No formal training means…no formal training

Why do I say no “formal” training?  Formal training would probably take place months and sometimes years ahead of an ironman.  Formal training would involve swimming THEN biking, and THEN going for a run.  Formal training would include knowing somehow what a triathlon is all about.

Let me tell you what I did to “train” and you tell me if that qualifies as (formal) training.  First off, I only found out about the Ironman 3 weeks before the event.  I did not even know the Great Floridian triathlon existed before October 1st.  In that time frame, I swam 3 times.  Not 3 times a week, 3 times.  Each time I improved more and more thanks to a colleague of mine who was a competitive swimmer who gave me the most basic of help.  Our conversations sounded something like this:

Her: How was the swim yesterday?

Me: Well it was okay, I did 60 laps (up and back is 1) no stopping and no touching the walls.  Can I ask you some questions?

Her: Sure, by all means

Me: So when you swim,  are you supposed to pull back on the water using your shoulder muscles or back muscles?

Her: If your shoulder muscles are sore, it means your technique is poor

Me to myself (Well I’m not going for the nicest stroke here, bub): Oh really how so?

Her: You should be using your lats to pull back on the water once you extend your arm forward, not your shoulders.

Me: Ah I see.  How are you supposed to hold your hands? Do you cup them, or are you supposed to spread your fingers out?

Her: Cup them

Me: I see, and what about breathing.  Do you lift your whole head out of the water when you inhale?

Her: No, definitely not.  You should only just tilt your neck to the side, even just tilt your jaw.


You get the point.  Formal training would have included a swim coach and multiple sessions a week.

Lets move on to the bike.  Again, I do not own a bike.  Therefore, my biking experience is very limited.  Let me repeat, I DO NOT OWN A BIKE.  Having to spend 8 hours and 17 minutes in the saddle was not pleasant to say the least.  Formal training would have included riding a bike at some point for some distance over a mile.

And the run?  Playing  soccer ten hours a week is hardly “formal” training for running a marathon.  In fact, most of the games are on small fields where quick bursts of speed, agility, and explosiveness are skills more valuable than long term endurance.

And the marathon I ran in 2008.  I ran it having agreed to take someone’s place 9 days before the race.  “Serious marathon runner” give me a break.

I’m not saying that I am unfit.  I’ve always said I am in good shape from soccer but by no means am I a elite tri-athlete.  I am just your normal guy who was determined.  So determined that I would have drowned before calling for help in the swim, walked my bike if I had a flat, and passed out before calling it quits on the run.




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