Try tri by Dominique le Roux
I’m sure you’re not the betting kind. But assuming you were, where would you put your money? On me (a two-and-a-half-time Cape Epic finisher), my sister (training for Comrades), or my boyfriend (a former US State Champion swimmer)? The challenge: a half-IronMan distance triathlon this December.
We’re all a bit tired of our respective sports, though they remain our first loves. We’re all wanting a little spice in our training regimes, though we don’t see ourselves taking triathlon too seriously. We’re all perfectly comfortable in our respective domains, fairly fit, and pretty intimidated by at least one of the other three disciplines.
You can identify? Also a tad tired of just cycling, or just running? Join us!
Runner’s World editor Mike Finch came to triathlon through injury. “I’d been a runner most of my life, but as my aspirations in running – and increased mileage – soared, so did my list of injuries. It was then I met a real triathlete – Joe – at the local running club time trial. He was the epitome of the body perfect: shaved, tanned, with defined legs, and strong but lean arms. I wanted to look like that.”
Okay, so I’m sure you can’t identify with that one: the desire to look simply fab. I know there’s not a cyclist out there that would want to beef up his upper body. I know no runners lament their less-than-taut thighs.
Yes, the only reason you would want to give tri a try would be to ease the boredom. “The sport of triathlon has the advantage over many other sports in that boredom is rarely a factor. Even mediocre triathletes can participate in swimming galas, then mix with the cyclists in a road race and also compete in road running with a great deal of success. What a bonus! This truly dynamic sport allows you to become a tradesman in three different fields,” gushes Finch in the intro to his book ‘Triathlon – An Expert Training Companion’ (published by New Holland).
But there is a downside: “to be proficient in three sports requires time spent practicing and specifically training in three different ways. The challenge to find the time and the mental and physical commitment are unrivalled in other sports. Top-class triathletes can train up to six hours a day while even amateur triathletes who are attempting a race like an Ironman will be required to put in at least three to four hours of training a day during peak training periods.”
Well, he’s clearly never trained for the Cape Epic then. Even we backmarkers put that amount of time in, and that was for only one sport. So we’re not daunted by this, and know that it’s all about time management and technique. About maximizing every single second and every ounce of energy. Not wasting an iota.
And if you’re a runner or a cyclist, you have an inkling of the pleasure-pain mystery, so you’ll understand what multiple IronMan winner Scott Tinley is on about when he explains why it ain’t easy but is still so satisfying: “At certain levels it requires things that most sports don’t even acknowledge. Like the tendency to be obsessive-compulsive; like the deep-seated knowledge of why the hell you’re out there beating yourself up every day.” Identify?
But back to this issue of fab good looks. While I watched my sister running Two Oceans, I was less than impressed by the quantity of eye candy on display. Many of us who rode Epic weren’t exactly lookers either. But hang around a triathlon transition area and you’d swear you’d been transported back to the time of the Greek gods! Even the backmarkers have bodies to die for. Finch explains that the benefits are more than just skin deep: “The reasons for this powerful body sculpting are simple. Because triathletes must swim, cycle and run, they get the benefit of working all three sets of muscles. Swimming strengthens the back and shoulders, cycling produces powerful quads, and running, defined hamstrings. As a result, triathletes rarely get injured.”
And then, to clinch the deal, he points out that triathlon is a forgiving sport. If you’re hopeless in one discipline, you might still beat your buddy by closing down the gap in the other two.
So, back to the betting. Your money’s on me, right?
THE PROGRAMMES: plenty to choose from:
- ‘Triathlon – An Expert Training Companion’ by Mike Finch (New Holland) – order from www.kalahari.net
- Zero to Hero in 11 weeks (sprint distance for beginners)
- 8 weeks (sprint distance for experienced)
- 11 weeks (standard/Olympic distance for beginners)
- 18 weeks (standard/Olympic distance for experienced)
- www.trinewbies.com – great site for all the info, inspiration and training programmes.
- 10 weeks (sprint distance for beginners):
- 10 weeks (Olympic distance for beginners)
- 18 weeks (sprint distance for intermediates)
- 18 weeks (Olympic distance for intermediates)
- Virgin Active – personal training by Melissa Mantek:
- Men’s Health by Andy Ellis:
- Simple 7 day programme for off-road tri:
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