Fit with Georgie - Triathlon Training Diary
11 February, 2020
If you've ever wanted to challenge yourself to reach a goal, but needed a little bit of "fitspiration", then you're in the right place. Fitness blogger Fit with Georgie is tackling her second triathlon in February and is riding the Vantage Endurance. You can follow her journey here and get some much needed inspiration for your own fitness journey - you might even want to try a triathlon!
Training Month 1 - 15th September to 15th October
So, I guess I’m a cyclist now? My first month as a road bike owner has been, quite frankly, awesome! To say I was excited about bringing home my new Reid Vantage Endurance 1.0 bike is an understatement, over the moon ecstatic is a better way to describe it! I felt like a brand new mother bringing home her baby for the first time, and all I wanted to do was show her off and keep her in my sight 24/7.
My first month of riding has been all about working through teething issues, and learning to crawl before I can walk. I’ve spent hours riding up and down back streets practicing clipping in and clipping out of my cleats (a foreign experience for myself as a novice cyclist), kilometers on bike paths practicing different hand grip positions, and days trying to figure out how I’m going to run through the transition gates on race day in my new cycle shoes with cleats underneath them (update: still haven’t figured it out yet!). With every ride I became more and more hooked on the feeling and the thought of “being a cyclist”, and I know now it’s something I’m going to love doing whether I’m training for a triathlon or not.
Living in the City has proved less advantageous for triathlon training as I initially thought. I crave wide open roads where I can just pedal as hard and as fast as I want for as long as I want, but the stop start nature of Melbourne city hasn’t allowed me to do this yet. But hey, what a great excuse to take a road trip somewhere new and get outside and adventure! Yet another benefit of entering into the world of cycling!
I already commute to work on your every-day kind of bicycle, so riding on the road and amongst traffic is not foreign to me. Nonetheless, I learned the hard way about being clipped into your pedals (note to self: don’t try and do a sharp 180 turn on a foot path to avoid getting your tyres dirty on the grass at next to 0 km/hl...you will lock your front wheel...and you will fall off sideways...and people will watch and stare...and your elbows and hips will cop the brunt of it!).
Alas, this hasn’t deterred me from my cycling journey. I’ve managed to clock up over 90 kilometers already (92, to be exact), and can’t wait get out and go for long romantic rides along...the highway!
- Goal for next month: Learn how to change a tyre before I actually need to change one and get stranded! Bring it on!!
Training Month 2 - 16th October to 15th November
It’s month two of owning my very own Reid road bike, and I’m loving it more and more every week! This month I’ve officially become a real cyclist with an impressive (yet totally unintentional) bike short tan running right across the middle of my thighs!
With the weather in Melbourne improving I’ve been able to get outside for a ride more often, although a head on wind is never much fun to cycle into...classic Melbourne! With each ride I’m learning new tips and tricks about cycling, including the importance of clipping your feet out of the pedals before you come to a complete stop (cue fall number two, ouch!), and the importance of sunscreen on impromptu long afternoon rides. I’ve delved further into the cycling world and purchased myself some cycling gloves (important to protect the hands when falling), a cycling bib (hello one piece padded bike shorts, mmm mmm!), and a portable pump and safety kit for emergency flat tyre repairs.
All of these accessories seemed a bit overwhelming when I first got my bike, and I shied away from them because I found them to be unfamiliar and daunting concepts. However, although I haven’t needed to use my emergency flat tyre kit yet (touch wood), it didn’t take me long to appreciate the need for some extra padding under the behind on a long ride.
I get excited to “kit up” and head out on a ride with my friends or boyfriend, and love how this offers fun, new opportunities for me to explore new places and towns around me, and of course their cafe’s!! Alongside proper triathlon training this month, I’ve been loving the social aspect of road cycling, and look forward to being able to incorporate this into my lifestyle more as I meet and make new cycling friends (please enquire within)!
Cycling is also an important means of transportation to me, and I commute to work every day by bike, as well as around the shops and to the gym. With warmer weather I’ve found myself taking little detours down pathways and side streets and immersing myself in nature in this fun new way! As the ocean begins to warm, I look forward to combining the swim and cycle legs of my triathlon training in December!
- Total KM’s this month: 110km
- Total falls to date: 2
- Goal for next month: A swim and ride combined training!
