Monday, May 19, 2008

Fundas for newbies

So, you want to tri? Trinewbies has a good article..

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It's all mental, baby

What one quickly realizes in doing a tri is that it's really more about your mental rather than physical state of being. Few people will dare to believe that they can a multisport like this, even though in reality they are physically able to do it. It's really about believing what you can do.

When the mind is focused, the body has no choice but to perform. However when the mind is not willing, the body gladly gives in/up.

I noticed this in my training last season. In water, the minute fear arose in my mind, my breathing became rapid and irregular and I struggled in the water (inspite of being able to swim decently). On land, the minute the thought arose in my mind that I was tired, my legs felt less strong. One of the biggest challenges of a training program is the sheer discipline of keeping to it.

So when you have kept to a self-made promise, you should pat yourself on back and encourage yourself further. I told myself I would do a 2-mile walk on Saturday, and I kept to it. And it felt good! :)

Here are a few things I'd like to share about mental preparation:

1. A key thing I learnt is how to keep the mind occupied during a triathlon so that I can allow my body to perform to the best of its capacity.

(a) To overcome my fear of open water, I kept my focus on the pattern of strokes and fixed my gaze ahead, near the surface of the water rather than look below into the seemingly unending depth of the lake. This kept my thoughts from wandering into what lies beneath..

(b) During my training with Rogue last year, I was encouraged to create a bike mantra. It could be super simple ("Go, girl, go girl go, go, go!"), but it should be something repetitive that one can focus on, so that we don't spend time expending mental energy on negative thoughts ("This whole tri thing was a super bad idea", "The ride is too hilly, I don't have energy to do this" etc.) It's also great to start with the mantra early in training so that we build on it as an anchor to get us through the tough times.

2. It is also about doing the training step-by-step, and taking one workout at a time. I don't try to think of how I'm going to be able to complete 11miles on bike, I just do the training workout for the week of 3 miles or whatever is the mileage for that week, and trust that I'll eventually get to the target distance.

3. Having race goals really help. My goal last year was to finish the tri.. and then it changed as I got more enthusiastic & ambitious! :) Regardless, it's helpful to have a goal so that it keeps you in check about where you're currently at with training.

4. Visualization - imagine yourself completing the challenging distance/activity effortlessly. As you think, the body will respond accordingly.

5. Tied to (3) & (4) is having a visual symbol of your goal. My coaches last year encouraged us to do a collage of what we hoped would be the outcome of our triathlon experience. I had a lot of fun making the collage, and would look at it often to remind myself of my goal.

We are what we believe! :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

1st workout 1st week

Ok this is not exactly something to be gaga about but I did a 30 minute run on town lake yesterday and it felt absolutely fantastic. Two weeks back when I was on town lake I had had a very tough time completing the 3 mile loop - I mostly walked.
The thing is not only am I down on endurance, my foot still hurts and it's tricky to keep it down - gym workouts, some foot drills help sometimes. So yesterday it was hurting again and I was afraid of making it worse. I decided to keep an easy pace and chose the flatter part of the trail to run on. That helped me run (not walk) all the time and the foot also felt much better afterwards. It felt great to do my longest run in months :-P

Next goal: A 30 minute swim workout this week!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two Kinds of Riders . . .

Hello girls!!!!

I am so so excited to be doing this with all of you!! I'm not a complete newbie to the Tri-world...but I still have lots and lots to learn and who better to do this all than with a bunch of similarly-motivated girls!! :) I trained last season with Rogue's Iron Chicks! It's a great program by the way and you should definitely consider doing it sometime if you haven't already before! It's a little too late right now to join but I think their Iron Chicks 2 might be coming up later in the summer - this is the training program that Sha went through last season as well!! I was bummed out earlier this year because I couldn't join Iron Chicks again this year due of my totally unpredictable work schedule - I would have had to keep skipping sessions which would have sucked - BUT this is equally good - and maybe even better!!

A couple of you girls have been expressing concerns over biking and falling off the bike - and this reminded me of something my Iron Chicks Coach Michael told us during the program last year! His first ever mentor had passed on this wisdom to him and now....I pass it on to you girls!!

"There are 2 kinds of bike riders - those who have fallen and those who will."

This might not be the most comforting thing for you girls to hear - but it is kind of the truth!! (Ask Sha - she has tales to tell!! :) ) I have personally fallen a few times as well - it's not fun (sometims funny though - for your riding companions! :) ) but it's not that big of a deal either...remember how as kids you would just run around like mad, fall, get hurt, cry for a bit, and then get up and start running all over again just cos it's too darn fun?? That's exactly how falling off the bike would be during your Tri training!! You might fall..but you will laugh it off and move on...Cos overall - the whole training experience is just too darn fun - for something like falling off a bike to ruin it!!

So......fear not...and always remember, there are 9 other girls in this group that you can turn to for anything at all!! :)

Happy Swimming!! Happy Biking!! Happy Running!!


Pooja's Tips for Initial Training

1. Those planning to run at Townlake this Saturday pls. be aware that
there will be a March for Babies (March of Dimes) happening at the same
time. It's a fun run/walk and I will be there. So come on out!!

