After seeing Danger Prone's set of swim tips, I figured I'd offer a set of tips for beginning runners.
-- Get a pro to fit you with some quality running shoes, soles, and socks. Don't even go to the running store with any inhibitions about how much money you are going to spend, brand you are going to buy, or color of apparel. Just let an expert fit you with whatever works the best and it will be your best investment possible for training. Since doing this a few weeks ago, I have not had any shin splints, there is less soreness in my legs, my recovery time is faster and I have had no blisters or hot spots on my feet. All of that has basically added up to make the run more enjoyable and make me less hesitant to go out and do it.
-- Set goals. Every time I run, I try to set a goal for how far I want to run, how fast, or what heart rate I want to maintain, etc. This keeps me from stopping and walking or thinking about giving up. This also pushes me to have a more productive workout and I feel an awesome sense of accomplishment each time I complete one of them.
-- Don't give up. I have found running to be a huge mental game for me. I literally went from setting goals to just increase my distance by 1/2 mile each time I went out until I got to 4 miles and I decided the next time I would go and just do 6. Doing 6 ended up being a lot easier than I thought and now that I have gotten past that mental block it feels like I could do 10 or 12 if I really wanted.
-- Have fun. I am sure I am not the only person that dreaded running before they started doing it and won't be the last. When I can, I try to run with a buddy so we can talk during the run, but if I can't do that I try to at least enjoy my neighborhood and notice something new each time I do a few laps around it.
-- Stretch. I'm not too big on a bunch of pre-run stretching, but I do try to do about 10 minutes of post run stretching. Whenever I don't do this, I feel really tight the next morning and it takes a while for my body to warm up for that days activities. By stretching after the run it seems to keep my body loose and speeds up my recovery time.
Now that I have gotten accustom to the base training program, I am starting to recover a lot faster than I was before and am realizing why the work out schedule is planned how it is.
I pretty much consider day 1 of the schedule the longer Saturday run. I'm still not really looking forward to doing this every Saturday yet, but it does help out a lot to have a full day of rest before taking off on a run/walk/run/walk for an hour or more. This also gives me a full week of recovery before I am expected to put in this big of effort into running again.
On day 2, the 1 hour plus bike ride is a walk in the park and I just cruise it at low intensity. This helps losen all the muscles in my legs back up from the precvious day's activity.
The third day is also pretty relaxing with an easy warm up run or a few minutes on the eliptical. This doesn't really increase the level of soreness in my body, but helps me get accustom to the run even more. After that, the streng and core training I have been doing is making a noticeable difference in my recovery times.
The swim on day 4 is my more promising day in the pool as all the muscles I use for this portion are well rested and I have a pretty postive attitude going into it. Also, I don't have to put as much effort into the different parts of my legs that I used for running. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Day 5 has got to be my easiest work out day. This is almost like a wind down coming into the latter part of the week. The warm up bike ride is pretty simple and fun since I pretty much take it easy riding to the gym or around the neighborhood. Strength and core training has also been fairly easy and I am just working on making sure to follow Gale's list of excercises to do.
On the final day, I am not looking forward to the swim, but realize all I have to do is get through this last day and I can finally enjoy a day of rest and that pushes me to finish.
After actually completing a full week of the base triathlon training program, below are my notes.
Running: As much as I did dread this portion prior to commiting to the triathlon, I feel like I have been making leeps and bounds in progress. The first day I ran 20 minutes straight, I didn't think I was gonna die, but I was questioning how the heck I would be running 90 minutes straight by the end of 8 weeks. I realized that I was running a bit faster than I should be and backed it down a fe notches when I ran for 30 minutes and that helped a bunch. Once I find the correct pace it should help me a bunch. I also bought a heartrate monitor to wear so I know when I am pushing it too much
Bicycling: Wow, I can't believe how much the little amount of running and swimming I have done has helped my cycling. On one of my short rides, I managed to average 17.5 MPH over 8 miles. I haven't been able to hold that pace for over a year! My bike needed a bit of tuning since I have been doing a poor job of maintaining it so I will have to hit the stationary bike at the gym tomorrow. Not my favorite, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Swimming: Uhhhh. I am sure glad to have gotten my first day in the pool out of the way. This was way harder than I was expecting. After doing two reps of 50 yards, I didn't think I was going to make it. I ended up relaxing and completed 8 reps total in the end. I could really use some tips on how you are suppose to breath while you swim. I know their is a special technique for freestyle swimming and I havent found any good info on that yet.
I think my key to successfully completing all the training is just to learn to relax a bit and not push so hard while building up my base levels of endurance. Maintaining a healthy diet has also been a tremendous help and I can feel a huge difference in energy levels when I am eating right.
Now that Christmas is officially over, I consider myself over the hump as far as the Holidays go. I used a bunch of Kristen's input on ways to get around gorging myself at the dinner table. I was already on a pretty good meal program before the holidays by eating 5-7 times a day in 2-3 hour intervals. I just made sure to stick to it and not save room for the feast. A couple of glasses of red wine was about all the drinking I did and that was a huge help too.
As far as training goes, I have just been getting myself accustom to the Active Trainer Base Training program. This tool has been really helpful in keeping me on track in getting ready for the tri. The only day I have missed so far was Christmas day. I was supposed to do 600 meters of swimming, but the holiday and the fact that I was super sore from my first swim on Tuesday put a cramp in my plans.
Today I am set for a run/jog/walk. I'll see what happens when I get out their. Until next week...