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jacob's picture
Joined: Dec 31 2008
Posts: 7
just about to begin question

first post here. i've been lurking for about a month or so, and i've lots of good info here to be really helpful. and now for my first question:

first some background info:

i've been riding a road bike for about a year and a half now. i started out commuting and then began riding longer distances on the weekends. so far my longest ride has been a century. after i completed the century goal, i kind of lost some of the drive to get on the bike and i started running more instead. i've decided that i'm going to do a marathon in may. before now, i had never been a serious runner and had never run over about 3 miles. i've found hal higdon's training guide and i'm doing the first beginner level as it is my first marathon. for now i'm only riding the bike one cross-training day a week and the occasional commute to work(10 miles round trip). after i run the marathon in may, i plan to do another in october. then, since i'm all ready running and cycling, why not swim as well, so i plan to start swimming in the fall and be ready for my first tri season in 2010. i do realize that i'm planning ahead pretty far, but it seems that long term training and goals are what endurance sports are made of anyway.

so here's my plan. right now i'm focusing on running, and only an easy-ish cross-training day on the bike. after the 1st marathon, i'll keep running, but i'll trade some of the shorter running days so i can start training seriously on the bike. then after october, i'll start swimming and i'll mainly focus on that over the winter, while cross-training on the bike and running. do you think it would be better to jump into the pool right away, or am i on the right track by taking it one at a time, then working on all 3 equally after i've focused on all 3 individually?

thanks in advance for the advice.

derek5's picture
Joined: Nov 11 2007
Posts: 196
Swimming is so technique

Swimming is so technique focused that I would start as early as you can. That said you don't want to hop in and build a bunch of bad habits. If you have access to a masters team or best case scenario: a coach, I would start as soon as you can. I started swimming at 22 and it is hard to build both the speed and endurance of people that have been swimming for years. Truth is, if your enjoying yourself, that is the most important thing. Either way you go it can't hurt to get good at all 3 sports individually before you put them together.

overcome's picture
Joined: Apr 25 2008
Posts: 166
When I began swimming I read

When I began swimming I read Total Immersion. It got me from swimming 25 yards before having to rest to now being able to complete an olympic distance triathlon swim, although not very fast yet. One other piece of advice that I wish I had followed, don't have your first triathlon be the first time you have swam in open water. I mean actually swimming for a workout not just playing around in the water, they are two very different things.

cambaker000's picture
Joined: Mar 21 2008
Posts: 15
I'm assuming you are

I'm assuming you are training to complete (vs compete) in this first marathon so your probably using the 30 week program. That means that your already into the program about 8 weeks +/-. I've been running competitively for about 15 years and only in the last several years have gotten into longer stuff. Last year I ran a very competitive ultra on only two days a week of running and four days a week of cross traning (both biking and swimming). So you could complete a marathon by substituting another day each week of biking for an easy run. Biking is so much easier on your body and builds the muscle groups you use when running uphill without the joint stress. Listen to your body. If you get some reoccuring pain, lighten your running load and substitute some more cycling. Check out the 3 run/3 XT a week marathon training programs. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/tabloid-training.shtml

TriSooner's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2007
Posts: 3376
jacob wrote:before now, i

[quote=jacob]before now, i had never been a serious runner and had never run over about 3 miles. i've found hal higdon's training guide and i'm doing the first beginner level as it is my first marathon. [/quote]

That's exactly how I started. :) And to your point, you may consider nixing the bike altogether and focussing on just the marathon between now and May. Pick the bike up after the marathon in May and reduce your running mileage, say until July, and then pick back up on the run. (Can you do long-distance running in Oregan in July? In Texas that is out of the question.)

I'm just not sure what the bike has to do with anything if you are doing a marathon in May and then again in October. If improving your marathon time is your goal, focus on the run. If you were doing a 70.3 tri in October that would make more sense to work in the bike. But, if you are sticking with an October marathon, I'd wait to pick the swim up after and work on that next winter.

