Tri it! You might like it! February 28, 2008 8:07 AM   Subscribe

MeFiTri: Are you a female MeFite planning on doing a Danskin Triathlon? Would you like to try it (you can do it!) Are there other triathletes on MeFi? I'm wondering about the potential for a training group similar to the running and cycling gangs.

The Danskin is an awesome entry-level triathlon. There are several race locations around the country (sadly, some of 'em are filled already). But I wondered if anyone's already registered or might be thinking about a first-time tri.

Would anyone be interested in creating a MeFite tri-training group? Or if there are enough of us, having meetups at the Danskin races?

Thought it was worth throwing out there to see what the degree of interest is. I plan to do the New England Danskin and would be happy to be an online 'buddy' for anyone who wants to try it as a first-timer.
posted by Miko to MetaFilter-Related at 8:07 AM (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Is this something I'd have to get off my couch to understand?
posted by localhuman at 8:21 AM on February 28, 2008

Do you know where the New England race will be?
posted by robinpME at 8:54 AM on February 28, 2008

The New England race is in Webster, MA, which is a little bit outside of Worcester. There are a bunch of motels nearby. It's no Paris but it's a fine place to spend a weekend before/after the race.

The swim, incidentally, is in Webster Lake, also known as Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg - famous for being the longest place name in the US.

The bike is mildly hilly but nothing serious, and the run is piece of (flat) cake.
posted by Miko at 9:06 AM on February 28, 2008

Just so's you know, there are MeFi groups on and Weendure is kinda all-cardio, and runnerplus is specifically as a replacement to the Nike+ Ipod thingy.
posted by notsnot at 9:58 AM on February 28, 2008

I did my first tri last year, and you made it sound so appealing that I went and looked up the races... and I'll be away for the New England one. Which is just as well, because frankly I never got into running, and it was by far the hardest part of the triathlon and the training for me.

But I'll be back in the States for the New York one and had another idea: how about a


That would be the ultimate meetup, really. I'll offer to bike - I've seen the hotel pool in Beijing where I'll be for three weeks, and no way am I training in that. If any NY Metro area women want to swim and run with me, let me know!
posted by bassjump at 10:22 AM on February 28, 2008

I live in Webster, and can actually pronounce the name of the lake! Every year I see the triathletes biking around here and think...I can do that! I am massively out of shape right now and just started exercising again but I'd do it if there were going to me some mefites there. What do I need to do to get ready?
posted by Biblio at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2008

Yay, Biblio - let's do it!

So, if you go for the Danskin, once you register you get access to some good resources. They offer a free training seminar to every race participant, and it's fairly good, but I would never depend only on that. They also offer a bunch of paid training programs through a company called HeartZones- customized email plans and such. I haven't used those, but I might if I had the extra cash.

Instead, I put together my own training using some of the resources at a mostly free site, BeginnerTriathlete. I like that one because it has training articles but also a community - there's an active message board and the ability to set up a profile and maintain a training log. There is added content available if you subscribe, though I've never done that or really felt the need to.

A couple great books: Triathlons for Women, by Sally Edwards, and for those who think they could never do a tri, Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams.

Basically I would say this: If you can handle a 30-minute workout 5 times a week, you are ready to start training. Most people want to spend extra time on the swim, because triathlon swimming is not exactly like pool swimming. The point is more to be efficient and conserve energy than to reach top speed - also, swimming in a pack of 100 people in a natural body of water is something to prepare for. I like the Danskin because their lifeguarding is awesome for this portion. At this time of year I basically do two pool workouts a week, two running workouts on the treadmill, and one bike workout. When the weather is warmer I'll do more outside, especially a weekly long run and a long bike. Figure on this: the Danskin is a 3/4 mile swim, so you need to be able to swim about 1200 yards. You can be slow, but not stopping to tread water is good. The bike is 20K/12 miles and hilly, so build up to some hourlong spins around town with hill climbs in between. And the run is a 5K, very easy to reproduce on the treadmill. I usually vary the running workouts: a shorter one at a high speed for me, an interval workout for intensity and to increase speed, and steady runs at about the pace I think I'm going to race at for the same or longer than race distance. Starting with 20-30 minute workouts in each area, doing the best you can, you can definitely work up to these race distances within 4-5 months.

