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Hello from a newbie (plus advice required please)
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Bexleyheath Runner
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:16 am    Post subject: Hello from a newbie (plus advice required please) Reply with quote

Hello from a new poster Wink Wink
I have never completed a Triathlon but as you can probably guess I have aspirations to do so. I would say I am averagely fit, I completed the Vienna Marathon in May (my first - boy was it hot !) and am currently base building for the Paris Marathon next April (time target 4: 15 to 4:30).
I strength train down the gym twice a week to increase muscle endurance and have a bit of a splash (that describes my swimming stroke) once a week as well.
My plan next year apart from Paris (and hopefully New York) is to run a couple of Triathlons. I have a number of questions I hope some of you good people could possibly help with. I have ordered off Amazon a load of books on the subject but thought it would help even more if I posted here.

1) I am far from being fast (running or swimming) so would rather try the more endurance type Tri first, as I am a newbie I assume this would be the Olympic? Does this make sense or would it be wise to try a Sprint first. If I did I'm sure I would be last Wink
2) I love buying gadgets for my respective hobbies so will not tell my Bank Manager about this but I will need a bike. My budget is 1.5k to 2k (for everything), I am 6ft 2 and weigh 13.5 stone, could you recommend a good bike / tri shop in SE London (or Central)? Could you recommend a good bike ?
3) My swimming stroke (front crawl) is terrible, my legs just dangle behind as I hawl myself up the pool (very slowly), lessons are the way to go me thinks? Any advice for a newbie, how often do you swim per week? I can swim 1.5 k breaststroke easily but only a couple of lengths front crawl so I know what I need to improve.
4) As I am training for the Paris Marathon my time for additional training is limited, (don't know how you Ironman trainers do it Wink, would it make sense to just include a long ride per week and an additional swimming session a week until after Paris and then ramp up? Would I have enough time after April to compete in the summer or should I try and put in the hours now.?

Thanks in advance for any assistance, it is appreciated (apologies if the questions are obvious)
cheers
Simon
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Simon_B




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 38
Location: Bexleyheath !

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Simon...

Good to have you here on the forum, I'm sure some of our 'experts' will be able to give you some good advice about starting out. I'm also new to Tri and am looking to do my first next year, though I'm thinking that I want to try a novice first, just so I can get used to the way triathlon operates and the transition stages. It's not the distances or placement I am worried about, more to do with making myself look stupid, so a novice or sprint would suit me better.
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Andy_S




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Simon,

There are lots of people new to triathlon here (me included) and we're all helping each other along, gaining inspiration off each other. Olympic for a first event is fine, I'm doing London as my first event but obviously you need to be confident in the other two events to get through. They say, running helps with your cycle performance so maybe you'll take to cycling nice and easy. My freind at work who's a runner (for Blackheath) can cycle very fast and he doesn't really train for it, just rides on a Sunday. He's still way faster than me and I cycle three times a week, very annoying.

Bike is all about getting one that fits and not really about a specific model. Triathlon bikes are set up differently from road bikes in an attempt to use a different muscle set from running, to save them for the run. This is where a good bike shop is very useful as they'll be able to measure you up and suggest bikes that'll suit you. I don't know of any in SE London but there's a good one in Tunbridge Wells, Wildside. (I'm in Bromley, by the way). Your price range will get you a really good bike, remember to get a helmet while you're there. Ask them to throw it in for nothing! If you're doing an open water event you'll need a wet suit too, Wildside sell them as well, between 200-300 quid.

Swimming is all about technique. Once you're sorted out how to use your arms correctly the speed will come along. So, lessons are very useful. Because it's technical, swimming can take a long time to learn. It's taken me about 5 months so far and I'm only just feeling confident in the water.

Average fitness - marathon runner! What does that make me! Very Happy
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dr dre




Joined: 03 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Simon and welcome, I will answer as best i can


1) I am far from being fast (running or swimming) so would rather try the more endurance type Tri first, as I am a newbie I assume this would be the Olympic? Does this make sense or would it be wise to try a Sprint first. If I did I'm sure I would be last

I come from a couch potatoe background so found even a sprint event an endurance event. There are varied lengths sprint around so maybe a longer one could be a first event for you ? I think a sprint first may also help as it gives you a feel of what to expect with Transitions and the feeling of going from swim to bike to run ( bike to run being the worst )
You could even borrow a bike and do one to see if you liked it first before spending lots of cash/ time ( don't know many people who have only done one and decided its not for them - kind of addictive!! ) Don't worry about being fast, its about finishing to start with. (not being last is nice )


2) I love buying gadgets for my respective hobbies so will not tell my Bank Manager about this but I will need a bike. My budget is 1.5k to 2k (for everything), I am 6ft 2 and weigh 13.5 stone, could you recommend a good bike / tri shop in SE London (or Central)? Could you recommend a good bike ?

