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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 4:24 am 
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Saggy Butt
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I swam in my wetsuit! It felt good but was pretty tight around the neck. I guess you get used to that? And I was reminded that I need a lot of practice open-water swimming. I get a little panicky at the beginning.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 2:35 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Has anyone here learned to swim as an adult, and if so, how long did it take you to get competent enough for a sprint distance triathlon? I can sort of swim, but barely, and am really wanting to start doing triathlons at some point. I'm planning to start swimming regularly once I move this fall - the gym I will be joining has drop in adult swim lessons, so I was planning on starting there and eventually joining their swim club once I'm more comfortable in the water. I know everyone is different, I'm just wondering if this is something that is going to take me months or years! Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Dead by dawn
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I am not the best person to answer because I don't remember learning to swim, but unless swim lessons bring up a fear or anxiety reaction, I would not think that it would take you very long to get competent enough to try a sprint. Lung capacity is a big deal; when you first start swimming you might be surprised at how it can leave you heaving for breath even if you're in shape, but that comes with practice. If you plan on renting a wetsuit for your race (highly recommended) that will make the actual swimming part a whole lot easier because you're bouyant and you don't have to kick as much, but you'll have to get used to the wetsuit itself, which can make some people panicky.

Most sprint races have a half mile swim, but you can usually find a few with quarter mile swims, which might be a great place to aim for on your first one. Even if you're slow, or you have to stop and hang onto a kayak to regroup*, a quarter mile is still over pretty quickly.

Since you're planning on starting swimming in earnest in the fall and tri season doesn't begin most places until late spring, you have six months or so to prep just by default. My honest guess is that if you're committed to it, that should be plenty of time.

*This is totally within the rules as long as you're not using the kayak to make forward progress. You'll see swimmers do it in lots of races.

inceptisol wrote:
I swam in my wetsuit! It felt good but was pretty tight around the neck. I guess you get used to that? And I was reminded that I need a lot of practice open-water swimming. I get a little panicky at the beginning.

You'll get used to the tightness around the neck. If you're panicky at the beginning of a race, hang back and let the crowd go first. Unless you're trying to make the podium or something, letting 15 or 20 seconds run off after the gun isn't going to make a big difference to your overall race time but it might mean a nice clear space to swim in until the crowd starts to thin out. I always feel a little panicky at the start, but it usually dissipates in the first few minutes of the swim.

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:47 am 
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Thanks monkeytoes, that was really helpful!


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:35 am 
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I agree with monkeytoes about learning to swim. I did not learn as an adult but I used to be a swimming instructor and taught adults as well as kids. The most complicated part of swimming of course is learning to coordinate everything with the constant threat of inhaling water.

Like most complicated physical activities, it helps to practice it slowly, maybe comically slowly, at first and gradually get faster as you get more comfortable. I think that you will get these tips and many more from the drop in swim lessons - which is an awesome idea. I don't see any reason, if you can sort of swim and are running and biking now, why you couldn't do a triathlon next spring.

The swim club is a great idea too. I can't go to our masters swim club here (because of time restrictions) but I sometimes chat with some of them at the pool in the mornings and they are mostly very helpful and friendly. There is also a triathlon training group at my gym - maybe there's a group at your new one as well.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:04 am 
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Saggy Butt
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I'm 36 and I just started learning to swim last April. I was already very comfortable in water and had no fears about putting my face in or anything. And I did a sprint tri last June, about 2 months after my first swim class. At the time, I was only swimming once or sometimes twice a week and was most definitely not a fast learner but was in good physical shape from running.
I agree with Arisaig about practicing really slowly. That's what my coach had me doing for the first few weeks. Good luck!

Thanks, monkeytoes. I haven't been back in my wetsuit because my shoulder is bothering me but I hope to get a lot of use out of it this summer.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:18 am 
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Thanks for the input Arisaig and inceptisol! I am pretty comfortable in the water and can swim a little, but I've never had lessons or anything and know nothing about proper form. I really appreciate the advice - I don't know anyone who has done a triathlon and they just seem so intimidating to me. I think there is a triathlon club at the gym I'm going to join, so I will definitely look into that once I've moved.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:14 am 
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Saggy Butt
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It's tri time!
My running group had our unofficial tri last weekend. I did ok this time around but my swim was really bad. Just couldn't get my breath or a rhythm going. And my run should have been a bit faster. But it was still fun and I didn't get lost this time!
And..I signed up for an olympic distance tri on 2 August. I'm very nervous about this one and didn't sign up until the last minute because I have serious doubts about making the cut-off time for the bike. I'm super slow on the bike and never ride hills but the course is really hilly. Definitely not a beginner course so I wouldn't have even considered doing it but my husband and a friend are doing it so I'll already be there and my husband convinced me that I'll regret not even trying. So...yeah, i'm scared.
How are you all doing?


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:58 am 
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You'll do great inceptisol! My first olympic was on a wickedly hilly course and I actually walked up one, but I made it. My first tri of the season is an olympic on Sunday. I trust my training, but I should probably start thinking my way through the race and transitions...

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:58 am 
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Thanks for the encouragement, monkeytoes! The whole course is hilly but the last 3km gain almost 400m. Apparently everyone walks up. Every time I think about it I just want to chicken out.

Good luck for Sunday! Let us know how it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:26 pm 
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I don't do triathlons, but I race bikes and stalk this thread a little because the bike thread is so dead.

