I’m not a fast triathlete. I’ve never pretended to be. If you follow me on Strava, you can see that for yourself (note that most of my treadmill workouts don’t make it onto Strava, so my running mileage appears low). I’ve learned to be okay with this. I would like to be faster, and I would especially like to be faster on my bike, but I am where I am, and that’s okay. I joke that I like to get my money’s worth out of a course.
The downside to this? Training takes forever. Some of my mid-week workouts are done by time (mostly structured trainer rides), but most of my training is distance based. While I’ve not looked into a time-based triathlon training schedule, years ago when I looked at marathon training plans that were based on time, I wouldn’t have hit 20 miles as my longest run. (While I understand that there are questions about how much benefit comes from workouts exceeding a certain time, I can’t imagine going into a race and having to run two hours or more longer than I ever had before in my life.)
Now, my race is “only” a 70.3. So I’m not looking at marathon distances. But over the weekend, I realized just how much time I was spending working out and why I feel like I never have any free time on the weekends. For the past few weeks, a typical schedule has been a 60 mile ride on Saturday followed by a 2 mile run, and then a 12 mile run on Sunday.
Depending on my pace and where I’m riding, that Saturday ride itself is going to take 4:15-4:30, plus a break mid-ride to refill my water bottles. The two mile run, let’s say somewhere under 30 minutes. Given where I typically ride, it’s a 30 minute drive each way (this weekend’s ride will be an hour away). Plus there’s the loading and unloading. So we’re easily looking at 6 hours for the workout. Come home, unload, eat, shower, clean water bottles… it takes up a chunk of time.
Sunday tends to be easier. 12 miles is under 3 hours. So not as terrible. But I’ve still just spent around 9 hours of my weekend on workouts.
During the week, it’s 1-2 hours a day, with an occasional longer workout. Not too terrible.
I’m not complaining. I know plenty of people train much more than this. And in terms of other responsibilities on the weekends, I have very few. I have to feed the cats. Pretty critical. I need to keep up with my friendships, but if I’m not as social for the month or so leading up to a big race, that’s okay. But I don’t have kids who need attention or a spouse who feels abandoned while I’m gone. I don’t have roommates frustrated at my total lack of housework.
But if you’re a slower racer considering a 70.3, make sure you take a look at what you’re getting yourself into. I have zero regrets. Not a one. But I don’t know that I fully visualized what my weekends would look like. I definitely think that all the work has been worth it (I hope I’m still saying that come September 25), so I think that anyone interested should give it a shot, even if they’re a slower racer. Just know what you’re getting into, make sure your friends and family know what you’re getting into, and try not to think about the dust accumulating on your furniture. Because who wants to dust anyway?