The ‘whim triathlon’ training schedule

One of the problems with deciding to do a triathlon with just four weeks lead time is that I had to start in week 7 of the 10-week training schedule I was ostensibly going to use.

I’d been running about 15 miles a week at that point, and just started experimenting with light weight lifting. The biggest challenge was figuring out if I could swim and switching out of a “riding to Grandma’s house” approach to cycling. (I strapped on a helmet for the first time two days before the race and inadvertently put it on backward, much to my kids’ amusement.)

As it turned out, my sister and I just kind of eyeballed the training schedule a friend had downloaded off the Internet and came up with our own spin-off version, basically whatever best fit our schedule.

It was disconcerting to be doing so little running. I totaled just 31 miles in that four weeks because I knew I sucked at swimming and cycling and needed to emphasize that stuff. Running was often wedged into the week whenever it fit, and often those were the days I was most cramped for time.

The biggest benefit from the training we did, in terms of impact on the triathlon itself, were the “brick” sessions in which we ran immediately after biking, and on one occasion ran after both swimming and biking. It was invaluable to experience that weird thigh tightness and to discover that it was possible to push through it.

But the really amazing thing is how much stronger my core and arms feel now, in what’s really been a fairly short amount of time. That’s enough to make me want to keep swimming whether or not I sign up for a triathlon anytime soon. (I even find myself actually wanting to lift weights once in a while, which is a huge change for me.)

I’m still somewhat suspicious of cycling, but that could change if I find a halfway decent (yet inexpensive) bike — one that changed gears when I asked it to. Also, I have to admit it’s been interesting to feel how much stronger my thighs are getting. And Elllie (Interview with a Centurion) tells me that cycling will have a huge effect on running hills, which I can‘t wait to try.

So anyway, here’s what turned out to be my four-week training schedule for the Fox Island Triathlon. All swimming sessions were primarily sidestroke. This isn’t something I’m recommending, mind you; it’s just what I did.

Week 1:
Sun — 2.25 mile run
Mon — 22 pool lengths (sidestroke), with rest breaks
Tues — rest
Wed — 4.3 mile run, 450-meter swim
Thurs — “Brick” session of 10 miles on bike followed by 3-mile run
Fri — 1.25 mile run
Sat — rest

Week 2
Sun — 6 miles on bike
Mon — 500-meter swim
Tues — 4-mile run
Wed — rest
Thurs — 55 minutes swim aerobics
Fri — Brick session of 500-meter swim, 4 mile bike, 2-mile run
Sat — rest

Week 3
Sun — 12-mile bike
Mon — 500-meter swim
Tues — 2.25-mile run
Wed — 5-mile trail run; 500-meter evening swim
Thurs — 30-minute swim session (mixed)
Fri — 10-mile bike
Sat — rest

Week 4
Sun — 2.5-mile run
Mon — Brick session of 12-mile bike, 2-mile run
Tues — 1.3-mile run home from school after delivering van to Rowan; 500 meter evening swim
Wed — 1.25 mile run
Thurs — 500-meter swim
Fri — 13-mile bike
Sat — rest

Totals: 31 miles ran, 67 miles on bike, 500-meter swims or equivalent twice a week
Results: I did the 500-meter lake swim in 18:56, the 20-K bike session in 1:05:45 and the 5K run in 30:15 for a total time of 1:57:58. That was good enough for first in my age group (45-49), but it was also last in my age group, as I was the only woman in that category.

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3 Responses to The ‘whim triathlon’ training schedule

  1. bearrunner says:

    Good job! Congratulations 🙂


  2. iswimbikerunstrong says:

    It’s a good start. Congratulations. I recommend you check into for new swimmers. Sidestroke will get you there, but not very fast. The graphics and videos on SwimSmooth are really good. Enjoy.

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