Triathlete In Training: Journal Entry #1

author : Terese Luikens
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I learned that you actually take breaks from training. It is not about bucking up, but about working up to a certain level.

By Terese Luikens

Journal Entry #1 for August 2006


I have begun training for the Valley Girl Triathlon that will take place in July 2007. I heard about this particular sprint triathlon from my sister who was a volunteer at this year’s event. As she recounted the events for me (1/3-mile swim, 3 mile run, and 12-mile bike ride), I said to her, “I could do that.”

Although I have never swum 1/3 of a mile and I have a fifteen-year-old Giant Ricon bike with an inefficient gear system, I have run every morning for the last twenty years.

Replacing bad habits with good

When I quit smoking I wanted to put a new habit in place, so I began running each morning. I started with just one mile a day. But for the last fifteen years I have established a variety of four-mile routes that I consistently run.  About two years ago I started taking yoga twice a week. And then a year ago I added a Pilates class to my schedule. I also love to roller blade.

When I think about training for this sprint, I think that it is a realistic goal and at the same time an excellent challenge. It is a reason for me to keep running and to increase my strength in other parts of my body.

Two positive quality traits that I possess are consistency and commitment. I am not a fast runner, but I have been a consistent plodder. Also, I am committed. Once I make up my mind to do something, I do it.

A negative quality trait that I possess is that I can overdo. I have already experienced this in this first month of training.

Never train like an actual triathlon everyday

The first day I trained, July 29th, I rode five miles on my bike and then ran two miles. My legs felt like lead for the first ¼ mile of my run. I thought that I just had to buck up and get over it. So I did it for the next nine days, waiting to improve. Instead I got more tired and my running and biking got slower.  I then went to and learned that you actually take breaks from training. It is not about bucking up, but about working up to a certain level.

So I backed off a bit and found that biking four miles and a two-mile run feels great if I don't do it everyday. If I do not have time to bike and run then I will run a quick two miles.

Long sessions and mixing it up

On weekends I usually bike a full twelve miles. Two days out of the week I have yoga and two days out of the week I have Pilates. And at least once a week I roller blade eight miles. So typically five-days out of the week I bike 4-6 miles and run two miles with either a yoga or Pilates class later in the day. Two other days out of the week I ride 12 miles and then roller blade for eight miles or just take leisurely walk on one of my running routes.

I have not been in the water yet. I can do the breaststroke or the sidestroke forever at a slow pace but I think it will take a fast freestyle for the sprint.

I have contacted a friend who was on her high school swim team and is willing to teach me all she knows about swimming. It will be a matter of getting our schedules to coincide with each others.

I have a list of goals for September. Get in the water with my friend at least once, look at new bikes, and keep up with what I have already established as workouts.

“Enthusiasm sets the pace but persistence reaches the goal.”


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date: September 3, 2006

Terese Luikens