Tri is great for buying stuff ( see thread on how much have you spent ) the cost of the bike is not the only cost you need to budget for. You'll need a bike off course, helmet (no helmet no race) other items to consider later on are bike shoes/pedals/aerobars. ( plus other stuff, kit to do the event in, wetsuit if your gonna do an Oly distance as it will be open water, goggles, trainers etc etc ) anyway Bike , a good bet is to look for a 2003 model as the 04 ones are coming out now. This means there is discount to be had and you can get a better bike. A good bike shop can measure you up as getting the right bike sized is very important. Can't comment on London Shops - anyone ??



3) My swimming stroke (front crawl) is terrible, my legs just dangle behind as I hawl myself up the pool (very slowly), lessons are the way to go me thinks? Any advice for a newbie, how often do you swim per week? I can swim 1.5 k breaststroke easily but only a couple of lengths front crawl so I know what I need to improve.

You can swim breaststroke in a tri, lots of people do. However crawl is faster and much nicer. You are in exactly the same swim state as i was when i started training for tri's in March this year. Give it time it will come. Now would be a good time to get some swim coaching as you won't have to unlearn any bad habbits you may develop from self teaching ( like I have to ) I try to swim twice a week, one a long crawl swim and one a technique session where you break down the different aspects of the stroke and concentrate on them.


4) As I am training for the Paris Marathon my time for additional training is limited, (don't know how you Ironman trainers do it , would it make sense to just include a long ride per week and an additional swimming session a week until after Paris and then ramp up? Would I have enough time after April to compete in the summer or should I try and put in the hours now.?

limited exp to answer this but a long bike certainly won't hurt, one day try a long bike then a run straight after ( dont go to far on the run 2-3k ) the feeling in the legs is very special, this may also convince you to do a sprint first!!

hope that helps


dre
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Robert




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy - Bromley?? I knew you were near but we're practically neighbours! I live on top of the hill near the Bromley Court Hotel - we may have crossed paths on the bike, if you'er a Sunday morning rider!

Oh, sorry - welcome Simon! Good to have another southerner on board. It's all brummie this and brummie that.... Wink
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dr dre




Joined: 03 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shandy shandy shandy
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old 146




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

G'day, il throw my 2 cents in..
Paris marathon is awesome, completely different atmosphere from london - much better scenery!

1. some people start with the ironman..and work down!
personally I'd do some sprints then an olympic before anything else, but as a novice theres nothing stopping you doing the full olympic - it wont feel half as hard as a 4hour marathon, providing u pace urself ok.

2. Trek is the way! they make very good value bikes, with excellent quality frames...for 2000, you could get a carbon one with Ultegra (if that means nothing - its just like lances and has top notch pro level gears).
However, like someone else said, u need to buy helmet, shoes, winter gear (is it getting cold yet guys? Wink so I would do what I have for the last 2 years - by a decent 2nd hand bike of www.triathletes-uk.org/forsale or through your local bike shop..
I would definately get a road bike for the moment...local bike shops - sigma sport in Kingston is awesome, probably best for triathlon and road in the country, they know there stuff! Closer to home might be triandrun? They both have websites.

3. Lessons are the way and the only way...you can read all the books and magazines in the world, but you unless u video yourself u make silly mistakes without realising it. Have a look on the triathletes-uk site or the british triathlon site for a club near you, and join asap - its the simplest way to learn.
If your keen enough, go on a proper swim course - Robin Brew runs superb courses with his dad Archie, who is probably the best stroke techy in the UK - I think they run from Guildford and Bath Uni now?
Clubs will normally swim 2-3k in a session, and if you can do 2 of these a week, then you will improve rapidly, however 9-12k a week is something to aim at if you want to get competitive - to swim fast u need techniqe and then lots of quality miles - i swim 35k..but thats coz iv got a lot to learn!

4. If you can, join a tri club and swim with them from tommorrow onwards! If you do 2 swim sessions a week it will pay dividends come the summer..and you can use it as a recovery from your marathon running mileage.
For now 1 long bike ride - 2hours or so would be good, if you get more time, then do another shorter, but harder pace set.
Put in the hours now, and compete in april - the marathon training will give you an excellent base for the tri season..

hope this rambling helps..
Sam
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Daz




Joined: 15 May 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright Simon!

great thing about tri (i think Confused ) is that there is always something new to learn about the sport, and in many cases there is never a right or wrong way to do something - many conflicts of opinion on training, gear, racing, etc.

