Am I too late to train for Outlaw HIM?

As the title says really! I was lucky enough to get a place on the Outlaw HIM 2014 only to be then plagued by all sorts of vague illness and injury. Now recovered I find myself extremely unfit and still not able to swim - my plan was to improve the swimming before we ticked into the New Year so I'd have a good grounding to crack on. So I'm starting from the lowest point. Do I have enough time to be ready (to get round, not win!) or would I just be better looking for a different challenge.

Does Don Fink have a HIM training plan - I've bought his book but it only has full length training plans in it? Any advice gratefully received. Thanks.


  • Hi Joolze, it depends on how fit you are now, if you are reasonably fit you'll be able to crack on with training and find it easier. I completed a half last year without any specific training and having started learning front crawl earlier in the year. The first thing you need to do is commit to training, maybe join a swimming group or club or a tri club and rope in some help with the training, oh and Bike a lot image

  • I've used Fink as framework for IM training and I remember the intermediate plan allowing for HIM eight weeks before tackling IM.  No doubt the training will be full on.  Hope things work out for you.

  • When you say you can't swim - do you mean  you REALLY can't swim - or just that a mile in the pool tires you out.  Are you a bloke or a blokess?


    The reason I ask is that blokes with strong legs but big muscles, sink in a pool but - stick them in a wetsuit and they get round on muscle power.... really annoying.  Ladies - often have more natural buoyancy, weaker upper body (enormous generalisation I know!), and therefore really need to have some technique if they aren't to find themselves cosying up the kayaks at the side of the lake. 


    I am not a fan of doing multisport from a starting point of 'help I am really unfit' so it depends whether you really are unfit or whether your tt time trial is just a few mins slower than usual. It also depends on your background - how many years in endurance sports.  I had a year of illness having entered outlaw 2012. Had to pull out of that race but did a sprint, an oly, a bike ton and a half Marathon (throught out the year - not all at once image  ) on not much  training because I have over 10 years of consistent endurance training under my belt.    

    I was a bit surprised at times because I genuinely thought I was completely unfit and my times were not amazing but it is fabulous how your body can cope if you have the history and the muscle memory.


  • Gymaddict I meant I can swim but mostly breast stroke and not for long. My technique in crawl is terrible. This is the first tri I've entered although I have plans to do shorter distance events in the lead up. I am generally more of a runner but needed to try something different as I was boring of that a bit. I've run one marathon in the past but after that generally stuck to 10k with the odd half. But I am generally quite unfit right now as last year was not great for training for all sorts of reasons. I am a blokess. The book looks good - will bet ordering.

  • It sounds like you've got a reasonable run base.  It sounds like you need swimming lessons or coaching, a half IM distance at breast stroke isn't outside the realms of possibility but front crawl would be better.  Fitness can be gained in six months. Have you got a bike?

    I agree with Gymaddict.  Can you be any more specific regarding your training in the later part of 2013 (ie your general fitness)?  You keep saying you're 'generally quite unfit' right now, how are you defining that?  Are you massively overweight?  Do you smoke? Or is it just that your 10k time has dropped below 45 mins?

    Can you devote enough time to do at least 2 swims, 2 runs and 2 bikes a week from now on?  

    I've no idea who you are from a bag of carrots but the feeling I'm getting from your posts is that you are panicking.  Stop that.  Devote that energy to training instead.


  • Thanks Mouse, I am panicking a bit. To try be more specific, I am doing 15 - 20 minutes on a turbo a couple of times a week (easy pace and not set to be hard work) and still run/walk twice, but only three miles at a time - which is now pretty slow  I'm afraid due to the walking periods. I haven't been swimming at all recently. I do have a bike - mountain and road so can get out in most weathers. Yes, two runs, two bikes and two swims is doable and I'll look into joining a club too - but I've found in the past that fitting in with a regular meeting slot was hard (with work and everything) - this was when I tried joining a running club. I'm not overweight and don't smoke but do have exercise induced asthma which is much more controllable the fitter I am - so at the moment it's a bit on and off. Can I do it? Is Don Fink the man to follow? Thanks.

  • Well, I think you can do it, but you have to get your finger out of your arse pretty soon.

    I didn't use a plan for a half distance.  I went to 2/3 club swim sessions a week, 1 club run session, 1 club spin session (these are designed for triathletes) and did a long bike and a long run on top.

    If you've got big Fink, I'd scale that down and not bother buying baby Fink.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks - all useful advice. Finger out of arse as from tonight!

  • I was run fit when I started triathlon......did a marathon in around 4:30 in the april and then did a sprint tri in the may......stqarted learning how to do crawl.... loved the sprint and entered bala tri in the June.half distance.......

    I had to buy a road bike because my rusty old hybrid couldn't manage the hills in bala.....

