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Old 04-14-2006, 01:49 PM   #1
Jeff Griffin
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Hey everybody. I am going to be entering a triathlon in late june. I've been doing Crossfit consistantly for almost a year now. in fact June will mark the first year.
I was wondering what kind of training I should do to prepare for it in conjunction with the WOD.
The distances are Half mile swim across the lake and back, 5.2 mile run twice around the lake and 21 mile bikeride through town.
just looking for some training advice as this is my first Tri.
Thanks Jeff.
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:05 PM   #2
Chris MacFarlane
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Is the run road or trail? Is the course flat or hills?

On top of that what is your present swim mileage, bike mileage and run mileage per week?
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:16 PM   #3
Charlie Jackson
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If you've never done a tri, be sure to do some open water swims and prepare yourself for a mass swim start where people are swimming over you and kicking you in the face. Try to jump on someone's feet and draft during the swim. Makes it a lot easier.

Practice running off the bike too. Ride 21miles and then do a 5 mile run so you know what it is going to feel like. Then break it up into shorter distances so you're not over training. You can get your legs used to running off the bike pretty quickly but if you go into the tri having never run off a bike, you're going to wind up walking and losing a lot of time.

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Old 04-14-2006, 04:50 PM   #4
Cole Hanley
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Use the search function at the top of the page for "triathlon" and you'll find a ton of excellent advice - most of it written by Eugene. I did a couple tris last summer and everything Eugene advises is dead on.

For emphasis I'll add my two strongest recommendations:
1. Do as much swimming in open water as you possibly can - even if it costs you a lot of time running or biking. Last year when I was warming up for my start I helped rescue a Sprint distance guy that panicked in 2' waves on Lake Erie. You don't want to be that guy.
2. Charlie says "practice running off the bike." Absolutely! A classic tri workout is bricks: bike-run-bike-run... I really think some of the CrossFit workouts that combine 400s with deadlifts or thrusters or whatever should really help this transition and I'm looking forward to testing this hypothesis.
Have fun.
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:16 PM   #5
Eugene R. Allen
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Jeff - Your race is more than a sprint but just a bit less than Olympic. With the base you have you can easily be prepared to hammer in June. As Cole mentioned I have written quite a few posts about this topic that you will find easily using the search function.

The answer to your question is quite simple...how do you train for a triathlon? Swim, bike and run. The general tri program consists of 3 workouts per week per sport so that would add 9 workouts to whatever you are already doing. You don't need that much. You do need to get into the pool and refine your swim stroke though. Some open water swimming is important but stroke perfection is key. If you are uncomfortable with the boxing match that the swim start will be, start on the outside of the group. If you are a good swimmer or are tolerant of the Maytag mayhem start front and center to shorten the distance to the first turn and make the others swim over or around you. Find some fast feet and draft. If you find the right set of foot bubbles off which to draft you will go faster and save energy to boot. Learn to sight properly on the buoys to avoid swimming in onther than a straight line. Swim long, swim on your side and swim balanced. Check out the Total Immersion swim program and do what Terry Laughlin says.

Got a good bike? Can you stay aero for 21 miles? Work on your back flexibility and learn to stay small and aero and on the rivet. Hopefully you have a tri geometry bike with a 76+ degree seat post so you can be forward of a typical road bike set up. Get yourself properly fit to your bike...this is critical. At 18 mph 80% of your effort on the bike is in overcoming wind resistance. The more aero you are the more of your effort is put to the pavement. Get Spinervals workouts from Troy Jacobsen. They are CF workouts on a bicycle. Very high intensity and bike specific. Ride often and ride hard.

And run off the bike. After all your bike workouts throw on your running store fitted, proper for your type of foot running shoes and go for at least a mile long transition run. You need to teach your legs to move blood from the quads to the hammies when switching from bike to run so it doesn't come as a shock to you on race day...though it will anyway becaus you will be riding harder. Do bricks...bike/run specific workouts. Joe Friel addresses this and other tri related topics in his books about tri training. Your running resource is www.posetech.com. The Pose technique is to running as the Total Immersion program by Terry Laughlin is to swimming. "Practice" running, treat it like the skill that it is. Don't just go out and mindlessly run.

Practice what to do at T1 and T2. Be sure to walk to your transition spot from the swim finish so you know what it looks like and you don't run around like a tard tryig to find your stuff. Don't hang a baloon at the end of your rack, that is just so ***...not that there's anythig wrong with that. The baloon thing is out though. Just check out your landmarks and know where to go. Pam on the wrists and ankles of your wetsuit, clipless pedals, learn to eat on the bike, know how to change a flat, put sun screen on before the swim, wear a hat and sun glasses when you run, stay hydrated.

