Tag Archives: first triathlon

My 5 top insights from coaching new Triathletes

Purpose Road Sign

 

For the past year or so, I’ve had the honor to coach new and beginner triathletes. Some of my athletes made great progress and accomplished fantastic goals. Many of those goals, at the beginning, they thought were not possible. Along the process they have thought me many lessons as well.

Here’s the five most important insights I gleaned from coaching new triathletes. Hopefully, they will speed your progress as a new triathlete.

 

You are more capable than you think you are. 

When I first consult with a new athletes many times they are not confident they can achieve their goal. Putting yourself out there, and trying something new is daunting. Instead of telling yourself, you can’t do something, say “I can’t do it right now”. Many athletes before you have finished the race, PR’d or whatever the goal may be. Why can’t you? Decide you will meet your goal at the beginning of the process, then get to work on achieving it.

Don’t view themselves as athletes.

If you are training and participating in races, guess what? You are an athlete. For you to increase your fitness and reach your potential, you need to view yourself as an athlete. You might say, “great I called myself an athlete, now what?” Viewing yourself as an athlete is a shift in mindset. You will view your overall lifestyle differently, and make better decisions. For example, a normal person just eats, and athletes fuels their body. A normal person goes to the gym to workout, an athlete goes to the gym to train. When you view yourself as an athlete your decisions are made with a purpose. That purpose is to achieve your athletic goals.

Need more focused training.

If you want to try a new restaurant across town and you are unsure how to get there, you open up your map app. The map is going to give the quickest route from A to B. A well planned training plan is a road map to your athletic goal. It needs to start with a clear destination, and give direction along the way. You can start your journey with no map, but it will most likely be a longer and more time consuming route. (metaphor off)

This is the most important point for new athletes. Having a training plan can save you tons of time, energy and injury. The plan can come from a coach, or you can find one on the web. Find a plan that leads you to your goal, and fits your schedule. When each workout has a purpose, you will greatly accelerate your athletic progress.

Consider the long term view.

Aside for a very genetically gifted few, most endurance athletes will need years to reach their potential. It takes years of training and patience to build endurance in the body. Take Mark Allen, 6X Ironman World Champ for example. It took him 6 tries to win his first Kona, and the first attempt he didn’t even finish. Over those first six years he kept working, and the speed and endurance came.

It’s easy to only look week to week during training to measure progress. When a workout or a week of training doesn’t go well, we get discouraged. Sometimes, it’s best to pull back and look at your progress from a longer time line. You may have been progressing for the past six weeks, and you on just on a plateau before your next breakthrough.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Don’t be shy. As a new triathlete there is a ton on information to learn. There are three sports, training, recovery, equipment, etc. Heck, this is the reason I started this blog. Find an athlete who has been racing for a while, and pick their brain. Most people are excited to help out. You can learn from their mistakes and experience, and speed up your progress.

 

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Help me to help you become a better Triathlete (for free)

Are you a new or beginner triathlete looking to improve? Have you decided to use triathlon to improve your lifestyle and overall happiness? I want to be your coach. Even better than that, I want to be your coach for free.

First Time Triahlete Beach 2 Battleship

I started this firsttimetriathlete.com, a couple of years ago to help new triathletes just getting into the sport. There were tons of sites dedicated to helping intermediate and elite triathletes, but a shortage info for brand new athletes. Even the sites originally designed to help new triathletes had become too advanced. Triathlon is already an intimidating sport with three separate disciplines, and the multitude of the gear required. My goal is to make triathlon simple and approachable, so more athletes will finish their first race, and hopefully continue their triathlon journey.

The elation of crossing the finish of a new challenge, which you were not sure your could complete, is awesome. In that moment all of the hard work, and struggle pay off in a crescendo of joy. The race doesn’t begin at the start line. It begins when you decide you are committed to the race and start training. I want to help coach you through your own journey and finish. Check out the Fantastic Finish Foto Friday Page for stories of others finishing their first race and what it meant to them.

About me:

I’ve been training for and racing triathlons for the past 6 years. Before triathlon, I was a Cat 3 road cyclist, and raced bikes for 10 years. I’ve raced  in 2 Ironmans (training for a third), marathons, and ultra marathons. I’m not the fastest guy out there, but endurance sports are my passion, and I am a student of the sport. Most importantly, I give a shit. The success of the people I coach is my very important to me. It gets me pumped to see people finish something they thought was impossible.

The deal: (Did someone say free?)

