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2019-01-21 2:47 PM

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Subject: Prioritization for new endurance athletes

Hello BT,

I am looking for some advice on what sport to prioritize (bike or run) for someone who is completely new to endurance training? I'm training about 4 hours per week but I want to be sure that I am prioritizing the sport that will have the most 'general' carryover.

Thanks for your time!







2019-01-21 3:43 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
ANd the swim, don’t forget the swim. If you are new at all 3, I’d say train for all 3 equally.
2019-01-21 3:47 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes

What are your goals?

For life in general, cycling opens the possibility to commute by bicycle (work or errands).  It's generally lower impact than running.  

For triathlon, cycling is often 1/2 the race TIME, so offers the greatest number of minutes or seconds saved with increasing performance.  This, of course, assumes similar performance in both riding and running.  If you're a great cyclist and mediocre runner, you'll probably gain more focusing on running.  

As a fun exercise, project your current cycling/running paces on the race you're targeting and see where your performance falls (overall, gender, or age group).  You can then see what a 10% improvement in one or the other does for your overall race.  

2019-01-21 4:20 PM
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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Rollergirl

ANd the swim, don’t forget the swim. If you are new at all 3, I’d say train for all 3 equally.


I definitely will not forget the swim!

Swimming doesn't feel all that impactful to me, recovery wise. I've got a lot of work to do with regards to perfecting my technique but I am have been able to swim 1000m continuously in 25 minutes. Since I just started swimming in late November this feels to be fairly decent. I will get a coach at some point but it may be after my first event.

Originally posted by McFuzz

What are your goals?

For life in general, cycling opens the possibility to commute by bicycle (work or errands).  It's generally lower impact than running.  

For triathlon, cycling is often 1/2 the race TIME, so offers the greatest number of minutes or seconds saved with increasing performance.  This, of course, assumes similar performance in both riding and running.  If you're a great cyclist and mediocre runner, you'll probably gain more focusing on running.  

As a fun exercise, project your current cycling/running paces on the race you're targeting and see where your performance falls (overall, gender, or age group).  You can then see what a 10% improvement in one or the other does for your overall race.  




Goal would be to complete my first Oly in 2h:45m.

I actually started infrequently commuting to work last year via bike as training for climbing. My commute is 18-23 miles one way depending on the route so it's certainly a challenging way to get started. I did it a couple times a week for a few weeks and then it just wasn't very convenient (plus I was riding a Santa Cruz Highball). Having a beer one night with some friends I decided tackling a triathlon would be the perfect way to get into shape for mountains, so I signed up and have been hooked.

I can ride 25m in 1h:20m and can run 10k in 1h:20m. Both of these are indoors (Zwift, trainerroad, etc) and done at a Z2 HR pace. I haven't really done either of these at a faster pace as I've always had a problem with overdoing it when it comes to training. I'm trying to get everything on the low end of the spectrum to build a strong base.

I assume that if I have equal times in both sports, it doesn't matter too much where I put that 10% improvement. It becomes more of a question of which can I improve at faster. Feels like the bike is going to win here.

Edited by thederrickm 2019-01-21 4:41 PM
2019-01-21 8:24 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes

"Goal would be to complete my first Oly in 2h:45m"

Looking at your current times for stand alone bike and run, you aren't going to accomplish that goal on 4 hours per week.  I know you don't want to hear that, and I'm not trying to be discouraging, but that's not happening.  Find some more time.

2019-01-21 8:37 PM
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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Yep. I think I did my second Oly just under 2:45, and my times were about 28 minutes for 1500m swim (about 26 in the pool, but I wasn't very good at open water skills then), 50 minutes or so for the 10K (maybe 52 in the race after biking), and 1:20 something for the bike. Plus a few minutes for transitions. Looking at your current times, the bike would put you in the ballpark IF you had a strong run and swim, which you don't. I would definitely invest in some coaching or lessons to get more efficient on the swim, and gradually build up your run. Yes, the bike is a major part of triathlon (and the hardest for me) but a bit less so for Olympic than 70.3 and full Ironman, and in your case I think the run and swim are holding you back more. (The swim is a smaller % of the total race time, but becoming physically exhausted or mentally stressed on the swim will negatively affect your bike and run, so it "matters" more than it would seem to.)

