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novice to Tri: is 1/2 IM too ambitious?(7 posts)

novice to Tri: is 1/2 IM too ambitious?LDO
Sep 26, 2003 8:40 AM

I am 39, reasonably fit (do alot of road-biking and indoor cycling), in the last 6 years I have done a lot of aerobic work (aerobic/step-aerobic/spinning classes, etc.). Now a friend of mine hooked me up on the idea of participating to a half ironman in S. Diego, scheduled for next 3 or 4 April . I have never participated to a tri before. I have basically no training on swimming and running. Road biking should not be a problem (about 6000-6500km biking per year, with rides of 70-90 km average, and a few 130-150). I could train about 10-12 hours per week.

Given the above, do you think that a 1/2 IM would be too high a goal?

Thanks for any advice you may want to provide. Ciao,


PS: I have bought the Triathlete Bible of Joe Friel. It seems a good starting point.
re: novice to Tri: is 1/2 IM too ambitious?gebbyfish
Sep 26, 2003 8:57 AM
I think that with "no swim or run training", that a half IM is a bit much. That's not to say if you started doing both now, to build a base by next year, that you couldn't do it. I did a half IM(Tupper Lake Tinman) as my first triathlon, but have been training in all three disciplines for two years. An injury prevented me from doing the same triathlon the year before, so it still would have been a half as my first distance. In retrospect, I don't think it would have been a bad thing to have done a sprint or olympic distance first, just to experience race day transitions, which can take alot out of you. Anyone who was racing with me thatI mentioned to that this was my first triathlon, thought it was bold, and I could tell some thought I was crazy. I do know someone though who did an ironman as his first!
The 1.2 mile swim is a challenge, and without the proper training, a DNF is a possibility right after the swim, as it is quite disorienting to go from swimming to standing. If you don't plan on spending some time on swimming and running, don't expect the bike to make it all up for you. Overall, my vote would be to do a shorter distance, unless you are going to be committing to a more complete triathlon training regimen.

plenty of timeuksrfr
Sep 26, 2003 3:19 PM
if you start working on your swim/run base now, you should have no problem working up to a 1/2 by april. the problem is there are really no shorter ones before that to practice with. It should be no problem if you can build your swim to the point you can swim 40-50 mins 3 times a week, and build up your running no more than a mile a week (on long runs), should give you enough time to build that up to 10 - 13 mile long runs by then. try for 3 runs per week, 2 being about 30 - 45 mins, and one longer one building up slowly, trying to get to 13 miles 3 weeks before the race...

The book is a good starting point, but keep in mind, a 1/2 ironman is going to hurt a lot if you aren't ready...
sorry, forgot to mention....LDO
Sep 26, 2003 10:37 PM
I will be joining a triathlon club where I live (Brussels) and I will be able to profit of some experienced athletes. Two friends of mine already practice triathlon there, therefore it should be easier to get started, and to get motivation for training durin winter.

I am really worried about the swimming bit, even with plenty of time to train for (I will start running and swimming drills next week). I know that if I can swim back to shore, than I can fnish it. but as pointed out, going from swimming in the pool to 1.2 miles in the ocean is a big jump...

And, again, no way to really test it before, due to the very early time in the season of the San Diego tri.

Thanks for your very useful comments. I think I have to start working on my mental skills (determination, focus, but also ability to relax) as well as the physical ones.

If it doesn't work for the San Diego one, at least it will have me make a start in a beautiful sport, that I have always looked at with admiration.

OK, I have to go (bike training...). Will keep you posted with my progresses.


Oct 1, 2003 8:53 AM
Well I fairly recently did my first tri. It was a sprint tri but with a reasonably long (for a sprint) 1K swim. I found it quite hard going and I don't think I could have coped with anything much longer. And there's a big difference between swimming in a pool than in the ocean - cold and waves being the main factors. Wear a wetsuit - I didn't! You'll be fine on the bike and probably just tired on the run.

I'm glad that my first tri was a sprint, and actually wished it had been one of the other local sprint tris that has just a 500m swim.

Either way - good luck and all the power to you if you decide to do it!

Rich. (San Diego)

p.s. If you're from Belgium, why are you doing your first tri in San Diego?
Oct 5, 2003 12:58 PM
.. some guys I know in the tri club I have just joined (or going to join, as I have trained with them twice, and not formalised my membership, yet) are going there, with families, to do the tri (which is also a qualifying spot for Hawaii) and then plan to visit some of your wonderful national parks in the area (Calif., Nevada, Arizona). So, I thought, why not?

Unfortunately, S.Diego is so early in the season that I will not be able to participate to anything more than a few run&bike, and maybe a promo (I think it is what you call a sprint) before that.

If I get confident enough with the swimming by March, I will do it. Otherwise, I will leave it for another time. By the way, I defeinitely plan for wearing a wetsuit. I am Italian (even if I live in Belgium) and not really used to swimming in cold waters...

The tri club is called BIN (Brussels Ironman NATO). If you see some guys with BIN on their T-shirt/sweathers, etc. come and say hello. We'll share a few beers...

Thanks for your advice and encouragement,

re: You'll be finewilki5
Oct 27, 2003 10:00 AM
I think you're right about the mental aspect. My fiance had no trouble doing a 1/2 as her first tri and she had no serious swim or bike background. I am a terrible swimmer and had no trouble getting up to the 2km swim distance with a couple months of training.

If you start soon and have some coaching I think the only obstacle would be mental.