Rookie Triathlete: Part 4: Swimming

Swimming is coming along, slowly, but surely

Swimming has been more difficult than I imagined during my Rookie Tri training. I knew swimming would be difficult as it’s easily my weakest discipline. It feels like such a foreign concept to me, continuously inhaling above water and exhaling below water, all while trying to keep my hips/legs from sinking. As difficult as swimming has been, the progress I’ve made has been tremendous. I’ve dedicated more energy to the swim than I have the bike and the run and it shows.

When I first started I was doing everything I could to get from one end of the pool to the other, expending way too much energy. Barny, my coach, likened this to learning to run long distances using only speed workouts. There was no pacing, no patience. The improvement stems from using a pool buoy and kickboard. The pool buoy helps your hips stay elevated in the water so you can focus on using your upper body with minimal kick. The kickboard gives your upper body a rest so you can focus on tiny kicks and keeping your feet below the water’s surface. I also feel it working my core.

swimming

Incite Elite goggle set, with nose plug!

My first swim workout took place with a co-worker at the Townlake YMCA. Every swim workout after that has taken place at Big Stacy Pool. That place is a hidden gem and not many people use it during lunchtime (when I normally go). The facilities are nice, the water is cool, and you can take a quick shower after your swim before going back to work. Big Stacy Pool is 33.3m long. Each swim workout has gotten progressively longer for me, working on form, breathing, and endurance.

Full disclosure, my first swim was without a nose plug. I tried swimming without a nose plug, honest. No matter what I did, water would get in my nose. For Valentine’s Day, my wife got me this sweet Incite Elite goggle set that came with ear plugs and a nose plug (YAY!). The nose plug is a lifesaver. I’m not sure if this is normal for beginner swimmers or not. For me, the difference between using a nose plug and not using a nose plug is night and day. I have noticed that it slid a little bit during a few laps. It might still be in an adjustment to my nose process. I’ll keep an eye on leading up to race day.

I’m going home for Easter weekend and will attempt my first open water swim in Lake Mexia. I’m not sure what to expect or how far I’ll go, but it’ll be a nice gauge for me to see where I am outside of the pool.

What were your first swim experiences?

Bike Spring Cleaning

Taking time to wash your bike is just as important as checking all parts

Spring cleaning doesn’t just pertain to household duties. So brush the cobwebs off your bike, wash your bike, and get it in proper gear for the spring triathlon season. Ensure your bike is ready to go, especially if you’re racing Rookie Tri on Sunday, May 6th!

Whether your bike is aluminum, steel, titanium, or composite, an important aspect of any frame is keeping it clean. Steel rusts, aluminum corrodes, titanium and composite bikes just look cruddy.

The paint on a steel or aluminum frame is porous and penetrated easily by elements that will rust the tubes from underneath the paint. Grease and solvents can degrade the glued joints of some older composite bikes with aluminum lugs.

Check inside your frame for water. It’s more common than you think for water to seep in down between seat posts and seat tubes. Especially if you ride in the rain or carry your bike on top of the car in the rain. Water in a steel frame shortens its life significantly.

Remember that a clean, dry bike is a happy bike!

Stop by your local bike shop if you need help cleaning your bike or learning about your bike’s frame.

Swim, Bike, and Run for Austin Gives Miles

Take your Rookie Tri training to the next level

People race Rookie Tri for many reasons. Most race to prove to themselves they can complete a triathlon. Others race to beat their previous time. Some participate to stay in shape. Whatever your reason, you can make your Rookie Tri training and race day that much more meaningful when you participate in Austin Gives Miles!

Participating in Austin Gives Miles gives you the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit organization of your choice when you’re training for Rookie Tri and racing on Sunday, May 6th. Use your triathlon training to take your impact beyond race day! You can get your friends, family, and training groups/clubs involved too. Anyone can join Austin Gives Miles and make a difference for their preferred charity. Start fundraising today using the steps below!

Step 1: Register for the race and create a fundraiser

  • Click “Set Up Your Fundraiser” and choose your charity – a page will be created and you’ll be ready to start fundraising.

Step 2: Share with the world

  • Your fundraising page allows friends and family to donate directly to your cause and helps you share your story.

Step 3: See your impact

  • Your personal page collects your fundraising totals together in one place – your overall impact.

