Why not TRI?

June 10, 2016

Natalie Nobbs

BS-Ex. Sc., FAFS

Personal Trainer

Hello! My name is Natalie Nobbs and I am an exercise physiologist with Pro-Motion Physical Therapy & Functional Fitness. At the beginning of this year, I received an email about a local sprint triathlon. Although I didn’t give it much thought initially, the same email resurfaced a few weeks later and I seriously began to consider doing the tri…

"Why not?! What a great goal to set for 2016, right?"

Well, as of May 2nd, I am officially registered for the Valley of the Sun Triathlon July 10th and have begun my 10-week long training for it.

My athletic career began back in my freshman year of high school. I played volleyball and ran track for Riverside Christian High School here in Yakima. I then continued to run track on scholarship for four years at Seattle Pacific University (SPU).

I am a sprinter and jumper by nature. I have run everything from the 400 meters and under, as well as relays and some hurdles. When I got to SPU I ended up specializing in the Long Jump and 400 meter Hurdles. Since college my running continued, though now my running looks more like 20-30 minute bouts (typically 2-3 miles). Let’s just say my fast-twitch, type-II muscle fibers don’t have as much desire to run long distances as those marathoners out there! I also regularly lead and participate in our high intensity circuit classes throughout the week here at Functional Fitness. I keep active by participating in hiking, biking, dancing or any other sport or activity involving movement!

This will be my first triathlon. My previous training involved a team atmosphere with a coach directing the workouts. Though I am a trainer, I must admit often times I find it hard to motivate myself to push harder… naturally, my competitive nature flourishes when others are around. Knowing this, I am excited to have the opportunity to compete in a whole new way!

The idea of mastering and accomplishing three different mediums of athletic performance is intimidating, yet I find a certain thrill in the thought of being able to say I met the challenge. Who knows, maybe I’ll become one of those triathlon addicts everyone keeps telling me about!

I am thrilled I get to share my triathlon training experience with you! Through this process my goal and my hope is to be able to offer advice for successful training, including tips on cross-training, proper rest and nutrition, equipment use, and self-motivation techniques. Though I hope to offer advice, I also welcome any advice anyone with more experience has to offer me. So, feel free to share with me and everyone else whatever wisdom you have!

Let’s do this thing!!!

For more information or questions please contact Functional Fitness at 509.452.4187.

So You Think You Want to Do a Triathlon…
Where do you even begin?
I know there were some questions I first had when I decided I was going to do the Valley of the Sun Sprint Triathlon. So I did some research and found some great beginning tips to help me on my way. I would love to share with you some advice I have been given, as well as some tips I have discovered for myself.

What is a triathlon?
A triathlon is a multiple-stage endurance race involving the completion of three continuous and sequential sport disciplines. Though many variations of this sport may exist, the most common form involves swimming, followed by cycling, followed by a culminating run. Athletes’ ultimate goal is to achieve the best overall time, which includes the transition times between the three components. The most well-know triathlon distances in the U.S. include the Sprint (0.47 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run), the Olympic (0.93 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6.2 mile run), the Half Iron (1.20 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.10 mile run), and the Full Iron (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).

How do I begin to train? What if I’m not very good at swimming, running, or biking?
The first thing I had to think about, and what I recommend you consider as well, is how well you could perform each individual sport at THIS VERY MOMENT if you were required to. Identifying the areas where you are strongest and weakest is, I believe, the first step needed for creating your individual training program. For me, considering I have run competitively for 8+ years, I am not too worried about the running portion. In terms of biking, I don’t find it too strenuous, but I am not accustomed to going on long rides that often. As for swimming, I know how to swim and I get to swim in the summers when we play in the lake and go boating, but to be honest, the thought of swimming nearly half a mile in one shot is a little daunting!

Once you have determined your strongest and weakest sport components, you can begin creating your training program. For experienced tri-athletes, they will usually hire a coach to create workouts tailored to them specifically. For the rest of us common folk, I suggest practicing the component you are weakest at more often than the one(s) you may be comfortable or good at. For me, I have adopted a 3x2x2 training program: In this program I swim 3 times a week and I bike and run 2 times a week. If you are someone who feels you are at an equal level in all three components, go ahead and practice each part at an equal ratio throughout the week. Perhaps you have time for a 3x3x3 training plan, then train equally in each component 3 times a week. Perhaps you don’t have as much time, then set up a 2x2x2 training plan.

How do I organize my training?
What is realistic for you? I suggest creating a schedule that is realistic and will allow you to train without adding extra stress to your life. I recommend you look at your week and begin planning your workouts around your existing schedule. For me, I will usually work from 8/9-ish AM till 5/6-ish PM Monday through Friday. I have organized my workouts around my schedule so that I swim before work three days a week, alternate running and biking after work and on the weekends, and then let myself rest two days. I have had to adjust my sleep schedule a bit, but other than that, this schedule seems to be working great so far! (Below, you can view a copy of my 10-week training schedule)

How long should I train for?
In answering this question I will pose a question in return... Do you have a regular exercise base established or are you going to be implementing the “couch-to-race” strategy? Your need for training preparation is going to vary depending on the level you are starting from. Personally, I am putting myself through a 10-week training program in preparation for this triathlon. Being a personal trainer and “ever-athlete”, I have an upper hand in that I get to work out every day as a part of my job description. Needless to say, I already have a great base established going into this. For those who may not exercise as regularly, I would recommend you adopt a longer training program, budgeting in time to establish a good cardiovascular base, and then begin getting into the meat of the training.

Finally, consider this: the longer and more involved the race, the more preparation is needed. I am only doing a Sprint Triathlon, plus I have a great cardiovascular base, thus I don’t feel the need to train for more than 3 months. However, if I were training for an Olympic or a Half Iron, I would definitely consider training for much longer than 4 months in preparation!

If you have other training preparation questions or feel you would like help in creating your training program, I would love to help you any way I can! Feel free to email me nnobbs.pmff@gmail.com and I will look forward to getting to help you and know you more :)

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." – Aristotle

"Practice is the effort that makes winning possible" - Unknown

"There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory." - Unknown

View my training here

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Functional Fitness has a very supportive and knowledgeable staff. One of the reasons I feel... comfortable at and enjoy Functional Fitness gym is the wide...read more
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