Today we'll be stepping away from specific workouts, recovery modalities, and all the other topics you've come to love. Today I am going to discuss my own introduction to the world of triathlon.
I knew it would be inevitable, working at Podium has drawn me into the sport of triathlon. With each test and movement screen I became more and more interested how these athletes were able to balance work, life, and an impressive training volume. I've always been interested in the physiology of endurance athletes, I just never thought I would be one myself.
I've always been against steady state cardio training. For years I focused on strength and conditioning with as little cardio as possible. In an effort to try something new and alleviate some of my training bias I signed up for a race, The Man Run 10K for Prostate Cancer in November of 2016. I trained for the race, hit my goal, and had fun. I was shocked that I was able to run 6 miles in under an hour(54:36). The journey continued when my girlfriend challenged me to sign up for the Knoxville Half Marathon. She's way too fast for me, but on occasion slows down to run with me. Again, I trained for the half, hit my goal(1:53:15) and had fun. I was starting to notice a trend. I signed up for a few trail races around town and unfortunately a trio of Spartan races. None of my performances were Podium worthy, unless you count running as a Clydesdale, in which case I topped the podium for the big boys at the Big South Fork 10k trail race.
I was becoming an average runner.
On to the next discipline, cycling. In a stroke of luck Dr. Sprouse and I are about the same height and he had an extra bike. I took advantage of the spare Trek and got to spinning. The miles began accumulating quickly as I worked my way to the boulevard and beyond.
In the spirit of expedition I jumped into a masters swim class to see what I could do. The answer, very little. This spurred my decision to join a gym with a pool and to get a few lessons. After scheduling, un-scheduling, and rescheduling lessons I've just been swimming alone.
Now it's time to put it all together.
I chose to create an Annual Training Plan in Training Peaks. Lana Burl did a great series of talks about Training Peaks secrets that I was lucky enough to easedrop on at the office. This inspired me to bite the bullet and sign up for a premium account so I could geek out on all the numbers. My weeks have been pretty consistent and I have been slowly building fitness across the three disciplines. Unsurprisingly I love seeing how the different metrics CTL, TSS, Form, and fatigue interact as I progress through a training cycle. I have been cycling the most, working on my swim technique and likely neglecting the proper amount of running. Honesty is key. Its been a joy and a challenge balancing training for three different sports. Luckily I work infront of a treadmill and bike trainer so this certainly helps. I'm also privileged to be surrounded by a supporting culture of encouragement and performance. The members of the Podium racing team, Lana & Chris, and of course Dr. Sprouse have all been great resources for a new multi-sport athlete. It also doesn't hurt that my girlfriend, Megan, just won her first ultra and consistently puts down fast times and big miles on a weekly basis.
Now it's race week.
My first race will be the Hammer Sprint Triathlon on May 6th. I know several other athletes competing in this race, which is quite comforting. What isn't comforting is the prospect of very low water temps but luckily I've invested in a wetsuit. Speaking of investments, triathlon comes with quite the large startup cost. Luckily I spread it out over several months and I know I'm not alone when I say I have zero desire to see a full receipt for my multi-sport antics.
I'm excited about the race but I've come to realize that the biggest part of this sport isn't the actual event. It's everything else. It's the weekend group rides, the week day solo runs, and the cold pools. It's the thought of shaving your legs to save a few seconds and the practice of packing your bike up as quickly as possible to go run.
Hopefully everything goes well Sunday, if not this will be my chance to use the "first timer" excuse.