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram what charity you’ll support through Austin Gives Miles!

USAT: What is it and Why does it matter?

The Rookie Triathlon is a USAT-sanctioned event and includes many benefits for those that participate. Here is the low down of what USAT is, why sanctioning matters, and rules and benefits of being a USAT member.

Who/What is USAT?

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri

USA Triathlon (USAT) is the national governing body for the multi-sport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, and winter triathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon is a member federation of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union.

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri Team USAWhat sanctioning an event means?

1. Gives athletes peace-of-mind by guaranteeing industry-wide safety standards.
2. Ensures a fair race governed by standardized rules.
3. Provides the Gold Standard of insurance protection for the event, athlete, and venue.
4. Provide ranking points for regional and national rankings, including USAT All-American status.
5. Only sanctioned races provide the opportunity to qualify for National Championships and then qualify for World Championships as a member of Team USA.
6. Results are available for all sanctioned races.
7. Enables new programming, grows the sport, and funds initiatives including youth participation, the Olympic program, and paratriathlon.

USAT Why Membership and Sanctioning - The Rookie Tri

Types of Membership

Membership comes with tons of great benefits for members including exclusive discounts and resources for training. Check our Triathlon Gear Shopping list to see if any of these items can be purchased with your USA Triathlon membership discount. You must be a USAT member to participate in a sanctioned event.

If you plan on participating in four or more events in a calendar year then it is best to purchase an annual membership upfront.

Annual Membership
An annual membership allows an athlete to compete in USAT-sanctioned races while receiving many benefits which include: a subscription to the quarterly USA Triathlon magazine, be part of the USA Triathlon national ranking system, discounts from USA Triathlon sponsors, and the ability to qualify for Team USA member and compete at ITU World Championship events around the world. An annual membership also includes unlimited one-day licenses for races occurring within the membership period.

One-day license
A one-day license allows an athlete to compete in a USAT-sanctioned event without purchasing an annual membership. One-day licenses can be purchased at the time of registration or on-site at packet pick up.

USAT Rules

USAT has a set of rules that apply to all sanctioned races to provide for the orderly and consistent administration of rules and penalties.

Make sure to know these 11 commonly violated rules before you show up on race day.

There are an extended set of rules that apply for qualifying for national and world events. Read Full USAT Rules.

Rookie Triathlete: Part 3: Life Happens

Life happens.

It finally happened. LIFE. Yes, life happens. Life happened to me and my training for Rooke Tri. I built some nice momentum coming off my mock Rookie Tri championship and that came to a screeching halt.

Check presentation with Joey Whelan, 2018 Austin Marathon male champ.

My last blog post was on Feb. 3rd. During February, High Five Events produced the 27th Annual Austin Marathon. This year, 15,000 participants registered for four separate events over the course of race weekend. Training quickly took a back seat and eight hour days turned into 13-15 hour days. Endless emails, race weekend/expo planning, social media, interviews, local news requests, elite runners from across the country, RACE WEEKEND, shaking hands, kissing babies, it all comes with the territory. That’s the nature of the beast. I have the best job in the world, but even that won’t prevent life from interfering with your training. Remember: life happens.

You might be a Rookie yourself, preparing for your first tri like me. Life happens (personal, kids, work, travel, family, emergencies, etc.). You will miss a workout, or several. Don’t get down on yourself, don’t feel like you need to “make up” for that lost workout. Keep moving forward. Find other ways to remain active, stretch, roll, take care of your body. Control what you can control. In the weeks leading up to the race, I made sure to eat as best as I could, stay hydrated, roll and stretch, and walk/ride everywhere I could. I continued to utilize my stand up desk. I ran when I could sneak away. Barny (my coach) was well-aware of the situation (he ran the Austin Half Marathon) and told me to focus on work and get in workouts if I could. Reminder – we have 90 days until the Rookie Tri on May 6th; Barny’s Rookie-only offer still stands. Contact him today and tell him you want the Rookie rate!

life happens

When I arrived at Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg.

