Triathlon Tuesday: Sprint Distance

17 Jul

If you’re anything like me, you might occasionally find yourself in the mood to hit the pavement or the gym for a good workout only to find yourself hemming and hawing over what to actually do with your sweat session.

After all, there are a million options plus one hundred schools of thought: old school steady state cardio, like running multiple miles at the same pace? How about trading that run for a shorter session with intense intervals built in to keep your body guessing? And what about weight training?

It’s confusing.

Personally, I’ve found the most success with sticking to activities I can actually (at least mostly) enjoy – and for me, those typically lean more towards weight training and group fitness classes (especially dance.) I’ve tried the whole running forever thing and frankly I just can’t understand what would possess a person to casually run 6,7,8,9+ miles on any given day (more power to you gazelles who can swing it – it’s just not for me.) But when I stick to what I like, I find I actually somewhat regularly scan myself into that gym that I’m paying for month after month.

However! Even though I’d like to think I’ve found my workout niche, I’m still up for a challenge here & there. And despite my status as  a self-proclaimed weight room novice,  I spent most of my growing up years as a swimmer. Being that I now live in the obscenely active city of Chicago I’ve met a number of fine folks who have casually completed triathlons, and so before I could think this through and, you know, come to my senses, I bought myself a one way ticket to Run Bike Swim.

So here we are.

What is it? A Sprint distance triathlon entails a 1/2 mile swim (approximately 33 laps in a 25 yd pool), 12 mile bike, and a 5k (3.1 mile) run, in that order.

How do you train? From what I can tell, training for a triathlon depends completely on where one currently is in terms of cardiovascular shape. I work out pretty regularly, but given that I’m a weenie I decided to be pretty conservative and try out this 13 week “Couch to Triathlon” training program.  So far it hasn’t been outside of my comfort zone, but has provided enough structure to keep me committed to my training “appointments.”

Speaking of which: I find I cannot seriously commit to a workout “plan” unless I physically place each workout onto my calendar. From there, I have to mentally envision this event as an actual appointment that I MUST show up to – no different than a meeting at work or a dinner date with friends. Does it work? Sometimes yes, sometimes I remember that it’s a completely self-imposed gimmicky attempt at getting myself to workout.

If that doesn’t work, I have the publicity of the internets to back me up. I recently posted my hypothetical week-at-a-glance training, and while I never posted the actual result, knowing that I would need to publicly own up to skipping a workout helped me suck it up and just go.  Plus I get a cool little check mark if I just finish the workout, so there is that.

My prospective week in training:

More likely:

We’ll be in Colorado this weekend for JC’s sister’s wedding, so whether or not the ??’s disappear from that 50 minute bike depends entirely upon our hotel setup. But knowing I have to report back on this makes me that much more eager to bang- out an hourlong stationary bike ride whilst a mile high.

Any triathletes out there? Do I have this on lock or am I going to totally need CPR on the beach?


2 Responses to “Triathlon Tuesday: Sprint Distance”

  1. agirlrunner July 17, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    I can’t speak from experience because I’m currently training for my first tri but the plan looks easy enough. I think it’s a lock for you! GOOD LUCK!!

    • Steph @ Upbeat Eats July 17, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks!! It’s fun to have a goal, really motivates me. Good luck to you too!

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