Hi can anyone who remembers being a novice triathlete advise how long it takes to get match-fit as it were?
I quite fancy the London Triathlon... next year :-)... but need to work on the swimming/cycling.
Also are all of you mega speedy or is there room in the bigger events for people who do it for er, fun??


  • I remember doing my first tri in '96 and taking 27 minutes for the final 5K thinking someone must have put lead into my blood as my legs were that heavy, I trained for the same race next year and dropped about 15 minutes overall but it did take a while to go from "this is really painful" to "I can run after getting off a bike wahey".
    Best of luck whatever you do.
  • Cheers mountain goat.
    I doubt I could better your 27 mins on the 5K after swimming and cycling!
    I am possibly getting carried away because I bought a new bike!
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    hi guinevere,
    dont worry there are loads of people that enter tri's for fun. it always amazes me that a tri in middle of essex countryside called the ongar try-a-tri attracts 120 (novice only!!!) people every year.

    I started running in 98/99, did my first duathlon in 2000 and then started tri's properly in 2001. I settled in quite easily. And you'll never have a perfect race.....always something to learn. But that's what's great about tri's.

    Not sure what else to say to you....:O/
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • What's a duathlon? Bike and run? Showing my ignorance here Daz :-)
    I might see if there are any popular with novices up my end of the country (Edinburgh)unless London is popular with first timers as well!
    I think my first love is running but I'd enjoy the challenge of the tri. I think.
    It can't be harder than a marathon.. Can it?
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    yes usually run/bike/run.

    keep updated with the triathletes-uk website ( and the 220 mag for up and coming races.

    edinbrrrrrugh - bit cold for tri's up there aint it!?

    I think runners coming into tri have a slight advantage as your legs are a bit more able to cope with the wobbly 'feel' you get coming off the bike.

    i guess depends on distance. ive done marathons and i still reckon a mar falls somewhere between an olympic/standard and a half-ironman distance triathlon.....but everyones different.
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Edinburgh's not THAT cold!
    But my bike did nearly get blown away in the wind the other day!
    I am planning to do the sprint distance (I think it's 750M swim, 20K bike, 10K run?) at London next year. Not really worried TOO much about the running bit, or even the cycling, but the swimming, definitely.
    Also wouldn't mind shifting half a stone of flab before donning a wet suit!!
  • And if it's your king of thing, you could always try your hand at an off-road duathlon... that's cross-country running and mountain biking. Great fun and hard work!
  • Sounds a bit hardcore!! But I've been told that triathletes are masochists :D
    But perhaps that's something to graduate to.. eventually!
  • G - by 'just for fun' I assume you are meaning those of us who are not mega-speedy? That certainly applies to me, but I do race seriously even though I'm not at the sharp end of the field, racing in the W55 age group, so what makes a good race for me is seeing how many younger folks finished behind me.
    What you need to practice is the bike/run transition, until you've done it a few times it feels like trying to run in cement. Most people find their run times are a bit slower than in a plain old running event.
    Good luck - and most of all, have fun!
  • What I mean by mega speedy is that I am not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination, I just enjoy doing it!
    So every event I ever enter is just for fun!!
  • Dazzle! Tell me more about the Ongar thingy!

    (my email's fecked at the mo)
  • Just like you im contemplating 2005 as im sure ill spend most of this year finding my feet. I have hardly been out on my brand spanking new bike thats 2 weeks old and sitting in the hall but I keep walking past and looking at it, sitting on it soimetimes lol.

    Oh and nice photo :-)
  • To be honest Carl the running has been enough of a challenge until recently. Only started a couple of years ago, then stopped, then started, then got injured, etc etc. I think my body was so out of condition it didn't know wot had hit it!
    Like you I need a goal to motivate me which is why I'm back marathon training and it seems to be going a bit better this time around.
    Am contemplating cycling to work tomorrow.
    But then there is the Edinburgh wind to contend with...
  • Fast? I am mega-slow! Never was fast, but as I get older I'm getting ever slower. But I'm still having fun, otherwise I wouldn't race.
    I can usually reckon on running between 5 & 10 mins slower on a 10km at the end of a tri. For an IM, it takes me about an hour longer than usual to run the marathon!

    My philosophy is....I'm doing a lot better than the watchers.
  • You are darn right H.I.
    I was out running last nite with a forumite who is also training for Edinburgh Marathon and a ned shouted Get a life.
    For the first time I actually shouted back! All I said was Why don't you?
    This is progress on two counts though. 1. I am obviously more confident and 2. I wasn't so out of breath I couldn't speak
  • Edinburgh wind... we have Milton Keynes wind here and its been blowing a gale since Saturday.

    Im looking forward to the summer months when I can get out more, im a big guy and not really that suited to running and kind of hoping ill be more suited to Troi as the bike and swim arnt weight bearing.

    Im in it for the fun and self satisfaction as im never going to win anything but just corssing that line in what I would consider a half respectable time would be my equivilant of an gold medal.

    Good luck its nice to hear its going well.

