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!

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