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8562 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Nov 6, 2009 6:49 AM by burner190 1 2 Previous Next
ArtistDiaz Expert 48 posts since
Jul 21, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 26, 2009 2:21 PM

Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon

Hey guys, I am a 37 year old man, living in South Florida.  I started the C25K training program and it's going well.  Shortly after I started going to the gym on my "non-running" days and started working out with a trainer.  So far I love it!  I signed up for my first 5k in December, figuring that will give me plenty of time to be absolutely ready...but lately I have been watching allot of Triathlons on TV and have really started to think I would like to try one and see how it goes.  Maybe after my first 5k.  I am not a strong swimmer and although I have a decent bike, it's only a hybrid and not a real road bike.  Anyone have any suggestions they can offer on a newbie wannabe Triathlete with little to no equipment?  I have NO idea where to even start.  Should I continue my 5k training and do that first?  Should I switch gears and train for a Triathlon instead?  Anyone else in the same boat I am?  I am not looking to become the next Triathlete star and frankly don't care if I come in dead last.  Just want to be able to do it without any major discomfort and with walking or (cheating) in any way.

If you are ONE in a MILLION, then there are 6,000 people just like you out are not alone in whatever challenge you face.

  • deed dee dee Amateur 9 posts since
    Mar 4, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 26, 2009 5:09 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon


    Hi there.



    Never been "active" in my life, I am 43. and I was 150 lbs. overweigth. I was on a very unhappy liquid diet for 6 months. Lost 45 bs. recover 15 when i stop it.



    Then I was considering biatric surgery, my doctor approved. had to attend bunch of seminaries. Didn't buy it.



    I decide to do a Triathlon. Cracy. have work out and trining for 5 months, I have lost about 30lbs. no diet, watch what i eat..must of the time.



    I am not very atletic fit, but i can go up and down from my bike. Improve speed from same distance from 1:10  to 0:37min.



    Swiming improved from 6 laps to 40 laps no stopping.



    Runing, can run still, but .....



    I'm doing my 1st tri in Octuber. LA.



    A friend used to told me " SI SE PUEDE"



  • jjoseph49 Pro 77 posts since
    Oct 5, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 28, 2009 3:24 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon





    You can do it.  Since almost every sprint tri uses a 5K as their run, I'd just keep going with that program and add the biking and swim training around that.



    You may find, depending on how many days a week that the 5K plan has you set to run on, that you would like to remove 1-2 of those runs, and replace it with a bike ride or a swim -- and that's okay. Typically, pure run training programs have people running 4 to 5 days per week, which if you added say 2 bike rides and 2 swims to that would just about wipe one out. Cut that to 3 runs, 1-2 bike rides, and 1-2 swims per week (if you have the time) and you'll be more than ready. 



    Don't worry about the hybrid. You'll see plenty of people on mountain bikes, hybrids, etc  -- for a sprint tri.



    It's hard to give you every nut and bolt of info that you might want. I'd suggest a simple book like:



    Triathlon 101 by John Mora.



    good luck









  • SarahTris Rookie 5 posts since
    Aug 28, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Aug 28, 2009 5:26 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon

    Hey ArtistDiaz! GO FOR IT! I too am overweight and am a 38 year old female. I attempted my first tri in Sept 06. I DID come in DEAD LAST but felt very rewarded in having completed. The great part was that it was a small one (Venice FL which is happening next weekend - still time to register!) and I ended up third in the Athena division because there were only three Athena registered! HA! Its a great supportive environment and I made new friends that day. A personal tragedy forced me to gave it all up just weeks later and in the three years since, I gained back the 50lbs I had taken off. In June of this year I started working out again. My trainer is a new triathlete and kept working on me to do it again. I just didn't think I had it in me. Now just three months later, I AM READY TO ROCK! Still overweight, still slow but fired up and ready for the fun.