As far as "general" carryover, sadly, it doesn't really work like that. Swimming is heavily dependent on technique. No matter how good an "engine" you might have built from biking, running, or some other cardio-heavy sport, it won't translate to fast, or even mediocre swim times without proper technique and swim-specific training of endurance and speed. I'm living proof that running doesn't automatically translate to bike speed (a few months after my best over-40 half marathon of 1:33, I was 123/136 on the bike leg of my first Oly).Not to brag, but we are talking someone who has been running since age 10, and has a 10K best of about 35 flat (long ago). I have had to work HARD to go from back of pack to front of middle on the bike. Likewise, a strong "engine" from biking will not automatically make one a fast runner without gradually building up mileage and getting in some speed work. Plus running well off the bike takes time to develop, even for strong runners.

From my own experience, the one sport which does seem to have a bit of general "carryover" would be swimming. That is mainly because there is no impact, so you can do high volume and intensity consistently and build very strong cardio fitness with minimal risk of injury. In high school, I used to swim most of the winter and do very little running, but was able to get back to peak run fitness quite quickly each spring. However, this assumes that 1. Your swim technique is good enough to get a strong cardio workout, and 2. You are doing A LOT of swimming (we were doing 40-50K a week). Not the case for you or most triathletes or, for that matter, me. I'm no longer a teenager and couldn't get back physical resilience for running that quickly anymore, and of course I don't have time to swim 40-50K each week!

Basically, for most adult age group triathletes there is no "free lunch". You get better at each leg of the sport by putting in time with it.

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-01-21 8:56 PM


2019-01-21 8:57 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Left Brain

"Goal would be to complete my first Oly in 2h:45m"

Looking at your current times for stand alone bike and run, you aren't going to accomplish that goal on 4 hours per week.  I know you don't want to hear that, and I'm not trying to be discouraging, but that's not happening.  Find some more time.




Originally posted by Hot Runner

Yep. I think I did my second Oly just under 2:45, and my times were about 28 minutes for 1500m swim (faster in the pool, butI wasn't very good at open water skills then), 50 minutes or so for the 10K (maybe 52 in the race after biking), and 1:20 something for the bike. Plus a few minutes for transitions. Looking at your current times, the bike puts you in the ballpark IF you had a strong run and swim, which you don't. I would definitely invest in some coaching or lessons to get more efficient on the swim, and gradually build up your run. Yes, the bike is a major part of triathlon (and the hardest for me) but a bit less so for Olympic than 70.3 and full Ironman, and in your case I think the run and swim are holding you back more. (The swim is a smaller % of the total race time, but becoming physically exhausted or mentally stressed on the swim will negatively affect your bike and run, so it "matters" more than it would seem to.)


Appreciate the feedback gents. I know those times are for stand alone efforts but they are also a slower pace (under 135bpm). I feel confident I could stitch them together without any loss of time, I've done half bricks (12.5m bike + 5k) without any issues. So, if I can hit 2:40 between the bike and run with a modest effort it seems realistic (as a beginner) to improve that time by 10% over the next 16 weeks.

If all that goes as written I could get a 2:24 for my bike and run, leaving me with 19 minutes for my swim and transitions. 2:45 does probably seem a bit unlikely but who does an Oly at a Z2 heart rate?
2019-01-21 9:03 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Hot Runner
Basically, for most adult age group triathletes there is no "free lunch". You get better at each leg of the sport by putting in time with it.


Missed some of your post but I wanted to address this specifically. I am expecting to pay my dues and work hard for the times I deserve. I'm just looking to understand if as a beginner to endurance it makes sense to focus more on one thing. Sounds like that is a no and I should just do all the things. Happy to keep doing all the things.

Thanks!
2019-01-21 9:06 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
True--Oly effort should be more Z3 for beginners and probably some Z4 toward the end of the run. It wouldn't change my advice though--if that is a Z2 effort for you on the bike, you will probably be middle of the pack at race effort. I would focus on maintaining the bike and building the other two. Also, I would avoid getting too caught up in time goals. They are fine to have (I've been hammering at 5 hours for the 70.3 for almost three years now!) but it really varies from course to course in triathlon. Water conditions, hills (or lack thereof), road surfaces, weather, and accuracy of the course, particularly the swim, are all variables out of your control. (I am still looking for that perfect 70.3 with calm water, a flat bike with no wind, and a downhill run in perfect--for me--75 degree weather-- LOL.)
2019-01-21 9:07 PM
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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes

Are you a swimmer?  19 minutes is an elite time in an Olympic Triathlon.  If you are not a trained swimmer (like childhood club swimmer), you won't be anywhere close to that.  Again, I'm not trying to be discouraging, but there is reality to deal with. 

