I'm so excited that so many of you have considered doing a sprint triathlon! I know you will love it. It is simply the best feeling when you cross the finish line and know that you have trained hard for it.
I can't tell you enough how naturally "non-atheltic" I am--so I am convinced that if I can do this, so can you!
I'm planning on doing at least one next year, and I hope-if you are on the fence-you decide to do one too!
Here are a few questions that I grabbed from the comments of yesterdays' post that may answer some questions you may have as well!
TP asked, "How much did all the gear cost you? It seems most races are at least $60. Any advice on what gear is essential, and what you could have skipped? Thanks! And congrats again."
The tri-outfit was a little expensive but we were able to buy ours at about 60-70% off since the store was going out of business. I would say ,though, that if cost was an issue, you could buy spandex/tight running shorts and a fitted workout top (not cotton) and that would suffice. I didn't end up using a swim cap, but it's only $8.00. So you can kind of make it as cheap or expensive as you want!
It's important to wear really tight clothes since you swim first and don't want to deal with loose clothes for the bike and run.
BeckyJ asked, "Did you follow a C25k type program for swimming to build up your
endurance? I'd love to know more about how you did your swim training."
I have never heard of the C25k program. For swimming practice, I just did laps. Once my husband taught me how to swim/breathe (it was too hard for me to take 3 strokes and breathe on the 3rd stroke, so I breathe every other stroke), I just swam laps at a slow pace to practice. I learned, the hard way, that if I start too strong right out of the gate, I'll be exhausted by my second lap. So, I would push off the wall at the start, glide for as long as I could and then begin taking strokes.
I swam just about every saturday with my husband, which turned out to be about 6-8 days, and would occasionally swim by myself during the week. The week before the tri, I swam twice, and finished with the best swim of my life. I felt good about my breathing and had practiced swimming slow and steady.
Elizabeth asked,"I am interested in doing a sprint tri sometime in the near future, it's always been a dream of mine. After reading about your experience I am super excited!! Do you have any advice on training for the biking section? That is the part that scares me the most!"
I wish I would have better prepared for the biking. I wasn't very nervous about it, so I spent most of my time on swimming and running. I biked the full 12.5 miles on a stationary bike at the gym so I'm glad I got to see how long it would take to complete (about 45 minutes). I should have biked outside more. Just like running on the treadmill is completely different than running outside, biking outdoors is much more challenging than indoors. Plus, I did not anticipate the hills on the course. I wish I would have done more strength training on my legs and practiced pacing myself on the bike.
The bike portion was the hardest for me. It was the most physically tolling, and mentally draining. When you are swimming with a bunch of people around you, it's motivating to stay strong. Same with running. When I was biking on the side of the road with few people in sight, I began to shut down a little bit and not push it as hard as I could have. It took about 4 miles (I think) into the bike ride to feel strong and get my breathing in check.
Anonymous asked, "Wow what an accomplishment! I can't believe you started from nothing. How did you change your diet? I know you started meal planning. Can you give some examples on a blog? How fast did you start to get your heart rate going when you had never worked out previously?"
Thanks! Well, I ended up losing 7 lbs during these past few months of training. I didn't make drastic changes to my diet other than eating a healthy breakfast every morning and cutting down on portions. For the past 5 months I have had 3 egg whites, 2-3 pieces of turkey bacon, natural apple sauce and coffee w/ sugar free creamer for breakfast everyday. EVERYday. I love that I have developed this habit and it has helped keep me from overeating at lunch due to crazy hunger.
I don't drink pop, I don't eat junk food, but I do love dessert. So I tried to cut down on sweets but wouldn't let it ruin my life. I still had ice cream occasionally--and sometimes it would be a skinny cow ice cream sandwich, or just a smaller portion. My husband and I also had fresh fruit smoothies (w/ no extra sugar added) for desserts instead of ice cream/brownies/etc.
We cut out a lot of pizza (we both love pizza) and focused on chicken. We used whole wheat pasta. Avoided cream sauces. Barely ate out. But, keep in mind, we weren't overly strict. We would occasionally go out to eat and just make wise choices.
And I really found that since I knew I was working out regularly and working toward a health goal, I didn't want to put junk in my body to ruin it.
As far as my heart rate goes, I didn't pay attention to that as much as I did my labored breathing. I could tell I was stronger and had better cardio health based on how much, or how little, I struggled breathing. It took a long time (I would say 4-5 weeks) to feel like I could breathe consistently and steadily during a run. As far as biking goes, it wasn't hard to breathe. That was just easier for me to do. And breathing during swimming was tough. But once you practice enough, you get the hang of it. I can't express enough how I was not a swimmer. But I ended up enjoying those work outs the most. It's not as painful as a run can be, and your heart rate goes through the roof right away.
LK asked, "Congratulations! For the swim, do you have to dive in? Or can you just jump in or climb in? I have never been able to dive."
I, too, cannot dive. Nor would I want to. For this tri, there was a line of about 15-20 people on the side of the last lane on the right. People in this line would feed into the start of the swim, and for your first lap, you would swim down the other side of this lane. So, I probably spent 4-5 minutes just standing in the pool, slowly making my way toward the start as people kept going. I would have hated diving in, or jumping in, so this made for a smooth start.
I don't know if this is always how they do it, but it was a beginner triathlon so I can only assume other sprint tri's would do this as well!
Laura asked, "So, you answered this a bit in the comments, but I saw your fb post that you are answering questions tomorrow, so I had a few: 1. What clothing pieces do you need to invest it? And, what are you wearing each leg of the race? 2. I am HORRIBLE at swimming. What swimming techniques did your husband teach you? Any advice on how to be better at it? 3. What would you do to practice the bike portion? Indoors, outdoors, hills? Thank you!"
I'm glad I had my triathlon outfit, but I could have done it in spandex shorts and a tight work out top, as long as it wasn't cotton. There were plenty of men and women there in fitted workout clothes and not "official" tri outfits.
For each leg of the race you are wearing the same thing. The reason you want to wear spandex to begin is because you swim in that, and after the swim you jump out, run to your bike, towel off for 10 seconds and then start your bike. So you don't want to deal with changing or a loose, wet cotton shirt. I brought a long sleeve top to wear over my tri outfit due to the chilly temperatures, but I didn't have to wear that. My husband wore just his tri outfit for the whole race.
Check this video for a quick swim lesson:
I hope this has provided some answers for you! Sign up for a Tri! You can do it!
(e-mail me if you do and I'll try to create an "encouragement" e-mail list or something where we can all share successful work outs and encouragement!)