Training for my triathlon

Next step – replacing these.

Sometime last week I got the idea that I wanted to complete a triathlon stuck in my head. I can’t really say why. I can’t say that I’ve ever jumped off my bicycle after a ride and thought “gosh, now I’d really like to take a run.”

Maybe it’s that I’ve been feeling soft and have not been doing a great job of getting myself moving.

Maybe it is to show my daughter that triathlons aren’t just for her big brother.

Or maybe it’s that I’m turning 40 (!) and a triathlon feels like a new challenge, different than my day-to-day challenges.

Or maybe, as I said to a friend recently, I have an undiagnosed head injury.

The triathlon for which I’m registered is for women-only and includes a 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run. Of the three legs, it’s the run that is most daunting to me because I really don’t like to run. Or walk.

Generally, I prefer my sports to involve wheels of the bicycle and rollerblade variety.

Tonight I literally took the first step in my training, attempting a run around our neighborhood. I must have been quite a sight, wearing a bicycle jersey, sneakers which I haven’t worn in years (and weighed a TON), and carrying my iPhone in a plastic sandwich bag so it didn’t get wet in my back pocket. With much cursing and gasping I made it around our neighborhood, completing 1.94 miles in 22 minutes.

There was much walking.

When I got home Sophie was waiting to train for her own triathlon. Although all I wanted to do was collapse on the grass, she and I ran to the end of the neighborhood and back (.34 miles in total).

As I said, today was the first step of what promise to be many runs. But I can already find myself looking forward to reaching my goal of running around the neighborhood without walking. And I’m eyeing the SheRox Triathlon and, believe it or not, a fundraising run for the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.

It’s got to be a head injury, right?

I’d love to connect with any of our listeners or readers who are training to reach their own personal goals, be they a triathlon, 5K or just to get fit. You can connect with me on Map My Fitness.

27 thoughts on “Training for my triathlon

  1. Way to go Kristin! I started running last year as a way to finish losing the baby weight from our second. My goal last year started with a 5k and moved quickly to a 10k. After finishing both I decided to go for a half marathon this year which I plan on doing in the fall. Tri’s are daunting to me because of the swimming component but maybe I’ll tackle that next year. I use RunKeeper (which I totally recommend, it will also track other fitness like cycling) so if you ever switch I would definitely connect with you. I also highly recommend a Tuneband for your iPhone. Not sure how it would work for the swim component but it is awesome for both running and cycling. Either way find something that’s comfortable because if your serious about it you don’t need something like your phone bouncing up and down distracting you while you run! Good luck!!


  2. Good luck Kristin – I know you can do it. When I was turning 40 I trained for a duathlon – 2 mile run / 22 mile bike / 2 mile run. It was so much fun that I did it again 2 more times, but now I mostly do running races. I really like races that are women only, there is so much encouragement and not as much pressure to be an “athlete.” I recommend getting some good shoes, actually go to a running store and have them analyze how you walk so you get the proper shoes for your feet. I also recommend that you get into the practice of running after you bike even if it is just for a half mile. After awhile that heavy leg feeling you have when you switch from biking to running goes away. I think it is a good example for your daughter to show her that you are really strong and can work towards a goal. My group of running girls have a motto – finishing last is better than not finishing which is better than not even trying.


  3. How exciting! I’m a longtime runner who trained for my first sprint tri last year. I don’t like to swim, so that was by far the hardest hurdle. But once I’d done the first I hated to lose the swimming fitness and signed up for a second one before the end of the summer.

    The training took up gobs of time, so I won’t be doing another one for a few years. This year’s challenge is a marathon at the beginning of June. I ran one when my oldest was 20 months (she’s 7 now); my second child just turned 2 this spring and it’s a good time to do another. What’s most challenging is putting in all the miles with everything else life has to offer. Last week’s offerings included 2 sick kids on separate days, work obligations, a school furlough day (thank you state budget cuts), subbing for our church organist, and the death of a pet I’d had for 15 years, and still putting in 44 miles. This week I managed to come down with the stomach bug the kids had last week and my husband leaves for a business trip in 2 days. Doing it all and then some, indeed! Though having cancelled the second class in a row today (Thursday’s was cancelled when the 2yo puked just as I was about to put her in the car to go to work and my back-up was 2 hours away) and skipped today’s 5-miler, I’ll have to settle for doing most of it.

    I hope you have a ton of fun training. Don’t worry about the run. I’d guess that about half the participants in any triathlon walk/jog the run portion based on what I saw at last year’s races. A fast bike leg will more than make up for whatever time you “lose” on the run and I’m sure you’ll have a great time no matter what.


  4. Way to go! I’m also training for a triathalon this summer. I did two in 2010 but couldn’t do any last summer because I had a baby. I’m
    Still working on getting back into shape and have really enjoyed the couch to 5k app I downloaded for my iPhone. It helps you build your way upto running which for me is better than just trying to get into running again. There are a bunch of free couch to 5k apps if you want to try one. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!


  5. I agree that you should splurge for new running shoes, properly fitted by someone at a real running specialty shop. I did that when I started to run last year and was shocked to find my ideal size was about a full size larger than I had been buying. Running was much easier and felt so much better after getting some good shoes.

    I also recommend the “Ease Into 5K” app for iPhone. It has a structured plan of 3 runs a week over 8 weeks to help you work up to a full 5K, or 30 minutes of running. You can play your own music, but the app provides prompts of when to walk and when to run, and can give you a countdown (“Two minutes left…”) if you want it. It also has a nice GPS feature that allows you to map your run, and a journal for keeping track of your progress. I also like that you don’t have to progress to the next level if you don’t feel ready–I stayed on week 4 for a long time before I felt ready to tackle week 5.