Hot Runner has it right......you should probably drop the time goals for your first triathlon......you can't be realistic until you see what you're dealing with.  It will make life easier and more enjoyable as you train for your race. 



Edited by Left Brain 2019-01-21 9:14 PM
2019-01-21 9:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Hot Runner

True--Oly effort should be more Z3 for beginners and probably some Z4 toward the end of the run. It wouldn't change my advice though--if that is a Z2 effort for you on the bike, you will probably be middle of the pack at race effort. I would focus on maintaining the bike and building the other two. Also, I would avoid getting too caught up in time goals. They are fine to have (I've been hammering at 5 hours for the 70.3 for almost three years now!) but it really varies from course to course in triathlon. Water conditions, hills (or lack thereof), road surfaces, weather, and accuracy of the course, particularly the swim, are all variables out of your control. (I am still looking for that perfect 70.3 with calm water, a flat bike with no wind, and a downhill run in perfect--for me--75 degree weather-- LOL.)


Nice! This was exactly what I was looking for. Sound reasoning for why I should focus on one thing over the other. Appreciate the thought behind that one, being new I have no idea what to expect there.

If you recommend ditching the time goals, what kind of goals would you recommend?

Edited by thederrickm 2019-01-21 9:49 PM


2019-01-22 8:04 AM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Hey man,

I signed for my first Oly a couple of years ago. Hilly course for the bike. (May race in, PA)

Background as a mediocre runner, sub 4:00 hour marathons, +/- 8:00 pace running 35+ miles a week in training when I had the brain fart that Triathlon would be fun.

I bought a bike and a trainer, hit it pretty hard through the winter. At least I thought it was hard...hahaha. Biking about 60-70 miles per week.

Running stayed in the range of 35 miles per week.

Swimming started with 1000m per session and got up to 2000m per session by the end of training. 2-3 sessions per week in the pool. Very little open water until about 1 week before the race.

Through training I had two short brick races. I would suggest more than that for your training.

I finished a tough course in 2:57

The swim killed me. Because of my comfort level in the water, I used WAY to much energy in the water and because of poor practice I was off track quite a bit. Practice sighting, depending on your comfort level in the water, at least 2-3 times per lap in the pool. Build up your shoulder and neck muscles.

I forget the splits for the day...but I was bottom 25% in swim, top 25% on bike and top 10% on run.

As has been mentioned. You have to race the course, train for the course and set your goals based on what you think you can achieve.

Cheers,

Steve
2019-01-22 8:06 AM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
The biggest reason to drop the time goal is that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that the "Olympic" you do is actually an Olympic distance. Of all the races I've done, and seen, I think I've seen one that is actually a legit oly. Most dramatically reduce the swim distance. They're rarely over 1,000 meters (most are around 600-800 meters). The bikes tend to go a touch long, and the runs are rarely over 6 miles. Go on Strava and search for the race you're doing and you can see what the actual distances are. Be warned however that if someone (and many people do) is using a GPS watch that doesn't contain the algorithm for open water swimming, the watch will dramatically overestimate distance since it won't correct for the persons hand coming in and out of the water. So if you see a GPS file with a bunch of really jagged lines, don't use that as your measuring stick. What oly are you targeting?
2019-01-22 9:19 AM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes

Originally posted by thederrickm
Originally posted by Hot Runner True--Oly effort should be more Z3 for beginners and probably some Z4 toward the end of the run. It wouldn't change my advice though--if that is a Z2 effort for you on the bike, you will probably be middle of the pack at race effort. I would focus on maintaining the bike and building the other two. Also, I would avoid getting too caught up in time goals. They are fine to have (I've been hammering at 5 hours for the 70.3 for almost three years now!) but it really varies from course to course in triathlon. Water conditions, hills (or lack thereof), road surfaces, weather, and accuracy of the course, particularly the swim, are all variables out of your control. (I am still looking for that perfect 70.3 with calm water, a flat bike with no wind, and a downhill run in perfect--for me--75 degree weather-- LOL.)
Nice! This was exactly what I was looking for. Sound reasoning for why I should focus on one thing over the other. Appreciate the thought behind that one, being new I have no idea what to expect there. If you recommend ditching the time goals, what kind of goals would you recommend?

I'll suggest you NOT drop your time goals.  

