General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks? Rss Feed  
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2009-08-27 10:45 PM

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Subject: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
Picked up my latest issue of Self (hey it's got good articles and good strength training workouts!) and found something interesting.  They had a section where they had a 4-week training plan for doing a sprint triathlon.  I was a little surprised because Self isn't really a magazine designed for serious athletes (not that serious athletes don't read it), it's mostly for the average everyday person trying to stay in shape.  They sort of fail to warn that most triathlons have an OWS and don't really mention any OWS specific training.

So I was wondering what you guys thought of this.  Do you think it's possible to train off the couch for a sprint triathlon in only four weeks?  I never would have attempted this, but maybe I'm just super conservative about my training.  I'm giving myself about eight months!

Here's a link:
http://www.self.com/tips/try-a-triathlon/popular 


2009-08-27 11:16 PM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
If you have a swimming background than you will probably be fine...but if you are not a swimmer I don't think four weeks is enough time to build swim endurance even for 400 meters. I know I didn't...took me a couple months...
2009-08-27 11:47 PM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?

I trained for two weeks before my first sprint race.  I was in reasonable shape for my age at the time and had been a competitive swimmer when I was young.  I just assumed that I would be fine with just a couple of sessions in the pool and a few laps around the block.

I finished but it was ugly - not DFL, but close.      I had no idea about pacing - took off as hard as I could for each leg and then struggled home.

But I learned lots and it got me hooked on the sport.

Mark

2009-08-28 12:15 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
Most people will be able to complete a sprint with 4 weeks of training (as long as they have average fitness to start with... being a few 100lbs. overweight, and then no way...too many medical complications are possible unless you start out real slow and with 4 weeks...).

And quite a few sprints are done in fairly shallow and calm lakes, which means that OWS is less of an issue... A sprint with the swim in the ocean or a big lake, then I would recommend not to do it (unless you have a strong swim background...)
2009-08-28 5:56 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
It really depends on your level of "couchness".

When I first got motivated to work out I did 12 mile bike ride and did fine.  You can slog through a 5k if you have to.  As long as you have some sort of swimming background then you can make it through a sprint with little to no training.

If you've ever been to a sprint, then you will see proof of the type of people that complete them.  (please, no one take offense to this comment; I am one of those people).  They just don't have good times.
2009-08-28 6:01 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I think someone with decent genetics and athletic ability is not overly fat and out of shape could do it in 4 weeks easily...not fast, but definitely finish.  It isn't that far...

If it's only a 400 meter swim then definitely, if it is 800, then maybe a little tougher...It took me about 6 weeks to start getting comfortable at that distance when I started in January if I remember correctly.. 


2009-08-28 6:17 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?

Well, I did a 400m swim/12.2 mile bike/3 mile run sprint with three weeks training and even with a strong run background and twice-a-day workouts leading up to it, barely survived.  (As in, although I had swam the OWS course several times, I totally panicked being in the water with others and had to hold on to the sweeper boat and I had to run 45 - 60 seconds off my usual pace because my endurance was running out.)

I wasn't DFL, but pretty close.  However, I had an absolute blast and got hooked.

So, in short, it IS doable if it's a short swim course but tough.  At least that was my experience.  I myself am looking forward to using the off-season to take swim lessons and build up my endurance. 

2009-08-28 8:26 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I think the issue is not whether it's possible, but whether someone is going to be happy with the result. If you only train for a month for a full sprint distance race (1/2 mile swim, 20k bike, 5k run) I think you're going to have a pretty miserable experience during the race, certainly finish BOP, and for many people this is not the kind of day that's going to be fun and hook them on the sport. It takes a while for your training to produce any physiological adaptations, at least a week or so, so I would think most people would do better to train for at least 6-8 weeks.

