{Guest Post} Triathlon Training by the Beach

20 09 2011

Hey friends! We’ve got one more guest post for you before we’re back to our regularly scheduled posts! I (Steph) was actually supposed to start my vacation today, but unfortunately plans fell through and I’ll have to hold off until this winter to travel. Anyhow, I had already started lining up some guest posts in my absence, so I’m sharing one with you today! This one is from my friend Chris, who I met through my friend Steph. He’s a serious triathlete and ultra runner who hails from Wilmington, NC. He and I share a love of beach living, so I really appreciate his thoughts on training by the beach. I hope you do too!

To everyone training for a triathlon I hope your training is going well. I used to live in Washington, D.C where I met Stephanie through a friend and since she is out of town for a bit, she asked me to do a post for her while she is away. I gladly accepted and want to thank her and Chloe for asking me to post for them. Since I do not live in D.C anymore I had to think of something that would relate to triathlon training but with a twist. I hope you enjoy and it makes you want to come visit.

Triathlon training while living on the beach. Sounds perfect huh… Oh, if you only knew. So many times we go out and train and think, Man I wish I could be near the beach to do my training, it would be so much more peaceful and relaxing. While this is sometimes true, the wind, the sea creatures, and the hot summer temperatures here in Wilmington, North Carolina get brutal. But the beach and training go extremely well together and I love every minute of training at the beach.

Swimming at the beach

Training at the beach has more benefits than any other place to train in my opinion, except for the lack of hills but that will be talked about later. Swim time at the beach is totally different than living in a city and only swimming in a pool. Swimming in a pool you get the pleasure of following the black line back and forth for a long time. This helps you stay on track and see where you are going. Here in Wilmington, most, if not all of our swims are done in the ocean or the channel. If we want a long swim with no currents we head over to the ocean side and swim pier to pier, 1.2 miles one way (If y’all are interested there is a race here in Wrightsville Beach, NC from pier to pier). The ocean does have sharks, dolphins, jellyfish, man of wars, and other sea creatures that are fun to look at. On the flip side of things, if you are looking for a hard swim, almost like an all pull workout, head over to the channel. With the channel you get the current either coming in or going out. This is pretty fun, when you are going with the current. To put the current into perspective, this morning (Steph added: This was written at the end of August) we did a swim and we swam into the current for 17 minutes to the turn around. We got back to the dock in a total of 28:30. So as you can see you get the ability to build and push harder one way and have a bit of recovery on the way back.

Biking at the beach

Wrightsville Beach has a perfect 10 mile look. The island is only 3.5 miles long but we can get a 10 mile loop around the beach. This helps for getting the mind right for hours of riding. Then if you want a country ride, it is only 5 miles away. Crazy how you can go from the beach to a long country road good for over 100 mile rides only 5 miles away. At the end of a long hot ride, the ocean is usually calling your name. Even if it is cold outside, we head to the ocean. Free recovery when it is cold; it’s an ice bath at your backdoor.

Running at the beach

Running at the beach is flat. Seriously, the biggest hills we have are bridges. It sounds funny, I know, but when we are going to be racing away from the beach we have to do hill workouts, and the hill workouts consist of running up and down overpasses. Other than those overpasses and bridges, there are no other hills here. If you are looking to get stronger legs, no need for the gym here, we go run on the sand. You can run on the hard sand barefoot, or if you want a killer calf workout, you can do a soft sand run. That’s extremely hard, but after it’s all over with, you get to go swim in the ocean. What a way to end a run on the sand or on the road! (Steph added: I would LOVE to end my runs with a dip in the ocean! I’m so jealous!)

Cross training

Cross training is a must down here. While the miles and miles add up, you need an outlet no matter where you are at. Some cook, some read, but at the beach we surf, bodysurf when the surf picks up, Stand up Paddle board, fish, mountain bike (yes we do have two mountain bike trails here), or anything on the water. The life down here revolves around the ocean, whether it be training or having fun, when summer hits, the water or on a dock is where you can find most triathletes. It is a close knit family down here, you know everyone training or racing so any time you want a workout, just post it on Facebook and you will have a swimming, biking, or running partner in minutes.

With the season coming to a close most places, we still have a lot of races down here coming up. If you are wanting a beach vacation that you can still train at, come on down to Wilmington, North Carolina and have some fun in the sun and get some beautiful training in while you are here. Thanks again Stephanie and Chloe and have a great day everyone. Aloha from North Carolina.

Question of the day: Where’s your favorite place to train?