Once a triathlete, always…?

Gonna let the bike see a little more light of day

Many moons ago I got started in endurance racing via triathlon. I was into it–I did everything from sprints to half Ironmans (that’s what we called 70.3 back then) to an Ironman.

But then I started liking running more than triathlon and kind of drifted away. It’s been five years now since I’ve done one. I still keep swimming in my life and dabble in a bit of cycling here and there, too. Sometimes I ask myself why–the laws of specicifity dictate that to get better at running, I should just run. But I do enjoy the other two sports, even if in just small doses. And I think my body is happier with a little variety as well.

Last week when I took my downtime from running, I threw in some rides and more swimming. It kind of whet my appetite for putting a little bit of triathlon back in my life. Not 70.3s, definitely not another IM, and not even Olympic distance. But a sprint? I think I am adding one to the early Fall agenda.

I think this will actually work out perfectly with my running plans for the summer. I don’t have a marathon until Dec. 2, so my thinking was to spend the summer concentrating on shorter miles and more speed. With an early September sprint tri, that should work out just perfectly. I’ll still probably be skewed a bit heavily toward running miles compared to traditional triathlon training, but I really don’t want to change that because it’s still my biggest love. But I’m looking forward to shaking things up a bit and revisiting my “roots.”

Who else moves back and forth between triathlons and run training? Do you find you still emphasize the running even when you should be focusing more on cycling and swimming? 


Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge


  1. Susan says

    i had been a runner for 10 years before i tried tri (on my 50th birthday). it was completely difficult for me to pull back the training focus to include all three things..not just running, i truly fought this mentally. i will do 3 olys this summer, most positive that i am beyond the point of attempting a half. :( checking the calendar, i am 54.

    my body could not handle daily running anymore so i am glad to have triathlon to keep me moving, although i always always pick a run-centered training plan! why?? i fight the belief that if i run 30 strong miles a week, i can swim and ride in a race without the proper swim and bike training. old habits are hard to break 😉 whenever i am in a race, there’s still a mental struggle with the swim and bike but when i hit my feet, it feels like home!

    with your background and talent, if you set a sprint tri for late summer as your race, you are going to kick it sky high! good luck with your recovery and return to triathlon. i love the life!

  2. says

    Always fun to rediscovered an old friend :)

    Just this year, really, I split my time between run training and adventure racing training, and definitely emphasized running too much. Last year I started to find more of a balance and this year I don’t intend to do any running-only races (though we’ll see once fall marathon season rolls around…). Working on finding the right balance…
    Abby @ Have Dental Floss, WIll Travel recently posted..The Longest of DaysMy Profile

  3. says

    Fun! I would LOVE to do more tri’s but my calendar and checkbook don’t allow for it right now.
    There’s a fun women’s tri in Middletown in September the Frederick YMCA puts on. I did it last year and plan to again.
    Good luck and enjoy!
    Tracy recently posted..Winding downMy Profile

  4. Katie says

    I love it! I’m adding one in August too! I haven’t done one since last year and only did one tiny one then. Probably been 3 years since I seriously did them. Yea.
    Katie recently posted..Time to Get PlanningMy Profile

  5. says

    I’m an ultra runner right to the bone but I did some triathlons in the late 1990’s. I’m a good swimmer but I’m not so keen on biking. I have some serious ultra goals to achieve still and don’t think about triathlons much. My wife on the other hand has this dream/goal of us doing an Iron Man one day… I’m not thinking about that yet…maybe after Badwater…
    Johann recently posted..Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

  6. says

    I’ve only done one Tri and kind of loved it. I love running and swimming. Biking…eh but I think that has more to do with my fear biking through the streets of NYC. I find it hard to balance sometimes because running is so easy to do – just lace up and head out the door for the most part whereas with swimming, I have to coordinate my schedule more with lap swim times, etc. I’m excited for you though!!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Foodie Pen Pal!!My Profile

  7. says

    I’ve never done a tri and am not really interested (largely because of dealing with the expense of a bike and bike gear), but I do think cross-training tri-style is good for me, too. I wish I liked swimming more–I know it’s a really healthy activity–but I just don’t–the whole water in the ear thing–shudder–big wimp about that. I do like kickboarding sometimes, though.
    Terzah recently posted..PilatesMy Profile

