IM thoughts

tri novice having IM thoughts

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12/01/2011 at 10:24

For my first IM, my longest bike was around 90-ish (in retrospect I should have put in more 80+ mile rides).  Some people like the reassurance of having completed a century ride, but if this is going to completely wipe you out for a few days then don't do it. 

My running topped out at a 3 hour max (3 off) which for me was about 18 miles.  Don't try and plug a marathon running schedule into an IM training plan, if you are aiming for a leisurely day you will not be running all 26.2 miles. 

Swimming- I topped out at 3k max, but I was a confident swimmer and was sure I could slap on the additional 800m.  For comfort reasons, some prefer to have already swam the distance pre-event.  You fuel pre and post swim, not during.

Some events will take your bike going into T2, some won't.  Some will strip your wetsuit, some won't.  Check on event by event basis.

12/01/2011 at 10:30

The Olympic OW swim race  is 10k  You dont get the chance to drink in an IM

Having your bike taken at T2 in can be great, Saves running up and down trying to find the right place to rack and having to sort out hanging it up... Much nicer just to hand it to a willing helper and get on with running

12/01/2011 at 10:32

training for IM is so different from a stand alone marathon and it takes a lot of juggling about to find the best routine. if you can separate the long runs from the long rides it does help recovery but sadly most end up doing "suicide weekends" which is a long run one day, the long ride the following (or whatever way around suits)

the longest run doesn't need to be a 20 miler for a beginner IM - you'll be doing a lot of walking to start with so perhaps train more for a run/walk strategy of an ultra and learn to "shamble" with tired legs. a good strategy is walk the aid station/run between (about 2k normally).

longest bike?? hmmm - good question - but certainly it needs to be in the 150-180k range (and preferably more than one) but I don't think you need the full distance unless you want the confidence from having done one. same for the swim - although probably more of a confidence boost doing that if it's the weaker discipline.

fueling in the swim?? errrm - no - no chance as there is nowhere to put or keep a drink - you're on a straight 3.8km swim with no breaks (or maybe short land section at the end of lap 1). so start fuelled up and then re-fuel in T1 if needed but most do so on the bike.

in some IM, they have bike rackers who take the bike from you as you enter T2. in others you rack your own bike - but it depends on where the kit is. if the kit is in bags you collect, then it's bike rackers; if it's next to the bike, you rack yourself. more IM now use bike rackers but some are still self racking (Switzerland for one)
The Evil Pixie    pirate
12/01/2011 at 18:47

Cheers guys this is helpful

Re going long do you do long bike and run each week or alternate?

I'm hoping to be in a job then (rather than uni!) and if possible I will bike to work (OK not long but helpful) I may be IT so possibly need a laptop but books hardly ever appear!

Swimming will be my weakest area. I am slow at all 3 but lots of swimming bores me and I am very slow, but long bike/runs and I wander into my own world so no worries! My OW is limited and I do have a tendency to stop breathing! Never a good thing. Ideally I will bike to the lake (19m) swim and bike home thereby getting a brick in too!

If I can lose some lard (which will help the biking a lot) and get fitter first then I should be OK

My main issue with mara training has been the guilt factor at not being at home but son will be 16 by then so probably won't miss me!

OK another blonde question.

The bike. I have a trek 1000 (was stump's) which is ickle (659 wheels)

It's got 21(?) gears. Its the top speed of a bike limited more by the rider? How much about bike's do I need to know (never even changed a wheel yet!)

Cheers again

BTW Yes I do like to gather information before doing anything! I started running in July 2002 (4th!) and had spent over 4 weeks researching training and how to start before I put my trainers on!

12/01/2011 at 19:43


The minimum you need to know about bike maintenance is how to change a tube.  However, the more you know the better you'll be at looking after your bike and that will make your bike more reliable and faster.

Your bike has a 7 speed cassette with a triple chainring.  That will give you a really good range of gears so don't worry about changing anything at the moment.  If your chain and cassette have a lot of miles on them you might want to get new ones but that's all you need to change.

Nicko. Hdau    pirate
12/01/2011 at 19:55

As Mr W says you may only need to change your cassette if its worn!