UPDATES

I bought my first bike! It’s a black Felt Z100 (name TBD). I traveled to Fredericksburg to visit Josh at Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg. As I mentioned in my first blog, research would play a role in my journey. I like to know what I’m getting myself into. But be careful, you can go down many rabbit holes. Fortunately, I’ve worked with Josh before and he’s knowledgeable about bikes and what folks need, especially first-timers. We emailed several times, I told him what I was looking for and my budget, and he went to work locating the perfect bike. He found it. I went to pick it up and was blown away by the customer service. When I arrived, I didn’t just pick up the bike and leave; I “tried on” the bike like I was getting fitted for new shoes. We actually switched bikes from what he originally picked out, size 58, to a slightly smaller one, size 56. It doesn’t sound like much, but I actually felt the size difference on the bike. If you’re out bike shopping, know that you don’t just get a bike. You need several other items as well: a helmet (!), good lock (if you commute), front and back lights (for safety), water bottles, flat kit (sounds like fun), and a pump (if you don’t have one). You can get other items if you want, gloves, bikes shorts, clothing, sunglasses, etc. I recommend getting what you absolutely need and going from there. You can always get more stuff down the road. Tomorrow (3/8), I’m taking my bike for a ride on the Veloway for an hour. Let’s see what this baby can do! Big thanks to Josh!

life happens

When I departed Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg.

Workouts (plan courtesy of Barny) –

2/26 (first workout post-Austin Marathon) – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

2/27 – 6-mile run with RAW Running – 1.5-mile warm up 8 min/mile, 3 miles worth of HAF fartleks around Town Lake (7:00 min/mile), 1.5-mile cool down 8:30 min/mile

2/28 – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/1 – 5x1000m (7:00 min/mile) hill repeats with Austin Runners Club

3/2 – easy 4 miles (9:30 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/6 – 650m swim (3x100m with pool buoy, rest every 25m; 3x100m with pol buoy and board, rest every 25m; 50m with pool buoy without rest after 25m)

3/6Cap City Relays with RAW Running. ~2 miles warmup at 8:00 min/mile, 2.62 miles of relays at 6:21/mi, cool down with ~2 miles at 8:00 min/mile

3/7 (on deck) – 60-minute ride on the Veloway

3/8 (on deck) – 45-minute bike ride in my neighborhood, 15-minute run immediately after (first brick workout!)

3/9 (on deck) – easy 4 miles (9:00 min/mile) on Tanglewood greenbelt with a good friend/neighbor (accountability is a powerful tool)

3/10 (on deck) – 3-mile bike ride downtown from my office, 4-mile run with Under Armour, 3-mile bike ride back to the office

Beginner Triathlon Gear Shopping Check List

Must Have Beginner Triathlon Gear

These are the essential items you will need to get you from the start to finish of your first triathlon

Beginner Triathlon Bike - The Rookie Tri triathlon gearBike

Any Bike. It can be anything from your uncle’s old bike that has been in the garage or the mountain bike you take out riding with your kids. Now, be sure that the bike is in good repair by taking it to a local shop. Sometimes if the bike is really old or in disrepair, you may spend just as much on fixing it up as you will a beginner bike. A second note is that a road bike and bike with gears will make your triathlon journey a lot more comfortable.  You will be able to go further with less effort and will have more “in the tank” when you head out for a run.

Beginner Triathlon Helmet- The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Helmet

Helmets should be replaced every 5-8 years and definitely after any crash– no matter how small. Helmets are the same safety level at any price tag so there is no need to open up the wallet for the cool $300 ones. These higher end helmets will be equipped with more ventilation and more aerodynamics. Some helmets do come is sized so make sure and check when you purchase. A loose fitting helmet is not safe.

Beginner Triathlon Tri Shorts- The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Bike or Tri Shorts

Really you can wear what you want, just remember that transition is open and there is nowhere to change in private. If you want to be comfortable while training and racing, You will want a nice pair of athletic shorts. First, these can really be anything but cotton, as cotton will not wick away water and can lead to chaffing, ouch! A basic tri short with a little bit of padding will make your bike-riding experience much more enjoyable. The best part is that these shorts will last long after your triathlon debut. They are perfect for cross training, cycle classes, and even going for runs.

Beginner Triathlon Goggles - The Rookie Tri triathlon gear

Goggles

Most importantly, there is no perfect goggle since everyone’s face is shaped a little different. Visit a local swim shop and try on a few models to find what works for you. Leaky goggles will derail your swim and can make swimming a lot more difficult if you are having to stop and constantly adjust for goggles, therefore don’t skimp and just buy the cheapest ones at the store. Once you have tested them out a few times, we suggest buying a second pair in a different tint so that you have something for all conditions.

