Summer Triathlon – Part III: What I’m Learning

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“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek

 

“What are you learning?” I was asked this recently by one of my sister’s. With less than 3 weeks until the proverbial gun goes off, I have been through several experiences en route to this competition. Through this process there are several aspects I’ve learned along the way. Five stand out in particular, and they are:

  1. Injuries: Importance of pacing myself
    – In each of the 3 tri sports I have injured myself as a result of pushing myself too hard during the training sessions. This results in losing days when I could be training as it takes time for the injury to heal
    – To avoid this I’ve learned to ease in to each sport and focus at only going 70% instead of 100%
  2. Ask questions: Talk to other people
    – Seems obvious, but this can go a long way in understanding the sport, training ideas, diet, health & equipment suggestions
    – I talked to family, friends, health experts, elite athletes, those who have done triathlon’s before & found their insights to be quite helpful
  3. Get a coach: For those extra “training eyes”
    – This will help you improve in those sports you’re hoping to get better in to feel confident in your abilities & give you that competitive edge
    – For me, I got a swim coach to help with my stroke and technique, and it has been invaluable to my growth as a swimmer
  4. “Competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch court, the space between your ears.” – Bobby Jones

     

  5. Write your goal: Create a goal and WRITE IT DOWN – Something powerful happens when you write down on paper what’s important to you. It shows you’re committed to see it through to completion, intentional to follow-through at each stage, and focused to do what needs to be done – My goal is: “I want to compete in a Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, May 19, 2013 in Airdrie”
  6. Invest in equipment: Essential for your best performance
    – I went out and purchased a good pair of swimming goggles that were comfortable to wear and would prevent water from getting in my eyes while swimming
    – For goggles to fit well they’re supposed to stick to your face, on both eyes, after you let go from holding them up to your face. I went through 10+ goggles at SportChek & Swimco until I found the right fit
    – The goggles I’m using from Swimco are the “Aqua Sphere Vista Smoke Lens”

swim_goggle

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Summer Triathlon – Part II: Planning for a Tri

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“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”   – Paul Bryant

 

As I set out on the endeavor of training for a triathlon I quickly realized the importance of planning and preparing. I had a lot of questions about the sport, and I would like to share some of these practicalities in this post. Though this is not an exhaustive list, here are some factors that have helped me as I prepare for race day.

To begin with, there were some basic questions I asked myself as I played with the idea of signing up for a triathlon:

1. What triathlons are available and when are they? (For this I went to the 2013 race schedule)

2. What type of tri would I do? (To see the differences, see my 1st blog here )

3. What are the costs involved? (I.e. Registration & sign-up, equipment, rentals, etc)

4. Do I have enough time to train?

 

Once I had determined which race I wanted to do, I was able to get more specific with the research.

First, I searched Google as there is TONS of info on the Internet about triathlons for all levels. By putting in any search keywords related to “triathlons” I was able to quickly grasp the sport and gain an overall understanding of what’s involved.

Among many others, here are some websites I found to be helpful: ITU & ATA

Second, I went to YouTube to watch some videos to gain an overall understanding of the sport, as well as techniques I could learn for the various aspects of the tri (swim, bike, run, transitions).

I watched swim videos of elite Olympic swimmers to learn the technique, as swimming is the most technique-oriented sport of the 3.

A good tri video to watch is this one

One person I enjoyed learning from is Stephen Taylor, who is a professional endurance coach. You can search his name in YouTube, and one video I enjoyed is stamina.

 

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Third, I made some calls to inquire about the following:
1. Indoor swimming pools for the best place to train for the swim. It’s hard to find pools with open lane times & I eventually decided on the U of C pool for training.

2. Clothing and equipment for the tri. For this I called a triathlon store in Calgary, Try It. They are located right across from the Bow River, and I had an excellent customer service experience. If you’re looking for clothing and equipment for your tri, I would highly recommend stopping in as they’re very helpful and offer great tips! Check out their website here

3. Places to rent road bikes. I have a mountain bike and would definitely want to be riding a road bike for the tri! I found out that both the U of C Outdoor Centre & Sports Rent rent road bikes for reasonable prices.

4. Bow Cycle for bike tune-up. Always a good idea before the competition to make sure the bike is in top shape.

In addition, I discovered it was a good idea to assess my abilities for each of the 3 sports. This would be important to know what sports I’d need to spend more training on, and where I’m already good at. For this I used a ranking system:

My abilities for the 3 sports:

  • Swim – 3rd best sport
  • Bike – 1st best sport
  • Run – 2nd best sport

I found this was good to do at the beginning as I could gauge my abilities to prioritize where to focus my training on. For me, since swimming is my weakest sport, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the pool swimming lengths and improving my stroke to feel comfortable and build endurance for the big day.