I would go for ZZ Top cos it's really good to keep a good beat too

The Evil Pixie    pirate
12/01/2011 at 20:09
if you guys keep this up I will find myself having the guts to go for this!
12/01/2011 at 20:45

re long rides v long runs....

According to various training programs, they all end up having a spine of the following 

  1. a long ride - build from 90 mins up to 6 hrs ish
  2. a long run - build from 40 mins up to 2 1/2 hrs
  3. a long swim - build from 1k to 3.8k

They take 4 - 6 months to build up - ie little increments each week....  You can see why this IM training lark eats up the hours

The rest of the sessions in the week are filler......

If you can do the above you should get around easilly.

As you are finding out from the posts above, you can do a lot less and still survive / have an enjoyable time of it  - it will just be less pretty / you will be walking a lot more of the marathon....

The Evil Pixie    pirate
12/01/2011 at 20:59

now that's really useful to see

How long do you taper? 2-3 weeks?

What about core/weights work? helpful? waste of time? for super stars only?

thanks guys

Trogs    pirate
12/01/2011 at 21:56

Re longest bike - my first IM I only did one 70+ ride and suffered big time on the bike.  Second one I did 4 or 5 70-80mile rides and cut about an hour off my bike time - on a hillier course.

Core/weights I find helpful but I know many don't bother or will include them in the base period then drop them during the latter stages of training.

The Evil Pixie    pirate
13/01/2011 at 19:56

thanks trogs now that is useful

are long bike rides like long runs and done at a casual pace with stops?

13/01/2011 at 20:01

Pirate Mentors 2011  There was a really good discussion in this thread about bike rides (and a bit on swims). Well worth a read IMO. 

The Evil Pixie    pirate
13/01/2011 at 20:10
ta muchley!
Trogs    pirate
13/01/2011 at 22:21

Most the long rides I did last time around were actually sportives (organised events with marked routes, support staions etc) and yes, I took them fairly steady mostly cos I only have two speeds on the bike, steady and uphill grind.

On other more ad hoc rides I've done there's usually a cake stop somewhere along the way; gotta keep energy levels up

Edited: 13/01/2011 at 22:22
14/01/2011 at 07:17
The coaches who wrote my training plan state emphatically that weight training/core work  is essential during the "build" phases. I feel better for doing them too.
The Evil Pixie    pirate
14/01/2011 at 14:58

i assume that home based weights and core is OK and that you wouldn't have to be in the gym ?

'cos I have no money!!

14/01/2011 at 17:14
core is good for any sport, weights aren't essential for tri but useful but no need to become a pump bunny. home or gym - up to you

long rides and long runs are done at whatever pace you want in the build phase but as soon as you get into the active phase then you don't stop for cake. simply, you don't stop in a race (unless needs must etc) so you need to develop the physical and mental stamina to cope with that. you also need to learn how to fuel on the bike (drink, gels, energy bars etc) ready for race day as you will be going through a lot of calories, and that's best done non-stop.

you mention money as well. IM is no cheap journey - it's going to coast a lot more than you think but there are ways of reducing this. there's a thread about this somewhere so go look for it or some kind person will bump it up I'm sure
Edited: 14/01/2011 at 17:15
The Evil Pixie    pirate
16/01/2011 at 11:08

thanks FB

Re money as a student my only income just now is my bursary

I do,however, have a road bike, plentiful supply of running kit and  wetsuit! If I lose the weight I want to then I may need a new wettie but I'm currentlt heavier than when I bought it!
So base training as such would be on the cheap, run and bike outside (or on the tt if I ever get that sorted and used to it)

Ideally I will get a job at a school with a pool that staff can use for free too!

iron fraggle    pirate
25/01/2011 at 14:42
fat buddha wrote (see)
hi Pix drag that bloody Fraggle along on your journey as well - she keeps threatening but never delivers..
 Oi - I have been damaged you know!!  If / when my nerve-damaged left leg lets me do enough training and not be injured , then yes I'll be back. I do intend to do a tri at some point thisyear - so onwards and upwards eh ?
25/01/2011 at 15:19
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