Hey there trifolks! I first started doing triathlons thirty years ago and over these three decades I’ve completed in hundreds of races. Triathlon training in the northwest can be particularly challenging due to our often cold, wet weather, but there are ways around mother nature, and I’ll review some of those here.
At fifty-nine, I keep saying, at the end of each completed season, “This will probably be my last”. But I just keep on showing up the following June and jumping in the water with the hordes of other folks. I’ve competed nearly every season over the thirty years except for two years ago when I broke my collar bone and four ribs in late May and I just could not get back up on the bike that summer (for the life of me I don’t know how those Tour de France guys are able to get on their bikes the day after they break something).
The reason for my longevity and durability in the sport of triathlon has been my love affair with the indoor gym. Partially, because the weather is so poor here in the Pacific Northwest, I began training indoors way back in 1985, while a grad student at the University of Washington. Back in those days the treadmills and bike trainers were incredibly primitive. I could never figure out how to stay balanced on rollers so I initially used those old front wheel bolt-ons with the little fans under the rear wheel. The management at the IMA (Intramural Activities) used to hate me because I’d burned out the bearings in those things about once a month. Additionally, the pools of sweat I always left under the bikes scared every else away from those machines. I am still leaving big pools of sweat on the floor around the bike trainers but the technologies of these indoor bikes have come so far that I’m no longer breaking the machines (at least not every month). In fact, nowadays, there are so many bike trainers with such varied designs and options, it seems no one has an excuse not to get some good training sessions indoors anymore.
In addition to the variety of bike trainers there are a plethora of other types of aerobic and anaerobic training machines available at the local club that provide us the opportunity to train our butts off and stay in shape no matter what the weather. This assortment of indoor training machines not only affords us an opportunity to avoid inclement weather training; after my collar bone break, you’ll never get me on a wet roadway again, but also many times you can train around an injury by using a machine that doesn’t aggravate the injured part. For example, in 1998, I had a terrible hip flexor problem which precluded me from running for nearly 3 months just before the Nike World Masters Championship down in Portland. I trained almost exclusively on an elliptical trainer up until the race and ended up placing 7th in my age group. I’m not claiming that I didn’t lose something in the run that day but I didn’t lose much.
I’d like to encourage any and all you aspiring triathletes out there to, get a gym membership and start becoming familiar with the cardio machines at your facility. In my upcoming articles I’ll discuss which machines to train on how to get started on each machine.
Bye now! Bruce