    I strongly encourage you to do it all if you think you want to. The swimming and biking will only help you build endurance for the run in December The run is my worst leg and I do walk probably half of it but its a very empowering feeling to know you did all of it. You will also find that no triathlete feels fully competent in every leg. My experience is that the runners can't swim well and the swimmers can't run well (that's me) so don't feel that you have to MASTER each peice. As for equipment you dont need to go crazy. As you are starting out, just work with what you have. Many people are just doing it for the personal satisfaction and many local tri's have fat tire divisions to accomodate non road bikes. Craigslist is a great resource for equipment and once you start meeting other triathletes, you can get hooked up! There are still three or four great tris in the Sarasota/St. Pete area before the end of November so if that's where you are in South FL, join in and have fun! No matter what you decide to do, feel proud of the changes you are making. Good luck!



    PS-another good book is "Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now" by Jayne Williams.  Although it is written by a woman, it has great pointers and tips on maximizing your strengths!

  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 29, 2009 1:01 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon


    Some great advice in the responses so far!



    Triathlon is a great sport for ALL ages and abilities. The variety (swim-bike-run) keeps it interesting and fun. And there are so many distances and formats to pick from.



    Since you live in Florida, you have a better chance of good training time outside in the winter months!



    As others said, don't worry about your bike. Make sure the tires are pumped, the brakes work and the chain functions and you're good.



    With swimming, check around for a local swim clinic at a health club or triathlon club. I don't have a swim background, I took Lauren Jensen's swim clinic 2x and enjoyed learning how to swim more efficiently.



    Keep us updated on the 5k and your tri plans! I hope you enjoy the training & camaraderie triathlon offers.









    Sara Cox Landolt

  • SarahTris Rookie 5 posts since
    Aug 28, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Sep 1, 2009 4:56 AM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon


    Well they make suits specifically for tri's that you can wear for all three legs.  I just bought a Zoot suit at and i love it.  I wear it for all three legs.  It's wicking so it dries fast.  They are not cheap (I got mine for around $100) but since I plan on doing more than one it was worth it to me.  However, if you don't want to spend the money, just invest in some good wicking bike shorts and wear those for the whole thing.  You do not HAVE to wear a bathing suit, then bike shorts, then running shorts.



    I don't think you have to have a tri coach but I did for my first.  I like to know what I am in for and so for my first try, I liked having a coach who had been through it.  My coach was with a class through the Y.  My new gym also did a Try a Tri training program in August.  Usually they start in the spring.  Another great resource is in the spinning classes of your gym.  Many triathletes do spinning and you can often get hooked up with them or they can give you great tips.  For my first tri I thought having a coach was invaluable mostly because of my fear of the unknown ("look out for this", "be sure to have this, this and this in your transition area", etc.).  The coach is good to tell you about things and even maybe how to train.  My experience was that even with a coach, i did alot of the training on my own.  She just gave me a training schedule (which you can find online).  Now that I have one down, I am much more comfortable training on my own.  I have found some great resources online for tri training. 



  • jjoseph49 Pro 77 posts since
    Oct 5, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Sep 1, 2009 7:39 AM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon


    For a first tri -- the cheapest, most utilitarian item are triathlon shorts.  You can sometimes find those at a local bike shop. They look somewhat similar to regular bike shorts, with the chamois in them -- but they are made of a material that dries out, and the chamois pad in tri shorts are much smaller.  If you can't find a local shop, some online places like, are starting to have end of season sales.  Search for "tri shorts" or "triathlon short".  Even if you never do but the one tri, the shorts can still be used for biking, running, swimming, lifting, etc.  Top the shorts, after the swim of course, with a tank top or running shirt, and you're pretty much set. 



    Trisuits are great,  and you could always still use it for bike and run training -- but they are a relatively pricey item.



