Thursday, October 9, 2008

Triathlon goals - shooting for average!

Okay, so here are my goals:
  • The big goal: Finish the sprint triathlon!
Secondary goals:
  • Finish the swim at a pace of 1 minute per 50 yards. If my calculations are correct, that would be about 18 minutes for half a mile.
  • Finish the bike with an average speed of 15 miles an hour. That would be about 45 minutes of biking for the ~12 mile course.
  • Finish the run with an average pace of 7:30 minutes per mile. That would be a little over 23 minutes for a 3.1 mile course.
If we add 5 minutes for transitions, that would put my overall time for the race at a little over 90 minutes. Of course, the overall time would be different if the race distances vary.

I really don't know my swimming speed or my biking speed, so I don't have any personal data to use as a basis for those goals. So, here's what I did: I found the results of a fairly large sprint triathlon and used the median result from my age group for each event. (You can see the race results I found here and here.)

The running goal is going to take some effort. Right now, my usual running course is a somewhat hilly 3.5 miles. If I push myself I can run it at a 7:45 min/mile pace. So, my goal for the triathlon is to beat that pace by a decent amount after swimming and biking. I think that is going to require a significant amount of training.

I am currently running 3 or 4 times a week. If I increase my workout frequency (not necessarily running) I think that will make a big difference in my running pace. I'm thinking about running 3 days a week and increasing my distance to about 5 or 6 miles, swimming 2 days a week and biking 1 day a week. It's just a thought right now, I'll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck!

Triathlon here I come

Watching Kevin finish the Ironman in Wisconsin and following Ken's Ironman have inspired me to train for a triathlon. I'm not crazy, so I won't be aiming for an Ironman. I'm going to train for a sprint triathlon. It should be about 1/2 mile swim, a 12 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run.

It's too late to train for one this season, so I'll have to wait until next year before I can enter a race. I'm trying to get a bunch of people to do it, so if you are interested, just let me know.

I started consistently running at the beginning of last summer and I have really been enjoying it. Right now, my typical run is about 3.5 miles and I usually go 3 or 4 times a week. I feel very comfortable running, so barring injury, I don't think the run will be a problem.

All my biking is in the city, running errands, grocery shopping, going to the farmers market and the occasional recreational ride on the Minuteman bikeway. Depending on the race course, the bike portion of the triathlon may be difficult for me. I will need to train on the bike to make sure I am ready for it.

I don't have a road bike at the moment. I have a nice mountain bike for off road use and a heavy-as-a-tank hybrid bike for city use. I will have to keep my eye on craigslist to see if I can pick up a decent bike. The idea of building a road bike, including the wheels, is appealing. It could be a nice project for the winter, but it would be an expensive project.

For me, the most difficult part of the triathlon will be the swim. I can keep myself from drowning, but I am not very good at doing the crawl. I have started training for the swim portion of the race and so far I am enjoying it. I think it will be nice to go swimming in the winter when the conditions aren't favorable to running.

My next post will be my goals for the triathlon.