Said No One Ever

There are a handful of phrases in the English language that I’d wager have rarely, if ever, been spoken aloud.

  • No thanks, I’ve had enough cookie dough for one day.
  • Franklin Pierce’s economic policies are worth emulating today.
  • No way, the blue ranger is my favorite, too!
  • Don’t you just love the smell of Manhattan in June?
  • I mean it! Your dog’s new haircut doesn’t look silly at all.
Back Camera

She knows the truth.

Here’s one more to add to the list:

  • I cannot wait until marathon training starts so I can finally have my life back.

Except that the aforementioned sentence has, in fact, been spoken aloud, and the speaker was none other than yours truly, and the whole exchange took place about 15 seconds ago. That’s right, folks. You’re livin’ through history.

As you may recall, I’m shaking up my running routine and spending the first half of the summer training for a beachside sprint triathlon scheduled for July 28 along the Rhode Island coast. For those of you unfamiliar with the sprint distance, we are talking a quarter-mile swim, an 11-mile ride and a 5K run in what I hope will take about one-third the time it takes me to run a marathon. Training should be a walk (/swim/bike) in the park, right?

Wrong. Not having much experience myself training for a multi-sport event, I (SURPRISE!) turned to my homeboy Hal Higdon for advice. There, I found his recommended 8-week workout plan designed for “runners who would like to test their fitness in a triathlon by adding swimming and cycling to their workout routines.” There might as well have been a headshot of me on the intro page. Plan selection = complete.

tri plan

I’m now on week 4 — why yes, I am writing this post from the comfort of a stationary bike — and let me tell you: training for a triathlon is not for the weak of heart. (Actually, your cardiologist probably could have told you that, too.)

Seriously though, I went into this summer thinking tri training would be a good way to ease my way into marathon training by building a base of core muscle groups while also allowing me more free time to enjoy all the perks a Manhattan summer provides.

Boy was I wrong. While it’s true my total weekly running mileage has been dramatically reduced since picking up two extra sports, the same can also be said of my free time. Unlike marathon training, when I tend to take two scheduled rest days a week, Hal now has me working out a full six out of seven. And many of those workouts involve more than one sport — say, swim 30 mins, bike 20 mins. But that’s less than an hour of training! — you say. — How can that be more time consuming than marathon training?

How? I’ll tell you how. My pool is on 92nd St.; my borrowed bike resides in Greenpoint. You do the math.

As a result, I’m breaking up most of my scheduled brick workouts and completing the first half before work in one borough and the second at night in another. I realize the expectation is athletes on tri plans will transition right from one sport to the next during training in order to simulate actual race conditions, but I also realize I don’t have a magic carpet to transport me over the East River during transitions. Pre-genie Aladdin, I feel your pain.

Now I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed pieces of triathlon training. My Friday night bike ride around Roosevelt Island made me feel like a real, multi-sport athlete, strength training has made me feel strangely stronger, and swimming at the 92Y has taught me to strategically sidestep 90-year-old women in swim caps.

But the constant stream of two-a-day workouts is starting to wreck havoc on both my sleep schedule and my social life. And that’s why I’m about to repeat myself:

  • I cannot wait until marathon training starts so I can finally have my life back.

marathon planThat, and I love the smell of Manhattan in June.

How is your summer training progressing?

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2 Responses to Said No One Ever

  1. Zach says:

    Practice your fourth Tri sport as well, transitioning. Your race splits can be as fast as you want, but slow transition times will pummel your overall. Develop a system and stick to it. Work on during-race nutrition; my trick is Powerbars, torn in pieces, stuck to the top tube of my TT bike to eat at varying points in the ride along with protein-shake spiked Gatorade. Horrible, but effective. A swim coach can be a worthy investment if you never swam swim team and don’t have great form. If you really want to win, train at twice your bike mileage consistently so that the race is a cakewalk and you destroy the field. The bike is where you make up time. And, if you can, skip the stationary and alternate road rides with bike trainer rides. I use a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and it makes a huge difference to train on your actual race bike. I have one I can lend you for a month or two if you want.

  2. Just started in earnest two weeks ago. I am trying one of the Advanced Higdon training programs. (We’ll see how it goes!). Speedwork at the track last night in 86 degree heat and stifling humidity–ah, the joys of running in the midwest!

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