3 Things You Might Not Need For A Sprint Triathlon

Like most anxious little type As, I did a lot of research before my first sprint triathlon.  I googled my heart out, read some guides on Beginner Triathlete, and went to a few Triathlon Clinics at a local (okay it was a chain) sports store.

While I did learn a lot, at the end of the day, the triathlon clinic was there to sell me shit I might not need. Nice to have, but not need to have. Now, first I am no expert in triathlons. I do however enjoy running, biking and swimming. To date, I’ve only done one and while I did not take home any age group prize, I consider it a success. I didn’t drown and I made it to the finish line. In the end, unless you’re an elite athlete, that’s all that matters for any race you do. I do races because they’re fun, not because it’s my job (because otherwise I might have to starve and beg for change on the corner).

Like any addictive habit, its easy to empty out your wallet into many negatives collecting gear for fear of missing out, or just things that are nice to have. In the end, to find a balance between everything I love, I try to first separate what I need to have and what’s nice to have. Sure my collection of nice to have has grown, but it’s been growing over three years, and not in one day. Maybe it’s the accountant in me, but I don’t have a Warren Buffer trust fund to inherit, so I must spend my pennies carefully.

You Do Not Need a Trisuit – One piece, two pieces, & all the brands are hard to tell what you need. Sure, they’re nice to have and if you plan on doing more triathlons, they will be a nice investment, but if you’re only planning on doing 1 a year or less, I don’t think they’re required.

I wore a sports bra and a pair of shorts I love for all three legs of the triathlon. I ended up putting a running shirt on for the bike and run to avoid sunburning my ghostly skin that sees no sun. Otherwise, I have no clothing issues, even if I wasn’t wearing $180 trisuit on.

You Don’t Need a Wetsuit – Okay this is only half true since it depends on the weather, time of year, and where you’re swimming. I’m an awful swimmer and I didn’t find much advantage in the buoyancy for a short distance.  Only benefit to me would have been warmth if it was too cold.  However, if you are swimming midsummer in a pond or lake where the water is in the 70s, you don’t need a wetsuit. In fact, unless you’re A. used to swimming in a wetsuit (the sleeves can be constricting) and B. great at pulling it off in transition areas, it might just slow you down. After all, the swim leg is probably the shortest in a sprint triathlon ranging from 1/4th to 1/2 a mile.  Also, if the water is too warm, you might not even be allowed to use said wetsuit.

Don’t rent one out on race day just because the race company keeps sending you emails about the rental option and wetsuit benefits unless you tried it out at least once the day before the race. Just as with any sport, you shouldn’t try anything new on race day.  If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

And best advantage of no wetsuit? I didn’t have to worry about forgetting to retie my time strap on my leg. It might not look sexy, but neither do wetsuits ;).

You Don’t Need a Fancy Road Bike – Yes a road bike will be faster than a mountain bike. A fancier road bike will be faster than a lower tier road bike, but at the end of the day it is the carpenter and not that tools that make it work. I saw a kid blast past me on a mountain bike, and while I didn’t blast past many, I definitely passed more than a handful of roadbikes during my race.

A beginner road bike can start at $1,000 with everything included and unless you’re planning on going longer distance, and love road biking, it’s not really worth the investment. I’ve had my hybrid for 5 years and only recently upgraded to a roadbike because I wanted to start biking more than 20 miles at a time.

Similar to the roadbike, you don’t need the clip in pedals and bike shoes if you’re not used to them. It’s extra time at transition and clipping in and out can be tricky if you’re not used to it.

In conclusion there is a cost/benefit to every piece of gear from the bike to shirt to the Garmin. Things that are nice to have tend to be for a reason that’s beneficial in one way or another. However, it’s important to not get lost in the gear and stick to the basics to enjoy the sport. Or at least your budget. As with running, the further distance your triathlon goes, the more beneficial certain gear will be. If you’re doing an Ironman, I’m pretty sure you need to be pretty talented or miserable to get through it without the three things listed above.

