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Beginner's Triathlon! Nutrition & Training Advice Appreciated.

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  • #16
    My dd is a great little swimmer & is in a swimming club, so although you might laugh, I was asking her for tips on Sunday in the pool. She was trying to teach me when to breathe & how and that my head was too high in the water. I think she quite enjoyed giving her mother advice! I was actually thinking that I might ask the coaches in her swim club for advice on how I'm swimming. I'm quite nervous about the idea of river-swimming so I will think technique first (avoiding drowning is my first goal!) and speed as a secondary consideration - thanks to Trigirl & archer for the suggestions.

    I am such a novice that I will have to go & google some of those running terms Trigirl. This is a whole new world to me :-) Until this week I thought a brick was something used by builders. Do you do coaching?

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    • #17
      No I just help out friends whenever they need it ;-) Talking to a local swim coach and maybe even getting a one on one lesson would be a VERY good idea, even though I'm sure your little personal swim coach is a big help as well...
      As far as some definitions and inspiration on the speed work, heres a small definition (definitely still google and ask around)
      Intervals in running can be done by distance or time. If you have a local track (400m entire distance around) close by two easy beginner drills would be something like: (If you do not have a track you can do them on the road after time, as shown in the brackets.)
      800m warmup, 3*400m at a fast pase (should be tough the last few meters) with 400m easy recovery jog between, 800m cooldown. (3*2min fast / 3min recovery)
      800m warmup, 6*200m at a fast pase (should be tough the last few meters) with 200m easy recovery jog between, 800m cooldown. (6*1min fast/2min recovery)

      The first few weeks I would probably do fartleg, since its less structured. I would say you could start this as soon as you can actually run the specified time without breaks. Fartleg is just like intervals, but instead of doing it for a specific time or distance, you structure it by feel. So after 5-10 min warmup, you do small bursts of speed, fx run fast until the next light, bench, that tree, run fast up that hill, run fast between every second street light etc. After each speedburst you keep going at an easy pace until your heart rate is somewhat steady again. This is actually a lot of fun even though you look like a crazy person.
      Tempo runs consist of dividing your scheduled run into a warmup and a cool down and then doing the middle part at a faster pace (race pace). The pace should be faster than you would normally run but not so difficult that you are not able to complete the entire time/distance. So this is just one long interval.
      On the bike you can do the exact same just make the pedaling tougher by making the gears higher (simulating a hill), or keep the same gear but make changes in your pedaling speed. I don't know if you belong to a gym, but if you do and they have spin classes, ask the staff if they can tell you which instructors do roadbiking themself. Their classes will often be a really great way of getting some winter biking in that actually resembles what you see on the road. And it is probably more fun than to go alone all the time.
      All of this speedwork is right in the spirit of primal living since it's just a structured way of doing sprints, so you can probably find a lot of inspiration in the forum and in Marks fitness book. Wow that was a lot hope some of it made sense!

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      • #18
        I was the same as you when I first started...I could barely swim 25m without a rest (and that's how I did my first triathlon !) After that I decided that I would join the local swim club and trained once a week with the group and the coaches which helped enormously - after just a few months, I could easily swim a mile without stopping. Unfortunately I then broke (and killed) a bone in my wrist, so ended up switching to duathlons, but that's another story !

        I agree with TriGirl that speedwork will elevate your performance significantly, it can be done alone, but ime it is more beneficial to do speedwork with a partner, especially if you are close in ability.

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        • #19
          Trigirl & sjmusic2 - you've been very generous with your time & advice & I really appreciate it. A one-on-one swimming lesson to improve my technique is something I am going to look into. My gym does a spinning class but I haven't been brave enough yet to try it. I was up in the gym tonight & on of the girls was telling me that a poor novice spinner was in bits after 5 minutes in the class! That did nothing to instil confidence in me! There is also a running track locally - I must check out if anyone can use it or if it's only members of the athletic club. I am debating entering a 2 mile cross-country run that's on in Dublin on the 18th of Feb. As of today - there's no way I could run steadily for two miles but in another few weeks I might make a reasonable attempt at it. I think I may need to put my money where my mouth is - at least that would be a start.