    My sister-in-law joined a training group for her first triathlon last year, and absolutely recommends that as the way to go. It helps to have others to train with.

    Please keep up these inspiring posts! You’ve motivated me to blow the dust off of my camera, and now I think I may have to ramp up my training and think about a triathlon!


  6. Yay Kristen!! I am racing in my very first Half Ironman this weekend. In the process of preparing for my race, I was voted the USA Triathlon member of the month, I directed a duathlon, and started a tri club. I am going to become a certified race director at the end of the month. Triathlons are very addictive! Its been an amazing journey and I hope that yours is wonderful as well. Couple of tips for you…

    – Be prepared to race without music. Your race is probably USAT sanctioned and you will not be able to listen to your tunes on the bike or the run.

    – Incorporate “bricks” into your training. Like Shelly said above, you need to get your legs used to running after the bike.

    – Enjoy every minute! The race will be an amazing experience!!

    Thanks for all that you do! I can’t wait to hear more about it.


  7. I’m also training for my first triathlon, I’m doing the Wild Cat Sprint Tri in July (in Lowell). I just needed something to inspire me to keep working at all around fitness. I’m most nervous for the swimming aspect, I am not a fan of the water. I bought Triathlon Training for Dummies and it was very helpful! I’m using Hal Higdon’s training plan, which is available for free online, I have used his training plan for a half marathon and he’s great!

    Definitely get new running shoes, something light!! Good luck, keep us updated on your progress!!


  8. Ok…so I didn’t realize how self absorbed my earlier comment sounded. Maybe…you could delete it for me. Seriously though…good luck!! Can’t wait to read more about it.


  9. Way to go Kristin. You can do it. I just started running again last summer and love doing half marathons…training takes discipline but if you are committed, you can make it work. Tri’s scare me b/c I hate swimming and biking, but I’ll be interested in hearing how your training progresses!

    Good luck. And get some good shoes. The investment is so worth it. 🙂


  10. Way to go, Kristin! I did my first sprint 2 years ago, and Sunday I finished a half Ironman! I’m addicted, I think! The SheRox race was awesome- you can get a mentor even. They were very welcoming and beginner-friendly. Highly recommended.


  11. I agree with Kathy. Couch-to-5k was the best way to go for me. I listened to the Podcast Podrunner “firstday to 5k” which gives tells you when to run and when to walk with tempos music to keep you at a good pace.


  12. Yay Kristin!! Way to set a goal and just jump in! I am in awe as the swimming component is too daunting for me to ever think of a tri. Like many of the moms here I rediscovered running last year in attempt to get healthy after baby #3. I didn’t follow a specific program but started out with just 1 min walk/1 min run intervals and built my way up much like the Couch to 5K program does. I am a RunKeeper app devotee as it made all the difference for me when I started out. There are so many apps out there now, something for everyone! I competed in my first half marathon last October and just ran in my third this past Sunday. Two of the three were women only races and I loved the energy that provided!

    I agree also to get fitted for some good running shoes! Can’t wait to hear more about your progress to your tri!


  13. Good shoes and super cute tri outfit make all the difference in the world! I too still hate the run, which is why I am firmly comfortable at the sprint distance like you are going to do. Be gentle with yourself, know that I am running (and walking) with you in spirit. If I can get myself to MA, I’ll be there. If you keep this up, we are so doing one of these together 🙂


  14. Awesome news, Kristin! You’ll do great and feel SO empowered as you cross the finish line!

    I did the SheRox Tri when it was in Webster, MA in 2009 and it was the most amazing experience! Good luck!


  15. Um… you rock my face off. I am training for a 5k next month and have felt, at times, like it is the hardest thing in my entire life. But I know I can do it. If I can one day say I’m training for a triathlon, that will be awesome!


  16. Awesome! I look forward to hearing training stories on the podcast! I did a duathlon last year and have my second one in May. I’ve been thinking about a tri and hearing stories about your experience may be just what I need to give it a try/tri (horrible pun-sorry!).

    If you get a chance, pick up Run Like a Mother, and now, Train Like a Mother for awesome tips and inspiration from two moms who have jobs, husbands and kids just like you do. They also have a super-active facebook page and a 30-minute podcast.

    Good luck and happy training!


  17. This is so inspiring! Keep it up! What an awesome role model for Sophie and Anders. And good job taking care of yourself and showing the world that 40 is fabulous!


  18. That’s great! Maybe you and Erin would like to sign up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon next year and we all can run like a bunch of Manic Mommies.


  19. Um. hello? How come this is the first I am hearing of this?!? The timing of your post makes me laugh. I had my one year post op with my knee surgeon today and I confessed that I no longer have any desire to run a 5K. It still hurts when I run and I’d probably need to have a screw removed to make that go away. My doctor assured me this was normal and that there were lots of other great ways to stay in shape. So I’ve decided to take his advice and be kind to myself and return to Zumba and Body Pump classes! I can’t wait to hear more about your training because once you put your mind to something you make it happen!


  20. I started running last fall and I used an app on my iphone called “Couch to 5K.” I strongly recommend it for anyone starting out – made the process very do-able for me. It is 9-week program that takes you from run/walk intervals of like 90 seconds, to being able to jog for 30 minutes. If I can do it, anyone can.


  21. Good luck Kristin, keep at it! You’ll conquer the run, just persevere! And your cycling fitness will help, once you get used to the running and your joints have got used to the impact you’ll probably start progressing more quickly.

    Look forward to following your progress!


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