Training for a (Sprint) Triathlon

That One Time I Did a Sprint Triathlon

I completed my first sprint triathlon yesterday in 1:48:09 (that would be one hour, 48 minutes). I felt pretty good about that time, and it was nice a split between my target (<2:00) and my reach (1:30). Overall, I think the swim part was the easiest, probably because I was the most worried about it and put the most effort into getting ready for it. Swimming is also the first part of the triathlon, so I was still fresh and feeling energized. I felt really good on the transition to the bike, but had some issues with actual ride itself. I didn't have an outright mechanical failure, but after the race I noticed that my back tire was skewed relative to the frame. This caused the tire to rub up against the frame and no doubt cost me some time. I taped a Clif Shot Bloks to my bike, which was a good idea; I didn’t not have water, which was a bad idea.

The transition from bike to run was pretty easy. All I had to do was dump my bike and helmet and off I went. The first part of the run was Suuuuucky, with a capital “S”. My legs didn’t take the transition to well. I walked for a bit so I could reorganize my thoughts and energy then started running again, pacing behind another runner and just focusing on forward progress. The last 2K were much better than the previous three and I felt pretty strong for those.

I finished 931st overall (out of 1104) and 29th (out of 31) for my division (males 20-24)

My swim time was 16:36 (1:53/100 yards, placed 19/31)
My bike time was 55:42 (12.93 MPH, placed 31/31)
My run time was 31:22 (10:06/mile, placed 28/31)

My swim to bike transition time was 3:21 (placed 21/31)
My bike to run transition time was 1:08 (placed 4/31)

If you look at those numbers and do some extrapolating, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to shave 10 to 15 minutes off my time for just biking with a properly aligned wheel (I was passed by practically everyone). I also need to work more on my running after biking transition (not the actual in-the-pit transition, but running after biking 12 miles).

Pictures will come soon (mom still has them on the camera).

See also: Raw Race Results


New Shoes (for running)

I decided the other day that if I was really serious about this running business, I better get some dedicated running shoes. Previously, I had been using my trusty New Balance 993, a great cross training, high-mileage shoe that I actually have been and continue to use as my everyday shoe for the last several years.

It works great as my day-to-day shoe, but I find it lacking during my running1

After crowd sourcing some ideas, I decided to check out Road Runner Sports.

Road Runner has some cool technology toys that show how pressure is distributed along your feet and how you walk. If you’ve never been in to Road Runner before, the first thing they’ll have you do is measure your feet (my right foot is a 1/2 size larger than my left); then they’ll have you stand on the pressure pad to see your weight distribution and pressure points; finally, they’ll have you run on the treadmill. This allows them to figure out what shoe will fit you best.

I have flat, over-pronated feet, with a slight preference to my right side.

I tried on a couple different types of shoes, but eventually settled on the New Balance 1225 with RRS Road Runner Sport Control insoles and I love them!

They salesperson also showed me a new way to tie my shoes so my heel wouldn’t move up and down as much when I stepped:

Lace as normal until one eyelet remains on each side. Draw the lace straight up on the outside of the shoe and bring it through the last eyelet. This will create a loop. Repeat on the other side. Cross each lace over the tongue, thread it through the opposite loop, and tie. The loops help to cinch in the material around your ankle to prevent your heel from slipping without making the rest of your shoe any tighter.

(click the link and scroll down to see a video)

My feet don’t hurt as much and my knees and hips are doing much better.

  1. this is probably due to the fact that it’s my everyday shoe and generally wear the crap out of them, not some fatal design flaw in the shoe. I wore this shoe for 62 straight days while literally walking all around Europe last year and it was fantastic. 

Race Results and Andrew Signs Up for a Sprint Triathlon

I ran my first ever race a month and a half ago, the St. Patrick’s Day Dash. Here’s me running the race:

Photo by Al Cruise. ©2010

My official stats are:
Bib number: 9885
Overall place: 2844 out of 7892
Division place (Males 22-25): 170 out of 267
Gender place: 1799 out of 3529
Time: 36:241
Pace: 9:35

Not to bad for my first go. I didn’t hit my target of 8 minute miles, but I think part of that was due to the vertical inclination of the race (which I created using this Path Profiler):

Ignore the 4.47 miles, that’s incorrect. It was closer to 3.7 miles.

I had one little rest towards the top of the climb, but other than that I felt really good about my time and I was amazingly consistent given the vertical nature of my climb. I’m pretty sure the path around Green Lake doesn’t vary in altitude by more than 10 feet. Also, my Nike+ needs to be calibrated again…it keeps over estimating my runs by about 20%, which I feel is ridiculous.

After my big race, I took a week off and then ran one day. Then took the next month off, mostly because I was lazy and didn’t have a reason to run (I don’t enjoy running for the sake of running).

I do like competition though, so I signed up for the Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon at Seafair Sprint Triathlon. Am I crazy?! Probably.

It’s a 0.5 miles swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run. And it takes place on July 18th at 7am in the morning!

I’m not actually entirely sure how I’m going to train for this. I don’t even have a bicycle. I think the good news is that I can swim2.

My plan for now is to pick up running again, which I started yesterday with a run around the long loop of Green Lake, and then intermix bicycle and swim training. Lingering questions include:

  • Can I actually swim 0.5 miles in open water?
  • How do transitions works?
  • How long will this event take me? Early estimates are looking at close to two hours.

There are some training clinics I’m going to be going to, but I wonder if they will be enough for this endeavor. Anyway, expect future updates here. And if you’ve ever done something like this, I am now taking any and all suggestions.

  1. Average time: 40:48 

  2. Back in the Day™ (circa 1995), I used to be on swim team. Most recently, I did a swim class in college, but that was four years ago (What?! How could that be four years ago?)