You've got time to train properly.  If you want a 2:45 finish, figure out a plan that gives you a shot at that.  Hint:  It may require more than 4 hours per week and it may require hiring a coach and then following the coach's training.  

I think I posted it before, the bike is ~1/2 the race time.  2:45 = 165 minutes, half that is 82 minutes (1:22).  The run ~1/3 (55 minutes), leaving you ~28 minutes for the swim and transitions (pretty aggressive).  Cut 8 minutes from this bike and 3 minutes from this run, and you'll have ~39 minutes for the rest.  Aggressive in a different way.  Now you're already close on the bike, so it's not a stretch to believe you can hit even a 74 minute bike split (20 mph).  Cutting your run from 1:20 to 0:52 is far more aggressive.  That'll take real dedication to YOUR goal!  

2019-01-22 10:22 AM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
I would like to comment that for your very first triathlon you would probably want to stay conservative when coming up with your goals...
Speaking from experience. No matter what your times are in each discipline separately, that may change when you combine all three in the triathlon. I remember my very first triathlon, when I jumped off the bike and could not decide if my legs were made of wood or cotton... and tried to figure out how to run....
Swimming in open water will depend on conditions. It can be nice and smooth, but may be a mess. Also, starting with a huge pack of other swimmers, half of them have no idea what they're doing - trying to get out of it will eat some time. And can be exhausting.

I will second the comment that you want more than 4 hours per week, especially if you have little or no background. Also, for the very forst race, do not make crazy optimistic goals. Leave some room for fun. You will then have a better chances of PR in your next race.
2019-01-22 12:44 PM
in reply to: marysia83

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by PigeonTri

Hey man,

I signed for my first Oly a couple of years ago. Hilly course for the bike. (May race in, PA)

Background as a mediocre runner, sub 4:00 hour marathons, +/- 8:00 pace running 35+ miles a week in training when I had the brain fart that Triathlon would be fun.

I bought a bike and a trainer, hit it pretty hard through the winter. At least I thought it was hard...hahaha. Biking about 60-70 miles per week.

Running stayed in the range of 35 miles per week.

Swimming started with 1000m per session and got up to 2000m per session by the end of training. 2-3 sessions per week in the pool. Very little open water until about 1 week before the race.

Through training I had two short brick races. I would suggest more than that for your training.

I finished a tough course in 2:57

The swim killed me. Because of my comfort level in the water, I used WAY to much energy in the water and because of poor practice I was off track quite a bit. Practice sighting, depending on your comfort level in the water, at least 2-3 times per lap in the pool. Build up your shoulder and neck muscles.

I forget the splits for the day...but I was bottom 25% in swim, top 25% on bike and top 10% on run.

As has been mentioned. You have to race the course, train for the course and set your goals based on what you think you can achieve.

Cheers,

Steve


Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm worried about the open water piece as well, I have zero experience there. From the location it looks like it will be calm with good visibility (Honolulu: Ala Moana) but throw in hundreds of other swimmers and I'm sure everything goes to hell.

Originally posted by 3mar

The biggest reason to drop the time goal is that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that the "Olympic" you do is actually an Olympic distance. Of all the races I've done, and seen, I think I've seen one that is actually a legit oly. Most dramatically reduce the swim distance. They're rarely over 1,000 meters (most are around 600-800 meters). The bikes tend to go a touch long, and the runs are rarely over 6 miles. Go on Strava and search for the race you're doing and you can see what the actual distances are. Be warned however that if someone (and many people do) is using a GPS watch that doesn't contain the algorithm for open water swimming, the watch will dramatically overestimate distance since it won't correct for the persons hand coming in and out of the water. So if you see a GPS file with a bunch of really jagged lines, don't use that as your measuring stick. What oly are you targeting?


Honolulu Triathlon in May. Thanks for the tip on that one, I had searched mapmyride and a few other place for more course details but hadn't thought to check Strava.


Originally posted by McFuzz

Originally posted by thederrickm
Originally posted by Hot Runner True--Oly effort should be more Z3 for beginners and probably some Z4 toward the end of the run. It wouldn't change my advice though--if that is a Z2 effort for you on the bike, you will probably be middle of the pack at race effort. I would focus on maintaining the bike and building the other two. Also, I would avoid getting too caught up in time goals. They are fine to have (I've been hammering at 5 hours for the 70.3 for almost three years now!) but it really varies from course to course in triathlon. Water conditions, hills (or lack thereof), road surfaces, weather, and accuracy of the course, particularly the swim, are all variables out of your control. (I am still looking for that perfect 70.3 with calm water, a flat bike with no wind, and a downhill run in perfect--for me--75 degree weather-- LOL.)
Nice! This was exactly what I was looking for. Sound reasoning for why I should focus on one thing over the other. Appreciate the thought behind that one, being new I have no idea what to expect there. If you recommend ditching the time goals, what kind of goals would you recommend?