1 - agree with the dre, every tri distance is an endurance event. a short sprint/novice event will still take you from 50mins to complete. Not as tiring as just running flat out for 50mins but you'll be using a lot more muscles and will have a good general fatigue at the end of the race.
If you want to be any good though I reckon you need to throw in a fair amount of anaerobic work. You can see that quite a few of the more muscular types of triathlete compete with the best because weight isn't such an issue as it is in say a long distance running race.

2 - a few of the better shops would be :
- condor bikes (grays end road, central london)
- cycle surgery (nr liverpool st station, central lon)
- triandrun (hainault, essex)
- sigma sport (off kingston bridge)

the last two are the specialist tri storesand will know exactly what you need. triandrun offer a beginners pack that includes a reasonable bike, helmet and i think a wetsuit (not sure). If you are confident to buy a bike second hand then take a look on the tri's website (classifides): http://www.triathletes-uk.org/forsale.html

3 - agree might be worth taking a few lessons to find out where you are going wrong. there are total immersion workshops that heard are very useful. cheaper alternative would be to check at local pool for group improvers swimming classes. or if you have any friends who are v good at swimming maybe they can help. also check out the robin brew seminar at the tri exhibition in sandown park in feb.
in meantime maybe just try and do the odd couple of lengths in between breaststroke so you dont tire yourself out. concentrate on keeping your head down in the water (water should hit on or just above the forehead) and breathe to the side in trough the water makes in front ofthe armpit. also could try using a pull-buoy to get the rest of the body used to the more horizontal/streamlined position.

4- a few of us here also go for a spring marathon. its great way to force yourself to get out and get plenty of running in during winter, when the weather puts you off! Sad If you continue to do a long run, intervals and medium distance every week no matter what then you can fit swimming and cycling around it. Very Happy
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Chris




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what this northern obsession with shandy is. The only person I know who drinks shandy is from Sutton Coldfield. I asked him about it and he told me that everyone in the south drinks shandy. I had no idea what he was talking about. He drinks lots of shandy.

Anyway, I digress.

It seems the budget for buying gear is pretty good, although it will soon get eaten if you are starting from scratch. In London there are a few good bike shops. The best is Sigma Sport in Kingston (ok, not really London) http://www.sigmasport.co.uk. They have everything, although they tend towards the top end of the range. They have a tri beginners gear offer also.

Other than that, there are a number of Evans Cycles dotted around - the one in The Cut, near Waterloo station has a good range, and often has some good deals on previsous years models.

There is also the Cycle Surgery dotted around London. The one in Spitlefields is growing into a decent bike/run shop. They have a good range of bikes, and a growing tri section. http://www.cyclesurgery.com
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Chris




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I see Daz beat me once again...
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Daz




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris, i think swift-sam beat both if us...he lives up to his name Cool
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Simon_B




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One... I never drink shandy... it does seem to be a Northern obsession. Created by the same people who think their tough by not wearing a coat in the freezing cold... My advice, try it in December in Norway...

Two... I'm beggining to believe that Darryl is on commission for that Sandown Park gig... Wink
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Daz




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris, you up for the thames turbo series next year? im going to try and get down for 3 of them next time, just hope i dont get dq'd in one again Evil or Very Mad
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Daz




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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing chief if i was you wouldn't be able to see anything BUT sandown threads from me on this forum
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Bexleyheath Runner
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW !!!!!!! What can I say, in such a short space of time I have got some great relies, thanks alot I do appreciate you taking the time out to reply, I will print them all off and digest thoroughly (ie not at work).
Looks like I've got some serious research and spending to do.
With regards to Sprint vs Olympic, I think it may have to be a Sprint first. Being totally new to this I probably don't think how hard a Sprint will be, (oh the joy of innocence !!) separately it looks fine but I'd probably get off my bike and then hobble the 5k required. lol ! But like my marathon training the end game for me is to finish, not too fussed about time. (as I said I am slow slow slow).
So I think the game plan is to get the swimming lessons booked so I can swim more than 2 lengths front crawl, and get a bike for hopefully a weekly long ride. The thing I find most appealing is that it is so varied, I enjoy my running but combining it with the 2 other parts is most appealing.
No doubt I'll be posting on here with more questions, I look forward to your replies. In the interim I'm waiting for Postman Pat to deliver my bundle of books and a visit to Tunbridge Wells seems in order to look at the bikes. Though I know I won't be able to leave the shop without getting one.
thanks again
cheers
Simon
PS: Good to see a couple of people here from Bromley, Wink small world
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