          Sjmusic - did you complete a triathlon swim at 25m + rest? That gives me hope! What a shame about your wrist but it sounds like you've found a good alternative.

          Thanks again everyone - I'm delighted with the advice that I've been given. Btw one of my colleagues who agreed to do this triathlon is making noises about chickening out. If he does I am even more determined to do it! Damn my competitive nature. Lol.

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          • #20
            The thing about spinn classes is that you actually determine how difficult they are going to be since you are the one putting on the resistance. I would probably try and catch the instructor after her class and talk to her about it. Also if this class is so tough ask if they have a beginners class, since you'll definitely need some help the first time you spin in order to fit the bike correctly. If this is not an option I would just use a stationary bike, but definitely incorporate some of the above mentioned speed work from the beginning to make sure your pushing yourself. The 2 mile race sounds like a great plan, that would give you a deadline and a short term goal.

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            • #21
              Nutrition & Metabolism | Full text | Ketogenic diets and physical performance

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              • #22
                Originally posted by LolaLola View Post
                Sjmusic - did you complete a triathlon swim at 25m + rest? That gives me hope! What a shame about your wrist but it sounds like you've found a good alternative.
                Yes, pretty much...when I did my first tri I was a very poor swimmer, an ok cyclist and a decent runner and I finished it just fine (without being last ). I've also done tri's after I broke my wrist, but for fun rather than for a time. If you are able to get 3-4 months swim training in before the event you'll be swimming like a fish in June and won't have anything to worry about.

                I agree with TriGirl (again !), definitely do the x-country as at the very least it will give you feedback about your current condition and you can use that to plan how best to move forward towards your goals.

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                • #23
                  If you see this js290 - thanks for the link. I am reading my way through Volek & Phinney's "The Art & Science of Low Carb Living" at the moment but that article was a nice summation of exactly the info I was looking for. It appeared to me as though as long as I am keto-adapted, with adequate intakes of potassium & sodium & protein and exercising aerobically then I should be ok on a low-carb diet. I'm happy to be corrected if I've misread any of that article.

                  I found the point about rabbit starvation very interesting actually. About the same time that I got back on the low-carb wagon after my summer holidays and started on the PB pathway a friend of mine started the Dukan diet. She lost an impressive amount of weight but she is absolutely miserable since Christmas. She is exhausted & lethargic & down in the dumps. Her skin has broken out in a big rash. She was asking me yesterday to recommend a book or a plan so she could follow what I'm doing instead. Over the last five months that we have been following different plans I have lost about the same amount of weight that she has, but I feel great & my energy levels are way up. I am starting to wonder if Dukan with it's low fat & low carb approach could lead to a kind of rabbit starvation???
                  Last edited by LolaLola; 02-02-2012, 06:56 AM.

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                  • #24
                    I'll be brave and attempt one of the spin classes soon - good point about making it as hard as you want it to be. The newbie who collapsed was a man who had never done a spin class before. I think he might have underestimated how hard it would be and went at it hell for leather for the first 5 minutes to show the ladies how it should be done! Lol. The 2 mile run is on the day after I come back from a trip to Barcelona which is why I'm hesitating a bit. Maybe the thought of it would keep me on the straight & narrow while I'm away. Now that I'm an athlete I'll have to leave my old ways behind me ;-). Lol.

                    Originally posted by TriGirl View Post
                    The thing about spinn classes is that you actually determine how difficult they are going to be since you are the one putting on the resistance. I would probably try and catch the instructor after her class and talk to her about it. Also if this class is so tough ask if they have a beginners class, since you'll definitely need some help the first time you spin in order to fit the bike correctly. If this is not an option I would just use a stationary bike, but definitely incorporate some of the above mentioned speed work from the beginning to make sure your pushing yourself. The 2 mile race sounds like a great plan, that would give you a deadline and a short term goal.

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                    • #25
                      At least you were a ok cyclist & a decent runner! I'd say I'm in the poor category of all those at the moment. I'm impressed that you could finish (and not be last!) when the swimming was that hard for you. It gives me hope!

