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The Rookie Learning Curve

By Justin Roeder | March 28, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Watts - both for cycling and electricity.

School may be out, but class is still in session. Each week in this newfound sport of triathlon I learn something new that I feel should be found in beginner’s manual. As a rookie in any sport, I experience the a-ha moments just as everyone else would. Even with a degree in Exercise Science and a history in collegiate athletics, the sport of triathlon has taught me so many dos and don’ts. The following list is for my fellow rookies in the sport to remind you, you are not alone.

  1. Watts can be used in both cycling and electrical terminology — imagine the possibilities!
  2. A little body glide (or Vaseline) goes a long way.
  3. You may not win the race with the swim, but you can lose it there.
  4. Injuries are part of the game; they help us learn our boundaries.
  5. Recovery can sometimes trump a hard workout.
  6. Everyone knows something; no one knows everything so always ask questions.
  7. Train with a purpose or goal in mind. Training and racing is hard enough so make things easy on yourself and have small achievable goals that will lead you to the big race.
  8. Train with others, regardless of their ability level. Sometimes all you have to do is meet at the same place/time and it makes it that much easier to get the work started.
  9. Coffee in the morning is your new best friend.
  10. Yesterday and tomorrow’s workouts are as important as today’s. In my opinion, I would rather train at 90 percent for an entire year compared to 110 percent for 3 months and get hurt. Stay consistent.

 When you took up this sport what tricks or quirks did you learn?

This was my first Olympic-distance triathlon, but I'm still working on the swim.

Currently I am still learning item number three on the list. My swim background prior to last summer could be summed up as cross training and pool parties. During my training the past eight months in multisport, I have gradually increased my swim volume of 1,000 yards each week in July to 25-30k now in March. It is funny to think my once daily mileage is a fraction of my current swim warm-up! No wonder why I thought 1.5k was so long. Remember to take these numbers in grand assault and not jump up in volume dramatically. It took me several months of periodization to get where I am and where I want to be in a few more months.

I hope this list can help all those new to the sport feel at home a little quicker, and possibly encourage the novices out there to keep up the hard work and share the fun and knowledge with the newbies. And remember item number 10 on the list, consistency is the key, my friends.

Until next time, train hard, train smart!