I'll suggest you NOT drop your time goals.  

You've got time to train properly.  If you want a 2:45 finish, figure out a plan that gives you a shot at that.  Hint:  It may require more than 4 hours per week and it may require hiring a coach and then following the coach's training.  

I think I posted it before, the bike is ~1/2 the race time.  2:45 = 165 minutes, half that is 82 minutes (1:22).  The run ~1/3 (55 minutes), leaving you ~28 minutes for the swim and transitions (pretty aggressive).  Cut 8 minutes from this bike and 3 minutes from this run, and you'll have ~39 minutes for the rest.  Aggressive in a different way.  Now you're already close on the bike, so it's not a stretch to believe you can hit even a 74 minute bike split (20 mph).  Cutting your run from 1:20 to 0:52 is far more aggressive.  That'll take real dedication to YOUR goal!  




Good thoughts, thanks McFuzz. I'm certainly open to putting more hours in per week with regards to training, this is just where I am currently. I'm still working on my base and will be mapping out the next phase of my training soon.


Originally posted by marysia83

I would like to comment that for your very first triathlon you would probably want to stay conservative when coming up with your goals...
Speaking from experience. No matter what your times are in each discipline separately, that may change when you combine all three in the triathlon. I remember my very first triathlon, when I jumped off the bike and could not decide if my legs were made of wood or cotton... and tried to figure out how to run....
Swimming in open water will depend on conditions. It can be nice and smooth, but may be a mess. Also, starting with a huge pack of other swimmers, half of them have no idea what they're doing - trying to get out of it will eat some time. And can be exhausting.

I will second the comment that you want more than 4 hours per week, especially if you have little or no background. Also, for the very forst race, do not make crazy optimistic goals. Leave some room for fun. You will then have a better chances of PR in your next race.


Hahah, I love the cotton or wood piece. I've been doing some brick workouts so I am getting used to that experience. I will definitely take a look at increasing my training time going forward.

Thanks everyone!


2019-01-22 1:16 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Looks like the swim and run are both pretty close to standard distance (1.5 and 10k). The bike looks to be short at 35k.
2019-01-22 1:56 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
I would definitely recommend increasing your training time to achieve your goals. My wife just started her first sprint tri training plan and that plan has her doing more than the 4 hrs you are doing for 2x the distance. It will be really really hard to hit your goals on only 4 hrs. For an ambitious time like that 8 hrs is a much more reasonable goal peak. However, finding a coach that will help you maximize the limited time you have is probably even more important.

Also, do some tests to find out what you can really do. Run a 5k and see what pace you can hit. before my first olympic tri program I ran a 5k and with consistent training I was able to run my 10k in that race at about the same pace as my initial 5k time. So, a hard 5k effort might give you a better idea of what to shoot for. You will run faster in a race then you will in training. Adrenaline will help with that.

On the subject of goals I like time goals. It helps me push harder but process goals (what my coach loves to focus on are more important). I did my first half iron last summer. I had a goal of finishing in 5 hrs. Kind of ambitious but definitely possible based on previous results. The swim was in lake Michigan up until the day of the race it had been super calm and just under the wet suit cutoff temp. Then the day of the race 3-5 foot chop hit and the temp rose to just above cut-off. I ended up swimming 35 min in that swim and new with normal conditions and a wet suit I would be under 30. I can't control those conditions. However, I sighted well. I swam a really comfortable pace and came out of the water feeling fresh. So, I hit my process goals. The air temp was also in the 90s which is at least 10 degrees above the average high for Michigan in August, had brutal sun. I couldn't control that but I followed the plan and biked my power, nailed my transitioned, walked the aid stations and finished in 5:03. I didn't hit my goal but I nailed the process. I felt it was a success I wasn't upset with the "time." Think of a time goal was good for me in training and racing but the process goals helped me feel successful in that race. If the weather was closer to normal and I got to wear a wet suit no question in my mind I could've finished in under 5. However, those are things that can't be controlled.

