I am an Army Cadet at the University of Maryland under the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). I am training for my first triathlon. I consider myself already in good shape, as you are required to be for ROTC. However, I do not consider myself to be in top-tier shape, which is what would be required to do well at a triathlon. My triathlon is in about two months, and I have been working recently at increasing my stamina in all areas, particuarly in swimming. However, I am not sure which guide to follow for training due to my physical training commitments to the Army. I work out four times a week for the Army, and it is as varied as six mile runs to muscular circuit training. This is required of me, and I can not work around this. What I am asking is what is the best way for me to supplement my training in order to achieve optimal success in two months? Any type of advice would be very welcomed.
I too was in ROTC when I did my first triathlon. A couple of things that you might want to consider if you are looking at being in shape for triathlons. As with other sports there is a difference between being in shape for something like ROTC or soccer or even track and being in shape for a triathlon. As I was in ROTC and training for triathlons I found that in order for me to get into triathlon shape I was doing two sometimes three work outs a day. Building mileage was a given for running, so I would run about 40 to 50 miles a week. Every other day I would swim or cycle. These other days would very in distance and time. Good luck with your training.
I've been in the army for almost 16 years now. 2013 was my 1st year of doing triathlons. I would suggest you focus on your swimming & cycling on your off duty time. Army PT for the most part takes care of your strength, running, & mental toughness to push when it hurts. I would suggest on the days you run with the army prior to running you should do a hard bike. This can be done on a trainer, spin bike, or do a lot of squats prior to running. You want to simulate running on tired legs. Other than that don't stress yourself out, it takes a lot of time to become good at triathlons & being that your a young cadet you have lots of room to grow. Just enjoy your race and use it as measuring stick for future races and training.
Get fitted on the bike for a proper set up. Or google it. For example, with your foot on the pedal and leg straightened, your toes should be about 1" above your heel. Adjust seat height accordingly. If you put tape horizontally on hips, it should stay level when you pedal hard, no rocking, lower the seat. With pedal at 3pm, center of knee should be over metatarsals. And so on.
Go to a free "good running form" class. Athletic shoe stores have those. Good running form makes you more efficient, faster. Try to have a cadence of 180 steps per minute. I can only hit about 170 as much as I try!
Go aggresive on the swim, it's the only time you really use your arms in a Tri.
Don't ignore nutrition. Carb load 2 days before the event. Sip a sports drink every 15 minutes on the bike and run. Takes 20 minutes for it to reach your muscles. Will keep you energized and prevent muscle cramps.
Practice bricks, bike then run. Your legs will be rubbery the first 1/4 mile in the run so get used to dealing with it.
As it's now two months later, I will assume that you completed your Tri. How did it go? Did you finish in the time you expected?
I was active Navy and training for Wildflower with coach Rachel of Hypercat Racing a few years back and she told me that unfortunately, unless I could work it into PT, I was going to have to do double and triple workouts some days. That's just how it is because our PT is not the same as our training. Hope you caught the bug. And if you need a coach or a training plan, check out Hypercat Racing.