Beginner Triathlon Running shoes for triathlon gear

Running Shoes

If they are comfortable, they are good to go. Even if they are just the shoes you got because you liked the way they looked. Have some shoes that aren’t comfortable? Well, you can still run in those — you will just be, well uncomfortable at the end of your run. 🙂

beginner triathlon sports bra- triathlon gear

Sports Bra

Ladies, even if you decide to use your swimsuit for your first triathlon you are going to want to wear a good sports bra underneath. You will want something you are comfortable running in. If you have some areas that run, like under the armpits you can put some Vaseline or Body Glide on in the morning to help with chaffing.

Also Recommended:

  • Flat Kit
  • Hat/Visor
  • Water Bottle for the Bike
  • Bright Towel for Transition
  • Sunscreen
  • Race belt

Totally Optional:

  • Socks
  • Bike Shoes with clip-in pedals
  • Sports Watch
  • Sunglasses
  • Transition Bag
  • Wetsuit

 

 

I Love Rookie Tri Because…

Why do you love Rookie Tri?

What’s better than participating in the Rookie Tri? Participating in the Rookie Tri for free! We love hearing about what the Rookie Tri means to different triathletes. Here’s an opportunity to describe your first Rookie Tri or explain why Rookie Tri should be your first triathlon! Tell us why you love Rookie Tri and you could win one (1) comped 2018 Rookie Tri entry by:

  • love Rookie TriDescribe your first time participating in the Rookie Tri and tell us what you loved about it. Let us know what it is about this triathlon that keeps you coming back.

OR

  • Explaining why you want Rookie Tri to be your first triathlon. Tell us what you’ve heard about Rookie Tri that made you decide this triathlon will be your first one.

All responses must be submitted to the 2018 Rookie Tri Facebook Event. Make sure you tell us you’re going! Be engaging with your responses and have fun with it! Winning response will be chosen and notified at the end of Monday, March 12th.

The 2018 Rookie Tri will be held on Sunday, May 6th, at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. Event distances include:

Super Sprint Triathlon – 300m swim, 11-mile bike, 2-mile run

Super Sprint Aquabike – 300m swim, 11-mile bike

Relay Super Sprint Triathlon – 2 or 3 person teams split swim, bike, and run.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

4 Ways to Expand Your Triathlon Training

Training for a triathlon might feel a bit overwhelming, but you’re not alone and we’re here to help! Below you’ll find 4 ways to expand your training and make some friends along the way.

Austin Tri Club- Beginner Triathlon Training Group

Austin Tri Club bike ride.

1. Join the Austin Tri Club!

Austin Triathlon Club is an all-volunteer, member-run community of triathletes across the Austin area. Club dues are only $40/year. Yes, you read that right! Member benefits are plentiful and include new triathlete mentoring, club workouts, monthly happy hours, and a welcoming group that’ll help you achieve your goals!

2. Run and Bike with Austin Duathletes

Austin Duathletes is a fun and FREE group with runs and bike rides throughout the year. They have a standing Monday Morning Run at 5:45 with 3 and 5-mile routes, as well as other special events. You can join them on March 24th for a bike ride on Walnut Creek Trail with 20 and 30-mile options. Wheels down from Tamale House on E. 6th Street at 8 a.m. Follow their Facebook page, just show up, or email the Duathlete leader, Panther, to get more involved.

Austin Duathletes Run and Bike Training Group

3. Join The Rookie Tri Facebook Group!

This group is a place for Rookie Participants, Veterans, and those who are just interested in triathlon, to share support, advice, training adventures, and friendship. Join the group to share your stories, pictures, and wisdom!

4. Join Bicycle World on March 24-25th with their beginner triathlon training weekend.

The weekend will include bike and run workouts as well as workshops. Workshops include How to prepare and what to expect on race day for your First Triathlon, General Tips for each swim, bike and run, and basic maintenance of gear. There will also be an in-store guide to gear selection where you can see what you might be missing in your triathlon gear as well as an open Q&A session. 

While triathlon is seen as an individual sport you do not have to train alone. There are groups to join that are both online and in town. Happy Training!