Saturday, March 27, 2010
So I'm registered for a local half-iron "Aquabike" event on July 11.
That's 1.2 mi (2000m) swimming in open water, followed by 56 mi (90 km) on a bike.
We won't get into the fact that I've never done a triathlon before, let alone the advisability of jumping into a half-iron. Or that I haven't done any chip- timed event before. It's all good, though, because all I want to do is finish.
I registered to scare myself into staying in shape. And boy, howdy! is it ever working as far as getting me to exercise. Because I'm finding out that the half-iron is actually kind of a big deal.
The training calendar I'm using was free and came from beginnertriathlete.com
It's designed for 20 weeks. I got a late start because I slacked off for what I thought was the first week and turned out to be the second week because I'd counted wrong, so I had to jump in on the third week of training... Good thing I've been doing spin class 2-3x/week and swimming 1000-1500m 2x/week all along.
Since I'm not going to be running (knee arthritis) I'm crossing out the running parts of the schedule and putting in my other activities like weight lifting and kayaking.
Even so, now the activity, especially the swimming, has kicked into high gear. This is what I've done so far this week:
Mon - OFF
Tue - Personal trainer kicking my butt lifting followed by 1 hrspinning
Wed - 2250 m of swimming (sprint intervals, pant pant)
Thu - 1 hr spin, 30 min lift, 1 hr spin
Fri - 2300 m of swimming (long & steady)
There was originally scheduled a group ride leaving from the local bike shop at 8am on Saturday (20 mi, 15mph) and I was planning on riding the 14 miles from my house to it, and the 14 miles home. They canceled it due to weather so instead I'll do an extended elliptical & lifting session in my basement.
I'm finding it sort of challenging to schedule the recommended trainings for the week around the available activities. I try to put the bike rides on Tuesday or Thursday (spin days) or Saturday (long outside ride day) and the swimming on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This coming Sunday is the last kayak pool rolling session in Syracuse and after that Sundays will be available for biking (outside or a spin class) or swimming.
Speaking of the swimming, it's my weak link. Although I learned very young and swam recreationally for years, my stroke is really inefficient. I'm slow and I'm really tense. And now that I've lost all this fat and gained all this muscle, my buoyancy has really changed, as well.
I stumbled onto these videos over at beginnertriathlete.com and they really made sense:
Work less to swim better. Part one of this video series covers the philosophy of Total Immersion swimming and looks at some common freestyle swimming misconceptions.
Work less to swim better. Part two of this video series covers the principles of active streamlining to swim faster with less effort.
In this third part, Terry Laughlin discusses how to achieve an optimal freestyle stroke and what drills go into developing a good stroke.
They have a free downloadable "Easy Freestyle" book at the TI website:
So I tried it last night and really emphasized the relaxing and the glide just to see how it felt. I definitely found a difference in letting my head hang in the water and by the end of the 2300m it already felt so much more comfortable to try his method over what I've been doing. So I'm going to slow down my stroke and work on this kind of form and see how it goes.
I also found a local coach in this method so I'm going to investigate getting a few sessions with her to see if I can fix whatever I haven't picked up from the book and DVD I ordered at Amazon...
Easy Freestyle Swimming by Terry Laughlin
Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier
I hope the DVD and book have more information that what I've already gotten for free!
As far as the cycling, I think I'm in pretty good shape for that. I've got a lot more experience with distance riding than swimming - I used to ride 100-mile centuries in high school and college with my big brother and rode with the college team on their "easy" days - this is the same college team that Eric Heiden had been on a few years before I arrived at the school.
I've got a nice new ultra light racing bike and as soon as the weather warms up will be out on it. And I actually LIVE along the race route, so it's really easy for me to train on the exact course I'll be racing on. LOL
Based on how I did on the group ride last Saturday, I'm actually in better cycling shape than ever, thanks to the spinning. And I can say this without any doubt, because my old bike is the exact same one I bought in 1981 with babysitting money - the exact same (and only) bike I've ever owned, that I rode those centuries on and all those 20-mile training rides in college. And I've never been able to keep a pace like I did on Saturday, nor feel as fresh and ready to go again when it was over.
So that's what I've been up to, mostly. I am fortunate that my schedule is so flexible, with no one else to consider in my food and exercise plans. I can't imagine how people with families fit something like this in.