This winter I plan to get my USAT coaching license. In order to get in to the program I need more coaching experience on my resume. Crazy right? In order to become a coach you need to be already be a coach. So in the spirit of the win-win, I offer my highly valuable coaching services for the low, low price of free to gain the experience. Also, I really want to new athletes improve and give back to the sport I love.

Here’s what I am looking for in a potential new client. You don’t have to meet all of these requirements, but this is a good guideline.

  1. New to triathlon, or beginner triathlete looking to improve.
  2. Looking to improve overall lifestyle through triathlon.
  3. Not overly competitive. Racing against your own goals.
  4. Have a race coming up in the next 8-15 weeks.

I looking to take on 4-5 new athletes in the next couple of months. Here’s what you will receive from me:

  • Initial assessment of your current triathlon fitness
  • Custom training plan developed for your next race
  • Weekly email/phone progress consults
  • Workout tracking/accountability
  • Encouragement

If you are interested and looking to improve, please email me at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com. Don’t be shy, if you read this far, you’re most likely interested, shoot me an email. If you know someone else, that may be interested, please pass it on.

Be Well,

Shawn

Motivation Monday – Get good at having fun

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

“Never, ever underestimate the power of having fun” – Randy Pausch

This quote is from Randy Pausch’s last lecture. This lecture is details how his childhood dreams would shape his life. If you haven’t seen it before carve out an hour and check it out. It will change your perspective.

If you want to really improve your training and race times, get good at having fun. As an endurance athlete, progress comes from dedicated practice over a long time. Dedication is way easier to maintain when you are having a great time. Being able to train and race is a gift, not punishment for your body. Motivation will wax and wane, but you should always enjoy your activity.

It’s easy to start treating your training as a second or third job. Workouts are scheduled for weeks out, and certain paces must be maintained. This mundane day to day training can become a grind and suck out all of the fun.

Here’s a few suggestions for adding some fun into your training:

  • Find a soft grass field, and do some barefoot sprints.
  • Get a group ride together and try a brand new route.
  • Race you friends for fast 50m in the pool.
  • Sign up for a short race, and let it rip.

The saying is “Love your work, and you will never work a day in your life”. Try to apply that same principle to your training, and see massive improvement.

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Capt Jason – From weight loss surgery to Triathlete

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s Foto is from Jason Demars:

First Time Triathlete Jason

Continue reading Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Capt Jason – From weight loss surgery to Triathlete

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – First time triathlete Dan

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s Foto is from Dan Engström:

© & Foto- Fredrik Aremyr - finish_-211
Pic by Fredrik Aremyr

Dan:

My first triathlon finish
 
Last weekend saw the Gothenburg Triathlon event on the west coast of Sweden. I was five weeks away from the IronMan UK race and I still hadn’t done a triathlon. But I was prepared. I had learnt how to front crawl and revisited the marathon (in Stockholm, the week before than the tri event). I bike commute and am perfeclty ready for the 300 km bike race Vätternrundan next weekend. I’d done my brick training. I was so ready for the Gotheburg Triathlon, Olympic distance. So  away to Rådasjön lake. Fourteen degrees water temperature so they shortened the swim leg. This’ll be great, a shorter swim leg and me being used to the cold after a number of open water swims. Though I usually did the breaststroke earlier, but how difficult can the front crawl be in open water? In open, murky water. In open, murky water with  waves. In open, murky water with waves and a side current. In a tight wetsuit. Together with a couple of hundred other people. Right. Stiff upper lip time. Embrace the difficulties. Overcome. Rain during the whole bike leg. Legs like logs during the run, I was only a week out after the marathon after all. Adopt, adapt. I was hard, harder than I thought it would be. But I enjoyed every minute, every step. Give me a week or two in some murky lake around here on my own with my front crawl. Then bring on the IronMan.
 
Dan Engström
Gothenburg, Sweden
Congrats on gutting out that  cold, murky swim. You are an ambitious dude attempting to front crawl for the first time five weeks out from an IM. Best of luck to you on your IM, but for now enjoy that first finish.
Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

Workout Wednesday – Be a Torpedo

Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Torpedo

The most important factor for swimming fast and efficient is body position. For maximum speed and efficiency your body should be straight and level, like a torpedo flowing through the water. Sounds easy right? Not really. Anyone new to swimming will tell you, their legs are constantly sinking, and their heads are popping up. Maintaining good body position requires core strength, and body awareness. The problem is good body position doesn’t come naturally, and takes some effort and practice.

Body position training is time well spent. You will see instant improvements in your speed and efficiency. Your position can always be improved, so this work is suited for swimmers of all levels.