Edited by jeffsab 2009-08-28 8:27 AM
2009-08-28 10:12 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I did it. It was a short sprint. 200yd swim, 8 mile ride and 2.5 run. I basically taught my self to swim the first week and swam everyday until the race. Rode my bike 3 times a week and didn't run at all. (shin splints). I had started running about 2 months before on old shoes and got bad shin splints. I finished in about 57 min. I was determined to finish because I told everyone I was doing one.
2009-08-28 10:48 AM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
Is it possible? Sure. Is it a good idea? No and h3ll no. Especially for someone that isn't comfortable in the water... IMHO, they are putting themselves in danger that could otherwise be avoided if they had taken the time to train properly.
2009-08-28 3:52 PM
in reply to: #2375516

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
It's a bit aggressive for sure. Assuming the "couch" means little/no aerobic base, then asking the average person to develop 2 hours worth of fitness in 4 weeks is a very tall order. 7-8 weeks allows a person to gradually get there with a decreased chance of overexertion/injury...


2018-04-19 12:54 PM
in reply to: yosly


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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I did in two weeks. I recommend more time
2018-04-19 4:24 PM
in reply to: yosly

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?

Depends.  

Prior to my first tri, I swam TWICE and rode my mountain bike TWICE.  I was running ~35 minutes every day and had been hiking/walking a lot.  

But...

I knew how to swim and how to get through the swim (never swam competitively, but had been a lifeguard and swim instructor).  

My advice, having been a former lifeguard, is don't get into the water if you're not confident you can take care of yourself.  You're betting your life that the lifeguard sees you and can get to you if you're in trouble.  

 

2018-04-19 4:52 PM
in reply to: yosly


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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I don't think it's unreasonable at all.
Again, as others have said....yes, it depends a bit on couchiness. Swim? I think most people who are confident swimmers can get through 400 meters, especially if it's in a pool. And by 'confident....I mean they can freestyle for the first 25 meters....breastroke for another 200. Hang on the wall for a few minutes. Breaststroke some more. Maybe catch the wall before freestyling the last 25. Sure, they won't have "good times". That's not why they're doing it....or even the reason a lot of people who have "good times" do it. Basically, as long as they know they won't drown, I think most people can do it.

12-15 on a bike? Any bike? You bet.

2-3 miles run? Sure, lots of trotting interspersed with walking? You bet.

Of course, there are those limitations. A fat guy like I was? I coulda gutted it out. I woulda hated it. Because, well...I didn't like exercising. Also, I was a little older. 40s. Potentially unwise for a fat, lazy, olderish guy from a health standpoint. But, only if I pushed it. Most local sprints, it's not like the Balloon Ladies are sweeping the course. They're pretty generous with finish times because they don't want to exclude revenue. I daresay you could finish most sprints "in time", even at 300 lbs. without ever really pushing the upper limits of zone 2 for any significant stretch.

So yeah. 4 weeks? If you have a modicum of swimming ability and a modicum of fitness and aren't hampered by medical issues. AND, you know your limits. More than enough time.

AND you're going out with the intent to explore the sport and have fun. I just think that's the biggest danger. If you at all care about how you measure up with other people, it's not wise. Ask Ty Webb how he'd measure himself against other triathletes...."by height".
2018-04-19 6:22 PM
in reply to: yosly

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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
Why would you want to do this? The summer triathlon season hasn't even started yet...surely there are other races 6,8 or 10 weeks away. Can it be done? Certainly, as others stated above. But why sign up for what is likely to be a long, miserable experience just to finish somewhere close to dead last.

A few weeks more training and you'll probably have a pretty good time.

Best of luck.
2018-04-22 9:37 PM
in reply to: #2375516


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Subject: RE: Couch to Triathlon in 4 weeks?
I would not recommend it unless the person was already a fairly competent swimmer. It is one thing to swim laps in a pool and quite another to be in open water, perhaps with limited visibility, sighting for buoys, and with a bunch of other people flailing around you.

Most of the local triathlons I have seen offer enticer and taster distances which are half and a quarter of the distance of a sprint tri respectively. Probably more realistic for someone who only got off the couch 4 weeks ago.


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