Triathlon Training for Amateurs

This is probably the best place to start for my first post, since it’s mid-January and I’m a full week into training for this season’s race line-up.

I, like most people, have a full-time job, and it takes me an hour of commute time each way. I also have a great live-in boyfriend, who travels a lot for work, and when he’s actually home I want to spend as much time as I can with him. Both of these things mean that I’m not a fan of waking up at 5am to go to the gym. I bet most people aren’t.

I still manage to train for triathlons and not totally embarrass myself during the races. I wish I didn’t have to work full-time, and could train for 4 hours a day instead (I really do. I know, I’m crazy). So I have to do what I can.

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My schedule looks something like this:

Monday: lifting + swimming
Tuesday: biking
Wednesday: lifting + running (currently indoor soccer)
Thursday: running (currently outdoor co-ed soccer)
Friday: who knows?
Saturday: lifting (if I didn’t do it on Friday) + biking. Unless we’re skiing.
Sunday: Maybe skiing. Maybe a hike. Maybe swimming. Whatever I feel like.

A few things I’ve figured out in the 3 years I’ve been training for tris:

1. As long as you get the number of workouts in and have a somewhat varying schedule between the 3 events, you’re going to be fine. Cardio is cardio. If you’re REALLY bad at something, put more emphasis on it. I was totally awful at swimming–like, really bad–and I’m still not great at it, so I still absolutely make sure that I swim at least 2x/week. It’s important. But also, do what makes you feel good.

2. Lifting is awesome. I knew this in college, and forgot it for awhile in favor of cardio, but throwing in 2-3 days of lifting into your training helps a lot. And makes you feel like a badass.

3. Bring your significant other to the gym. Especially if he/she is also training for something. Even if you don’t work out together (that’s kind of weird), at the very least it’s pretty cool to talk about it right after.

4. Workout at whatever time you want. You do NOT have to wake up at 5 am. I personally really wish I could get my butt out of bed every morning, but that’s just too. damn. early. When I commuted 20 minutes to work, I could wake up at 6 and get to the gym. That was good. 5 am is not for me. But if it works for you, do it! I’d say at least try it out at least 2x a week for 2 weeks and see how you feel.

Happy training! This tips come in handy even if you’re not training for tris.

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2 thoughts on “Triathlon Training for Amateurs

  1. What type triathlon is your training geared toward? It seems like a sprint would the obvious go-to with limited time to train, but are you ramping up for something more?

    • I do both sprint and Olympic distance races. I wouldn’t consider myself to be in a “limited time” situation, since I specifically plan my training to give myself at least 3 full months before my first race (I’ll be doing 2 sprint and 2 Olympic races this year). On the days that I lift, my workouts last about 2 hours. If not, an hour is enough time, if you’re efficient, to get a very effective, high-quality, endurance-ful workout in. I would argue that most people could complete a 10k (6.2 miles) in an hour or less. And then weekends are good for the longer workouts (i.e. long bike ride, etc).

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