Triguy98's picture
Joined: Apr 10 2005
Posts: 3108
cambaker000 wrote: Biking is

[quote=cambaker000] Biking is so much easier on your body and builds the muscle groups you use when running uphill without the joint stress. Listen to your body. If you get some reoccuring pain, lighten your running load and substitute some more cycling. Check out the 3 run/3 XT a week marathon training programs. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/tabloid-training.shtml [/quote]

I'm with the new guy. You can train for the marathon and keep cycling. Now, if you only have 4 days in a week you can run, then you better use those days to run. If you have 6 or 7 training days a week, use the other two to ride. You build cardio fitness, strengthen some other leg muscles, and give your legs a day off from the pounding while still getting in a workout.

Ironmom's picture
Joined: Nov 30 2006
Posts: 1820
I would move toward

I would move toward cross-training in all three disciplines sooner rather than later. The main reason is injury prevention. Swimming especially is a great complement to running as it stretches and strengthens many of the muscles and ligaments in the feet/ankles/knees/ hips, etc. Cycling can provide much of the benefit of running without the impact and potential for injury. Lots of triathletes train for marathons on 3 - 4 runs a week, while cross-training in swimming and biking on the other days.

On the swimming, I'd start sooner rather than later because swimming is a sport in which you first need to build good technique and only then begin to work on endurance and speed. Find a good technique coach now and begin working on swim technique so that when you're ready to build your swim endurance you'll be able to without building in poor technique. A half-hour coaching session a week plus one other swim to reinforce what you're learning is a good minimum for early swim training.

beads1985's picture
Joined: Mar 11 2004
Posts: 6147
Ironmom wrote:I would move

[quote=Ironmom]I would move toward cross-training in all three disciplines sooner rather than later. The main reason is injury prevention. Swimming especially is a great complement to running as it stretches and strengthens many of the muscles and ligaments in the feet/ankles/knees/ hips, etc. Cycling can provide much of the benefit of running without the impact and potential for injury. Lots of triathletes train for marathons on 3 - 4 runs a week, while cross-training in swimming and biking on the other days.

On the swimming, I'd start sooner rather than later because swimming is a sport in which you first need to build good technique and only then begin to work on endurance and speed. Find a good technique coach now and begin working on swim technique so that when you're ready to build your swim endurance you'll be able to without building in poor technique. A half-hour coaching session a week plus one other swim to reinforce what you're learning is a good minimum for early swim training.[/quote]

I would have to agree with Ironmom

cambaker000's picture
Joined: Mar 21 2008
Posts: 15
Triguy98 wrote: I'm with the

[quote=Triguy98]
I'm with the new guy. You can train for the marathon and keep cycling. Now, if you only have 4 days in a week you can run, then you better use those days to run. If you have 6 or 7 training days a week, use the other two to ride. You build cardio fitness, strengthen some other leg muscles, and give your legs a day off from the pounding while still getting in a workout. [/quote]

Agreed. Hal's program has you running 4 days and walking 1 day a week so I'm assuming your already doing that. If you're following this without problems I'd have to think your body could handle a 3 run/3 bike routine. Just work up to it. Add one bike session every four weeks. This wil fill out your week without killing your legs. IMO the most important part of a first marathon program is the long run. Build it slowly and steadily. If you can run 18 miles at a decent clip and not dead at the end you'll finish. Its all in your head after that (assuming you don't go out too hard!!).

jacob's picture
Joined: Dec 31 2008
Posts: 7
to cambaker000: thanks for

to cambaker000: thanks for the link. that's the kind of program i'll be looking to do after i complete the fist marathon.

to trisooner: i want to start training on the bike in may so i can get my pedaling technique honed in a bit and start getting used to distance riding again, while working on my marathon time. that way, after october, i'll have the running and biking down pretty well, and i'll be able to focus on swimming all winter. and i'm pretty sure distance running is possible in oregon summers. i just moved here form louisiana about 2 months ago, but from what i hear the summers are pretty mild.

thanks a lot to everyone who's contributed here.

tri-ac's picture
Joined: Dec 7 2005
Posts: 3717
summers are fine here,

summers are fine here, typically low 80's and dry (at least after June)
on the rare occasions we do get hot weather, just run in the morning or go up to Leif Erickson trail in Forest Park, very shady

welcome to PDX and Trifuel!
if you haven't already, check out the portland tri club and the portland tri in August

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