triathlon and family can mix

How Far I Have Come

My name is Steve, and I suck at running.


Less than 3 years ago, I finished a 5k run. I spent the next 6 weeks in rehab. I had decided a week prior that I wanted to compete in a triathlon later that year. Not sure what really got me on the triathlon kick (pun intended) but I needed to figure out a couple of things.

Can I swim? Check.

Can I bike? Did it as a kid, check.

Can I run? Nope.

Like always, I went head first. I ended up with a muscle imbalance in my quad. It was pulling on my knee cap, causing crazy pain every time I bent my leg. Frustrating to no end. My physio, who is a life saver by the way, recommended that I take a look at my foot strike, and implement a run-walk training plan for up to 8 weeks. More on my progression from a heel striker to a mid-foot striker in a future post.

I took his advice, mixing in swimming, biking, and yoga. It took a while to get to a point where I could run a full 5k without stopping for a walk interval; at some points I felt like progression was moving backwards. I trusted him, and was able to start a high intensity training plan 8 weeks ahead of my first sprint distance. Finished 2nd in my age group.

Fast forward to last year, 2012. I am now hooked on this triathlon thing and laying down some pretty decent performances. I finished top 10 in my age group at my last race last year and completed my first Ironman 70.3. Not bad for breaking my collar bone in a bike crash May 26.

I spent the winter season working on my base fitness with the specific goal of increasing my run speed. Check out this post, or this one, for a detailed description of what I was doing. It was hard work at times, especially in mid winter running on Saturday evenings outside. The dark combined with the cold made for some miserable runs. I continued on in spite of the conditions and now I am running faster than I had planned.

Here is how some of the results stack up.

Sprint Distance (5k Run)
Lake Chaparral – 8/2011 – 27:36 (5:32/km)
Airdrie – 5/2013 – 21:52 (4:23/km)

Olympic Distance (10k Run)
Lake Chaparral – 8/2012 – 48:59 (4:54/km)
Chinook Triathlon Festival – 6/2013 – 45:10 (4:31/km)

Now that is what I am talking about.

I am really happy with my progress. I am dangerously close to achieving my goal for this year of breaking 2:15:00 at the Lake Chaparral Olympic Distance; based on last years results, this puts me on the podium for my age group. If I can sneak a couple of extra minutes, I would be on the podium for the overall results. Before you say “that was last year dude”, I know that everyone ahead of me was training over the winter with the same goal I had, getting faster. I just have to believe that my training is far superior.

We will find out in a couple of months.

Question: How have you progressed from season to season? What have you done to get there?


4 responses

  1. Great progress and something I’m really hoping to follow. Cutting your 5k run from 27 to 21 in less than 2 years is amazing. I started just about 1 year ago and have seen a 32 min 5k come down to 24 with a goal of breaking into the 23’s yet this year. I’m hoping next year I might be able to creep just a little lower (although don’t think I’ll every see your speeds). It’s definitely good to see that all the hard work can pay off! Keep sharing as this is great motivation for us following behind.

    July 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    • Thanks Bob, I reckon you aren’t too far behind.

      July 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

  2. This is really inspirational – I also suck at running, but keep trying to work at it. My first sprint tri (Sept 2011) my 5k time was 42 minutes! Yikes. I can now (almost reliably) hold a 31:00 5k pace. Glad to hear it keeps getting better

    July 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

    • Thanks Dave, it does keep getting better with the right training. Good luck;it sounds like you are on the right track.

      July 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

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