Triathlon Training – Swimming Sucks!

triathlon swim

Just a quick note on the triathlon training.  The good thing about announcing my intent to do this thing on my blog, I feel somewhat accountable to see it through.  The bad thing, I won’t be able to blow it off like I did last time.

I officially started training when I got back from vacation.  I did squeeze in a bike ride and a couple of runs at the beach.  But, true to my passive aggressive nature, I never swam!  Why – because I hate swimming!

I am using the 10 week (it’s actually 11) sprint  training plan from triewbies.  I got a late start (shocking), so I am beginning at week seven.  Hopefully my regular workouts leading up to this prevent heart attack #2.

So here was the week of tri-training (off day is Monday):

Tri Training Week 7

A Brick is a 30 minute bike ride followed by a 15 minute run and then a walk.  This is to get you used to transitions.  I can already tell cramping is going to be an issue for me.

I also added some weight training to the routine.  I am a big fan of the Turbulence Training programs by Craig Ballantyne.  Tuesday’s workout (Jacked and Lean for Meatheads – love the names) was a little too ambitious and I did some serious damage to my lower back.  Take a look at the routine and you will see why:

  • 1) Dumbbell Forward Lunge – 8 reps per side. Rest 30 seconds and repeat 2 more times.
  • 2A) Barbell Squats – 12 reps. Rest 1 minute.
  • 2B) Back Extension – 12 reps. Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

Kettlebell 500

  • 3) 2-hand Kettlebell Swings – 200 reps
  • 4A) Bodyweight Squats – 200 reps
  • 4B) Stability Ball Jackknives – 100 reps

The Kettlebells kicked my ass.  My lower back was already a little tweaked from a Sunday workout, but this routine did some real damage.   And I only did 1/2 the reps on the 500.

On Friday, I switched away from Jacked and Lean in an effort to prevent more damage to the lower back.  This is another Turbulance workout, but is more of a total body routine.

  • 1A) DB Seated Shoulder Press (8 reps) Rest 30 seconds.
  • 1B) DB Deep Step-ups (8 reps per side) Rest 1 minute.

Repeat for 3 supersets.

Superset #2

  • 2A) Biceps Chinups (Max reps) No rest.
  • 2B) DB Close-grip Floor Press (8 reps) Rest 1 minute.

Repeat for 3 supersets.

Superset #3

  • 3A) DB Standing 1-Arm Curl (6 reps per arm) No rest.
  • 3B) DB Overhead 1-Arm Extension (6 reps per arm) Rest 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 supersets.

Superset #4

  • 4A) DB Hammer Curls (10 reps) No rest.
  • 4B) DB Lying Triceps Extension (8 reps) Rest 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 supersets.

 What I dislike the most – swimming!  Swimming will tire your whole body out if you are not used to it.  It’s also very boring.  To top it off, there is a creepy underground swimming culture at the pool early in the morning.  If you are not a regular, you definitely feel out of place.

So far, nothing has been too challenging.  I am much more tired than normal, and of course the back is sore, but it’s been manageable.  I bike and walk on Sunday (followed by a massage for the back).  The good news – my procrastination, means I only have four more weeks of training!


Photo credit: akunamatata / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)



  1. Paul, I admire you for just signing up for something that involves swimming. When you go to the pool next time, just channel your inner Michael Phelps! He always looks like he’s having a good time! BE MICHAEL! 🙂

  2. There absolutely is a subculture at the pool. A few of my disabled patients would work out in the water, because that was all their disability would allow. It was a good place to compare notes, and cheer each other on. They called it cripple creek.

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