7 Things I Learned In Week One

While it has technically been 10 days, I’m calling it week one. We are officially back in the saddle of triathlon training, focusing on all things 70.3 this time around.

But even with an Ironman under my belt, I’m still considered a total noob in the long distance triathlon world and am ready to learn more. Thankfully, Sonja is by my side and at times helping me learn new lessons, and at other times, confirm what I know I should have always been doing. So without further ado, here are the seven things I learned about triathlon training in week one.

1. Sleep: It’s a no-brainer. Sleep is important, sleep is good for you, and I won’t take up space explaining the benefits on the blog. Google it. It’s a scientific fact.

But as much as we all know this, I logged my 6-7ish hours of sleep per night and I received very clear feedback that this needs to be my number one goal of the week: GET MORE SLEEP. At least 8 hours. I can’t argue with that, so I’m going to do my best to get off the computer and into the covers earlier each night.

2. Pre-Fuel: Another no brainer, but because I don’t always wake-up hungry, I usually just drink tea prior to working out, then would eat breakfast after. WRONG. I need to take in a light snack, half an apple and some peanut butter (or something along those lines) prior to the workout. About mid-week in, I started taking in some pre-workout fuel and would you look at that, I had more energy throughout the workout. Shocker.


3. Paddle Placement: During my previous year and a half of triathlon training, I didn’t use paddles much. But when Sonja put them on my list of gear to get, I ordered them (the XS size for my chicken arms) and texted Sonja to see if the awkwardness on my hands was correct. Well, I was all wrong — note that we shouldn’t use the wrist strap on the paddle.


4. Elbow Dropping and Drills: If you’re a new swimmer like myself, you likely fall in the same boat of dropping your elbow before your hand enters the water with each stroke (apparently it should remain high). To start remedying this issue, we’re doing three strokes of high elbow drills with EACH length. Here are some other high elbow tips/drills. Get outta here elbow — you’re getting in my way.


5. Weather Isn’t an Excuse: While I realize it pales in comparison to weather in other parts of the country, Portland experienced it’s own version of SNOWPOCALYPSE this weekend — complete with iPhone emergency alerts to stay inside.

Because the city isn’t built to handle this kind of weather (it never happens; hence the very few snow plows and infrastructure), the entire city practically shut down. I am not exaggerating — even Starbucks was closed. This also meant that I couldn’t run outside because of the extreme ice warnings and I couldn’t get to work to use the treadmill.

So what did I do? I shamefully admit that I found a gym within walking distance of my apartment, found out that they weren’t yet closed and signed up for a free trial week just to get my run in. Ridiculous, but kind of fun checking out new places while the rest of the city is snowed in. Sorry weather, you couldn’t do in my first week!

6. Google Hangouts: Every Sunday Sonja has a team Google Hangout chat. While I’m addicted to gChat, the multi-person Google Hangout is a really great tool with some fun features — including showing the speakers face in the main screen when they talk, “hats” to wear and more. I’ll be using this more in the future. If you don’t use gChat, I question what you’re using. AIM?

7. I Kinda Love This Stuff: I can feel that little flame inside lighting back up and I love it.

I closed out week 1 with:

9.32 hours training:
3,600 yards swimming
45.9 miles cycling 
15.1 miles running
1 hour and 25 minutes core and rolling

Happy Running!

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25 Responses to 7 Things I Learned In Week One

  1. I have such a love-hate relationship with paddles. It is especially important to have good technique and elbow position while using paddles because they can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders. Take it from a former competitive swimmer who had rotator cuff surgery.

    I love the Google hangout idea. That has to be incredibly helpful.

    Happy training :)

  2. Kerry says:

    Get that elbow up and rotate around your center axis girl! Pull up with your elbow and take it as far as it will go, then extend your hand. Make sure once your hand enters the water you’re rotating your hips and shoulders together and extending. That’s the hardest thing to teach the kids I coach.

  3. Carla says:

    ahh ahh ahh this winter I SO NEEDED the “weather is no excuse” reminder too. :/

  4. Nicole says:

    Reading “weather is no excuse” is pretty much what I needed to hear this morning. We are not equipped to handle snow in the south either, which has made the past few week interesting when it comes to running.

    And sleep. We could all use more sleep.

  5. Alisa says:

    What is with these new coaches and the paddles? JK I hadn’t swam with paddles in years so it is a welcome change to my swimming rut. Are you band swimming too? I think we are both getting what we need this year. Funny that you posted this yesterday as I have a similar post about JH coming up this week, featuring le paddles =).

  6. outside time says:

    Glad the flame is back! I’m feeling the same way this week!

  7. Katherine says:

    If you’re finding that that size paddle is easy for you, you can even go up a size. I used to use green paddles (fit my hand) and yellow (slightly oversized) when I got stronger, and worked up to using yellow paddles for backstroke pull sets once green was too easy.

  8. LC says:

    High elbows are one of the most important parts of swimming because it helps with your overall rotation which is key to an efficient stroke. Two recommendations – picture a string from your elbow connected to the ceiling of the pool – it pulls your elbow out of the water first and keeps it the highest point of your stroke all the way through. Second – when you finish your catch, drag your thumb up your body – thigh, hip, waist, ribs, underarm- at that point your elbow should be sticking out of the water, drag your finger tips across the top of the water and start your catch again. Doing a few laps of both of these things will start to cement the feeling of keeping your elbow high all the time. Good luck!!

  9. This is so helpful! I decided that I want to compete in a sprint next year, and I am so confused and overwhelmed by how much goes into prepping for a triathlon! I’m glad I can read your blog to learn about things I would never think of!

  10. I started doing just half a scoop of protein powder before a lot of runs and that helped. I like to eat in the morning though so not an issue :)

    I LOVE that you are all excited!!!

  11. Andrea says:

    I love your “weather is no excuse” comment. I am from MN and recently ran in a “real feel” of -25. It was a short 2.5 miles but much preferred over the treadmill.

    How do you find good coaches for online training?

  12. Every time I have to walk from the jacuzzi (inside) to the pool (outside) when it is snowing or there is snow on the ground I cry a little bit. Exited for your next chapter in triathlon training!

  13. Jessica M. says:

    Thanks for the elbow tip! I just started swimming and the other day I went through and read every swimming post I could find of yours. I have big dreams to do a ironman and need a lot of work in swimming if I am going to get there.

  14. Caitlin says:

    I now feel like such a total wuss for all of the times I wimped out of going swimming because it was “cold” outside aka 45 degrees and dark. Seriously, it is hard to get motivated to dip yourself in a huge cube of water when it’s not warm outside. *brrrr*

  15. Eileen says:

    Although I feel like an old lady, moving my bedtime up to 9:00 has made a huge difference for me. Getting up at 4:30 to go swimming isn’t so miserable anymore!

    Isn’t it crazy how complicated swimming is? Sure, cycling and running require technique, but swimming uses so much more brainpower. Trying to count laps while remembering feedback from my coach, my inner monologue in the pool goes something like this: “1, press you chest down, 1, keep your elbows high, 1, pull harder, 1, rotate…” It all falls apart when we have to count strokes too :)

    Stay warm and happy training!

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