One thing we can all agree that you need on race day is fun!

What’s your favorite piece of Triathlon gear?

Throwback Thursday

I don’t have a real post other than a reminder to eat your veggies and go food shopping. I’m realizing that unlike high school & college, I don’t survive well on frozen food.  I’ve been low on energy and lack of good food is to blame.  But worry not, I finally got our fridge restocked just in time for the weekend!

My roommate and I were talking about teenagers and how they dress these days. It went something along the lines of “tisk tisk kids these days…” then I started thinking about my teenage years.  I miss them!

Jelly bracelets for the win?

And that one time I tried to dye my hair red and it turned to orange. That was fun!

O and wearing XL t-shirts… yea totally cool.

And my cat growing up was Rijik (may he RIP). He helped me cheat in monopoly and loved converse shoes.

 

Throwback share! Tell me something about your High School years!

NYC Marathon Training Week 2 – A reminder of mental strength for the long run

I picked up the mileage this week, unfortunately it came with a price. A huge lack of cross training. No biking, no swimming, no Jillian Michaels.  Well that’s a lie. I did one other thing. 50 chair leg step ups per leg that 5 days later I am still whining about a lot, a bit.

I did do some shopping though!

It’s a Jamis Ventura Race from EMS. My prior hybrid is also a Jamis from EMS, so I guess I’m a loyal customer at this point. I found a review of it and maybe once comfortable I might upgrade, but I don’t expect to be the next Lance Armstrong, so I think I’ll be okay. Unfortunately, especially the lower end of the market, road bikes are not designed well for petite females. I tested a few models and besides there being a limited amount of good bikes in 48cm to begin with, my options were slim to none that ended up hitting my crotch more often than I would like a stop.  Yes, crotch beating is not what I want from cycling.  If only more bike companies would listen.

Through a mix up, I also got 100 gear bucks on a purchase of $150 so I purchased some bike shoes, and my first pair of bike shorts with the padded butt! Now I’m waiting for my pedals to arrive. I ordered these shimano pedals from amazon. I know, they’re not the fastest, but I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to 100% clip-in style.

Anyways, enough gear ramble… I’ll resume once I get myself more situated. Last week:

Monday – 7 Miles

8:19 Pace Incline 3

Tuesday – 8 Miles

7:47 pace Incline 2, my fastest run on the workmill yet.

Wednesday – 13.2 Miles

This run ended up on an average 7:57 pace. It was just one of those perfect nights where the weather finally cooled off to perfection. I did one thing different. I reversed my path a little. Started on flat 5 miles before adding a hill that I usually start with. I need to remember to warm up, not race straight out, my runs are always better that way even if the first few miles feel boring.

Thursday 7 Miles

8:08 Pace on incline 2. I was only going to do 5 miles, but legs felt happy so I added two more.

Friday – Rest

I wanted to run, but decided it was best to rest up my legs before my weekend long run.

Saturday – 6 Miles

6 Trail miles 13:09 pace at the Fells with a great group of TARC friends. We even had a picnic.

Sunday – 16 Miles

Sunday was a reminder that I’m mentally stronger than I think I am. I waited too long to run (bad sleep, lack of food, lazy) and before i knew it, it was too hot to run. So instead I decided I will run in the evening. Well at 5:30 as soon as I stepped outside, it poured rain. I’m like okay, I’ve run marathons in the rain, I can do this. I kept running, then I heard thunder and decided not to wait for the lightning. How far did I get? .7 miles.

Okay, maybe I could do some miles in my basement treadmill with no AC. I put on a fan, slowed my pace down a lot and got to 11 miles total before I couldn’t bear to be sweating so much anymore. By the time I crawled out of my womanhole, I noticed the weather looked perfect outside! I chugged some orange juice with a strawberry banana GU (yea not a bright a idea) and was on my way. The last 5 miles were pure suffering of lets just get through this. I was running 9:05s on a path I’ve run 7:30s on and can usually run at 8 without much of an effort. None the less, I came home smiling. You know what, I put one foot in front of the other and while I wasn’t getting the pace I wanted, I got my 16 miles done.

