First Triathlete Series Part 1:  Choosing Your First Race

First Triathlete Series Part 1:  Choosing Your First Race Picking your first triathlon (or biathlon) should be kept as simple as possible.  If you are new to the sport, you have enough to worry about other than choosing the prefect race. Step 1 – Choose the distance Before you make a choice, let’s first review the distances associated with each standard race.  There are other distances out there, but these are the most common: Sprint Triathlon: 400-800m Swim ~12 Mile Bike 5K (3.1 mile) run Olympic Distance Triathlon: 1500m (~0.9 mile) Swim 40K (~24.8 mile) Bike 10K (~6.2 mile) Run Half Ironman Distance (i.e., 70.3) 1.2 Mile Swim 56 Mile Bike 13.1 Mike Run Ironman Distance (i.e., 140.6) 2.4 Mile Swim 112 Mile Bike 26.2 Mile Run You should choose the race based off your current athletic background.  Going from off the couch straight to a Half Ironman or Ironman would not be recommended.  Though if you have been running for a long time, maybe doing the occasional marathon and enjoy half marathons, then maybe a Half Ironman (i.e., 70.3) isn’t unrealistic.  Below are more details on how to choose the distance: Sprint Triathlon Generally, most people do a sprint triathlon as their first triathlon…myself included.  Some of the reasons to do a sprint first are: It lets you experiment with the sport without a huge commitment You don’t feel obligated…

Your First Triathlon Series

We are starting a series to welcome people new to triathlons the sport.  The goal is provide guidance to those new to the sport, and help you achieve your goals.  It will contain several major sections, see below.  I will update this post with links as each post is created: Choosing the Race Equipment Training (including a free training plan) Nutrition and Diet Race day Race day planning Race day nutrition Race day Tips…

Do You Need To Run an Marathon Before an Ironman?

Unequivocally, Absolutely, HELL NO!!! That is a total myth. I can safely say I know more people that completed their first marathon during an Ironman, than those with marathon experience. A normal marathon and an Ironman marathon only have one thing in common, 26.2 miles. Let me tell you why they are completely different: Reason 1) The bike. The 112 mile bike ride before the 26.2 mile run makes all the difference in the world. Ironman distance races are NOT about the run, they’re about the bike. How you train for the bike, how conditioned you are for the bike, how much fluid you took in on the bike, how many calories you took in on the bike, what your pacing was on the bike, etc… all prepare you for the marathon. You can be a 2:30 marathoner, but if you expend too much energy on the bike or don’t master your nutrition, you will be walking the marathon. Reason 2) The mindset. The marathon in a Ironman can be one of the hardest things in sports mentally. By the time you get to the run on an Ironman you are between 7 and 10 hours into your race, and most are NOT thinking about crushing the marathon…..they are thinking about how bad my ass hurts, how I have to go to the bathroom, how stiff my legs are, how the hell am I going to get through this 26.2 mile run, etc…

A Case Study of Training Smarter Not Harder

A Case Study of Training Smarter Not Harder My Best Ironman Yet with Half the Training On August 21, 2016, I did Ironman Mont Tremblant for the second time.  There were many differences between 2016 and my first time at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2012.  In 2016, I had a 4 and 2-year-old, my wife was also racing, it poured rain for most of the race, I was exhausted race day from carrying the kids and their stuff the previous 3 days, I trained in half the time, and I had my best Ironman yet!!! Here are the results: 2016 35-39 Div 48/257 (Top 19%) Overall 280/2480 (Top 11%) 2012 30-34 Div 51/213 (Top 24%) Overall 336/2542 (Top 13%) To summarize the results, I finished 5% higher in 2016 in a more competitive age group and 2% higher than the field.  For full disclosure, my overall time in 2016 was slower by 10 minutes, but I contribute that to the mechanical issues I had on the bike and the rain. How many hours a week did I train? 2016: Average 7-10 hours 2012: Average 14-16 hours Am I trying to show off or brag about how little I trained? No. I am trying to show others they can accomplished huge personal goals, and still be there for their family and friends.  I trained with the time I had, and I worked hard to make the most of it. Could I…

The Guide on Buying a Used Bike Online for First Time Triathletes

The Guide on Buying a Used Bike Online for First Time Triathletes DISCLAIMER:  Some Hardcore triathletes and professionals may not like this advice I am about to give.  This article is intended for those about to or just entered the world of triathlons.  They probably don’t own a triathlon bike or road bike, and they don’t need to buy that $2000+ bike…yet. The two most common reasons people hesitate signing up for a triathlon are you don’t know how to swim or you don’t have a bike.  We are going to focus on the latter, because buying a bike can be stressful.  You can spend hours constantly questioning whether or not the bike is worth it, and you don’t even know what to look for in a bike.  I am going to focus buying online, because the local bike shop could be intimating and is too expensive for new triathletes.  While there are several places you can buy a bike online, this article will focus on the two most popular, Craigslist and Ebay.  There are pros and cons to both, which we will go over. If you don’t own a bike and you have never done a triathlon, I suggest first trying to borrow a bike, any bike…as long as it fits.  If the race is a sprint distance, then I would even consider borrowing your friend’s mountain bike.  This is not ideal, but would be acceptable for a race…

My Top 5 Favorite Simple Spin Workouts

The bike trainer is a love/hate relationship for most triathletes, but is absolutely vital to the busy professional or parent whose goal is to improve their fitness.  Research studies are finding that shorter High Intensity Internal Training (HIIT) can often replace longer steady rides.   Two of the trainer sessions below leverage the common interval workout known as Tabata.  Tabata workouts are based on research from Japanese Scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, which compared short high intensity workouts against longer moderate workouts.  The research found the subjects using the high intensity workouts increased their aerobic system more than subjects using the longer moderate workouts, and they saw improvements in their anaerobic system.   The high intensity workouts where 20 seconds of Maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  The 20 seconds on the trainer are done using the big chain ring in the front and a gear in the rear that allows to spin at great effort, but you can still produce a reasonable cadence (~80 rpm).  You should be exhausted by the time you finish 4-5 of the 8 rounds, but you still need to finish all 8 rounds.  During the rest period you should stay in the same gear and move slowly or gear down 1-2 rings to make it easier. I personally used a 20-30 minute session to replace my 1 hour bike rides when training for Ironman Mont Tremblant.  Most professionals use the trainer…