Beginning tri training, week 3: Add swims to your runs

Credit: Robert LaBerge/Allsport
In the first two weeks we've covered a lot of ground. You've gotten yourself going, and you're sort-of-kind-of sputtering along in two of triathlon's three events: the swim and the run.


We'll talk about the bike in a little while (like next week). But first, let's go over a little ground on the swim and run. You've got to keep those first two balls -- the swim and the run -- in the air. You've got to find a stasis point: a way in which you can swim and run without finding yourself running out of time and/or energy. I can't help you with that.

No doubt, being a triathlete takes some reordering of one's schedule and priorities. You might find that you've got to bite the bullet and get up early for the 6 a.m. swim sessions. Bummer. But that's the life of a triathlete.

Triathletes are the most organized group of people in the world. They have to be. If you're not organized, then I've got a simple solution: Change. Become a different person. Just flat-out become an organized person.

It's like something I heard a minister say a long time ago: "You want to stop being a sinner? Stop sinning." Pretty harsh. But it's a harsh world. You want to stop feeling so out of control? Then organize your life.

Last week you did five sessions of running. We're going to drop that down to four, and for two reasons. First, we're going to raise the time duration to an average of 25 minutes per session. Don't be anal about this. If it's 18 minutes one day and 32 minutes the next, don't be freaky. What I want is for your running session to be running about 20 percent or 25 percent longer in time duration than it has been. That probably means you're running 20 percent farther in distance. But I'm less worried about distance right now.

Also, remember that I don't really care how fast you go, or even if your runs are runs. They can be walks. Or run/walks. Whatever you can muster.

Don't project six months out. Don't say, "I can't even get up and down my driveway -- how am I supposed to do a triathlon?!" Don't think about that. Let me worry about that. Think about the workouts I'm asking you to do. Just do those. Everything will work out fine.

The other reason I'm drawing down your run workouts from five to four is that I'm sifting in swim workouts. You did find yourself a master's swim team, right? Or, in one way or another you got yourself swim-situated, so that once I start giving you swim workouts, you're ready to proceed? Good. (If you didn't do that yet, clear your desk and do it today).

You've got two swim workouts to do this week -- three if you're gung-ho. We don't measure these in miles, but in yards or meters. Nobody asks, "How many miles did you swim today?" If your tri-buddy says, "I swam 3,000 today," what he or she is saying is that 3,000 yards or meters was the distance traveled in the pool.

I'm asking you to do anywhere between 300 yards and 1,000 yards per swim session, depending on how you feel and your current level of competence.

Next week we're going to start investigating the bike. I've got homework assignments for you with regard to bike paraphernalia.


Swimming: 2 or 3 sessions x 300 - 1,000 yards per session
Cycling: None
Running: 4 sessions x 25 minutes per session

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