General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Beginner question! Bike? Run? Rss Feed  
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2018-08-29 1:05 PM


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Subject: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
Hi guys! Aspiring triathlete newbie here! I’ve got no experience with triathlons but I really want to do a sprint in 2019 with my fiancée. I’m not aiming to win any awards, just looking to get in shape, have a good time, and finish the race.

My exercise background:
I can easily (albeit slowly) swim a mile even if I haven’t practiced in months. I’ve been doing couch to 5K right now to practice my running because I’ve never been able to run long distances. It’s also been years since I’ve ever been on a bike but I could bike 12 miles straight at one point.

My question:
Should I be...
1) finishing the couch to 5K, then adding biking into my workouts
2) working on both running and biking together (even though it will slow down the time it takes me to finish couch to 5K)
3) practicing swimming, running, and biking together

My timeline: The sprint in my area is a little over 6 months away. I’m hoping to find a race in like Sept-Dec to give myself more time to prepare but I haven’t had any luck finding one in North Texas.


2018-08-29 1:11 PM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?

If it's 6 months away then finish the couch to 5k as you are.  When that's done look for a beginner Tri plan and stick with it, you'll have a nice base of fitness.  6 months is a LOOOONG time to train for a sprint triathlon.....especially if you just want to finish. (you can probably do that now)

2018-08-29 1:22 PM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?

I agree.  Get yourself into solid 5K running shape.  It'll pay dividends later.  6 months is too far ahead to be thinking of a sprint triathlon, even your first.

It wouldn't hurt, however, to throw in a swim here and there, or a bike ride.  But don't sacrifice the run plan for their sake (yet).

2018-08-30 8:48 AM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?

There's a HUGE psychological benefit to FINISHING the Couch to 5K plan.  You started it.  You finished it.  You can sabotage that by aborting it to start a sprint-tri plan.  

At the same time, you can go for the occasional swim and the occasional bike ride without jeopardizing the C25K.  

You can loosely pattern the tri training after the C25K plan.  Build volume s-l-o-w-l-y.  

2018-08-30 10:35 AM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
First, Congrats on your new hobbie! Triathlon is a great sport for "just staying in shape" and you'll find a whole community of fellow athletes.

I would highly recommend (as others have already said) stick with finishing the C25K! Add in an occasional easy bike ride or swim for fun but not to train hard. 6 months is plenty of time to train for a sprint. From the sounds of things you could probably finish one a lot sooner than that if you wanted to. Maybe you could do one just to finish in the spring and then try to improve on that time closer to next fall... just a thought.

The biggest problem almost every triathlete has faced is doing too much too soon. It takes years to build up your body to handle serious racing and training. Just have fun at least for the first year. Avoid injury at all cost! I can't tell you the number of times I was running a sub 20 minute 5K in training but then kept pushing too hard and had to sit out for 6 weeks or so and lost fitness

Be the MOST careful with run training as it causes the most jarring! Swimming and biking you are safer to push things after you have established a base.

With 6 months + to go I would recommend using this early time to not only complete the run program but also lose weight if you need to, establish excellent flexibility which will pay off huge down the road, work on eating healthy 95% of the time with some "cheat" days where you can eat junk food, and work on form! Too often people develop bad form in any sport and then have to go back to the basics to re-learn proper form.

Good luck! Your going to love triathlons!
2018-08-31 1:51 PM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation


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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
Originally posted by Starksandrecreation

My timeline: The sprint in my area is a little over 6 months away. I’m hoping to find a race in like Sept-Dec to give myself more time to prepare but I haven’t had any luck finding one in North Texas.


There are lots of races in North Texas between September and November. What distance and type of race (pool swim vs. open water) are you looking for?


2018-08-31 10:13 PM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
Good advice here about finishing C25K. I wouldn't think an easy spin each week would hurt... it might just shake out the legs. Key word "easy". Also, if you have access to a cold pool (ice bath), I highly recommend it for sore legs and joints.
2018-09-04 4:33 AM
in reply to: pistuo


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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
Originally posted by pistuo
Also, if you have access to a cold pool (ice bath), I highly recommend it for sore legs and joints.

yes, this is good advice. Recently I started to enjoy too))
2018-09-04 8:47 AM
in reply to: Starksandrecreation

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Subject: RE: Beginner question! Bike? Run?
If you have all the distances down for the most part, there's no reason to not start on all of them now.
Some workouts even do bricks where you bike for a bit and then run. Two birds with one stone.

Seems like you have plenty of time to finish the programs you have started. Doing all 3 will help gain fitness quicker.
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