GNT Training: Week 1

Hi everyone!  This was my first real week of training for the Gold Nugget Triathlon, which is my first tri ever!  I was incredibly nervous about starting training, mostly because I haven’t swam anything other than the doggy paddle in over 10 years and also because I’m still not back to 100% with my running.  But I started my adult swim lessons this week, so I was feeling a bit more confident about training for this race!

Monday:  Rest day

Tuesday:  My very first adult swim class!  You can read all about it here.  I was so nervous but it went really well!

Wednesday:  Spin class

Thursday:  Swim class #2.  They took away my kickboard and said that I was ready to really swim!  I am struggling with how to learn how to breathe enough while maintaining correct form, but I’m excited to still be doing so well in class!

Friday:  Another rest day.  It turns out that swimming is exhausting and I just needed to rest!

Saturday:  I woke up early for spin class, but it was full by the time I got there.  I briefly thought about going back home to sleep some more, but instead I decided to try a “mini tri brick” workout (does this type of workout have a name?).  I started out in the pool for 30 minutes practicing my strokes and breathing, and then decided to do 1/4 of the rest of the distance of the race – 3 miles on the bike and 1 mile on the treadmill.  I don’t know how much of the run portion I’ll be able to actually run on race day, so I practiced speed walking!  I was tired afterwards but really pumped that I had been able to do all 3 workouts in one day.  I’m hoping to be able to do a few more of those practice runs before race day!

Sunday:  I was feeling ready for a run! I walked for 10 minutes, and then did a half hour of 3:2 intervals – 3 minutes walking and 2 minutes slow running. I finished up with another 10 minute walk to cool down. I didn’t have pain, but for the first half of the run I did feel a bit sore in my right hip, which went away at the end. I felt this way when I first returned to running last time, so I’m pretty sure it’s just because I’m using muscles I haven’t used in a while. I’m going to monitor how I feel over the next few days to make sure I’m feeling up to the return of running, and hopefully I can try it again next weekend too!


img_0940It felt so good to run again!

As I’ve been starting to train for this race, I’ve had so many questions pop up.  Most of them are about gear, but the logistical stuff is confusing too.  I think each week I’m going to list any questions I had that week, and I’ll spend the week researching and trying to find out the answers and I’ll post those the following week.  Hopefully this will help any other tri newbies, and it will also allow me to get some help from all of you triathletes out there!  Here are my questions from this week, please answer them if you can!

  • How do you fuel during a race like this?
  • What am I going to wear?  Keep in mind the swim is in a pool, and the rest of the race could see temps anywhere from 30 degrees up to probably 70 degrees (which is really warm for me!).
  • Is there a sports bra that fastens in the back like a regular bra?  After swim class I get stuck while changing into my regular sports bra, and that’s going to majorly slow down my T1 time during the race.  Plus I don’t want people to have to help me pull my bra on, and that literally happened after class this week.  Yep.
  • What do you do with your wet swim cap, suit, and goggles after pool time?  Right now I throw them in a big ziplock bag but I know that’s not what everyone is doing.
  • Seriously, how do you breathe while swimming?!  I’m currently breathing every other stroke and I definitely have to stop and catch my breath after every out and back.  I’m hoping it’s a mental thing and that once I’m feeling more comfortable I’ll be able to regulate my breathing more!

Have you ever trained for a tri?  Where did you go to get all of your tri related questions answered?

16 thoughts on “GNT Training: Week 1

  1. I still have a (not so) secret dream of participating in a triathlon, but I need a lot of training in all disciplines.
    I wish I could have some tips for you, but I’ll be joining your journey more as a student.
    Success with your training!

    1. Thank you! And if you ever decide to do one, hopefully I’ll have all of these questions answered by other triathletes and it will help you out! 🙂

  2. Great job on your first training week!

    1. For a race of this distance, just a sports drink of your choosing would be enough. Or if you’d like, ordered yourself a bento box/top tube box for your bike and you can carry your sports beans in there and eat while on the bike.

    2. I’ve never done a triathlon with a pool swim before, but I’d suggest quick dry compression gear for the entire race. You can always buy a tri specific shorts and top or one piece kit, or you can just throw on your favorite compression quick dry gear. Keep a long sleeved top (fitted so it’s not annoying and slowing you down on the bike) in transition and throw it on there if need be.