But the key thing to know is that the sprint-distance tri is hard, but completely do-able within one season's training. On this page of BT there are a few "Couch-to-Sprint" plans that will take you from not working out at all to triathlon-ready. There's also Tri-Newbies, but I find that one a little more macho.

Like anything, triathlon can get as serious, gearheaded, and obsessive as you want -- or it can remain a pretty simple, lo-fi way to get in shape and accomplish something awesome.

If we get a few people to plan a sprint this year maybe we can link up via BT to keep track. A meetup at the NE Danskin would be great, especially if we could find a few more sucke- I mean, takers!
posted by Miko at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2008

Oops, Tri-Newbies.
posted by Miko at 11:56 AM on February 28, 2008

I'm interested! I've been thinking about trying a sprint this summer, and the Danskin events seem to be just what I'm looking for (mid-late summer, well-organized, not intimidating). I'd be doing the Seattle race in August.

Is this doable for a runner who hasn't ridden a bike since college and can swim (but only in a can-get-from-one-end-of-the-pool-to-the-other-without-drowning kind of way) and is mostly focused on a half marathon in May and a Marathon in October? I'd get some swim lessons and start base-building and getting comfortable with those sports right away, but I'd generally be sticking to a running-based training plan and mostly cross-training with intense swim and bike workouts. Is that enough to finish (and finish having fun, not feeling like I'm about to die)?

Beginner Triathlete looks great - see you guys over there!
posted by peachfuzz at 2:14 PM on February 28, 2008

Sure Miko, I'm training for a half-ironman distance race right now... do you want to drive down to DC for the daily workouts, or should I pop up to New England?

(juuuust kidding).

Danskin's are great. I volunteered for one in Austin when a girlfriend completed her first. There's a great energy at every triathlon I've been to. Come to think of it, maybe I should break my FPP virginity with a triathlon post... hrm...
posted by ilovemytoaster at 2:55 PM on February 28, 2008

Is this doable for a runner who hasn't ridden a bike since college and can swim (but only in a can-get-from-one-end-of-the-pool-to-the-other-without-drowning kind of way) and is mostly focused on a half marathon in May and a Marathon in October?

I wouldn't do it, just because you'll need to be running more than a triathlon schedule will call for, and to get ready for the half, too, you'll overtrain. (I did this. I was able to do both, but I wore myself out and got sick.) It would work better to skip the half and do one of the may/early June triathlons and then start training for the marathon.

But it's definitely doable for runner who hasn't ridden a bike since college and could use some swimming work.
posted by Airhen at 7:03 PM on February 28, 2008

This is probably a dumb question, but are the Danskin triathlons open to us HeFites? I can't find anything on the website that explicitly says you must be female to participate (I believe that guys make up about 10% of the runners in the Nike women's races, which is why I'm asking).

There's a great beginner triathlon at CSULB at the end of April. It'll be my third time doing that one.
posted by Horselover Fat at 7:11 PM on February 28, 2008

Peachfuzz: All I can say is that I know a lot of people who do both marathons and tris, and they seem to manage the training. I do think it would require spending some time on the bike regularly from now til summer, and certainly you want to be more comfortable swimming than just making it to the end of the pool. If you look into tri plans you'll find there are "run-focused" plans for people like you, and I wouldn't worry about overtraining - if you have technical skill for the pool and the bike, you'll definitely have the cardio endurance for the tri. In fact, this might be a good question to pose (with detail) to the BT boards. There are a lot of multi-sporters who run various other races. I am mainly a runner as well, but not that distance yet. Everyone has a weak leg in the tri, and mine is probably the bike. It's okay not to be extremely trained up in each and every sport, as long as you think you can complete the course. And a sprint is so within reach I don't see why you wouldn't if you had a base in each area and a few targeted tech lessons.

Horselover: I've never seen a man run the Danskin. I do wish there was an equally well-run national beginner series that included men.

ilovemytoaster: Half-ironman? Why don't you just jog on up here?
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on February 28, 2008

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