Friday, April 24, 2015

Triathlon Training or the Lack Thereof

Why is it that I am extremely regimented when it comes to half marathon training...

...and yet extremely lackadaisical when it comes to triathlon training?

I have had my long run distances written out for two months now. They are posted on a sticky note in my office. Every Saturday I dutifully run the distance I am supposed to run. Every Monday when I get to work I cross another run off my sticky note.

I have a triathlon the weekend after this half marathon I am training for and I won't be doing anything specific for it other than swimming at the pool and cycling either on the trainer or outside if it ever warms up enough to do so. I don't build up. I don't taper. When I swim I swim for 45-60 minutes and when I cycle I cycle for about an hour. C'est tout.

Maybe it's because a triathlon is three different activities, and none of them too long. I never worry much about finishing because I know that I can fairly easily complete each of those distances on their own. And if I slow down a bit, I have enough energy to complete them in a row.

I could never just go out and wing a half marathon. Run a few 10k runs and then somehow pull off twice that on race day. I've been running this distance for years and have never once thought it was remotely easy to do. Even the training knocks me out.

And yet every triathlon I have done has been done without following any kind of triathlon training plan. I just swim, cycle and run and then, on race day, do them one after the other wearing a special outfit.

Is that weird? Do other people religiously follow triathlon training plans the way I follow half-marathon ones?

I have an Olympic distance triathlon coming up in July. The first and only other time I have done that distance I did not follow a training plan. I just took it one activity at a time and tried not to burn out before the finish. I didn't burn out and it went fairly well.

Should I try following an actual training plan this time? If so, why? I'm open to it of course but if my triathlon goals are to a) finish and finish strong and b) have fun doing it, then do I need to do any more than what I'm doing?

I do all three sports because I like them and they help keep me healthy. I string them all together on race days and call myself a triathlete because it's fun and I really enjoy it.

Why make it any more complicated than that?

1 comment:

  1. I follow a triathlon training plan. It's just as regimented and a lot more involved than any running plan I've ever done. It also has a lot more weekly volume than any other plan I've ever done (including running cross country and track in high school). Most plans I've seen recently include 3-4 days with multiple workouts. Devoting ten or more hours a week to training isn't uncommon, and that doesn't include preparation, travel, and post-workout activities.

    I'm fairly neutral about this. It's the way it is because it's what I need to do to compete at the distances and level I want. As with all things in life, there are trade-offs, and committing a couple of hours each day definitely involves a lot of balance and saying "no" to other things that I would like to do.

    Unless you really need something to force you to swim, bike, and run a set amount doing specific workouts to achieve particular goals, I would keep doing what you're doing. Enjoy the training and racing!