    3. Not that I am aware of. Tri tops and kits usually have built in bras, so if you’re smaller on top that should be plenty to hold the girls in. If not, see above about quick dry clothing and find a bra that meets those needs. Lots of triathletes wear a bra under their tops the entire race, even in the water.

    4. In transition, leave them with your stuff. If you’re moving quickly odds are you’ll just toss them on ground, which is fine, everyone does. Once I get home I hang dry all my wet gear outside.

    5. Practice, practice, and practice some more. Swimming is awesome because it’s the one place you’ll see the quickest gains. Honestly, just keep at it, slow down if need be. And just slowly work up to longer distances. Keep adding 25 yards when you’re ready. And I know it sounds counter intuitive, but the best way to build endurance in the water is to cut those rest times down. If you wait until you’re completely recovered to start again, you won’t gain as much endurance as if you jumped back into your next lap while still a little gassed. Try this once or twice in a row, then grab a rest interval. If you want me to help you put together some solo workouts for the pool, let me know. I’d be happy to help you craft a few workouts.

    You’re doing great! Stick with it and keep working hard, you’ll love it!

    1. Ahhhh thank you so much! So for #1, I asked because I’m anticipating a 20 minute swim for 10 laps (I hope I can improve on that) and an hour or slightly longer bike for the 12 miles (there’s hills), and unfortunately probably an hour for the 4 mile run if I have to walk the whole thing because of my injury. I know that’s a long time to be out there, so I’ll probably need something. Sport Beans should be perfect!

      Thanks for the suggestions on #2! I’ll look into a kit that I can use in future ones (I can already tell this will not be my only tri) if I can find something super cheap. I have a small top so a built in bra sounds like it will be enough! if not, I’ll just look for some compression shorts to wear for the swim along with a sports bra.

      And I’ll let you know if I need workouts! Right now I’m just doing the drills my swim coach came up with specifically for what I need to work on (keeping my hand in the front out near the top of the water while I’m breathing so I don’t pull myself down) and basically just trying to get used to breathing while swimming. Once I’m able to do that I’ll hit you up for more advice! Thank you!

  3. Great start to training! For the bra question and what to wear: I usually wear my sports bra and tri shorts for the swim, so all I need to do for the bike is throw on socks and a shirt (depending on what I’m swimming in — if a tri kit, then I’m good to go with just socks).

    For the gear question: I usually try to dry off my goggles and cap as much as possible, and then I hang them to fully dry as soon as I can.

    1. Thank you! I might need to look into getting a cheap tri kit so I can just swim in that. I’m hoping I can find something!

  4. First off, congrats on your first tri training week! WOOT WOOT! Keep up the swimming, for sure.:) I agree with most of what Courtney said (above comments).

    You’re probably find to take a GU (practice this first, perhaps before a brick) before the race. A sprint distance tri requires as much as a 10K race, so think of it that way. Definitely take water with you on the bike — that’s the best time to fuel, whether it’s hydration or calories.

    I’ve gone into a super sprint with just a sports bra and tri shorts on. Don’t worry about the suit on race day. Try out new things as you get closer to the race.

    HOW I GOT GOOD AT BREATHING IN THE WATER — practicing in the bathtub. I’d fill up the bath and put my face in the water. I’d practice breathing in as I turn my head, breathing out as it was in the water. Practice both sides. I did this when I didn’t have pool time.:)

    1. Thank you for the advice! So for fueling, I don’t usually fuel during a 10k but I might have to walk a lot of the run portion because of my running injury so I know this could take a long time and I don’t want to be starving at the end. I definitely need to look into a tri kit, if you know of any cheap ones let me know! And I love your bathtub idea! I’m totally fine with my face being in the water, but I feel like I get so out of breath so quickly when I swim, so I need to really get used to that.

  5. i’m so excited to follow your training as i get ready for my first tri! sounds like your first week went great. obviously i haven’t done a tri yet, but i was on my high school’s swim team, so maybe i can help with some questions!

    3) victoria secret has sports bras that clasp in the back and some that zip in the front, which may make the switch a bit easier for you!

