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Rookie In Training: An Introduction

  • By Jason Devaney
  • Published May 29, 2013
  • Updated May 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM UTC

Every Wednesday in “Rookie in Training,” beginner triathlete Jason Devaney will share training advice he learns as he trains for his first half Ironman.

I’ve been a cyclist since 2009, but only seriously since 2011.

Everyone knows how to run, but I didn’t call myself a runner until my mid-20s—and then I took a hiatus before hitting the pavement again five years ago.

Swimming? Ha! I taught myself how to swim the front crawl and struggled with it for a few years before finally getting some formal instruction in early 2013.

I have an aluminum road bike, a two-year-old Trek.

You see where I’m going with this? I’m just an average guy, trying to take triathlon more seriously.

Sure, I’d love to cut through the wind on a high-end tri bike worth more than my car and weighing less than my toaster. I’d look like a badass and I’d see a few more miles per hour on my bike computer.

But I’m not there yet. For now, I’m sticking with what I’ve got.

My upcoming race schedule has sprint and Olympic triathlons before the big one: a half-Ironman in August.

Ironman 70.3 Timberman is Aug. 18 in Gilford, N.H., and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling some anxiety. I’m not worried much about the bike portion. The run will be challenging, but 13.1 miles is nothing I haven’t done before.

But swimming 1.2 miles in a lake? Yikes.

And going at race pace for five, six hours straight? Oh boy.

I raced in two sprint triathlons in 2009 and both were open-water swims, but they were about a third of the distance as the half-iron swim. And I hardly took my training for those races seriously. This one is going to be a beast.

So I spend my days and weeks like a typical triathlete—with not much of a life outside of work and training. I try to squeeze three swims, three bike rides and three runs into each week, along with one or two sessions in the weight room and a date night with my fiancée—of course that falls after our Wednesday night brick workout at our local bike shop. The weight sessions have tapered off as I do more outdoor workouts now that the weather is turning nicer (goodbye, bike trainer!).

Weekends are filled with long rides with my triathlon club members, long runs, and open-water swims at a local quarry.

Sound familiar?

Non-triathletes would say that’s a crummy life. Me? I can’t get enough of it.

Every week, I’ll use this space to tell you what I’ve learned while training, share some of my tips on everything from nutrition and hydration to bike maintenance, and I’ll provide insights from coaches and my fellow athletes.

Are you new to triathlon? What’s your “A” race this season? I’d love to hear from you.

Fellow newbies: Let’s get through this journey together.

Jason Devaney is a freelance contributor to Triathlete.com, VeloNews.com and Competitor.com. A resident of Virginia, he spends way too much of his free time training. When he’s working, he’s typically dressed in either sweatpants or a cycling kit. Follow him on Twitter @jason_devaney1.

RELATED – Video: Open-Water Swimming Tips For Beginners

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FILED UNDER: Features / Getting Started / Training TAGS:

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