AM I ABLE TO BECOME A TRIATHLETE?
Who ever makes those crazy New Year´s resolutions that don´t last through January? Well, this could have been a short lived idea, when in December 2012 the resolution was to complete my first triathlon by the end of the coming year. Little did I know that this goal was about to transform my life. Now, after 3 years and a few races, i have just come from completing my first half Ironman and cannot think about staying away from my training routine and friends.
The resolution wasn`t completely out of the blue, it was something that had been building up for a while. I have always admired triathletes and often took my camera to events to snap random pics. But, I knew I had to take things slow, with 1.78m and 86kg, I was a little heavier then appropriate and strongly injury prone. Until then the farthest I had run was 10k, not an easy task and in a record mark of 56min – not the fastest I should say. Five km was something more achievable at the time. 😊
STABLISHING A ROUTINE 🌄
We are talking about January 2013, I knew I needed to stablish a training routine and the plan was to arrive midyear with the confidence to choose the race I would participate in by yearend. My basic routine targets where to RUN 3 times a week, 1 tempo session, 1 fartlek session and a long weekend session, and the mid-term goals were to reach 10k below 50min, shaving off 6min out of my record, and to be ready for my first Sao Silvestre, this would be my longest run to date, 16k. Sao Silvestre takes place every December 31, on the morning of the last day of the year. For the BIKE my routine target was to ride 3 to 4 times a week, small ring at the front and spin, spin, spin. I was lucky to be able to get an used bike from my brother. It was an aluminum 2005 Felt S32. Robson has a long history of triathlon training and has participated more than once in the Florianopolis Ironman, and has also raced in Pucon, Cozumel, Barcelona and in the X-Terra circuit all over Brazil. In the beginning he gave me a lot of advice and helped me choose what sort of thing I could trust out of Youtube. It may sound silly, but just thinking about having to wear those tight tri clothing in public was a strong driver for me to loose weight! of course, every extra pound lost along the way meant faster runs and rides (caveat: one should optimize power-to-weight, not simply try to loose weight).
THE BIKE 🚲
The bike came without pedals, so I jumped on eBay and found a nice deal on a Shimano shoes combo; cleats, pedals and everything. The idea of having my feet locked to those pedals was scary, but something I needed to get used to. While I waited for those to arrive, I fitted regular pedals from my mountain bike and the first time a hopped on the triathlon bike I went mad, it took me about 2 revolutions of the pedal to thrust me forward in a level of efficiency I had not experienced before in a bike. It felt sharp and fast. oh yeahh!!!
WHAT MOTIVATES LONG TERM? HOW TO MAINTAIN A ROUTINE? 🚶
So I had my long and mid term goals setout and a routine where the only rule was: `there is no excuse to miss out on any of the scheduled training sessions, even if tired, go out and jog or walk, use the time allotted for training – always`. I had some extra motivation, believe it or not, in the first months there was a motivational video that always got me hyped, I watched it every single night before going to bed, and every single morning, at 4:30am, when I opened my eyes (checkout the video below). I used to wake to the alarm, play the video, grab a coffee, put my gear on, and was out the door. This routine taught me an important lesson: there is a time to listen to your mind and there is a time to shut it down, do what needs to be done, no dwellings. Rising that early requires a lot of will if one is not used to, but it helps to build character and internal force, this always comes in handy, for example, in the middle of the run (after having swimmed and biked) in a race, when you start to believe that, it is too hot, legs feel heavy, I have not trained enough, it is the time to shut-down your mind and, like in a meditation state, pay attention to the motion of your feet, the cadence, the ground as it goes by – mechanical and efficient as training has forged your body. With time you discover that everything is a matter of getting the routine down, routine makes things natural.
This is me in early 2013, 12kg heavier than currently, getting familiar with the bike: