Project Triathlon at 50: Training Week 6

Triathlon training woman 50

Why do triathletes have to make it so hard? That’s my burning question this week. Why swim freestyle when breaststroke is easier? Why ride a bike with your shoes clipped in when that makes it hard to get on and off?

This week I bought bike shoes and clip in pedals. I fell off multiple times and my knees and shins are now sore and bruised.

I’ve been biking with shin pads (borrowed from my soccer-playing daughter) and homemade knee pads, made from socks with the toe cut off pulled up over my knees and padded with cardboard cereal boxes for protection.

I feel like an idiot. I look like one. My stress levels are through the roof when cycling, or even thinking about biking. The clip in bike shoes has killed my growing fondness for biking dead. I am dead tired too. And $270 poorer as the shoes and pedals will need to be added to the ever-growing triathlon equipment and costs list.

But enough moaning! It’s all probably caused by over-training, over-tiredness and over-stimulation. I’m going to dial it back next week and try to find the fun in this.

My training schedule this week:

Monday: Swim (60 mins) + Gym to Bike (10 mins) and Run (10 mins) and strenthen (10 mins)

Tuesday: Bike (30 mins plus practice fixing bike puncture on back tyre which took 40 mins) + Strength work at gym (40 mins)

Wednesday: Run (75 mins – speed work 9km) + Swim (60 mins)

Thursday: Bike/Run Brick session (60 mins – alternating between using the stationary bike wind trainer and running laps)

Friday: Run (dead slow 8km) + Swim squad (70 mins)

Saturday: Run (8km) + Ocean swim (700m very slow, mostly in breast stroke)

Sunday: Bike (50km in 150mins with breaks) Average moving  speed 24.1km/hour – a small improvement on  my previous long bike ride although probably only because this ride was very flat)

Here’s what I did with Jess in her triathlon training for women beginner course.

Triathlon Training for Beginners – Week 6


Endless laps plus hypoxic breathing where we swam 25m only breathing every 5 strokes. The hypoxic breathing forces you breathe less which is supposed to make breathing less easier in the long run. The less breaths you have to take the faster you go.

I like to think my swimming has improved – how could it not have? I’ve stuck with my challenge program and been to swim squad training for an hour three times a week for the last six weeks. However, I can still barely swim one 50m lap without coming up for air. That worries me.

I swam alone mid-week because I couldn’t get to swim squad and did a speed test. It took me 46 minutes to swim  750 meters. My goal is to swim 1.5km in 40 minutes so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m certainly not ready to swim the world.

Also I’m, currently so slow at swimming that by the time I finish my swim during the triathlon everyone else will have gone home.

Confession: I am so tired I’m taking it easy this week. Normally I push to the max but today I tried to keep Jess chatting to give me more time to recover between sets and I swam at a more leisurely pace. I need a gentle week.

Swimming Tips

  • Sometimes I forget to think about breathing because I’m focusing so much on everything else. I think that stops me from panicking and running out of breath too soon. Otherwise I do feel panicky and that will make me use up even more oygen so it’s a viscious circle.
  • Letting go of tension is so important for swimming. Maybe I should practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing before I swim.
  • Finally a breakthrough came when I was swimming alone. I stopped trying to keep up with other people and my breathing calmed down. I’ve stopped getting that panick attack feeling so can see that my swimming has progressed in that respect. Although I’m still dead slow…


Now I have the clip in shoes I need to practice clipping in and out. I chose black Northwave leather tri shoes which are made in Italy are one of the most expensive pairs of shoes I’ve ever bought. I can’t walk in them and it’s strange biking with my feet clipped in.

Plus I fell off the bike several times the first time I wore them so they got instantly scuffed.

This week we did a few laps of the bike track then spent 40 minutes changing the back tube of our bike tyre. An exercise I think we all hope never to repeat although it is important to learn how to do it because if you get a puncture during a triathlon you’ll have to fix it yourself and you’ll need to do it as quickly as possible.

Biking Tips

  • Ask for easy clip pedals and practice clipping in and out in the shop on a wind trainer.
  • Unclip your shoes before you prepare to stop. Only when your feet are unclipped should you slow down and actually stop.
  • Make sure you have everything you need to change a tyre on your bike at all times. Mainly tyre levers, a spare tube and a mini pump. Practice changing a tube on the front and back wheels.


We did a brick session of bike/run to practice running straight off the bike. We used windtrainers which convert your bike into a stationary bike. We did drills such as pedal in a low grinding gear for three minutes with a cadence of 50 then an easy gear for 3 minutes with a cadence of 90 then run 800m as fast as you can. It’s exhausting!

In between each bike/run slot we did walking lunges. My bum is aching!

Running Tips

  • Practice running straight off the bike including changing shoes from bike shoes to running shoes.
  • Keep your head up and your eyes forward – unless you’re going up hill when it can be good to look to the side so you don’t notice the hill rearing up in front of you.

That was it for week six! I took it much easier beecause I needed a recovery week. I still put in a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and running but I didn’t push myself to the limit. I feel much better for it too. I feel reenergised and I’m starting to enjoy the triathlon training again.

There are ony two weeks left before our triathlon. What will triathlon training in weeks 7 and 8 hold? In not sure but I’m confident I can get through this and enjoy it too just as long as I take it at my own pace and don’t set crazy time goals that I can never achieve.

At this point when training for my first triathon the goal has to be to finish it. That’s enough.

Other posts in the Triathlon Training at 50 Series

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