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Talking Tri-/Duathlon for Ordinary Mortals®: A Series

By Steve Jonas | Feb. 25, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

Dr. George Sheehan was the great philosopher of the modern running boom, starting back in the 1970s.  He once famously wrote: “The difference between a runner and a jogger, is a race entry blank.”  And so the difference between someone who works out in more than one sport and a du- or triathlete is also a race entry blank.  This series is for you if you are just starting out or even thinking about starting out, to do some variety of multisport racing.  It is also for you if you already are a multisport racer, are in it primarily to have fun and stay in shape, and want to get more organized and more efficient about both the racing and the training.

In this series I talk a lot about having fun.  One major reason is that while I am slow in all three sports, have never been fast, and in fact am getting slower in all three as I get older, I still have fun, possibly more than ever because I marvel that at 76, by golly I'm still doing it.  In tryin' the Tri and doin' the Du the simple fact is that you don't have to go fast to have fun.  That's one of the great things about multi-sport racing.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I think that fast and winning are great.  If you can go fast and win, terrific.  Go for it.  But the fun-without-going-fast aspect, the setting of a challenge for yourself just to do it, just to finish, as I like to say "happily and healthily," is there for everyone who wants to tri or du.

Over time in the series we’ll be talking about why do it, getting started, types of races and how to find them, equipment, training, racing, nutrition, dealing with injury, and staying with it. We’ll be talking about starting from scratch and getting ready to comfortably engage in a race-training program in 6-12 weeks or so.  If you are already working out for 2-3 hours a week at one distance sport, we’ll see you how you can do a Sprint-distance du- or triathlon on a training program that averages 3.5 hours per week, for all two or three sports, over 13 weeks. And then we’ll see how you can do an Olympic-distance triathlon on a program averaging 5 hours per week over 13 weeks.  Don't believe me?  Well, these are just the training programs that I have been using myself for my 30-plus years in the sport during which I have completed over 230 triathlons and duathlons, at those distances (and longer ones too, with more training, of course).  So too have countless others who have successfully used my approach since I published my first book on it back in 1986.  As well, since that time numbers of other similar training programs have been published.          

Does this all sound like your approach to multi-sport racing, whether you are just starting out or have been doing it for a while?  Well then, this series is indeed for you, and I hope that you will join me for it.

(No. 1, 2013, 2-5)

This series of thoughts and recommendations for beginner and recreational triathletes and duathletes by Dr. Steve Jonas is drawn from his book, 101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), text used with permission, available at:” Steve’s most recent multi-sport book is Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals.”