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May 15, 2023 Triathlon Training: New England Season Opener Sprint Triathlon Preparation

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Nice trial triathlon with the wetsuit on this morning at Hopkinton State Park. Beautiful day for it!

With the Providence Marathon completed, I needed to focus on the New England Season Opener Triathlon in Hopkinton, MA the following weekend.

My situation was that I had no recent experience with a wetsuit. I had not done a lot of the prescribed swim workouts in my plan and had not biked a lot, due to the marathon training and the Providence Marathon the previous weekend. Therefore, this day would be a sprint triathlon practice.

My plan was to get as much of the triathlon experience as I could. So, I drove to the state park and used my car as a transition location. It was a beautiful sunny day. I arrived when the gates to ther park were opened. It was early enough and cool enough to be uncrowded.

There is an upper beach above the dam and a lower beach below the dam. I had parked at the lower beach area below the dam, since it is a dedicated swim area and the other location may have been prohibited.

I was talking with a couple walking by when I was getting ready for the swim. They were curious what I was doing putting on a wetsuit. I shared what the goal for the day was. Then, I asked if they would mind zipping the wetsuit for me. It always seemed to get stuck mid-way when I tried on my own. Fortunately, they were kind enough to assist.

I swam by myself, staying in shallow water. I swam only 340 yards and to get a feel for it so that it would not be as much of a shock to the system the following weekend. I should have swum much longer, instead of only 7 minutes. I realize now that it takes a lot longer to warm up and get comfortable. Also, it is the longer distance that is a big stressor in an actual triathlon. Then, I transitioned to cycling.

It was good practice getting in and out of the wetsuit. Some tricks to think about include lubricating the wetsuit, remembering to take off the sports watch, having something to step on, and wearing gloves and booties when putting it on so that finger and toe nails do not tear the wetsuit. The goal is to improve transition time.

The bike ride was 10 miles. It was cool at about 55 degrees. My speed was not too bad at 14.6 mph. My goal was to get to 18 miles in September for a Half Ironman Distance – The Pilgrimman 70.3. I headed out of the state park and then north for 5 miles and turned around just to get in some mileage as close to non-stop as I could get. I was held up by one long red streetlight.

For the run, I was able to stay in the park. I ran the road up to the upper beach area and then looped back until I had 3 miles. It was fun. I grew up going to Hopkinton State Park with friends and family. Times have changed so much. I think I am the only one in the area that would have been there for years. And, I have been away from the area so much that it seems new to me, especially with all the updates that park has experienced for the last 30 years. It is great that it can become a favorite place again, as well as a favorite for my wife and her father.

For nutrition, I had shot blocks, Huma gels and water in my camelback.

The day was not strenuous. Therefore, I did not need much recovery.

It was a good triathlon trial. However, the lesson that I would later learn is that I should not take short cuts with the swim, since it is my weakest discipline. Many times, I am juggling other priorities and spend less time training that I should for the best result.

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