Hey there Team Marty's. Share your cycling experiences here! Tell us stories about rides, races, tours, etc. Go ahead... it'll be fun!

Friday, August 29, 2008

First Triathlon Question

I will start with a quote taken from Bicycling Magazine in an article helping cyclist overcome their fear of swimming to do a triathlon. "For years I had avoided triathlons. If you can't ride, you wobble; if you can't run, you walk--but if you can't swim, you drown." Read the whole article about the authors experience in her first triathlon. http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s-4-20-17596-1,00.html

I get many e-mails from people inquiring about doing their first triathlon. As Team Marty's members, they cycle regularly but are not sure how to train for three different sports in the same week. Since this is typical of the e-mails that I receive, I am reprinting it since I am sure that many of you have the same questions. If not maybe this will motivate you to do your first tri next summer. The name has been changed to protect the innocent.

I presently have a hybrid and I haven't been riding however, I would like to do the Triathlon in July, 2009. I haven't joined up with Team Marty's yet.

1. Which is the kind of bike most recommended for the Randolph Sprint Triathlon?
2. Which activities I should start with considering that I have a hybrid and I haven't been riding?


Hi Marty - The Randolph Sprint is a great first race. I have seen people do the race in everything from a mountain bike to a top of the line triathlon bike. The bike leg is 16.4 miles so what ever gets you from the start to finish will do.

If you were going to use your hybrid, I would recommend road tires. If you have off-road tires now, you could easily switch them for road use. This will be more comfortable on the roads but also help you go a little faster. If you wanted to get a new bike, I would recommend a road bike as opposed to a triathlon specific bike. A tri bike is very specialized for triathlons and you would get more use out of a road bike. Road bikes come in different geometries from aggressive/racing to comfort/touring and everything in between. Check out Trek and Specialized for an affordable quality bike.

As far as training, I would try to build your running and cycling mileage up gradually. Try to increase your running by 10% each week. For instance, if you ran a total of 10 miles this week next week you would add 10% or 1 mile for a total of 11 miles. I would break the 11 miles up into 2 to 3 workouts per week rather than one big run each week. If you try to do too much too soon you could possibly injure yourself. With cycling you could increase a little more that 10% since you are not putting as much impact on your legs when you are on the bike.

As for swimming, focus on technique first and then building distance and fitness. Do one lap with a perfect stroke rest and then do another. Trying to build fitness immediately will only have you swimming tired and reinforce a bad stroke. Once you can swim a lap (one length) in under 20 strokes, then start working on swimming for distance.

Once you have built up your cycling miles to 15 or 30 there are a bunch of fall group rides out of the Marty's stores that are great for beginners. Some are 15 miles (one hour) and some are 30 miles (2 hours). Check the site for a schedule. http://martysreliable.com/page.cfm?pageID=177 You do not have to be a Team Marty's member to ride, just show up and have fun.

Hope this was helpful - John

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