    I never got more than 1k in the pool but on the day did 20 stokes breast stroke and then 20 worked and I loved the whole event.....

    so as long as you want to do have plenty of time to train.....I only had about 6/7 weeksimage

  • Jool just in case if you need to doing a half breaststroke is very doable it's not as good as doing it crawl through because if you can do that you will save your legs for the bike as well as normally being faster. But it's possible. I've done a few halfs that way as I've never been able to crack the crawl. As mouse said DON'T PANIC!!!

    Depending on your starting point you have penty of time to train for this. Just don't overdo it in a mad rush and then wonder why your injured. Get a plan and stick to it as much as you can. Fink's a good one to look at.

  • Cake - that's good to know. I always feel like I'm going to drown when I try to crawl!

  • As a newbie who has never done a triathlon I can't help much but what I can say is that in the start to middle of November I could swim (just) a length of front crawl at my gym (20m).

    I ended up with some 1 to 1 swimming lessons, I've had 4 of the 5 so far and today's swim was 200 WU, 1500 continuous, 300 CD. That's off 3-4 swims a week since my first lesson. 

    Get a few lessons. Technique is pretty much everything. I spent 5 weeks before my lessons thrashing my arms and legs and hoping my endurance would somehow improve so I could do this for a long time... ended up just not bothering with sessions because I didn't enjoy it.

    That's my 2p's worth anyway image

  • Joolze15 wrote (see)

    Cake - that's good to know. I always feel like I'm going to drown when I try to crawl!

    Not saying you shouldn't try to crack it just it's doable. If it helps first year I went long I trained almost every day in the pool and did fine. Year after I didn't train as hard because of family stuff taking up the time did exactly the same race and made it through the swim but it had taken so much out of me ended up getting pulled on the bike because I would have missed the cut off.

    It's only janurary so if you have the time in the next couple of months you could really do a lot to help with your swimming before you have to do any serious miles. If you know a good tri club near you they can help you a lot and if you don't know a good one shout up and sure between us all we can find you one. As el said above technique is everything. For the bike and run bloodly mindedness counts for a lot for the swim it just knacker's you out.

  • Hi Joolze, Swimming is ALL about technique. You're better not worrying about piling loads of laps in (which will only reinforce bad technique), and focus on getting technique-specific lessons that take the whole thing apart bit by bit. You're a runner, so it's not like you're unfit. But even the fittest person will exhaust themselves in the pool if they haven't got technique. Another option is to get the great book Total Immersion swimming, which picks apart your technique using drills, and shows you how to become as efficient and streamlined as possible so you save your energy for the rest of the race. The swim is just the warm up remember, so you want to come out of it refreshed, warmed and ready to tackle the bike and run, regardless of what stroke you do image

    There is some great advice here, and as Cake says, overdoing it is not a good idea. If you're really worried that this isn't do-able in the time frame, then deferring might be the best option for you. Remember, you are supposed to enjoy this!

    Certainly if you put in the time and commitment like Seren did, you can definitely achieve it. It's a lot about time management and getting the sessions in when training for longer distance triathlons. Whatever you decide, good luck and enjoy image

  • Having seen Cake do a fine breaststroke I can see how it can be done but FC is better for saving the legs image Swim a bit, run some more, bike a lot. Good on you for doing an HM. Now stop panicking and get on with it image Will see you there!

  • plenty of time to train, get a plan, whether it is fink or one off - there is a free one that you can download. I am rubbish at sticking to plans, but it will show you how to build up.

    If you can get some swimming lessons then do. Tri clubs and local leisure centres often have sessions for beginners. 

  • Thanks so much everyone - this is just the inspiration I needed. I live in Lincolnshire so am going to track down a Tri club if I can and I'll look into swimming lessons too. I feel much more positive today so am going to give it a go. So yes suckitupbuttercup - I'll see you there (with a bit of good luck and a tail wind!)

  • where in Lincolnshire? If you are near Spalding I know someone who coaches at Spalding Tri. I think Lincoln Tri is pretty big.

    I am in Notts

    I'll see you there too!


  • I went from nothing to full IM last year, including the outlaw half as part of it, so it can be done, swimming, get on with it, get the lessons and 3 times per week, the cycling is self explanatory, get comfortable on the bike and ride it again 2 short rides and a longer ride when you have time per week, running, run after one of the bike rides, get used to that feeling ASAP, and keep going, enjoy it and smile, there is some superb support on here and on the day, as well as a lot of knowledge


  • Hello

    I'm further North than Spalding I'n afraid - getting up towards the Wolds. There is one in Louth which I think could be great and I'll look at the Lincoln one too.
    Thanks again - this has made me feel quite excited about the whole thing.

  • +1 on Total Immersion. Really helped my swimming (although I'm still slow as anything - I feel much more confident and in control). Definitely go for better technique over just adding lots of swim distance. Also try to get some open water swims in. Good luck and I'll see you there!

  • joolze - just wait till you have done your first tri - you will be hooked and before you know it signing up for all sorts of crazy things!


  • Well first step done - Tri club contacted and hopefully joining them for a swim on Saturday. Eek. Mathschick - I'll let you know if you're right!

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