This is an update on my triathlon training. I have kept up with some of the aspects of my plan, but not all. I have only lost a couple pounds, but I’m seeing a positive change in body composition. I have found that overall, though, I have fallen back to a focus on running. Although it’s not what I planned for or the primary purpose of this training, at least I’m still moving forward. Specifically, I completed more longer runs in the last few weeks, including a half marathon Sunday. The reasoning behind this fallback is multifaceted.
The number one reason for my focus on running is my sudden change in work schedule. I changed to a five by ten-week rather than a five by eight and a single ten-week shortly after starting my triathlon training. I found I couldn’t really adapt to the extra early start time. I have no problem running in the dark or exercising first thing in the morning, but I just couldn’t get everything in place. Swimming makes too much noise at 5am, and bicycling in the dark is dangerous. This led to me exercising on my two days off and the single day I go in around 11. Since there are three disciplines required in the triathlon, I began splitting the workouts between the three days. I enjoy the challenge of swimming, and I liken the peace of biking to running so as a whole I like the training.
The big issue with swimming for me is the counting of laps. To keep track of my workout and progress overall, I have to count in my head as I complete laps back and forth in a small pool. Having to count doesn’t leave me any time to think to myself like when I’m running. I also don’t have any way to listen to music like when I’m biking or running. Therefore swimming is a mental challenge to stay ultra-focused, as well as physical to keep my form and entire body moving. I enjoy this challenge, but I can’t swim every day as sometimes I need the escape of not counting or the motivation of music. I am also still working on getting some of the accessories that I need to practice with for an official triathlon swim. I’m practicing the basic movements and training the appropriate muscles, but in swimming and triathlons especially, using equipment is part of the sport.
Previously, I hadn’t ridden a bicycle in years, but I’m really enjoying it now. I like being outdoors, I enjoy cruising to music, and I love the endurance challenge it presents. My problem with biking is finding a safe place to ride. I know I’m supposed to just ride on the road, but it is dangerous. Florida has numerous cities, including Orlando, ranked as the most hazardous for bicycles and pedestrians over the last few years. Since I live close to the theme parks, there are even more drivers looking everywhere but the road. I currently have an area with a bike lane that I make do with by doing laps, but the bike lane doesn’t extend the whole lap. There are some areas I could drive to, but that requires a bike rack and additional travel time I don’t really have. Currently, I’m using the bike and stuff that I have on hand. Some equipment could optimize the ride and increase my safety. I’m working on getting all that I need for these more extended and more intense rides.
Running has turned out to be the easiest of the three. I already have everything I need for the workouts. I could do more weight training that specifically supports my triathlon training, but I feel like running has been more useful. Running has been like therapy for me as life has gotten hectic. I actually have found that I’ve needed a long run at least once a week. It gives me some time to think, clear my head, and prepare for what’s to come. Running has also provided me with the calorie deficits I need to try to maintain or lower my body weight for the triathlon. As I can’t fit in workouts 4 days of the week, I feel the exercises on the other three days need to have a significant impact.
Luckily, my schedule is going to switch back to the way it was. I’m interested to see what happens now. I have been working on just those three main disciplines about once a week. I plan on adding back three more workouts a week, one or two of which will be weights. I can use the weights workouts as a way to supplement as well as break up the cardio from the triathlon-specific workouts. Although it seemed like a setback at the time, perhaps the forced change between plans will provide increased progress.