Average pace, not counting my break was around 8:37. However I did take a 5-10 minute break after the basement to cool off and hydrate.

It’s amazing that even with a history of so many miles behind me, no run is ever guaranteed. There will be days when 5 miles or 20 miles will be struggle; however, I just need to remind myself, one foot in front of the other and it will get done, even if it’s slower than expected.

 

How was your training last week?

NYC Marathon Training Plan – Why I don’t follow training plans

Yup! I’ve caught ironman fever! Sure I don’t own a bike and I just learned how to swim but I’m already daydreaming about crossing the finish line. I want to be amazing just like this lovely and this lovely! I got ambitions and that can be good, however, I am taking a step back.

In a little over 3 months, I have my priority fall race. NYC marathon. My desires to run ultras and Ironmans and whatever other crazy dreams I have for my future will need to take a step back.

While I tend to run many races, this might be my one and only time I run New York marathon. Mostly the lottery ($11) and registration fee of a small fortune ($260+), will probably keep me from coming back to the familiar streets of NYC. Besides, about 11 miles of the course is in Brooklyn, and I can run that for free when I visit my parents.

Instead, I will attempt to commit myself to a new PR. I want to make the most of my NYC marathon opportunity. My current PR has been undefeated for over a year at 3:24. I will have obstacles. Many of which involve long work nights and weekends since Sept/Oct is my busy season for my job. The other obstacle while I’m less busy is summer heat and how running a 20 miler in the summer is miserable. I don’t enjoy it at all, no matter how hard I try to pretend I can run through the heat. However, my 10Ks, and half marathon times have gotten much better since 2012. Therefore, logically, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to PR in a marathon with enough training.

No Real reason for this photo, I just wanted to break up all the letters

Therefore, I need a plan. Whenever, I’m asked what my marathon training plan is, I always kind of mumble that I don’t have one. I have two general ideas.

1. Weekly mileage I want to hit

2. Weekly long run I want to achieve

and everything else is filler. True, I try to get in a medium long run, and a tempo run (or in my case pseudo tempo run attempts) and that’s about all.

Due to a certain personalty disorder I have never been able to follow a detailed plan, itinerary, schedule or anything. Marathon training, hasn’t changed that about me. For the most part, if I have a 10 miler on a day my legs feel like crap and a 5 miler on a day my legs feel great and I force myself to stick to said schedule, I will end up miserable and most likely injured. Instead, I follow a mostly intuitive mileage schedule with only one real schedule run: the long run.

I know there are many theories out there, and I am no expert, but for me, the one thing I cannot skimp on when training for a marathon or longer distance is the long run. Hitting those targets will either make or break my race. If my longest long run before a race is 16 miles, than 26.2 miles for me will be purely miserable. Would I finish? Yes, but I’ve come to run, not walk a race. Therefore, long runs, I need to be able to do them quick and easy like they are just another longer runch!

There are about 15 weeks before race day and the long runs will be done on either Saturday or Sunday but for simplicity I have it the Sunday date listed.

Week 1 – July 28 – 15 Miles – This ended up being a complete disaster but I am moving on

Week 2 August 4 – 16 Miles

Week 3 August 11 – 18 Miles

Week 4 August 18 – 20 Miles

Week 5 August 25 – 18 Miles

Week 6 September 1 – 22 Miles

Week 7 September 8 – 24 Miles

Week 8 September 15 – 20 Miles

Week 9 September 22 – 26.2 Marathon – Adirondack Marathon – Road

Week 10 September 29 – 20 Miles

Week 11 October 6 – 24 Miles

Week 12 October 13 – 31 Miles – TARC Fall Classic 50K – Trail

Week 13 October 20 – 24 Miles

Week 14 October 27 – 18 Miles

Week 15 November 3 – 26.2 Miles – NYC Marathon

Seems easy enough? Right?

 

Do you follow training plans or just wing it for races?