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First triathlon - where does the strength training go?


cbfunky

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Hey guys and gals,

 

I just signed up for my first triathlon, yay! I'm kinda scared. But ok.

The distance is Sprint btw, 750m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run.

 

I got myself a pretty good training plan together, with about 6 sessions a week (2x run, 2x bike, and 2x swim)

 

My question to you folks is: where would you stick your strength training sessions in here?

 

Right now I'm thinking doing Arms/Upper on a Run/Bike day and Legs on the Swim days (I'm currently doing Arms Mo/Thu and Legs Tue/Fri).

 

Does this make sense, you think? I tried googling when to strength train during triathlon training but I've surprisingly not come across a single article discussing this! (Only "strength exercises for triathletes" and "why you should strength train as a triathlete" - but none about *when* to do those sessions.

 

Have you done a triathlon? What was your experience during training?

I'm excited to hear any opinions!

 

Cheers :)

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congrats on signing up for a tri!  They're fun and awesome.

 

the general idea behind cross training is to not overwork the same muscles.  so, if you insist on 6 tri workouts a week (?!) then adding arm/upper body strength to "run" days and leg/lower body to "swim" days kind of makes sense.

 

But you're doing a sprint tri, you are not in serious competition, and there is no good reason to wear yourself out with 6+ workouts a week.  That's just nuts.  Even if you have that kind of time, you should be spending half of it on something else.  Do three or four serious workouts a week, tops.  And then rest on the other days.  If you don't feel like you need rest, you didn't work out hard enough.  

 

So an effective week would be: 1x run (switch between interval/LSD each week), 1x bike (ditto), 1x swim (swim has only one speed, slow), plus 1x strength workout.  And that's it.  If you wish, you can skip one of the sport workouts and do an additional strength workout instead.  There may be weeks when some squats will do more for your bike leg than more time on the bike itself will.

 

As you're building a base, the first several weeks should be rotating single-sport workouts.  When you get into middle training, you will want to do a few "bricks" (two-sport workouts) and practice transitions.  On your taper you should take it easy, but for a sprint tri your taper shouldn't last more than a couple weeks.

 

don't be scared, a sprint tri is no big deal.  It'll all be over in 90 minutes.  It's good to train so you don't collapse or make a total fool of yourself on race day*, but really, they aren't that hard.  It's just a short swim, a mid-length bike, and a half-hour jog.  If you've never done an open water swim, I strongly advise getting a wetsuit and taking at least one open water practice swim with a group before the race.  Do not think you can get away without the suit and rehearsal unless you're already an experienced outdoor swimmer and you literally know what you are getting into.

 

* you can, and will, make a partial fool of yourself anyway.  Try to dissuade your family from taking pictures.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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That's some very good advice, thanks! I might just bring the swim sessions down to 1 a week and bike to work instead of one of the workouts maybe. I do want to keep the running and the strength training up, because I also got some obstacle runs (one is 16k, urgh) around the same time/a little later so I need to bring up my distance.

 

Also don't overestimate my prowess, I will never be able to do 5k in half an hour :(

My biggest fear is actually not being able to make the cutoff time.

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Unless you sprain your ankle or get a flat tire, you have nothing to worry about re: cutoff time.  There's going to be some reeeealllly slooooow people behind you.

 

When is the race?

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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I still got plenty of time, the race is July 3rd.

 

I did some more reading re:strength training and it looks like it's a good idea to really train for muscle now and then switch to maintenance once I start the actual tri training - meaning I only do one or mayyybe two (lighter) sessions a week.

 

I also went swimming today and I easily did 750m in about 25 minutes without trying. So add time for cold+open water and remove some for swimming faster and it should be okay. I'm actually more worried about the biking; I'm okay-ish at running and swimming.

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Strength train if you like, just don't leave out cardio or completely blow off your bike and run workouts.  If you care at all about your finish time, bike and run is where you will profit most from putting in some mileage.

 

Swim training is where you will profit most from technique, not volume, so try and work on your stroke to make it as efficient as possible.  (Not fast, efficient.  There are videos showing correct form; study them.)  While 25 minutes of swimming is a fine workout, taking that long to swim 750m is extremely slow.  The next wave of racers will pile up behind and pass you before you're halfway across the lake.  This is okay, but a bit disorienting.  Also, you're going to need energy for the rest of the race, so you don't want to be hanging around in cold water all morning.

 

For a sprint tri, 12 weeks of sport-specific training is probably enough, IF you have built up a fitness base first.  (If you haven't, you're looking at an extra 8 to 12 weeks, at least.  More than that if you're overweight or over age 40.)  So, if you want to focus on strength now, go ahead, but be aware you'll need to phase in sport specific workouts in a couple months.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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