                      Originally posted by sjmusic2 View Post
                      Yes, pretty much...when I did my first tri I was a very poor swimmer, an ok cyclist and a decent runner and I finished it just fine (without being last ). I've also done tri's after I broke my wrist, but for fun rather than for a time. If you are able to get 3-4 months swim training in before the event you'll be swimming like a fish in June and won't have anything to worry about.

                      I agree with TriGirl (again !), definitely do the x-country as at the very least it will give you feedback about your current condition and you can use that to plan how best to move forward towards your goals.

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                      • #26
                        Hey let us know how the race and the spin class works out for you... And don't hesitate to ask!

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                        • #27
                          I've been racing and coaching triathlon for 11 years (sprint through Ironman). The last two years I have been Primal and have set PR's in several races eating/living/training in a primal manner. I just started coaching a new team of 45 athletes who will be racing at the 30th anniversary of the Wildflower triathlon in California this May (sprint/olympic & HIM). About 15 of them are paleo/primal athletes. SLEEP is critical for performance. As others have said, Sweet potoes will become your best avenue to carbohydrate load as your sprint exercises will be glycogen depleting. Speed work, as suggested, is very well suited for the distance you are racing, just ease into it. Some spin class instructors should be shot on sight for their deriliction of duty to provide a safe workout. I've been a Schwinn Certified indoor cycling instructor for the past few seasons and it amazes me to see the crap some people think is good to do on a bike. My biggest gripe is when they do "popcorn" jumps. up/down/up/down/up/down in rapid succession. Absolutely NO carryover to real life and works the connective tissue in a way your body was not designed to do. Primal blueprint guidelines of sprinting once a week will need to be adjusted for your sports. I would sprint once a week IN EACH SPORT. Allowing a day between for recovery swims, easy runs or form drills on the bike. Don't ignore core strength either. Lots of my athletes have had great success using Mark Lauren's "You are your own gym" app from itunes along with his book by the same name. Enjoy the journey and the lifestyle you have embarked upon, it can be very rewarding. Good Luck. Some additional resources you may want to check out are the book called "the low carb triathle" by Ben Greenfield and check out Ben's podcast on Itunes or Ben Greenfield Fitness ? Free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon and wellness advice from the top fitness expert in the nation. for some well rounded advice. He's not 100% on board with Paleo/primal, but he is very close.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Karma View Post
                            Some spin class instructors should be shot on sight for their deriliction of duty to provide a safe workout. I've been a Schwinn Certified indoor cycling instructor for the past few seasons and it amazes me to see the crap some people think is good to do on a bike.
                            I know it's absolutely terrible. I just recently moved to the US for a few months, and most of the spin instructors at my gym are not worth anything (one of them doesn't even do the entire bike ride herself). I guess there is a big difference from country to country because in Denmark I have never met something like the popcorn jumps, or the crazy spinning without resistance that you also see too many instructors do. I finally asked around and found two classes run by roadbikers which helps a lot, the rest of the workouts I do with the workout my trainer prescribes. But until the spring comes around it is nice not to have to do all the workouts alone. Can't wait to get back home to my road bike ;-)

                            Also really great to hear that you have so many athletes going paleo/primal. How much of an improvement do you see in them?

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                            • #29
                              Thanks Karma - that's great info & I will definitely check out those recommendations.

                              One question - my PB diet is pretty low carb & I would think my glycogen stores are usually pretty low. So far any training I've done has been manageable without any increase in carbs (bearing in mind that I'm still only doing fairly low level stuff - 5km half walk/half run last night as an example). For any kind of sprinting do you think adding extra carbs beforehand would actually be of benefit? My basic understanding is that aerobic exercise can be done while burning fats for fuel but anaerobic stuff like sprints is better with some carbs. I'm wondering if I'm going to end up confusing my body about what fuel to burn.

                              Trigirl - I will definitely let you know how I'm getting on. I see you're doing the Whole 30. How's that going for you?

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                              • #30
                                I would suggest a dose of 10-20g of carbs before a hard workout of anything longer than 45 minutes. I would also suggest you consider looking into metabolic efficiency. A coach friend of mine, Bob Seebohar, who is also a nutritionist and has paleo leanings (not 100%) wrote a pretty good book on it and holds webinars often on the subject. Here is his web site: http://www.fuel4mance.com/

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