    Oh, talking of speed, I filled in my application for Statford Sprint tri yesterday and they asked for an estimated time for the 400m swim, I guessed at 13 minutes... maybe getting it under 10 would be nice but I bet some of the experinaced peeps do it in 5 or 6.
  • Yes not convinced I have a classic runners build either, so am probably more suited to swimming, but it'll need a lot of work. 13 mins for 400 m sounds fast enough to me!
    Know what you mean about crossing the line - when I finished the marathon last year I was so happy I burst into tears for a minute. Just never thought I could do it. The fact it was a pretty slow time didn't matter.
    Though obviously it would be nice to do it faster next time...
  • is the london sprint distance really a 10k run? i thought they were normally 5k.

    i keep trying to do the triathlon training but to be honest i don't know how you are supposed to do marathon training and triathlon training together - i'm giving it up till after rotterdam!

    still hoping to do my first olympic distance this year though after 2 successful (as in i made it to the finish) sprint events last year.
  • I cried when I crossed the line after my 1st Marathon (only done 2), im not really superfit or anything, pulled a hampstring really badly in Nov 2001 and took a year to get back to being able to run comfortably again, by then id lost the bug and became a couch potato blooming to nearly 15 stone when I decided enough was enough. Ive lost 20lbs since last July and things are going relatively well re my ultimate goal (getting fit and loosing weight) but concerning setting a Marathon PB in April and completing an Ironman in July things are looking dodgy as my legs are rejecting my minds requests to put in the miles. Ive been off my legs all week after a slowish ½ Marathon and all things considered it doesn’t bode well for my plans this year.

    Conerning the 13 mins for the swim, I average about 50 secs per length of a 25m pool just x that by 16. That’s breast stroke which im pretty good at and faster than my crawl which I can only sustain for about 6 lengths consecutively (havnt been able to train as I have a shoulder injury grrrrr)
  • Date: 31-Jul-04
    Region: London
    Event: London Triathlon
    Distances: 1.5k 40k 10k (SoBR)
    Organiser: "The London Triathlon, 14-15 Lower Grosvenor Place, London SW1W 0EX"
    Cost: £63.00
    Phone: (020) 7559 2929
    Location: "Excel, Royal Victoria Dock"

    Date: 01-Aug-04
    Region: London
    Event: London Triathlon Sprint
    Distances: 750m 20k 5k (SoBR)
    Organiser: "The London Triathlon, 14-15 Lower Grosvenor Place, London SW1W 0EX"
    Cost: £TBC
    Phone: (020) 7559 2929
    Location: "Excel, Royal Victoria Dock"
  • There seems to be a sprint and Olympic distance. Sprint appears to be 5k run.
  • M - yeah you are right the 10km is the olympic triathlon run distance - according to the London Triathlon website the sprint course is 750 m swim 20km bike and 5km run but if you enter as a team of three you can each do a super sprint - 400M swim, 10km bike and 2.5 km run - all i need is two willing chums!

    Carl as one reformed (almost) couch potato to another - congrats on your achievements thus far. I have found progress has been stop start but two years ago I could not run for a minute, and now I can say I completed a marathon before the sweeper van!!
  • cool - i'd like to give the olympic a go. my swimming isn't bad (about 8 mins for 400m so i reckon about 32 mins for 1500m)

    but my cycling is truly awful. 40k might take me several weeks!

    but april - july gives me loads of time to practice. £63 is quite a lot though!
  • I think it's less if you're a member of triathlon association or whatever it is, it tells you on the site anyway
  • well done guinevere! if you've done a marathon a sprint tri should be no problems. i did my first one before i'd even done my first half marathon. and it was easier!
  • Ah but it took me in excess of FIVE hours to do the marathon.
    Though in my defence I had only trained for 10 weeks or so.
    And the Edinburgh course is very hilly!!
    In fact they have reversed bits of it for this year cos of the complaints :-D
  • M - if you have any tips for better swimming then I'd appreciate them. I am not so concerned about the cycling and running, as i just need to put the miles in. But swimming is a definite weakness!
  • M, im doing the Marathon and Tri training together and find that the activities compliment each other a bit. Im building up to the bike endurance rides which will increase my stamina but keep the impact of my feet. The swim is also a good non weight bearing workout. I admit it is hard to fit it all in, im lucky I don’t have any home commitments, a Gym at work and a there are quite a few runners at work to go out with at lunchtimes so im able to fit in about 6-9 training sessions a week.

    I have moved most of my long runs from a Sunday to a Thursday evening freeing up Sunday for some races (practice) and long bike sessions. I try and fit in another couple of 6 mile runs in the week and another medium distance bike. The 1 or 2 swims (which are only 20 mins due to injury) are slotted in when I have a spare few mins, again the pool is only 1 mile from my house and on the way home from work.

    Seems I have all the facilities if only my body was willing…..
  • Guinevere, at this stage I suggest getting some l21 lessons at your local pool to sort out any probs with your stroke, nreathing etc. This is what I did and for the 5 or 6 weeks brfore my shoulder gave in (Not due to swimming) I was improving quite a lot. They cost £10 for 30 minutes, I know its another cost but in the scheme of things I felt it was worth it. For more professional and tri specific coaching there are weekend/day swim camps type thingies that I think are about £100-£200 (more for the experienced Triathlete I think though I guess they could work for a beginner). Ive also been told about a good book ‘Total Immersion’ – the web addy is
  • Carl stick with it sounds like you are doing great
    I have started running 3 to 4 lunchtimes a week plus sat/sun but thinking of swapping shorter weekend run for a long bike ride to take strain off the old knees and hips etc!
    Just need to start building in a few swims after work and I'll be sorted.
    Oh and cycle to work. When the wind dies down...
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