Friday, February 15, 2013

Tri Outs

Since the beginning of January I have been heading over to the Nashua YMCA a couple nights a week to do some swimming. Nothing crazy. Just an hour of easy free-style swimming as a nice way to get some low-impact, cardio work in on my easy/off run days. It’s also been a great way to burn additional calories at a time of day when I’m usually stuffing my face in front of the TV.

I really enjoy swimming this time of year because it helps to break up the monotony of winter training. The trails are typically iced over with just enough snow to make them hard to run on, but not enough to allow you to snowshoe. The outdoor tracks are also fairly useless during the winter months, as well. So, if you’re not careful, you can end up in a rut of boring road run after boring road run. As a result, I’ve found swimming to be a great “Winter Rut Breaker”!

Of course in my book, anything worth doing is worth over-doing! So recently, I added a little twist to my weekly swim routine. Instead of swimming for an hour (like I usually do) lately I’ve been mixing it up every once in a while by swimming for a 1/2 hour, biking for a ½ hour and running for a ½ hour. A little “Mini-Tri”, if you will. My first ever!

There was no grand plan. I just wanted to see if I could do it. And, to gauge what I’d feel like both during and after the workout. Then with each subsequent attempt I would compare how I felt versus the previous time. Not surprisingly, it’s gotten a lot easier with each Tri. Although, I still do find the transition from the bike to the run to be quite painful. And, sweating chlorine while spinning on the stationary bike is not terribly enjoyable, either!

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that I have a difficult time at the beginning of each segment and gradually get stronger as it goes along - which makes sense since I’m more of an Endurance Monster than a Speed Demon. I’ve also noticed that the workout takes quite a bit out of me. I usually crash as soon as I get home and it takes me two full days to recover. But, usually by day three I’m raring and ready to go. I did one of these workouts 3 days prior to Boston Prep and that turned out OK.

When I first started, I didn’t keep track of how far I went during each ½ hour session. That changed on my latest attempt when I swam 24 laps (1200 meters), biked 9 miles (18 mph) and ran 36 laps (4 miles/7:30 pace). So, this will be my baseline going forward. My transitions are down to 5 minutes from the pool to the bike which includes: rinse, dry off, change into running gear, walk up stairs and program the bike. And, 2 minutes from the bike to the run which includes: wiping down the machine and refilling my water bottle. I don't think I can manage to do either of those any faster.

I’m honestly not sure where any of this is taking me - other than to distract me from the boredom that is winter. I don’t suspect that I’ll be competing in a bunch of triathlons this year. They are just too darn expensive and the real training required to actually be competitive at these races would be too time consuming for me. Not to mention all of the gear that I’d have to purchase just to be on the same playing field as the rest of the athletes.

That being said, I may give the Nashua Y-Tri a whirl just for shits and giggles. The swim seems manageable at 3/10ths of a mile, and my heavy-ass bike won’t be that much of a hindrance during the 16 mile bike leg. Also, the race is done in waves based on age and gender so it shouldn’t be too much of a "washing machine" out there on the pond. Plus, at $65, it’s probably the cheapest triathlon around. Soooo, anybody got a wetsuit they can lend me? :)

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