Training Month 3 - 16th November to 15th December
Month three into my triathlon training and Melbourne is slowly starting to turn up the heat (and the occasional freak storm too!). This month has been a busy one for me, and a few weeks slipped by where triathlon training wasn’t at the top of my priority list. Nonetheless, I did my best to stay on track, and snuck in a few short rides where I could. Ah the perks of full time shift work!!
Despite the days becoming longer, Melbourne’s temperamental weather has graced us with many storms and rainy days, and can I say I’ve never appreciated aerodynamics more than when I was outside riding my bike with head on winds! It sure isn’t easy keeping up a good cadence when you’ve got wind and dust flying in your face at ridiculous speeds. When storms or wind managed to foil my plans of riding outside, I took to the gym and used the stationary bikes instead. Although not as much fun as cycling outside, I used the resistance settings to do some high intensity interval (HIIT) training, which is great for muscular and cardio endurance. Proper long distance outdoor rides didn’t occur as often as I had hoped this month, but I’m still happy that I managed to clock up just over 80kms on my Reid Vantage Endurance 1.0!
Although I didn’t manage to reach my goal of connecting the swim and cycle legs of triathlon training, I did string together a few cycle and run sessions at the gym, also known as ‘brick training’. I thought the use of the word brick was funny until I did my first ever triathlon, and then all of a sudden, when I dismounted my bike and almost collapsed as I tried to run my bike back to the transition area, I finally understood! My legs felt like I had bricks attached to my feet; heavy, slow and clumsy, yet at the same time they felt like they were made of jelly! A funny and not so pleasant sensation, but one that you can slowly become accustomed to if you train for it.
With Christmas just around the corner, this rookie triathlete is hoping Santa will bring her a triathlon suit and a cycling jersey so that she can stash Cliff Bars in her pockets to whip out and munch on mid ride!
- Total KM’s this month: 85km
- Total falls to date: 2
- Goal for next month: More consistent outdoor cycling and long distance rides!
Training Month 4 - 16th December to 15th January
Month four in the lead up to the Gatorade Triathlon Series in Melbourne and the festive season has come and gone. Like many, I too took part in the over indulgence, eating-everything-in-sight behaviour that usually accompanies Christmas. I also worked over the Christmas - New Year period (no public holiday gets in the way of nursing shift work!), and although this was less than ideal, it did allow me to maintain some sort of routine and regularity with my workouts and training.
This month I’ve tried really hard to focus on my swimming, which is probably my weakest leg and least trained aspect of the sport. I find it easier just throw on runners or my cycling kit than to gather up my swimming gear and drive to the pool (and have to deal with wet chlorine hair afterwards!), and so swimming has often taken the back bench when scheduling training into my week. Nonetheless, I’ve worked hard this month to get to the pool, and have loved taking advantage of the beautiful Summer sunshine keeping the day's lighter for longer.
I did a few long rides with friends around my hometown on the Mornington Peninsula, and enjoyed exploring the streets of where I used to live by bike. Uninterrupted long rides on wide open roads is tough to come by when living in the City, so when ever I’ve had the chance I’ve enjoyed taking my bike back home. I was ecstatic to receive my first ever cycling jersey for Christmas this month, and get very excited about all the things I can now carry with me on my ride (aka. SO MANY SNACKS!). It didn’t take me long to realise that nutrition is vital on long rides, as is hydration and taking advantage of toilet breaks! In my jersey pockets I usually take a banana, a Cliff Bar, and some dried fruit (mango is my fav!)...and of course some cash for a cheeky soy latte somewhere along the way!
It’s not long now until the big race and I’m feeling both nervous and excited! The lead up to this triathlon has been vastly different to my first ever triathlon, and I look forward to the challenge of beating my previous times. Last year, I had just graduated University, was an omnivore, hadn’t swam or rode a bike since my early teens, and had just two months to prepare. This year, I am a full time nurse, a Vegan, I cycle to and from work every day, and have had just under six months to get race ready. I’m still mostly the same girl, but living such a different lifestyle. The countdown is on!
- Total KM’s this month: 115km
- Total falls to date: 2
- Goal for next month: Race month! Beat my times from last year’s race!
Pre-Race Update - 2nd February
During my own personal research into Triathlon training, I’ve learnt that the final few days leading up to your big race is for tapering down (ie. Backing off the intense training so your body is energised not still recovering on race day). Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been cycling hundreds of kilometres and running and swimming hundreds of laps each week in the lead up to this race, but I have always pushed myself in training and often woken up with fatigued muscles the following days. Although I haven’t been able to train as much as I would have liked to in the lead up to this race, I have managed to consistently fit in a few swimming, cycling, running, and gym sessions each week, all tailored towards helping me improve my performance on race day.