Good luck and enjoy the training because that's where most of the time is spent. I'm very fortunate to have found this site and some great coaches and advice here. You are in a good place.
2019-01-22 2:21 PM
in reply to: jnuger

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by jnuger
I would definitely recommend increasing your training time to achieve your goals. My wife just started her first sprint tri training plan and that plan has her doing more than the 4 hrs you are doing for 2x the distance. It will be really really hard to hit your goals on only 4 hrs. For an ambitious time like that 8 hrs is a much more reasonable goal peak. However, finding a coach that will help you maximize the limited time you have is probably even more important.


I don't think I clarified this well earlier but the 4 hours training time does not include my swim training. After revisiting my training schedule I am going to increase my bike and run to 7-8 hours. I have an hour block every weekday morning at 5am that I have broken up as such.

Mon = Easy run, Tue = Bike, Wed = Tempo Run, Thu = Bike, Fri = Easy Run

So that gives me 5 hours, plus I will do a long run or long bike on the weekend. If my energy levels are high I will probably do both, especially if leading into a deloading phase.

I swim 3-4 times per week in the evenings. I'm sure I could improve the plan above significantly with a coach but I want to see what I am capable of first to establish a baseline. If I continue down this path then it makes sense to find more ways to improve; I don't need everything from day one.

Originally posted by jnuger
Also, do some tests to find out what you can really do. Run a 5k and see what pace you can hit. before my first olympic tri program I ran a 5k and with consistent training I was able to run my 10k in that race at about the same pace as my initial 5k time. So, a hard 5k effort might give you a better idea of what to shoot for. You will run faster in a race then you will in training. Adrenaline will help with that.


Great advice, I haven't done any hard running or biking yet but it makes sense to pull this sort of thing into my program.

Originally posted by jnuger
On the subject of goals I like time goals. It helps me push harder but process goals (what my coach loves to focus on are more important). I did my first half iron last summer. I had a goal of finishing in 5 hrs. Kind of ambitious but definitely possible based on previous results. The swim was in lake Michigan up until the day of the race it had been super calm and just under the wet suit cutoff temp. Then the day of the race 3-5 foot chop hit and the temp rose to just above cut-off. I ended up swimming 35 min in that swim and new with normal conditions and a wet suit I would be under 30. I can't control those conditions. However, I sighted well. I swam a really comfortable pace and came out of the water feeling fresh. So, I hit my process goals. The air temp was also in the 90s which is at least 10 degrees above the average high for Michigan in August, had brutal sun. I couldn't control that but I followed the plan and biked my power, nailed my transitioned, walked the aid stations and finished in 5:03. I didn't hit my goal but I nailed the process. I felt it was a success I wasn't upset with the "time." Think of a time goal was good for me in training and racing but the process goals helped me feel successful in that race. If the weather was closer to normal and I got to wear a wet suit no question in my mind I could've finished in under 5. However, those are things that can't be controlled.


More good points, thanks for the thoughts.
2019-01-22 9:07 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Very cool! I lived in Honolulu for a few years in my 20's and swam at Ala Moana a couple times a week. Are you living in Hawaii or have you swum there before? Apologies in advance if that is the case for explaining the obvious....

If not--The water at Ala Moana is generally pretty calm but current is not non-existent. As I recall it tends to run parallel to shore. So going in one direction you are swimming with the current, and the other against it. Little onshore or offshore current or surf break most of the time. The current is definitely noticeable but not a problem for most people unless you are a super-weak swimmer. Sometimes there can be a little more chop, but I don't think I ever encountered anything scary. The water is NOT transparent despite the beautiful pictures you see. It appears blue from outside the water, but is pretty opaque gray once you stick your head in. So make sure to practice sighting and navigation--you will need it. When I was there, swimmers tended to follow a route with some buoys parallel to shore between Magic Island (??) Park and the boundary rope for the yacht harbor. There was often "traffic" in both directions and before I learned to sight properly, I occasionally had head-ons and near-misses with swimmers coming from the opposite direction! It's definitely a good idea to practice sighting before the race!

If you haven't swum in the ocean before, it would be best to get there a bit early to get in some swims--Ala Moana's very beginner-friendly on most days but it still feels a lot different than a pool. It was the first place I swam extensively in the ocean, and it took several swims before I really felt confident, even though I have been swimming since childhood and swam distances (in the pool) in high school.

