General Discussion Triathlon Talk » From novice to age grouper? Rss Feed  
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2019-03-21 8:12 AM


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Subject: From novice to age grouper?
Hi All,

I am brand new to the community, both to Beginner Triathlete and to triathlons in general. I started out as a runner a few years ago. I just recently completed a duathlon, and I am 1 month away from completing my first sprint triathlon. Based on my current times, I expect to finish within the 50th percentile of everyone participating in the triathlon.

I saw huge leaps in all three disciplines within the first 6 months of training, but I feel like any progress I make now in my times are incremental, at best.

I would like to keep my expectations in check. Here is my question: How long will it take to go from a novice to an age grouper? I understand these things don't happen overnight, but I would like to hear some advice regarding how long it takes to reach this type of level. I feel like this will keep me from being frustrated. Please don't think I'm trying to rush the process. I do not know anyone in the sport, I am thoroughly intrigued in all of this, and I simply want to plan my milestones around realistic goals.

I am currently training about 5 hours a week. Like I said, I am still a newbie.

Thanks for your help everyone!


2019-03-21 11:29 AM
in reply to: Progressor30


3

Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
Sorry, I should clarify - from notice to finishing in the top 3 of my age group.
2019-03-21 11:53 AM
in reply to: Progressor30

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Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
The short answer is: it depends.

There are two types of goals: beating your own personal goals (and this is something you can control with training, nutrition, planning, coach, etc., etc...), and reaching the podium, which is something you cannot control. And here is why: races are not equal. In a small local race where people are not used to the sport, your time may be good enough to get you first place. In a large event the same time can put you on the very very far end.... It all depends on who shows up on the race day: newbies or pros.

You also cannot compare one race to another due to environmental aspects. Swimming in a huge an unpredictable lake, like Michigan, will get even a pro athlete different time than swimming in a small lake or in the pool. Ascending and descending on the bike vs flat course. Same for running. Elevation: is the race in Boulder or Chicago? Weather: rain and winds or sunny day, hot and humid, or nice and dry.

Distances are also sometimes different, especially for Sprints. Also, a person who gets the podium in Sprint, may not get a podium in Oly, and vice versa. Those are two completely different experiences.

I'm sorry it's not an answer you're looking for, but these are the challenges with the question you asked

I would focus on a specific race and see how far, realistically, you can get in that specific race. Then go for it every year and see what your chances are. I knew (and still know) I would never get a podium in Chicago TRI (wayyyy too many pros there.....), but I made a goal to be in first 100. Or to make it under certain time.

How soon can you see the progress? It also depends on a lot of things. I am not sure if 5 hours/week is enough. Depending on your fitness level and if the race is Sprint or Oly. If Oly, that's definitely not enough.
Enjoy the process and eventually, you will see and enjoy the progress
2019-03-21 12:15 PM
in reply to: marysia83


3

Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
That's great, thank you marysia. I am learning that there are tons of variables that can affect performance. I'm looking to stay in the sprint world for the time being. My body only allows me to do 5-6 hours a week right now, but I'm ok with that, no rush. Not trying to get hurt.

Thanks for the advice, I'll make sure I use it on my journey...
2019-03-22 2:44 PM
in reply to: Progressor30

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Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
By age grouper you mean winning your age group?

Takes time and consistency and a good plan.

It won't happen over night. You make leaps when you stay in the sport for a while and learn methods to training, add more time, etc.
2019-03-22 4:00 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
This depends greatly on your general aerobic fitness coming into triathlon as well as your background (or lack thereof) in swim/bike/ run. Someone who is strong in one or two of the sports already, and/or has developed a strong base of aerobic fitness from some other sport, will probably find they can more quickly progress into the AG ranks. (It also helps to start with small, local races!) I was second woman overall in my first tri (at age 41). The following year, I was consistently placing in my AG and sometimes overall in bigger races in Singapore (probably not quite as competitive as many places in the US, though). My first tri was a small race with just a hundred people or so, I had a pretty strong background in swimming, including casual open water swims, and running, and was in good swim shape (from a master's club) and moderately good run shape (having trained for and completed a half-marathon a few months before after about 15 years of casual jogging).

Though I did lack bike-specific fitness, proper gear and equipment, and any skill at the technical aspects of tri (transitions, bike handling, sighting in open water) when I raced my first tri, I was neither overweight nor out of shape. I also had an endurance sports background (marathon running in my teens and twenties, avid hiker) and understood things like pacing and hydration pretty well. Really not a fair comparison with someone who perhaps had been overweight and sedentary much of her life and was a newcomer to all three sports and endurance sports in general.

That being said, even for sprints, getting into the AG ranks in most cases probably requires more than five hours a week of training, except for maybe the extremely talented or former pros. I would guess I was hitting about 9-10 hours a week when I started placing in sprints and Oly's. If you find that your performance has hit a plateau, it will probably require more and/or different training to make continued progress.

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-03-22 4:03 PM


2019-03-26 3:06 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?

Originally posted by Progressor30 Hi All, I am brand new to the community, both to Beginner Triathlete and to triathlons in general. I started out as a runner a few years ago. I just recently completed a duathlon, and I am 1 month away from completing my first sprint triathlon. Based on my current times, I expect to finish within the 50th percentile of everyone participating in the triathlon. I saw huge leaps in all three disciplines within the first 6 months of training, but I feel like any progress I make now in my times are incremental, at best. I would like to keep my expectations in check. Here is my question: How long will it take to go from a novice to an age grouper? I understand these things don't happen overnight, but I would like to hear some advice regarding how long it takes to reach this type of level. I feel like this will keep me from being frustrated. Please don't think I'm trying to rush the process. I do not know anyone in the sport, I am thoroughly intrigued in all of this, and I simply want to plan my milestones around realistic goals. I am currently training about 5 hours a week. Like I said, I am still a newbie. Thanks for your help everyone!

 

Do you mean Age Group Competitive?  Notices ARE Age Groupers. You can finish last place and you still are an Age Grouper

As far as expectations go I trained 8 months for my first Triathlon building up to 10 hours a week.  When I got on the starting line at age 37 I was in the best shape of my life.  I didn't have the best race of my life though.   The rule of thumb that I was given is that it takes about three years to peak in endurance sports.  Judging from what I have done I think that is about right.   I have been doing triathlons since 2015 and so far I have PR'd in every race.  I was breaking PR's by big margins the first few years and have only been keeping the PR streak alive by the skin of my teeth since then.

Note:  It took me four years to hit the goal time that I set for my first Triathlon. This is a Sport that very few people do nail in their first race.

So..you are an Ager Grouper now, but you will be a novice or beginner for your first three years.  After the three year mark you can't call yourself a beginner any more.  You are a Triathlete. 



Edited by BlueBoy26 2019-03-26 3:09 PM
2019-03-27 8:49 AM
in reply to: Progressor30

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Subject: RE: From novice to age grouper?
Everyone is going to have a different result. However, from my experience the more consistent/structured you are in training the faster that will happen. I made some decent gains in my first year of triathlon just by building a base but when I started working with a coach and following structured workouts that multiplied exponentially. Five hours of training time might be a little bit light in terms of gains. I am more in the 10-12 hr range with some lighter weeks of 8 hrs when my work/family commitments are higher.
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