This month has been focused around making sure I’ve got all the right equipment and gadgets for race day, pondering on what snacks to bring with me to quickly munch on in-between transitions, and figuring out logistics. This year my boyfriend has also entered the race, and although we won’t be competing in the same category, it’s fun to know that we’ll be in it together. It’s his first ever triathlon and he’s jumped on board like an absolute boss…we even bought each other colour coordinated triathlon elastic shoe laces last week! I’m picturing our future together as a triathlon smashing power couple who go on Sunday morning bike rides and stop for coffees and to admire the views, and who make each other yummy protein balls and snacks for mid-ride energy (couple goals?!).
I am very much a To Do list kind of person, so I’ve compiled a list of things to pack and bring on race day so that I don’t forget. Here’s what’s on my list:
- Bike, helmet, and cleat shoes (duh!)
- Race kit (note; I’ll be competing in shorts and a crop…no fancy race suit or wetsuit for me this year)
- Runners and socks
- Tri race shorts
- Swimming cap and bib/number (usually assigned to you by the race organiser)
- Cycling gloves and glasses - Optional, as they may become a hindrance in transition and slow me down
- Vaseline - A triathlete’s best friend! Pre-race, lather this in areas where you may get chafe from your clothing rubbing on your skin, including armpits, groin / thighs, shoulders, and under the breasts. It may not sound very glamorous, but it’s definitely necessary!
- A colourful towel - To hang on my bike for easy identification amidst a sea of bikes at the transition. Also to quickly dry off the feet and body post swim
- A Tupperware container big enough to fit my feet in - Fill this with water to rinse off sand from the beach and prevent blisters in the run!
- A permanent marker - To write my competitor number on my limbs as per race guidelines
- Nutrition – Something small and full of sugar and calories to give me a little extra boost…I think I’m going to pack some fresh medjool dates and leave them in a little container at the transition area
- Compression tights and something warm – For post-race recovery and relaxing
- Toilet paper – Because you never want to be caught unprepared!
- First aid – I always like to be prepared with Panadol, sports tape and band aids
- Drink bottle - For obvious reasons
- Sunscreen – Self explanatory
- Camera – For happy snaps!
Based on my experience last year, I’ve also devised a short list of tips and tricks I will be utilising to help me this year on race day:
- Get there early! There’s nothing worse than feeling stressed and rushed on race day
- Pack everything you need the night before and tick it off your list so you don’t forget anything
- Put your goggles around your neck! In the pre-race hustle and bustle, you don’t want to accidentally put your goggles down and forget to pick them back up again
- Don’t over complicate your breakfast. Go for something simple and that you know sits well in your stomach. Last year I had toast with jam and peanut butter
- Get your digestive system working before the race (if you know what I mean!). I’m going to put it out there… a nervous poo is a real thing and you don’t want this urge to hit you while you’re standing on the start line about to run into the water!
- Practice how you’re going to lay out your belongings. I like to lay mine out in order of how I’ll put them on in transition. I even go as far as having my socks rolled up so I can easily slip my toes in and pull them on!
- Elastic shoe laces are a great transition hack – You don’t want to be fiddling with shoe laces in the transition!
- Doggy paddle is actually a great way to stay oriented in the water and make sure you’re swimming in the right direction. Make sure you regularly lift your head up out of the water to spot where you’re supposed to be going!
- Pace yourself. Don’t get caught up in everyone else’s racing frenzy and use up all your energy and stamina at the start of each leg. Just focus on your own race and do what you know how to do.
- Put yourself in the appropriate start line position for the swim. If you’re a weaker swimmer, don’t stand front and centre as there’s a high chance you’ll get swam over and kicked and scratched when the rest of the pack catches up to you
- Swim wide around the buoys (I did doggy paddle around the buoys and went wide to avoid the congestion)
- Go hard in the transitions. Last year I went slow in the transitions with the idea to conserve energy, but in hindsight I could have definitely pushed harder and faster and shaved a few extra minutes off my overall race time!
HAVE FUN! Most importantly, fun should be the key outcome of your triathlon! Enjoy the race and how it makes you feel!