As the memories and soreness of my first triathlon begins to fade, I am back to the struggle of what do I want to do?
Do tri or not to tri
That is the question. It’s a battle of being fascinated and at the same time intimidated with the endurance aspect of triathlons, particularly the half and full Ironman distance.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past month while training. Some things are good, some are bad but for the most part I surprise myself often and in a positive way.
Things that scare me from dwelling further (distance) into triathlons.
When it comes to gear, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not very techy. Zero drop? Minimalist? Pronation? I don’t know. When it comes to running, I’ve been lucky that I just buy a shoe (okay usually a pair of shoes), run and for the most part it works. I have my favorites that I stock up on but I don’t really know if there’s better things out there. Sure I love my running skirts and compression socks, but mostly because I can get them in pink and they look cute. Maybe they have benefits, maybe they don’t. I am not an expert, but I’m pretty sure I’d run just as fast or slow wearing anything else.
Triathlons are different. First there’s the bike. So many questions, that I don’t know where to start. Also, can someone tell me what those black wheels I saw on some people’s bikes last week? It looked badass, kinda like a biking ninja. Besides just picking out a bike based on cost and the millions of brands out there, you can’t just buy a bike and be ready. Nope, you need to learn about wheels, breaks, gear changing device (no I don’t know what it’s called), seats, and who knows what else. If you’re biking 90 miles and you breakdown at mile 40, you need to figure out how to fix your bike so you can at least eventually get home. If I pull a muscle on mile 10, I can cab home. If I break my bike at mile 40, well I’m sxit out of luck and better fend for myself.
Then there’s everything else. You can’t just wear a t-shirt and shorts and be done. No, there’s a trisuit, sometimes its a single item, sometimes there’s separate top and bottom? What works best for me? I don’t know. I’ve come to the conclusion that most brands for running clothes are equal (as long as they are your respectable brands). I don’t know what brands to trust with triathlons. Then the wetsuit. Sleeves or no sleeves? What brand do I get?
And for more swimming fun? I don’t even know where to start. I just learned they have earplugs for swimming. Things I wish I knew before. Now which do I get?
When it comes to running, there’s very few things you need. A good sports bra (a must!) and a pair of running shoes that work for you. While running shoes aren’t always cheap. The latest pair can cost you around $115, you can get last year’s model for half the cost and most likely the only difference will be a minimal weight reduction and colors. And let’s face it, unless you’re Shalane, a 1/2 oz difference will not get me to first place in a marathon. Got shoes? Got shirt? Got pants? Now you’re good for 3-6 months depending on how many miles you run. Sure you can buy things like pretty skirts, and cute bic bands, and other stuff, but those are nice to have. You don’t really need it. Just look at the high school cross country dudes. The don’t even need a shirt!
Bikes are not cheap. Once I invest into a road bike, I better be damn sure I like that said bike. I better be damn sure it fits me and I better be damn sure if it breaks down I can fix it. You can buy a moped for the price a nice racing road bike will cost you. You can go on a really nice 2 week vacation for the cost of a road bike.
I could buy a used bike, but sadly, there are little to none bikes that would fit my 5ft frame on craigslist in Boston. If you see one, let me know!
Wetsuits. Also not cheap! I don’t know where to start, but what I gather they will cost you 200-400 bucks and so if you buy one, you better make sure it fits.
Even things like tri tops and tri shorts. I don’t really know what makes a tri shirt and what makes a running shirt, but I know the price difference its 2 to 3 times more.
I’ve acquired a lot of running clothes, I don’t think I’m into acquiring as much triathlon clothes. Unless Marshalls add them to their workout clothes section.
So yea, the cost of triathlon gear is high, not just for money but for time. As cost goes up, the time you spend researching your purchases goes up. At least mine does.
If you haven’t noticed, my running workouts consist of one target, run for as long as I have time for and be happy. I do a few speed workouts like progressive runs because I enjoy them, however, I don’t have target days for different workouts. I don’t have speed days, I don’t have track days, I don’t have preset easy days. I don’t have a long run day, other than I try to get one at some point in the week. Maybe it’s that mentality that keeps me from my coveted sub 3:20 but it works well enough for me.
Training for a triathlon will require a schedule. I will need a swim day, a bike day, a run day, and many days that will combine both for a brick run or bike or who knows what other wacky names you triathlon people have for workouts. That scares me. It scares me to know that I can’t just wake up and run as my heart feels like. I have to mentally work myself up and mostly stick to a schedule. Of course I can still be flexible day-to-day, but I will have more goals and targets to get through in a week than run X amount of miles.