  • kapfast Pro 53 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 4, 2009 12:01 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon


    I started training for my first sprint tri when I was 42 and overweight. It was a reverse tri - 5k run, 12 mile bike, 150m swim in a pool. A great starting event, and I trained 6 months before the event about 3 days a week. Since I started training, I have lost 50 lbs in about a year, and now am addicted to exercise. Since I completed my first tri (Dec 08) I have completed a total of 4 sprint tri's (my first ocean swim was last month), 3 10k's, and 2 half marathons. When you compete for the first time, make sure to enjoy the experience. Don't get caught up in a specific time, but rather soak up the incredible energy and the experience. There is a great triathlon training book written by Eric Harr with a ton if useful information - I highly recommend it. Good luck - and enjoy the journey.



  • DaydraD Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Oct 6, 2009 9:43 PM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon

    Do it! Do it! Do it! I am in my 30's, weigh 300 pounds (after losing 50 this year), hadn't been on a bike since I got my driver's license, started training in July, ride a hybrid, but several of my friends ride mountain bikes, walk the run segment because I'm afraid of blowing out my knees at this weight, and completed my first 2 sprint distance triathlons 2 Sundays in a row at the end of September. And get this... I didn't come in last! It has been one of the most rewarding things I've undertaken in my entire life. After my first race, I couldn't figure out why my jaw locked up when I tried to eat a Clif Bar after I finished... I realized during the second race that it was because I was grinning ear to ear the entire time.


    In my community, we have a group of ladies that train together (there are about 300 of us now). Many of us got a hold of bikes that were rusting in garages, mountain bikes, you name it. Also, several of the ladies could not swim 100 yards when they started in May. They learned on the fly and it was absolutely amazing to watch. Being a fast swimmer isn't critical anyway. You can't win a tri on the swim leg, it's just too small of a component. It's hugely supportive and most are participatory athletes. It's all the wonderful things about team sports without the envy, ego, and ugly bits of competition. I expect that every community has people that, if not training for triathlons, are forming cycling groups. I would suggest checking out your local bike shop and asking about riding groups or clubs and specifically if they know where you can hook up with other people that are training for triathlons. I'm sure they would be able to steer you closer to getting hooked up with the right people.


    The very awesome woman that acts as my groups trainer tells us stories of completing triathlons and being passed by someone that was riding a bicycle with a banana seat. Particularly in a sprint distance tri you can ride anything. Forget equipment (other than safety, etc.) until you figure out what you like and really want or need to spend your money on (it can get very expensive, but it doesn't have to be).


    I would continue with your running plan, it's going to help you in a tri anyway. You can add in swimming and cycling whenever you feel comfortable. You can adequately train for a sprint distance triathlon in as little as 8 weeks. I know, I did it. Search the web for training resources and books to get you started. Your trainer should also be able to set you up a workout that will build your abilities. Then, there's not much left but to do it.


    Good Luck!

  • stayfitbug Amateur 11 posts since
    Jul 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Oct 7, 2009 4:48 AM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon
    Go for it... don't let anything hold you back. we are all only getting older. As long as you are not in a life or death situation then you are good to go!

    Fitness and workout tips from experience, not textbook facts

  • hutch7826 Rookie 4 posts since
    Oct 7, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Oct 7, 2009 7:28 AM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon

    My advice is DO IT! You may come in dead last, but you will still feel one of the most rewarding feelings of you life! Programs are available for download that will walk you through every step, week by week including nutrition. The training will be brutal, but the rewards will make up for the punishment! You will be amazed at how the unwanted pounds will melt away if you stick to the nutrition and how good you will feel. If you're not a swimmer, that will be the hardest leg; it still is for me. The most improving piece of equipment you can have is a good bike that "fits" you well, though its not a must. I wish you the best of luck! And one more will probably become addicted!

  • billprice005 Pro 75 posts since
    Dec 8, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Oct 7, 2009 9:10 AM (in response to ArtistDiaz)
    Re: Overweight, but want to do my First Triathlon
    I started doing tris in 2007 at 5'11" and 230lbs.  I did my first one on my mountain bike and in a pair of tri shorts.  2 races later, I found a used road bike for $300 on craigslist that fit me.  I've upgraded along the way as I could.  It's about having fun and improving yourself, not your equipment list.
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