After you do your search and read the boatload of other posts I have done about tri training, please feel free to come back and ask any specific questions you have.
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Old 04-17-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
Jeff Griffin
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Thanks for all the great info everyone.
Chris,
The run is trail and the course is mostly flat a couple big hills. My current training is basicly crossfit.
Eugene,
Are you saying 9 workouts on top of the WOD or cycling down on WOD's and focusing on 9 Tri workouts a week? If your talking about doing 9 workouts a week in addition to the WOD I'm in for a long painfull two months.
Also I was wondering if you can give me some info on a good bike. What type of bike to use and sizing and all that. I went in to a bike store today and was overwellmed by all the choices.
Again thanks for all the great info.
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Old 04-18-2006, 12:45 AM   #7
Eugene R. Allen
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Jeff - A person not doing CF would generally get by with the 9 workouts a week and comfortably do all the way up to a half-Ironman...in this case by comfortably I mean being able to complete the event without injury. A race of 1.2 miles, 56 miles and 13.1 miles is painful no matter your level of conditioning...unless you take it on as an all day affair.

I discovered last year that backing way off on my tri specific training in favor of CF workouts made for worse times in the same races I had done the year before. My Wildflower half Iron time was more than 20 minutes slower than in the previous year. Long distance racing requires long distance preparation and CF is not sufficient for that kind of event.

However...for shorter distances, sprint for sure and maybe even Olympic, CF is much more applicable because the level of intensity in that distance of racing is so much higher and in that way similar to CF training.

To begin with you need to swim for sure...CF training will do nearly nothing for your swimming ability...only swimming helps there. You need stroke improvement practice as I mentioned above. Swim a lot and get as much instruction there as you can. Drill every time you swim.

On the bike you want some over distance rides of 40 or 50 miles now and then to get your legs used to that kind of effort level, but you also need sprint work and some sustained TT efforts. Time trail training is you against the clock. Find a 10 mile course and once a week hammer it and shoot for a better time.

You can spend a fortune on bikes Jeff. I have a Litespeed Vortex with Specialized 3 spoke wheels and Dura Ace gruppo that cost over $7000. Don't get that for triathlon. I also have a Softride Rocket TT in 650c that I like much better for time trials and triathlon...so long as it is not really hilly. I use the lighter, road bike geometry Litespeed for hilly courses (Wildflower, Alcatraz, Pacific Crest) and the Softride for flatter, faster courses. I would highly recommend the Softride...aero, comfortable and fast.

I'm 5' 10" tall and weight 170. I have a 32 inch inseam and I ride a 56 cm bike. Sizing is hyper critical and overshadows all other biking considerations. If you don't fit on it a $10,000 bike made out of lighter than air Unobtanium would be useless to you. Tri bikes and TT bikes have a more forward seatpost position and a correspondingly different head tube angle which makes the cockpit fitted better for extended riding in the aero position. You will want aerobars as well and might want to consider bar end shifters so you can shift while aero. If you really get into triathlon, a tri specific bike is a must. Things like 650 c wheels, seat mounted water bottle holders to get them out of the airflow, bar end shifters, and a forward seat angle are all tri typical bike changes that most any triathlete is set up with.

Lots of manufacturers make lots of different tri bikes from not so expensive to break the bank. If you give me a ballpark price for what you want to spend on a bike I can give you a better outline of what you can look for.

Quintanna Roo and Cervelo make some fabulous entry level bikes that are great values and will suit you for years. Carbon fiber and titanium are the hot ticket in bike material right now as they are very light and give a great road feel. Get clincher tires, not tubular. Tubular tires are considered slightly better but are a real pain to change, are messy (you have to glue them on) and are much more expensive. Clincher is the way to go.

Consider ordering the bike from a high end shop like Nytro or other tri shop. Great deals and waaaaaay more knowledge than most local bike shops that generally deal with MTB and road bikes but not the tri crowd.

I see you are way up north in Bellingham. South of you in the Seattle area is Speedy Reedy they can set you up there.

Back to the workouts. The WODs will do plenty to keep your general conditioning very high but you need some run specific work as well. You need some cruise interval running which is to say you run at your lactate threshold for two sets of 10 to 15 minutes and gradually up that to 3 sets of 20 minutes. Each of those intervals will have a 10 minute slower run in between to lower your HR and rest you up for the next set. Great stuff from Jack Daniels on this.

Get in the pool.
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:04 AM   #8
Bob Long
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Don't go to the triathlon dark side. Triathlon eats money like you wouldn't believe.
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