Inceptisol, I know triathlons are a bit different, so if my advice here conflicts with triathlon wisdom, please disregard, but when it comes to hills on the bike, I think the biggest mistake people make when they're learning to climb is going too hard out of the gate (er, at the start of the climb) and then exploding. When you hit a climb, focus on keeping your cadence consistent. You'll probably slow down somewhat from what you'll have been doing on flats, but try not to let your spinning slow too much. 70 - 75 is a good cadence to hold for climbing and will generally ensure your legs don't get super fatigued right away. Dump it down into a low gear (probably your lowest gear if you have double chainrings up front, and your 3rd or 4th easiest gear if you have a triple - too low a gear, and you'll waste more energy spinning than you need to and won't get the traction up the climb that you need), and then shift up if/where you can throughout the climb. Keep it steady, and if your pace is slow, then don't sweat it too much. Climbing is hard, but if you can do an Olympic triathlon, you have the fitness and the ability to suffer up some hills. As for that final kick, that sounds really tough, but give it a try! If you have to get off and walk part way, then whatever, but try not to psych yourself out before even seeing how it is. Some people are awesome at steep stuff without too much training - their bodies just seem to work well for that - and maybe that will be you! :)

Sorry to go off on climbing in the triathlon thread - I hope that was maybe a little helpful, anyway?

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:52 pm 
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I'm doing the swim part of an Olympic distance tri as a relay with two friends. It's my first time doing any part of a triathlon and I don't really know what to expect (though I am doing an open water swim clinic in August so I will have a chance to learn more specifics later). It's on Labor Day and the water temperature should be in the 70s so I'm not sure how many people will opt for wetsuits. Since I'm only doing the swim, what should I wear?! I don't plan on renting a wetsuit since I'm a strong swimmer and used to very cold water. Honestly, I'm mainly worried I will look stupid if I just wear a normal swimming race suit vs. a trisuit. Am I way overthinking it?


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:34 pm 
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Wear whatever you will be comfortable swimming in! There will be likely be other people in swimsuits and swimming in a tri suit doesn't make sense if you're not putting your butt on a bike afterwards.

Jordan, I think your advice sounds spot on. We usually try to keep our cadence above 85 to save our legs for the run. Obviously that'll drop on climbs. On most hills I figure if I'm keeping it around 70 I am in the right gear. I mean, I suck pretty badly at climbing but I do a pretty good job of saving enough of my legs for the run.

Do try not to dwell too much on the hilliness, inceptisol. You have to get up them, but you don't have to get up them fast!

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:55 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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mandycoot - yep, i agree with monkeytoes about wearing whatever makes you comfortable. You won't be the only one and no one will care. I swam 2 tris last year in a sports bra and fitted running shorts.

monkeytoes wrote:
You have to get up them, but you don't have to get up them fast!

Oh it certainly won't be fast! But I am worried about getting booted because of the time limit.

Thanks for all that, jordanpattern! I'm new to triathlon and am really casual about it but cycling is my least favorite part. Probably because i'm so sucky at it and I don't know how to improve/what i'm doing wrong. I definitely need a lot more time in the saddle but my legs are pretty strong and my bike isn't a complete piece of crepe so why are old ladies on beach cruisers flying past me?! (only a slight exaggeration) Also, I've never tracked my cadence.
Everyone's advice is much appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:35 pm 
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I'm just like you, inceptisol. I have gotten faster over the last three years, but I just am not a strong cyclist, period. I got passed today by a woman on a full-suspension mountain bike. Oh well, I had a good run. Today's race was all about pacing and finishing strong (no A races until Ironman.) My swim was a minute or so faster than the same race last year and my bike was within seconds, but it was rainy today, so I'm not too concerned about not showing improvement over last year. My run was only maybe 35-40 seconds faster, but last year I went out too hard and fell off the pace; this year I negative split the run and finished strong.

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:59 pm 
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Okay thanks! I figured I was worried for no reason but I'm glad to have confirmation.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:23 am 
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My bike was about the same time as last year, but coach T checked garmin files for all ths team members who raced this year and the course measured a little longer than last year. So I did actually see a little improvement. Also, she cross-checked a bunch of people who raced this year and last and found that most swimmers posted a minute or so slower this year (conditions were a little rough due to weather) so my minute improvement was better than I thought. Woohoo!

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:58 am 
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Great job, monkeytoes!


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:22 am 
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Guys! I made it! Barely! Somehow the bike course was even harder than i thought it would be. I was super slow (took me more than 2 hours on the bike!) but i just plugged away and made it up some pretty steep fricking hills. I didn't even have to walk! No panics during the swim even though it was a mass start of almost 600 people so I'm really happy about that. Run time wasn't bad either considering how dead my legs were after the bike. Thanks for all your shared wisdom!


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:53 pm 
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Yay!

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:49 pm 
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I did an open-water swim clinic last weekend. It was really helpful! We got to practice sighting, entries, exits, and talked about general race strategy. It was my first time swimming in open water in probably a decade so it really helped my anxiety about the race. I was also shocked at how warm the water is here right now.


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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:21 pm 
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That sounds great mandycoot! There are so many little things about open water swim races that you can't really practice in a pool but which add up come race day.

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:41 pm 
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Second Olympic of the season this morning. Five weeks ago I ran 9:29s off the bike. Today I ran 9:06s after a longer ride (the last one was only 20 miles for some reason.) I'm pretty seriously stoked with that pace! Since my last three Olympics have been odd distances, I haven't done a "regulation" Olympic in two years... 19 minute PR!

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:22 pm 
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Awesome MT!

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 Post subject: Re: triathlons
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:32 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Congratulations, mtoes, that's awesome! Great pace!

mandycoot, that clinic sounds great. I just found out that there's an open-water clinic here too and I really want to do it.


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