Running on empty

Book cover of You are an ironmanIt’s now less than 12 months before I have a go at my first middle distance triathlon, the Half Ironman. That in itself is a worrying thought, but at least it’s 11 months away, and not 11 weeks – now that would be a cause for concern. Who decided that a half ironman was middle distance? I bet it doesn’t feel like middle distance when you’re out there, half way through the run with 10 kilometres still to go. Yes, I know that a full ironman is considered long distance, but really – middle distance? It sounds as unglamorous as “middle age”.

Anyway, there are no shortage of triathlon training books on the library shelves, should you need some guidance. I have to say I do dip into them occasionally, if only to discover the things I’m doing wrong with my own self-led training. I have tried to do the group exercise thing with swimming and running, just to see if it helped, but I found myself daunted by the prowess of the other group members, and so didn’t continue with that idea. Training by yourself isn’t for everyone, I agree, but it beats having to make friendly conversation – have you tried that when you’re out of breath? It’s all to do with the psychology, and if you wanted to work on your sports psychology, the library – naturally – has that covered.

Cover of 80/20 runningIf you would like a bit of help with your own running activities, you could try this book – 80/20 Running. The subtitle is “Run Stronger And Race Faster By Training Slower”. Anything that involves running slowly would have to be right up my street. Can I also recommend the American edition of Runner’s World magazine, not only because of the excellent content, but because of their endpiece article every month, written by John Bingham, aka ‘the Penguin’, who is an unrepentant advocate of slow running. For a comprehensive look at the whole subject of running and how to do it right, there’s Running Science. Just don’t take it too seriously – it’s supposed to be fun, after all.

For more about Colin’s triathlon endeavours and some reading suggestions, check out our other triathlon blog posts.

 

Now to get hot and sweaty!

You have probably noticed that the weather gods have decided to let us have some warm weather at last. Naturally this turns a person’s thoughts to what they can be doing outside, be it gardening, sailing, tramping, or even firing up the barbie and opening a few cold ones as evening falls. Naturally the library has all that covered, but that’s not what we’re here for today.

Cover of Triathlon for Masters and BeyondMy personal train of thought veers towards the sweaty at this time of year – yes, I’m talking about triathlon. I’m talking about the original form of triathlon – swim, bike and run – rather than that strange hybrid: kayak, bike and run. I guess not everyone likes the swim, and I confess I don’t either, but part of the appeal must be getting out of your comfort zone, surely?

Learning another sport can be a challenge, but learning those new techniques and building up those specific muscles can be enjoyable, and you’re never too old to keep learning, right? Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway, and there may even be a grain of truth in it. And there’s always that strange thrill of buying yourself some new sport specific gear, and let’s be honest, looking the part is half the fun.

I’ve long had a fascination with the Ironman distance races – and who wouldn’t after watching this sort of thing on Youtube.

Alas, what with working full time and having a family, I don’t think I could dedicate the time needed to survive that sort of event (and to be honest, paying the entry fee for that type of event is pretty painful if you’re on a librarian’s wage).

However, I do think I could train for a Half Ironman event, so this is the first post about that. The Half Ironman is the fastest growing distance in the triathlon world, being a little longer than ‘sprint’ or Olympic distance events, and thereby possibly more suited to older people like myself who don’t have the speed that the shorter distance events demand. A Half Ironman is a 1.9km swim, a 90 km bike ride and a 21 km run, not impossible but still a distance to be respected.

The event I have my eye on is in Ashburton, on 7th November 2015, at the marvellous Lake Hood. Yes, it’s a long time away, but that gives me time to get my poor ageing body used to all that exercise. So, you’re very welcome to come along for the ride on this one, literally if you feel the urge, and figuratively even if you don’t.

Cover of Triathlon ScienceWorking in a library as I do, I naturally had to see what resources were available to help me on my way. I’m of an age now where I qualify as a ‘Master’ athlete, so a title like Triathlon for Masters and Beyond was an obvious start. There’s also the excellent and comprehensive Triathlon Science by Joe Friel, and Triathlon by Steve Trew.

If you have a tablet or e-book reader, you could also download Trew’s book (you’ll need a password or PIN number added to your library card to be able to download e-books; if you don’t have one already, speak to your friendly local librarian or call us). Don’t be put off by the mention of tactics in that title – most new triathletes are focused on enjoying the experience, not racing.

For my part, the running is already underway – I’m a regular recreational runner anyway, so I know what I’m doing with that. The swimming and the cycling is another matter! More on those in subsequent posts.

Are you a beginning triathlete? Is getting fit one of your goals? Do leave a comment if so, it would be great to see how many people are starting this same journey.