I would never count on a race swim being short--others have mentioned that but personally I don't think I have done an Oly with a swim that was much shorter than standard--if anything, some were longer. (Mostly racing in Pacific Northwest, Canada, and SE Asia). I have only done a few races of any distance where the swim was short--usually for logistical reasons unique to that course, or poor race day conditions.
2019-01-22 9:52 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Hot Runner

Very cool! I lived in Honolulu for a few years in my 20's and swam at Ala Moana a couple times a week. Are you living in Hawaii or have you swum there before? Apologies in advance if that is the case for explaining the obvious....

If not--The water at Ala Moana is generally pretty calm but current is not non-existent. As I recall it tends to run parallel to shore. So going in one direction you are swimming with the current, and the other against it. Little onshore or offshore current or surf break most of the time. The current is definitely noticeable but not a problem for most people unless you are a super-weak swimmer. Sometimes there can be a little more chop, but I don't think I ever encountered anything scary. The water is NOT transparent despite the beautiful pictures you see. It appears blue from outside the water, but is pretty opaque gray once you stick your head in. So make sure to practice sighting and navigation--you will need it. When I was there, swimmers tended to follow a route with some buoys parallel to shore between Magic Island (??) Park and the boundary rope for the yacht harbor. There was often "traffic" in both directions and before I learned to sight properly, I occasionally had head-ons and near-misses with swimmers coming from the opposite direction! It's definitely a good idea to practice sighting before the race!

If you haven't swum in the ocean before, it would be best to get there a bit early to get in some swims--Ala Moana's very beginner-friendly on most days but it still feels a lot different than a pool. It was the first place I swam extensively in the ocean, and it took several swims before I really felt confident, even though I have been swimming since childhood and swam distances (in the pool) in high school.

I would never count on a race swim being short--others have mentioned that but personally I don't think I have done an Oly with a swim that was much shorter than standard--if anything, some were longer. (Mostly racing in Pacific Northwest, Canada, and SE Asia). I have only done a few races of any distance where the swim was short--usually for logistical reasons unique to that course, or poor race day conditions.


Sweet! Thanks for the good news. I do have a chance to do some swims the day before and on race morning as they will have it open for practice. I'm not from HI but live in Seattle, WA. As our open water is going to be quite frosty year round I am considering taking a trip somewhere south prior to the event in May. I have even been searching for open water camps in Mexico or something, just to get some practice in before hand. I'm comfortable with the distance, it's just going to be the sighting and other peoples limbs that I am going to have to acclimate to somewhat. Not sure how useful sighting in the pool is other than it might be better than nothing since I am not taking any cues from it.


2019-01-23 9:20 AM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Sighting in the pool is good just to get in the technique practice (mainly, lifting your eyes out to get a view without getting your head up too far or messing up your stroke too much--find some videos), even though in "most" cases you shouldn't need to do that. (Our pool had a water quality issue for a couple weeks and the water was white--actually I HAD to sight to keep from hitting the wall--that bad. They learned not to put, apparently, baking soda into the pool!) You can put a colorful water bottle at one end and sight on that, try to swim straight toward it. For an added dose of realism, try swimming with your eyes closed (NOT anywhere near the wall, though) and then sighting every 6-10 strokes. Of course not for the whole workout--start with a few laps and work up.
2019-01-23 12:08 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Originally posted by Hot Runner

Sighting in the pool is good just to get in the technique practice (mainly, lifting your eyes out to get a view without getting your head up too far or messing up your stroke too much--find some videos), even though in "most" cases you shouldn't need to do that. (Our pool had a water quality issue for a couple weeks and the water was white--actually I HAD to sight to keep from hitting the wall--that bad. They learned not to put, apparently, baking soda into the pool!) You can put a colorful water bottle at one end and sight on that, try to swim straight toward it. For an added dose of realism, try swimming with your eyes closed (NOT anywhere near the wall, though) and then sighting every 6-10 strokes. Of course not for the whole workout--start with a few laps and work up.


Lol, not sure I would trust getting into a white pool

Thanks for the recommendations, will give it a go.
2019-01-23 3:26 PM
in reply to: thederrickm

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Subject: RE: Prioritization for new endurance athletes
Probably bike, and assuming your goal is triathlons.

If you are racing sprints and totally new to swimming, that might take more time.

Generally you can get a lot more benefit from cycling that aids in energy management for the run. You can't neglect the run, but also depends on the distance of the race.
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