Thursday, April 29, 2010

apples and oranges

Every Spring, I go through the "apples and oranges" phase.

It has nothing to do with me.

I get very excited when people want to become triathletes.

However, I have a very short fuse when it comes to "expert runners" wanting to become triathletes.


Here's my story:

A friend of mine is an ultra-marathoner. He is super fast and regularly competes in 50 and 100 mile races. He recently told me that he would never think about attempting Ironman. "You guys are crazy", he said.

Likewise, I think he's crazy and I have no desire to run that far.

On the other hand, my friend and I both know a guy who runs Boston every year (for the past 10 years). No doubt the guy is a great runner.

So, can you tell me why this guy seems to think that with less than 4 months of training that he'll easily do Ironman?

With no swimming base.....

With no cycling base.....


Ironman is NOT a race that you can do with sheer determination. It's not like running a marathon where you hit the wall at 20 miles and think "it's just another 10k". You hit the wall in Ironman, and there are problems.

I started my athletic career as a runner. I never ever assumed that cycling would be easier or that swimming would be a piece o'cake.

Putting them together....I thought would be hell.

WHY DO so many runners think that doing a tri is so easy? Why do they assume that just because they are a runner that they can do less training or that they can "conquer" any distance triathlon in less than 6 months?

Doing the run portion of a tri after swimming and riding is very different than running.

But let's look at the numbers:

So you wanna do a sprint tri. Since there aren't any assigned distances for the sprint, I'll just use common distances. In a sprint, you'll cover roughly 18 miles. If you're a beginner, this race will take you longer than a 10k and possibly as long as a half marathon.

In an oly, you'll cover roughly 32 miles. Longer than a 50k, this race could take you as long as a 50k or as short as a slow half marathon.

In a half iron, it's 70.3 miles. Almost 3 times a marathon with a lot more pain & completely different nutritional needs.

Ironman....hmmmm, well any race that starts at 7am and ends at midnight should be taken seriously.

If you are a runner, respect triathletes.....just like we respect you and cyclists and swimmers and everyone else that has an incredibly athletic life.

Training for a triathlon (especially Ironman) is not taking a marathon plan and adding in swimming and cycling.

It's a completely different animal.

One is not better than the other.

By all means, go out and do a tri. Have fun! But don't tell me your first triathlon is going to be Ironman....oh, and that you are going to qualify on your first attempt. That's just ignorant and dangerous.

Apples and Oranges.