I must admit that about two months back I was about to do my first IM70.3, but I didn’t feel right saying that I was a triathlete. I still felt like a runner who was trying to swim and bike. In the 3-month preparation for the race, some things had gone wrong: recurrent knee pain, a strong flu, bike fitting issues… At the same time I felt so unexperienced: I had begun swimming a few months back and I had gone out cycling just a few times without ever going beyond 70Km.
However, after the race I have changed my approach to training and I have realized a few myths I believed about triathlon.
- MYTH #1: Training alone allows you to follow a training plan better.
I started training for triathlon after I moved to a new country and I started to train alone. In February I reached out to new people. My new mates were willing to ride at a moderate speed that I could keep for the length of the ride. In the past couple of months I have already seen a big improvement in my speed and in my confidence, not to mention that in a group you get extra advise and motivation.
- MYTH #2: If running 6 times a week is hard at times on your legs, swimming + cycling + running sounds like soreness everywhere.
For triathlon you don’t need to train the three sports every day. Normally you train only one or two sports each day. And surprisingly since each sport uses different muscle groups, you don’t get to feel worn out as easily. Combining the tree sports is like having cross training within your training.
- MYTH #3: Triathlon training is exhausting.
It can be exhausting, but it doesn’t need to feel that way. The most important things to consider are taking at least one day off from training, eating according to the amount of training, and sleeping enough. I need at least 7 hours of sleep to be a functional human being. Some days you will just have to listen to your body and rest.
Allowing exhaustion to take over will lead to overtraining and injury.
- MYTH #4: In order to prepare for a race, you must train at most 75% – 80% of the race total distance. Your body will be prepared for the whole distance on race day.
This theory applies if you are only running. However, in triathlon your body needs to be used to the full distance of each sport. It’s even recommended to swim or ride a bit longer to simulate extended periods of effort.
- MYTH #5: Days marked on calendar with easy effort are dispensable.
These days are needed to allow better recovery. Training easily helps blood circulation and lactic acid elimination much more than seating on a couch. These sessions are the best ones to focus on your technique to get better; you can be conscious about every movement and how you feel with small posture changes.
Tomorrow I will be racing on a Sprint Race for the first time. Wish me luck and happy training to you all!