What does it take to do your first tri?

By Lora Erickson, www.blonderunner.com

Triathlons can seem intimidating, after all you have to be able to do three sports (swimming, biking and running). But the fact is triathlons are very doable for even the “non-athlete.” When I started doing triathlons 6 years ago I didn’t know anyone that did triathlons, so I didn’t really have anyone to ask questions to. Having a running background helped a lot, but mostly I used common sense to train. I also went and watch a few before I did one of my own.

First I started swimming, and bought myself a road bike (most triathlons are road bike not mountain bike unless it’s an Xterra), and continued running. Then when I felt like I could do those decently, I choose a race. I picked a race that offered a pool swim so I didn’t have to rent a wetsuit and brave the open water. I found out the distances of each event and adjusted my training accordingly. How to train is the tricky thing about triathlons. You have to learn how to balance each sport without overtraining.

As a coach, I often start beginners doing 1-2 practices in each event during the week. For example swim 1500 – 2000 yards, bike 10-15 miles, run 3-6 miles (rotate working outs 6 days a week with one full rest day). This is a fairly simple format, but hopefully you get the general idea. If this seems too difficult then ease into it and give yourself a longer time to train. Also, you will want to vary your training adding intervals, endurance work, brick workouts and pace sessions. If you follow a good training program you can get ready for a triathlon in 3 – 6 months and do well. If you are in pretty good shape you could do it in less time. Winter is a great time to get in the water if you have an indoor pool in your area. Take advantage of a stationary bike or a spinning class, and lace up those shoes for an outdoor run. Just go for it – that’s what I did and I’m loving every minute of it. Triathlons are the best!

Lora is a certified running coach and experienced triathlete with over 24 years of experience. She is the owner of Blonde Runner Health LLC in Bountiful, Utah where she currently resides with her husband and four children. She also enjoys coaching an all women triathlon team. For questions or comments contact lora@blonderunner.com or for more information visit www.blonderunner.com


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Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete and certified running and triathlon coach recently competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Africa in 2018. Lora was born and raised in Colorado and was to run for the University and Utah & Utah State University where she obtained a degree in Community Health Education with duel minors in Chemistry and Nutrition. Coach Lora has a true passion for health promotion and loves to share her experiences. Learn more: About Coach Lora Erickson