    4) i squeeze out the extra water from my suit in to the sink, pat it as dry as i can with my towel, and then throw all my stuff in to a waterproof bag (like this: then, when i get home, i rinse my suit, goggles, and cap in fresh water and hang them to dry on my shower curtain rail. every once in awhile, i do a baking soda rise for my suit (you don’t want to wash it in the regular laundry very often, as detergent can eat at the elasticity of the suit)

    5) i can NOT bilaterally breathe! it took awhile to find a rhythm, for sure, but for me i slowly blow out for a count of six, and then breathe to my right.

    1. Ooooh I need to check out VS for that bra! Although it might be the same price to buy a tri kit so I’ll have to compare some stuff. And thank you for the bag recommendation! I currently put everything in the ziplock and then rinse it all off in the sink and hang them up to dry. But I like the extra step of the baking soda rinse too! I think my swim cap is getting a bit discolored and I’ve only been using it for 3 weeks so I’ll have to see what I can do about that! Thank you for the tips!

  6. Your first week of training sounds like it went really well! Before my first tri I spent tons of time reading other people’s blogs to find out how they did things (set up their transition, what they wore, etc). Caitlin at HTP wrote a bunch of posts for new triathletes ( that I found helpful.

    I often don’t eat anything during a race (maybe a few candies while I’m riding or running). Practice drinking water while you’re riding so it feels comfortable on race day.

    I wear a sports bra and tri-shorts to swim and then when it is cold I put on a long sleeve to bike, or if I know it is going to be hot I will swim in a trip-top (and the bra) and then it is just shoes/socks to add. I have a few Shock Absorber bras that fasten in the back and a few Victoria Secret sports bras that actually fasten in the front (and I love – because they look just like swim tops). I raced an early season tri last year that was about 2 degrees C and needed to put on a bike jacket and gloves for the ride too.

    On race day my goggles and cap just get dropped in my transition area, but the rest of the time I have a mesh bag that I put them in. On my way to the pool I’ll put the bag into my regular swim bag, and then I’ll use it to transport my stuff (goggles, swim workout book, shampoo, pull-buoy) out onto the pool deck. On the way home I wrap my wet suit in my towel and shove it in my gym bag (hang up later) but the wet cap, goggles pull-buoy and swim book stay in the mesh bag and I just hang the whole thing up when I get home.

    Good luck with this week’s training!

  7. These tips are awesome! Especially the mesh bag! I think dressing for an Alaskan tri is so tough, but I like your tips. Last year it was super hot, but a few years ago I think it snowed the day before! So I have to practice everything during my workouts so I’m ready for race day. I’ll bring a lot of stuff to my transition spot so that I’ve got a few gear options. I’m going to look into getting a cheap starter tri kit so that I can just wear that and cut a bunch of time off my transition! Thank you so much for all of your advice!

  8. You are so awesome! I have considered doing a triathlon before but I am not a good swimmer. You signing up for adult swim lessons encourages me to, too!

    Reebok sells a zip-front sports bra–even easier than the back clasp kind 🙂

    1. You know, I had no idea what kind of swimmer I’d be until I signed up for class. I still don’t know what kind of swimmer I am (other than a “newbie”) but I am the best in my class of four people total! It’s so crazy that I’m learning a whole new sport, but I’m so glad that I’m doing it because it’s a lot of fun and just knowing that someone is watching you swim to make sure you’re doing it right makes me feel so much better. I hope you do sign up for lessons, let me know if you do! And thanks for the bra tip!

  9. I remember the exhaustion from swimming. In the summer I’d have early practice, and then go home, shower, and crawl back into bed for an hour because it was just so tiring. But it was an awesome feeling.

    I also very much remember the feeling of struggling into a sports bra after swim practice – that goodness for teammates!

    There are different schools of thought when it comes to breathing. Some people advocate for 3-stroke breathing which means you’re alternating sides, and some advocate for 2-stroke breathing so you’re always breathing on the same side. If you’re finding you’re out of breath, you might not be exhaling when your head is in the water, so you’re both exhaling and inhaling on the same stroke.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment! I’m feeling so much better now that I know it’s just just me that feels exhausted from swimming! And same with the sports bra thing 🙂 I’m currently 2 stroke swimming, mostly so that I can breathe more often. I tried to focus on breathing it all out under water today and I was able to swim longer without getting so out of breath, but it was still hard. I think I just have to get used to it! It’s weird not to be able to walk or breathe whenever I want. Thanks for your tips!

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