Things I Didn’t Really Expect from 70.3 Training

Tonight I set out for a long run, as I will be out of town this weekend, only to go a couple steps before stopping in my tracks due to sharp, left leg shin splint pain. Are you kidding me?

So, in addition to wondering if my body hates me, it made me think about all the things I didn’t expect to come out of training for a half iron distance.

I expected to be tired, to struggle with motivation, and I worried about the time commitment. Those are the things I was preparing to handle.

Things I didn’t expect:

1. Saddle sores, chafing and overall extreme saddle discomfort

Sweet mother of god, the amount of discomfort I have experienced this season has been outrageous. I have spent more time, money and effort trying to fix this problem than NASA spent on the Space Program. Trial saddles, different positions, different bike shorts, various creams and lotions…it’s never ending. I seem to have finally found a solution in an ISM saddle, but I’m now paralyzed with indecision as to which one to get. I demo’d the Breakaway, but feel like I need something slightly narrower. The folks at ISM have been super helpful with letting me ask lots of questions (some of the best customer service I’ve ever gotten – no contact forms here, all just straight email, recommending saddles for me and answering all my questions), and I think I’m going to do another demo, this time with the Podium (did you know has a demo saddle program? I didn’t, and it’s awesome). Overall, my bike fit and geometry feels good, the saddle is the only outlier.

2. Skin allergies

This may or may not be related to 70.3 training, but I’ve never had any sort of skin allergy, and I recently broke out with a vengeance. It took several weeks and pack of steroids to clear it up.

3. Runner’s Knee

Ok, so that isn’t wildly unexpected, but it was still a tremendous pain in the neck and put me down for almost a month.

4. Shin Splints

Given my history, this isn’t shocking, but I thought I was past these by now. Isn’t triathlon training supposed to make you less prone to injury?

5. Weight gain

Granted, it’s only a few pounds. However, my body is reacting differently than it ever has during heavy training. I eat pretty healthy, and monitor what, how much, and when I eat, but I can’t seem to shake these few pounds. I somewhat (evidently wrongly) assumed that this would be like marathon training, where I lose weight. I’m sure some of it good be muscle, but this was in the span of a couple weeks, which makes me think that isn’t the case.

Positive Changes:

1. Increased bike handling confidence

I don’t often ride on my own, and quite frankly, turning at and negotiating intersections really freaks me out, but I’ve gotten better. This bike fits me well, and I feel confident moving on it.

2. Consistent Strength Training

I’ve kept up my gym workout throughout this season, and I’m encouraged to continue. It’s the first time in years I stuck with it long enough to see results, and actually seeing muscle tone in my arms is great.

3. Increased confidence in tris overall

While I was really nervous about this season’s sprint tris, by the time I got to my planned (albeit unfinished) Olympic, I still felt nervous, but had no doubt I could do the distance.

4. Satisfaction at seeing my bike mileage go up

Before this training, I topped out mileage at around 45.

5. Better swim form

This season, I feel like I finally came into my own with swimming, finding a better stroke and better overall form.

So there’s my list for now. If this post was longer and whinier than usual, my apologies, but this training season has been different than anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m wondering how I will feel coming out the other side of the race, if this is a distance I’ll want to do again. I don’t think I could do this same training plan, at least as intensely.


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