Gearing up for 8-week YMCA ‘triathlon’

Over the weekend the kids and I signed up for the local YMCA’s Busy Man Triathlon 2015, which requires you to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run 26.2 miles over an eight-week period ending April 26.

I committed to doing a double – twice those distances — which should force me to get in the pool and on the bike once in a while in addition to my usual running. (Happily, the mileage doesn’t all have to be done at the Y.)

I took a baseline ride on a spin bike Saturday to see how long it took me to ride 6 miles. The results were somewhat humiliating: 31:30, which translates to more than 5 minutes a mile and a speed of less than 12 mph.

According to the computer, I burned less than 200 calories in the process. I can do that in about 16 minutes on the treadmill, given a decent ladder workout.

But this isn’t about the calorie burn. Not yet, anyway. Right now it’s about pushing me out of my comfort zone, because I almost have to trick myself to swim and ride at times. I’d like to do at least one sprint-distance triathlon this year, though, and it would be nice to see some improvement rather than just more of the same.

Even if I didn’t care about triathlons, though, swimming and biking should help me meet my running goals this year. Cycling should make me faster in my efforts to win my age group in three 5k races this year, and swimming should help with endurance for the half marathon I’ll attempt to age-group win Labor Day weekend.

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4 Responses to Gearing up for 8-week YMCA ‘triathlon’

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I won’t lie, looking at five minutes a mile over a half hour, I can’t for the life of me figure out how you’re so slow… Don’t take this the wrong way, as a criticism or snide cutdown – you should know by now, you’re one of my best blog-friends, I truly give a $#!t and I want to help you get your speed sorted. My wife, who is has a similar build, can average 16 mph over 35 miles on a real bike… She can hang with the guys (21-24 mph) if she’s got a good draft for about 30 minutes (give or take) – and there’s no way she’d be in good enough shape to hope to finish a fifty mile run like you have… So something is off.

    My first thoughts are setup related on the spin bike. This would explain lack of power to the pedals. Not only does the saddle have to be up high enough, you have to have it set back far enough too. If these two things aren’t exceptionally close, you’ll bleed power and energy, bad.

    First, your saddle should be high enough that if you place the middle of your heels on the pedal, over the spindle, and pedal backwards, your legs will straighten out at the bottom of the pedals stroke without rotating your hips to do it. After that, with the balls of your feet over the spindles and the crank arms parallel to the ground, your knee should be right over the spindle so if you took a string with a nut or washer on it and lowered it down from your knee, the washer should be 1/4″ (ish) forward of the center of the pedal spindle… There’s a little more to it than that but that’ll get you close enough. I wrote a post on the topic here:

    Try to get that right and see if that makes a difference. Then, lighten up the resistance and spin faster. It’ll feel weird at first but it’s WAY more efficient.

    • tischcaylor says:

      Well, I think the biggest part of the problem is that I just wasn’t pushing very hard because I don’t ride enough to develop that habit — especially indoors. So step one is just going for it, knowing that it will be even more humiliating if I don’t improve. That being said, this sounds like great advice. I took a look at the page you referenced and that’s good stuff — a bit technical for me right now but something to aim for. Thanks!

  2. tischcaylor says:

    LOL — deep is good!

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