Next week, I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned through this journey. See you then!

Summer Triathlon – Part I: Intro

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“I swim in the sea of silver light.
I cycle along the road of gold delight.
I run with the smile of the beyond.”   

– Sri Chinmoy

 

Last summer, I went travelling around Europe after finishing my post-secondary education. This summer, I’ll be competing in my 1st triathlon. I’m all signed up & ready to go!

The race is on May 19th, 2013 and will be at the Genesis Place in Airdrie.

I thought I would share about my journey as I train for this triathlon (tri) and invite those who are interested to come along for the ride – no pun intended!

For this 1st post in the series, I’ll talk about the sport in general and give a high-level overview for those readers who may not know that much about triathlons (I know I certainly didn’t until recently!)

Leading up to the event, I plan on posting other updates, including: Planning for a Tri, What I’m learning, and possibly other topics as they come up.

To start with: Why am I doing this? (You might be asking this – I know I have, especially during some intense training sessions!)

There are 3 reasons:

  1. To challenge myself
  2. My love for sports and the opportunity to try a new sport
  3. I’ve wanted to do a triathlon for a few years, and now is a good time to “get ‘er done!”

To begin with, a triathlon consists of: Swimming, biking, and running (in that order).

There are 2 transitions in a triathlon race:

a. Transition 1 (T1): Swimming to biking

b. Transition 2 (T2): Biking to running

So, there are actually 5 parts of a triathlon (with each part being timed): Swim, T1, bike, T2, run.

As for distances of a tri, there are 5 standard race distances, with the last 4 being the most common:

  1. Try-a-Tri
  2. Sprint
  3. Olympic
  4. Ironman – Half
  5. Ironman – Full

I’ll be doing the Sprint tri distance.

See the chart below for the distances in each type of triathlon.

 

Swim

Bike

Run

Try-a-Tri

500 m

15 km

4 km

Sprint

750 m

20 km

5 km

Olympic

1500 m

40 km

10 km

Ironman – Half

1.9 km

90 km

21 km

Ironman – Full

3.8 km

180 km

42 km

*Check out Alberta Triathlon Association & Total Triathlon for more info.

In Part II, I’ll talk more about “Planning for a Tri”, so be sure to come back!

How To Create a Table of Contents in Word 2010

Ever write a long paper/report (which you spent hours planning, writing, and many more hours editing) and just before you’re about to submit it, you suddenly realize you need to create a Table of Contents (TOC) to give it that “professional” look?? In a panic, you then spend as much time searching Google on how to create one of those silly things as you did writing the entire paper! Here is a simple 7-step approach to follow to ensure you have that TOC when you need it most.

1. Create heading’s for your paper (titles for each section or main idea) that you want to show up in your TOC. This is the structure to your paper. You’ll need to do some planning, organizing and thinking through how you want to communicate your thoughts on paper.

Tip: You can create a TOC at any point during your writing! (at the start, in the middle, or at the end)

2. Press “Ctrl + Enter” to create a blank page you want your TOC to appear on

3. Put cursor where you want the TOC to be

4. Go to Reference, select the Table of Contents dropdown, and choose what style you want

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When you get this message, just press OK

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If nothing shows up, don’t freak out! We’ll fix this in the next step!

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5. Select and highlight each heading title, and on the Home tab choose “Heading 1” in the Styles box (This is how you get your headings to show up in the TOC)

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Tip: I like to select one heading at a time, change it to Heading 1 and update the TOC to make sure I get everything I need (You can do it all at once, no problem)

6. Now, go to your TOC and click “Update Table…” (You may have to move your mouse around over it, or click in the TOC box to get it to show up! – This tip is on me, you’re welcome!)

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Select “Update entire table” & click OK

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Tip: Page numbers are automatically included when the TOC is created, even if you haven’t set them up yet. (To learn how to setup page numbers, see the Bonus Tip below!)

Congratulations! You now have titles in your TOC!!

7. Continue working on your document, remembering to SAVE your work often & any changes you make going forward repeat #6 (to update your TOC – mainly to keep the page numbers up-to-date for each section)

Bonus Tip!!

How to add the infamous page numbers (and get them to ACTUALLY work)

1. Go to Insert
2. Chose “Page Number”
3. Open the down arrow and chose where to put page numbers (I.e. Top of page, Bottom of page – For me, I like my page numbers on the bottom right, which is the 3rd option, “Plain Number 3”, under “Bottom of Page” selection)

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4. To get Page Number 1 from not showing up on page 1

In the “Header & Footer Tools” toolbar, in the “Options” box, check “Different First Page”

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Page numbering begins on page 2

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