Beginner Triathlon Training - week 1

Published: 23.01.2020

I am officially now a triathlete.

I have swam, biked and ran my way through a whole week of training. In 7 days, I’ve spent 45 minutes in the pool swimming 1000m, 45 minutes running down the cycle path in the dark, 2 hours sweating on my bike in the living room and an hour fighting with a large elastic band aka some strength and conditioning.

Swimming I am loving.

Running is growing on me.

The bike and I are not friends.

My TriRox training plan has not broken me in easily. Sometimes the ‘warm up’ feels like a workout - but as the week has progressed I’ve realised that I can do it and because it’s challenging it’s made me confident that if I stick to it I WILL be able to do this triathlon. I also have to remember that I’ve only got 12 weeks to be ready so there’s probably not a lot of spare time to take it easy.

I thought training would be as simple as today go for a run. No, no, no! These are structured work outs with timed intervals carried out at different intensities or zones. Here’s an example from my first week – this is a bike speed skills session done on the Turbo Trainer (shout out to Kyle for lending it to me). Thanks Rhian for letting me share.

Warm Up: 10 mins easy (zone 1/conversational pace), 5 minutes steady (zone 2, still talking but more intermittent). 2 x 30 seconds left leg only, 30 seconds right leg only (zone 3, one word answers).

Main Set: 10 x 1 minute High Cadence (aka easy gear, spin as fast as you can) (Zone 2-3), 1 minute easy (zone 1).

Cool Down: 6 minutes (Zone 1)

It blew my mind to start with but with a lot of support from Rhian who patiently answers all my questions I think I’m becoming a bit of a geek. I’m starting to understand how my body feels when I’m in a particular zone and watch my heartrate move from one zone to another as I pick up the pace or slow down. I look in to the face of my sports watch more than I do my husband or my child. If you’re interested in learning more about training intensities and why you need to train in all of them rather than just going all out this is a good article.

Coached session this week was strength and conditioning with professional fitness trainer Emma. We were shown every exercise (it’s all about the form, if you don’t do it with correct form at best it does nothing for you, at worse you get injured) and sent home with the first 4 weeks of a plan. Apparently after these 4 weeks it gets harder – yey.

In other news I went and collected my bike from Evolution Bikes. These guys have taught me so much about bikes and the care they put in to ensuring it’s right before you leave the shop is exceptional. My bike was set up on the turbo trainer and was adjusted to make sure it was comfortable and right for me. Once we were happy the fit was right they spent time answering my questions and going through things I was unsure about from changing gear to getting on and off with my feet clipped in.

I started this process believing you could download a free training plan and order a bike off the internet based on how tall you are, my experience has taught me that although you could do this, there’s many reasons you might not want to and that experts makes things so much easier and give you such a lot of confidence.

The best part of this week though has been the two people who have told me that I’ve inspired them. I’m doing this to show how accessible sport is and that anyone can do it – you just need a goal and the desire to achieve it.

One lady I met in the pool – she was in her 70’s and had been swimming for the last two years. She told me she only ever did breaststroke but watching me working on my Freestyle technique showed her that it didn’t need to be a fast stroke (dashing my vision of myself as the next Michael Phelps) and it inspired her to want to have a go at learning to crawl.

The other was a lady I used to work with who had a baby the same year as me. She messaged me to tell me that I had inspired her to take on her own challenge and she had entered a half marathon.

I’ve set up a Facebook group for anyone who would like to follow my journey more closely, share my random thoughts and watch my sweaty post training videos. You just need to request to join the group.

Tonight is hill intervals. Whatever next…