Transitioning to Triathlon

I set up this training year into three “seasons”: the spring running season, the summer triathlon season, and the fall running season.

With the completion of the FANS ultra, my spring running season essentially came to a close. I have a month off (oddly, my next event is a half marathon). But between now and October, I have four sprint triathlons, one sprint duathlon, one 5k fun run, and the half marathon that I just mentioned.

This will come as a nice “break”. The ultra was hard to train for and I have done no cross training all year. Since all of the upcoming events are shorter distances, the training volume will not be overwhelming. Until this past week, my bike had been on the trainer and I have not gone to the pool. That just changed.

I found myself back at the Monticello Community Center pool doing lengths. Nothing strenuous, just getting the “feel” of the water again. I had lost most of my upper body strength and it showed. I did four sets of .25 miles and I was huffing and puffing between the sets. With the longest swim event being under a half mile, I can keep my workouts down to a mile or less. I also found my way back to Elm Creek Park Reserve. I really love this place, but the endless loops last year was draining. This year, my longest ride in a competition will be 16.9 miles (instead of 112). Elm Creek has a beautiful and fairly hilly 15 mile loop. It also has a 14 mile out and back to Coon Rapids Dam (flatter, a little less scenic, but still beautiful). I will stick to a two hour ride or less (either a double loop, or a loop with an out and back). Afterwards, I can rack the bike and run to the closest picnic area and back (5k) which will give me the only brick workouts that I will need. This week’s brick was wonderful. The weather was ideal for cycling…low 70’s, not a cloud in the sky, light breeze, and no humidity. I was able to start at a much later time then last season (8am instead of 6am) and I was still done by eleven. Being a weekday morning, the trail traffic was light. It was my first time “handling” a bike in 9 months…and at was intimidating at first. I spent some time clipping in and out, mounting and dismounting, and getting used to shifting gears and steering again…but it all came back quickly enough. I could not get my bike computer to work for the first half of the ride…which worked out for the best. I could focus on the fundamentals of riding and the experience. Nature is so much better of a riding partner then movies on the trainer. I fell in love with riding again…and found myself disappointed that the season will be so short…just six training sessions in Elm Creek this year…

I think that one swim and one brick per week should be plenty. Aside from that, I will use the summer to complete a more traditional marathon training plan for my fall marathons (including the I-35 Challenge…two marathons, two states, in two days).

But, for now, it feels great to be back on the bike and back in the pool training simply for the joy of training…

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