  8. says

    This is so ME and I can relate to this in many ways. I did my first tri two years ago and I would only do 2 long sprints a year. 800 swim, 20 mile bike and 4.1 mile run. It was local and it was fun, kinda relieved me from just running. I realized soon though that tri training was easier on my body. It’s more hectic on my schedule but my body loves getting off the regular pavement pounding that we always did. Plus, thanks to you (really) I’ve looked into swim races now! I’m not fast but I wouldn’t let that stop me :)

    I think after 70.3 in 5 weeks I’m gonna love taking a break and getting back to civilian life. It’s such a huge training endeavor. I’ve loved it but I have three kids that need me home a little more. I ask myself all the time which of the three I love most and oddly enough it’s the swim. I’m most afraid of the swim and I’m the worst at it but sometimes I feel like it’s my calling.
    Coy recently posted..If you don’t know me by now….My Profile

  9. says

    I used to do some triathlons (I guess they’d be called “sprint” ones these days) back in the mid 80’s before triathloning was the big “it” thing it has turned into today. I’d love to do an Ironman for my 50th birthday. Um….that’d be next year. Yikes!
    Jill recently posted..Action Packed Mountain WeekendMy Profile

  10. says

    From what I have noticed, is that when people start in triathlon, they are in the sport 2-4 seasons and then eventually drift away from the sport and focus on what there true strength is, in your case, running. I personally think that people over train their strength to make up for their limiter, I am a perfect example, Biking is my strength, so I bike 5-7 days a week, running is my limiter and I run 2-3 a week, I rely on my strengths to offset my limiter. Is it smart, probably not, but it works for me and my situation.
    BDD recently posted..Tri for Joe Aquabike Race ReportMy Profile

  11. says

    I am a one trick pony – running is it! I do my cross/strength training, but I just can’t make myself like the bike no matter how hard I try, and with no indoor pool here and our weather, swimming regularly isn’t much of an option. I love to watch the tri’s though and have lots of friends who love them (and a husband, who can just manage the swim with very little practice!)

    I love that you are doing one this fall!!
    Erin Henderson recently posted..Questions and answersMy Profile

  12. says

    Hope your Lasik went well. I’m a runner only because I can’t imagine training for 3 events instead of just one. I can’t get out to do the training and can’t squeeze it in. Plus I’m not a great swimmer. I love to watch my friends do the triathlons (mostly sprints) they are a great spectator sport! Lots of fun and I live through them. I think it’s a great idea and the variety will probably benefit you in your running.
    Robin recently posted..Half Marathon…great distanceMy Profile

  13. says

    As you know, I went strictly runner this winter and what I found out is that my body is much happier doing swim/bike/run. Racking up 250-300mi months running is brutal on your legs. I am now spending 2x as much time training but my body is considerably less sore than when I was just running?

    Multi-sport training = longevity in training

    So when we going to do an Ironman together (-:
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..2,160My Profile

  14. says

    Ooh, so what race are you gonna do? You know, South Riding Triathlon is at the end of August right here in my little hometown. It’s a great race, and you can stay at my house! How funny that you started in triathlon and now primarily run, and I started as a runner and now do more tris!
    Alison @ racingtales recently posted..My InspirationMy Profile

  15. says

    That’s quite an endurance resume. I’m not gonna lie, I went through some quiet stages of grief going into a tri focus this summer, but here’s the takeaway:
    1. XT, while not specific, seems to have injury prevention powers, and I’m more than willing to cheat on running for that! :)
    2. My Training Peaks typically lists 22-25 mpw, and I end up running like 40! Enough said!
    Adrienne recently posted..Keep Austin AwesomeMy Profile

  16. says

    That’s awesome! I actually have never done a triathlon. I’ve always wanted to but I have made stupid excuses not to. I think the sprint would be a good one for me. I just need to buy a bike and figure out where to swim. Hm. Maybe.
    Travel Spot recently posted..See Jane Run: Pros and ConsMy Profile