll take it, first time I beat him in over 20 years!)....Next time I'll be better prepared...I think I have the bug....gotta try again....
Run Happy...and try a tri for fun!
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