GNT Training: Week 4

Hi everyone!  I can’t believe that my very first triathlon is only 4 weeks away!  I’ve been training for the Gold Nugget Tri for 4 weeks now, and while I’m excited about all the progress that I’ve made, I’m also so nervous about how much I need to accomplish in the next month!  Here’s what I did this week:

Monday:  My workout on Monday basically consisted of a tough PT appointment.  My PT did a bunch of movement tests and told me that it’s my SI joint that’s causing all this trouble.  When I went to him last November, he said that he suspected that my lower back was injured but that I was feeling most of the pain in my butt.  So two weeks ago when I reinjured it on a hike, it came back in full force in both locations.  He actually took away many of my current PT exercises, and gave me some new ones that I need to do twice a day.  This is exactly why I don’t share my PT exercises on the blog – just because something works for someone else does NOT mean it will work for you and your body.  Even things that worked for me last month aren’t working now, and I’m pretty relieved to know what’s going on and have some help getting back to normal.

Tuesday:  Swim class.  Today was the first time I felt like I was getting the hang of it, and I was so excited!  My instructors took a video of me swimming and I was totally geeking out watching it.  I didn’t even recognize myself!

Wednesday:  Rest day.  But my tri kit came and I was so excited to see that it fit and was really cute!


Thursday:  Swim class.  I learned how to turn around quickly using push turns and I was so excited about it.  I am finally starting to feel like a real swimmer with all of these fancy tricks!

Friday:  I brought my gear to work so that I could make it to the gym before going home, but it was a super stressful day.  I didn’t leave until 6:45!  So it just did not happen.

Saturday:  I did a marathon…of new episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  I also went for a 30 minute swim at the gym and was excited that I was able to have my own lane.  I am so going to the gym an hour before it closes from now on!

Sunday:  It was sunny, warm, and gorgeous outside!  I went on a fabulous bike ride on the Campbell Creek Trail with my friend, and I was happy to discover that I’m slowly but surely becoming more comfortable on my new road bike!  Then I went back into work for a few hours (told you I was busy!) and finished the day with another late swim at the gym.


In the upcoming week, I want to focus on doing one thing:  getting comfortable.  In case you didn’t notice, I did a ton of swimming this week!  It’s mostly because I’m still not feeling 100% confident in the pool yet.  I have so many things to think about as I swim – am I rotating too much, kicking enough, and pulling enough with my arms?  And for some reason I just can’t handle doing more than a length of the pool at a time without getting out of breath.  This weekend I was pushing myself to try to do a full lap before stopping, and I realized that once I turn around I begin to mentally freak out.  I tell myself I’m not going to be able to make it to the other side without stopping to breathe, and then I literally can’t breathe anymore and have to stop.  But sometimes I catch these thoughts before they become too loud, and I’m able to talk myself out of that feeling and can finish the lap without having a mini panic attack.  It’s frustrating to me, especially because I need to be able to do 10 laps as fast as possible one month from now!  So this week, I’m focusing on just getting comfortable and on keeping those crazy thoughts away.  I want to get to the point where I’m not doubting myself anymore and can just focus on my form instead of breathing.  I’ve come so far in the last month with swimming, and I can’t wait to see how far I’ll go in the next month.  I also want to do more rides outdoors on my bike, so I’m looking forward to some mid-week riding after work.

Questions I have this week:

  • How long did it take you to feel comfortable with your breathing in the water?  Do you bilaterally breathe, and how long did it take you to get to that point?
  • Are there any tips for gracefully getting on/off a bike?  I don’t know if it’s the high bar, but I look like a crazy person trying to get onto that thing.
  • How many times did you practice in your tri kit before a race?

9 thoughts on “GNT Training: Week 4

  1. I was a swimmer in high school and learned to swim and breathe comfortably at a very early age…so I’m not sure how to help give you advice! I will say that sometimes its more of a mental thing than a physical thing. You are able to breathe and run, so you can breathe when you swim. Its not a lack of being out of shape, its just a comfort level. When I swam, I made up a rhythm in my head. I would breathe every 3 strokes (which means you are breathing bilaterally). I would exhale while counting to 3 (essentially counting my strokes), then breathe and repeat. If you try to exhale AND breathe when you come up for air, you won’t have enough time.

    While it may feel silly, you can even practice that while not swimming. Just stand in the pool and put your upper body in the water. Move your arms and head and practice the motions.

    1. I love that practice idea! I know it’s all in my head and just a lack of comfort, but it’s still frustrating. I remember not being able to breathe well when I first started running either, but once I found that rhythm I stopped thinking about it! I’m only 5 weeks into swimming so I know it’s early, but I’ve got a little over 3 weeks until race day and really want to be able to get through it without passing out from lack of oxygen 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you were able to get some new exercises from PT and hopefully be getting to the root of the problem!

    I’m not a swimmer so I can’t really help with getting comfortable in the pool, but maybe this trick that I use when running will transfer over? If I have a hard workout, like intervals, in front of me it can be really easy to feel overwhelmed and like there is absolutely no way that I will be able to finish the workout. Basically I try to talk myself through each interval/minute/second of the workout by asking myself if I can hold the current pace for the rest of the interval/minute. If I can (and of course I can!) then I just keep running. I try not to think about the next interval or whether or not the recovery period will be long enough or if I am starting to slow down. I only focus on what I am doing right at that moment. It sounds like a mental barrier with swimming right now, so many trying to evaluate with “can I make it a few more strokes? yes? alright, keep going.” Good luck! I’m sure you’ll be stringing laps together in no time!

    1. I love this!!!! It’s 10 laps in the pool on race day, and that number is ginormous in my head! So I like the idea of focusing on one lap at a time. I am so going to try this out!

  3. I feel like I’m awful at swimming advice because I never remember learning to swim because I was so young!
    Truthfully, there isn’t a need to bilaterally breathe. It was a thing when I was a swimmer, but most Olympic swimmers breathe every 2-4 strokes, so only breathe on one side. Do what’s most comfortable for YOU.
    I dismount my bike like getting off a horse, probably because I learned to ride at the same time I learned to ride my bike, so I just transferred that over.

    1. Hmmm interesting about olympians breathing every 2 or 4 strokes! That makes me feel a lot better! Also, I have no idea how to get on/off a horse gracefully so that doesn’t help 🙂 I’m sure I’ll figure it out with more practice!

    1. Aww thank you! It’s hard and I’m slow but I’m really loving it. I just wish I could control my breathing more. I can’t wait to get the hang of it!

  4. Hi Kristen,
    Hope you are feeling better after PT, and a week of exercises.

    I do not have answers to any of your questions above, but on your out of breath and panicking half way through a second lap, I am wondering back to running, if you ran into similar situations way back in the hey day, when you first started and hiked your very first mountain.

    Specifically for me I am thinking of the shear exhaustion trying to just walk a hilly (lots of ups and downs, and steep climbs) trail I now love, and being out of breath after just 100 m from the start, and wondering how is it possible I will ever be capable of running TransRockies for 6 days. But I just tried to relax and have faith that with practice my body would adapt, and it did. Now I hike quickly, or hike/run, that first 100 m on my way to a 4-8 hour solid run.

    The point I am making is pacing, and maybe you are going out way to hard, or convincing yourself you must go super fast, when reality is telling you to go at a much slower pace and do the full two laps with energy for more.

    Anyway just a thought, and observation from your writing.

    Have a wonderful day!
    All the best with another week!

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