How do you train for a triathlon, even if it is a small one? 10 round trips in the pool, 12.2 miles on the bike, and finally a 3.1 mile jog. I'm leaning towards taking that on in Eagle River, AK May 31st. At the very least I'm training for it, and it's all about the journey rather than the destination, right?
I'm told by those that know that the transition from cycling to runnng is the real stumbling block. Moving from swimming to cycling is merely shifting from upper body muscles to leg muscles. You'll be huffing and puffing for sure, but you'll have those moments to let your shoulders recover. Also, cycling is my strong suit. 12 miles is a breeze. But the cycling to running transition involves moving from leg muscles to slightly different leg muscles, with plenty of overlap in the middle.
So on Saturday we head over to Elmendorf Air Force Base and I try to tear through 20 lengths as quickly as possible with no break between laps. I'm at about 17 minutes right now, which isn't too fast. After a few laps of freestyle I end up alternating breast and back strokes to best control my breathing. I'm hoping to get down to 14 minutes, which seems achievable.
Running 3.1 miles is actually pretty comfortable for me these days. Most days of the week I run at least that amount, though I only work on the cycling transition a few days a week. I'll pedal the trainer for 7 miles or so, get off and spend a minute to wipe it down, and then jump right on the treadmill for the 3 mile run. I usually walk 1/10 of a mile and then start into my jog. I can't wait for the snow to melt enough for me to ride outside and then turn around for a jog. Those will be the real miles. But for now I'll do my training on machines and keep building up my strength and endurance.
Do I train to exceed the distances? Or do I train to maximize my times at those set distances? I'm doing a little of both. I know this is an introductory level triathlon and I could survive it if I had to do it tomorrow, but I want to do it and walk away with a spring in my step and some gas in the tank. Also, all of this training is a great way to shake off any wedding planning stress or annoyances the given day gives me.