We took a poll in the middle of December about what people would like to know regarding goal setting, getting into shape, planning for future races, etc. and one of the comments we received was how to train for a duathlon or triathlon.

Duathlons (Run-Bike-Run) and Triathlons (Swim-Bike-Run) come in a variety of distances are an excellent way to challenge yourself and mix up your training routine and keep your workouts interesting and full of variety.

Triathlon Distances

Sprint – 0.5mi Swim, 12.4mi Bike, 3.1mi Run

Olympic – 0.93mi Swim, 24.8mi Bike, 6.2mi Run

ITU Long – 1.86mi Swim, 49.6mi Bike, 12.4mi Run

Half Ironman – 1.2mi Swim, 56mi Bike, 13.1mi Run

Ironman – 2.4mi Swim, 112mi Bike, 26.2mi Run

We sat down with Run Away Shoes employee, Rhea, from the Appleton store, to learn about her experience training and competing in triathlons.

Rhea Tri 1

When did you first get started competing in triathlons?

My first race was a Sprint Distance in Fremont, WI around 1998. I won my age group and the experience hooked me. My first Ironman was in 2005.

Since then, I have competed in 5 Ironman distances, several Half Ironman distances, and several sprint distances.

What does a typical week of training looks like when you are training for a triathlon?

First of all, I need to say that training is very individual. The areas that you spend your time on are related to your strengths, weaknesses and injury history. For example, if you are prone to injury, you might spend more time swimming or on the bike than running.

My training depends on the distance of race I am training for. I’ll use a Half Ironman for example.

Swim: I swim a minimum of 3 times a week, sometimes 5 times a week, because it is an activity that is not as hard on your body.

The key when it comes to swimming is to get into open water to train as soon as possible.

Bike: I will try to do at least 200+ miles of biking every week. 100 miles during the week and another 100 over the weekend on average. I love biking!

Rhea Tri 2

Run: I try to do one long run on the weekend, and run every other day of the week for about 4 days of running total.

As I get closer to race day, I do “bricks”, which are two of the activities back to back.
This is VERY important to train your body to go from one activity to the other. It is very challenging when you first try it, but then your body gets into a rhythm and adjusts.

I used shorter distance triathlon races as training, too.

What resources did you utilize when you were training for a triathlon?

For my first Ironman, I used a book called Be Iron Fit by Don Fink

I also utilized a coach for three of my Ironmen.

Group riding and group runs are two of my favorite things to be a part of when preparing for a triathlon. You can partner up with different bike shops and running clubs in the area to be a part of group rides and group runs. However, it is important to bike and run longer training days solo to focus on the mental side of completing a triathlon.

Rhea Tri 3

When you are able to swim in open water, NEVER swim alone. The group I swam with in preparation for my triathlons used to swim hooked to a bouy so that boats could also see us and we had something to grab onto if needed. Elkhart lake is a great place to swim, as well as at High Cliff at certain times of the year. There is a saltwater pool at experience fitness in Menasha. You can also find classes in the area to help with swimming

There are several groups in the area that support triathletes of all ability levels such as the Fox Cities Triathlon Club, Green Bay Multisport and Redline Triathlon Club. You can find out more information about them here: https://runawayshoes.net/local-running-clubs

What are key pieces of equipment do you recommend a beginner should invest in?

First of all, be fit for a great pair of shoes. We will take care of you at Run Away Shoes!

A road bike that is fitted for you is also important. You do not necessarily need a tri bike. I certainly would not recommend it for a beginner because they do not have regular handle bars and it is hard to ride in groups.

I would try to borrow a wet suit first before investing in one.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? What advice to do have for aspiring triathletes?

  • Triathlons are a very individual sport and you need to do it for yourself.
  • Don’t overthink it, listen to your body and don’t be stupid! Do not risk your health for one race. Triathlons take a lot of effort on your body so you need to take care of yourself.
  • Do not do triathlons for the purpose of weight loss

Rhea Tri 4

If you have any specific questions about Triathlon training, you can contact us and we can connect you with Rhea.

Local Duathlons and Triathlons


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