Archive for June 28th, 2009

Triathlon Training with a Buddy

running_feetI’ve been training on my own since  I chose triathlons to get in shape. I read lots of stuff about what to do and my triathlete brother gives me tons of advice on how to train. Mostly, I just follow my instincts and go for it. So far, so good.

Lately, I had been going swimming on the weekends with a friend who has signed up for this next race — the Mini Mighty Man Sprint Triathlon on August 1. That’s been fun, but swimming, even with someone, is still pretty much solitary training since for now we’re just working on endurance.

Yesterday though, we decided we wanted to swim in the pool where the race will be. It’s a 50-meter pool and locally, we’ve been swimming in 25-yard (or thereabouts) lanes. I’m confident that the 50-meter lanes will be even easier (since there are only 8 laps as opposed to the 22 I have to do in my gym’s pool) but it’s always good to know the terrain.

We decided if we were driving 45 minutes to go swimming, we might as well go running in the park as well so we’re comfortable with that route too. I did this race in April (although it was a run/bike/run) so I’m familiar with the route. We got to Eisehnhower Park at about 8:00 am and headed out for a run. I have to say I was nervous about running with Jen. I was nervous about running with anyone, but Jen is in much better shape than I’m in and I assumed a much faster runner.

I don’t know if she was just pacing with me so I didn’t feel slow, but we stayed together, logged probably close to 3 miles and we were able to chat most of the way. When we finished, it felt like it was the most natural thing in the world. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t boring at all, and I didn’t have the “wow I wish this was done” thoughts that I often have when I run by myself. My knees never complained at all.

Then we went to the aquatic center and headed into the pool. Unfortunately, there was a swim meet we didn’t know about so the 50-meter pool was closed and we had to swim in the 25-meter pool. I’m still very glad we went. The water was at least 20 degrees colder than the indoor pool I swim in and I was not expecting that. What we both found though was that swimming in the cooler water was easier and much more invigorating than swimming in the warmer water. And because the pool was somewhat crowded, I think it was also good training for race day, when there will be plenty of elbows and kicking feet to contend with.

It was a great workout. Training with someone else was fun and pushed me to work a little harder than I might on my own. And we are familiar now with some of our race terrain, which is always an advantage. We’ll be going back at least once more before the August 1 race. And we’re definitely planning a few more runs together.

Jen is a certified personal trainer and she told me something I hadn’t known before. Running slowly, jogging, actually burns more fat than running fast. So for all of my slow runner friends out there, it’s not about the speed. Just think how much fat you’ll be burning as you chug along. I know it made me less frustratedwith my slow pace.