To maintain good body position keep slight pressure on your chest, a neutral head position, and hips elevated. Think of your body as a seesaw in the water. As your head rises your feet sink, and conversely as you press down with your chest your feet will rise. Core activation is key to keeping a level body. To activate your core muscles, imagine pulling your belly button up toward the top of the water. You ever notice great swimmers have awesome abs?

Check out this video from Triathlete.com explaining good body position.

On to the workout,

Body position training:

Warm up 200 meter Freestyle (FS)

5 min – Torpedo drills

50 meters – Superman glide

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – Focus on good body position

50 meters – Superman glide

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – ”

50 Meters – Superman Flutter – Arms extended forward using a light kick to move forward

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – ”

50 meters – Torpedo Flutter 

4 X 100 meters Freestyle – Focus on using best body position possible for each 100 meter repeat.

Did the 100 meter repeats at the end seem faster and easier? I do at least a few of these drills as a warm up for every swim session. It reminds my body of the correct position, and it is great core work as well. As you get fatigued it gets more difficult to hold the position, so keep your focus.

Thanks for reading. I hope this workout helps your swimming. For more swimming tips check out:

Intro to swimming Part I

Intro to swimming Part II

Photo Credit

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – First Time Triathlete Michelle

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Michelle Carroll, (Bolton, Lancashire)

 

Michelle Caroll FTT

Michelle:

Despite the elements being against me, on Sunday, I competed in my very first triathlon! With the rain and wind at their best, I tackled the hills of Rossendale to successfully complete a 400m swim, a 14 mile bike ride and a 5km run! Despite all my worries, I enjoyed almost every minute of it and now I have definitely got the triathlon ‘bug’. If anyone ever thinks they would like to compete in something like this but feels they couldn’t – go for it!! Honestly, I felt exactly the same, but it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. I don’t really swim and I had to borrow a bike as the nearest I’ve ever got to bike riding is doing a spin class at the gym, but it was all worth it!!

Great work Michelle! Way to preserve through the conditions and finish. You didn’t let not having a bike hold you back and you borrowed one. That is a great idea for first timers. Don’t throw down a bunch of cash on a bike. Borrow a bike and see how you like the sport.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

 

Top Ten Ways to Tell if You are a Triathlete

 

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In honor of Letterman retiring from late night TV, here’s our own triathlete top ten list.

Top Ten Ways to Tell if You are a Triathlete

10. Your bed time is 8:30pm

9. You put more miles on your bike than car this year.

8. Your social media posts include a picture and a finish time

7. All family vacations are planned around a race

6. Your casual wardrobe consists of race T shirts

5. Your most expensive watch is a Garmin

4. Your dishwasher is filled with sticky water bottles

3. Your weekend is spend mostly in Lycra

2. Can’t do flip turns

And the #1 way to tell if you are a triathlete…

1. Weird tan lines

I hope I made you smile at least. If you have your own top ten list item, leave a comment.

Now get out there and work on those weird tan lines!

Sign Up to Crush Your Next Tri

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I starting the FTT email newsletter. Subscribe if you are a new triathlete or even a seasoned athlete looking to be motivated and improve. I know your time and email inbox are precious, so I’ll keep it short, entertaining, and of course no spam. You will have access to me and other triathletes for the support to improve in the sport we love. There is a steep learning curve when learning to race triathlons. I want to help you flatten out that curve, and get you faster while having fun.

If you know a new triathlete that would be interested, please share the post.

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Workout Wednesday – 30 Seconds to Improve Your Aerobic Capacity

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Exhausted runner

Have you ever started a easy run and were completely out of breath in the first half mile? I know I have. You are not an out of shape slob, your body is just not ready to breath that deeply. If you spend your days crunched up at a desk in front of the computer all day, you are most likely breathing shallow. When you go to exercise your body has to open up those lungs to get ready to use that extra lung capacity.

Breathing and blinking are the only two systems in the body that are both involuntary and voluntary. Breathing, of course,  is the more powerful one. Your breathing regulates your heart rate, stress and your mood. By doing some simple breathing exercises you can increase your lung capacity, and feel great in the process.

Here’s the workout:

  • Breathe in for a count of 4
  • Hold it for a count of 2
  • Breathe out for a count of 4
  • Repeat 5 times

During in the inhale breathe deeply and fully from your diaphragm. During the exhale forcefully breathe out as much as possible. imagine filling up a balloon completely, and then letting out all of the air. This exercise takes about 30 seconds, and you can do it anywhere. For best results try this exercise 5-6 times through out your day. Its really great to do before a workout to get you lungs ready to work.