2. Swimming is my strongest sport and can help anyone with
techniques/drills during group practice.

3. I purchased my bike off of craig'slist. Re-iterating Cha, a very imp
piece of advice, make sure you buy a bike from someone who is preferably
the same height as you. Bikes are not one size fit all so pls. pay
careful attention to what size bike would fit your frame. You can go to
a bike store and get fitted for a bike to know your size.

4. I have a beginner's 8 week tri training program that I used almost 2
years ago for my first Tri. I can share that with everyone if you like.

5. For week 1, I suggest getting atleast 2 25-min workout's. If you
haven't been working out, run/walk would be the best way to start
training your heart and build endurance. If you are comfortable with
your fitness level, get one workout of your weakest sport and one
workout of your strongest.

Cha's tips for training in May

From Charanya's email:

What I would encourage doing for the month of May:

1. Get short runs in whenever you can: 1-2 miles. Our end goal is 2

2. For those who know how to swim - find a pool and start swimming ~
anything will be good. Our end goal is 300m, but we want to start just
getting back into the pool first!

3. For those who have bikes - try to get some bike time in on your own.
Our end goal is 12 miles.

4. For those who DON'T have bikes, if you have access to a gym, get on
that spin bike and start getting used to how it feels, and start
building some endurance. Meanwhile, you will need to start bike-hunting.
The group can probably help each other out for this. I would suggest
either borrowing from someone OR start looking on craigslist/bike stores
for good deals depending on if you want a used or a new bike. For those
who are clueless, it might be good to just walk into a bike store and
try to find out what size you should be looking out for! We could
probably go together as a group to do this for those who need help!

Which of you girls fall into this category? I am personally going to be
buying a new bike, and loaning mine to G3, so if anyone wants to go
bike-hunting with me, let me know! I won't be going till June though
after I get back from vacation!

5. For those who DON'T know how to swim too well, this is the tricky
one! I'm not knowledgeable about swimming enough to "train" or "correct"
someone, but I can accompany for swim sessions if needed. Any of the
other gals who have TRI-ed before have any suggestions??

In June, we can probably start meeting as a group to go for runs
together, bike rides together, do brick sessions (bike+run after) etc.
In May, we can probably buddy up with each other as needed.

How I came to do a Tri...

I was training for the AT&T marathon in 2006 when one of the long runs in december left me injured and in pain. From being right on track to do my first 26.2 miles I went to almost hobbling to finish the half marathon. After some good-for-nothing physical therapy sessions, I thought of "thinking" about triathlons as a means of taking the focus away from running.

Swimming was and is the scariest part of the triathlon for me. So I promptly signed up for Rogue's Swimming 101 (on the first day of which, we were supposed to do 4 lengths of free style as warm up. Why is it called 101 anyway? huh.) Anyway, after the first few hiccups I totally enjoyed the class and (somewhat) practiced swimming for the rest of the summer. Sha's blog kept me a little excited about tri-s but it still seemed like a scary thought to do the swim AND the bike AND the run myself. Thereafter, I conveniently forgot about triathlons or any other sport for that matter.

Fast forward to last weekend - Sha, I, AshG are in a hotel room in Dallas and Sha starts telling me about tri-training for this season. Totally taking advantage of my sleepy state she urges me to sign up for Rogue's women Tri 2008. I show my enthusiasm and try to avoid any committment at the same time, but she presses on and keeps pressing for TWO DAYS! I resist. After all, my plan was to strengthen my swimming, get comfortable with a bike and then think about triathlons. But aint no mountain high enough for someone like Sha. She finds me a perfect partner in Savi and I am on my way to my first relay triathlon.

Yuuhuu! I am totally excited to do the swim and the run. I just hope the excitement shows in my training too. 300m swim in open waters is very challenging for someone like me, who is still scared of depths and even gets panicky in the pool water for no reason. But I am looking forward :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

10 tri-bies, 1 mission: The Rogue Women's Tri

A Big Welcome to all tri-gals! I'm really excited we've started this group!

It started out with Cha & I discussing how cool it would be to do a tri together. Last season, we tri-ed separately - after the Rookie Tri in 2006, she did Danskin (her first sprint distance Tri) & Couples' Triathlon and I did Rogue Women's Tri (my first tri EVER), Dilloman & Longhorn Triathlon. It was an amazing experience for me, and I was almost evangelical in recommending tri-ing. I couldn't wait for Season 2!

This season, we promised each other to pick a tri together. We each thought we'd bring in a new person to tri, and before long, we became a group of 10 women! The enthusiasm was infectious! :)

I'm really looking forward to training in a group, being amidst friends. I went thru some tough experiences & equally rewarding ones last season with the help of my tri-buddy, Steph, and with encouragement from Cha.

Training in this new group is going to be uber cool because of the variety of people who are part of it. My goal is to simply have fun at the Tri and hopefully, better my time from last season.

My back injury concerns me though. It has put me out since February, and I still haven't been able to train on the bike. My short-term goal is to focus on recovery. I'll focus on swimming & running this month.