If you are like me you probably find it difficult to stay motivated during the long and cold winter months. The racing season has wrapped up and now what? With the Holidays just around the corner, now is the time to get together with family and eat, get together with friends and eat, cook and eat, drink and eat and eat and eat and eat and drink.
You’ve worked so hard this year to loose weight, get in shape and today you feel like a well-tuned triathlon machine, all be it a burned out well-tuned triathlon machine. But what will you feel like come January after all a month of eating and drinking? Perhaps you make it through the next month but you still have a long winter to get through before the racing fun starts.
No need to worry. I’ve got the perfect the answer for those long and cold winter months. And yes I know that you folks lucky enough to live in the warmer parts of this country don’t have a our cold climate issues, but buckle up and keep reading because this is for you as well.
Last winter I began to put on a series of indoor triathlons at my health club. We called the series the Everyman Indoor Triathlon because the race is specifically designed to be as easy of difficult as you want to make it. The Everyman Indoor Tri is race for both novice and Ironman alike. It can be an easy work out or you can go for it and feel the pain of the real thing.
The Everyman Indoor Tri is also completely indoors and you don’t need any special equipment for it except for a pair of running shoes and swim goggles. It uses equipment that is readily available at most health club and recreation centers around the country. Here’s what you need:
a) Swimming pool
b) Computerized Stationery bike
d) A few free hours on Sunday afternoon
Here’s how it works. Each part of the race is only 15 minutes. This means that you have a 15 swim, followed by a 5 transition, followed by a 15 bike, followed by a 5 minute transition, followed by a 15 minute run. Total time of the Everyman Indoor Tri is 55 minutes or about an hour.
One of the secrets of success to the entire race is that competitors can go as easy or as fast as they like. In other words, the race is not based on total time, but on total distance gone for each of the three segments.
This means that for the swim we count laps, for the bike we see how far the racers has gone (in miles) and on the tread mill we track the total distance (in miles). Individual racers can either really push the pace’ or take it easy and use the race as just a great brick workout. (a brick work out is when you combine two or more parts of the triathlon into one workout)
The trick to putting on this race is that you need to be able to do the race in waves. We like to use 3 waves of 5 people because we have 5 free lanes in our pool and 5 stationary bikes and treadmills.
We start all five waves of racers at the same time. This means that five triathletes start in the pool, while five start on the bike, and five start on the treadmill. After 15 minutes they have 5 minutes transition time to rotate (in the correct race order) to the next part of the race.
This also means that the swim may not always be the first event, it can in fact be last. But since we are in a pool there is no danger of drowning. In fact last year we had some racers, who had never swam for 15 minutes at one time, walk the the swim…which is fine since the Everyman Indoor Triathlon is all about having fun.
And since the race is completely indoors, it is a fantastic event for friends and/or the entire family. Racers are always within cheering or jeering range. We encourage the entire family to come and watch or take part in the race. For me, it really is great fun to see my son cheer me on as I’m pushing the pace on the treadmill. This race is after all about having fun.
Let’s talk about how each of the three events works:
1) The swim: This is the easy part. All you need is a pool with a few open lanes. Competitors can even share lanes. You’ll need somebody to time the 15 minutes and write down the lap totals. (We count to the nearest half lap) We also have lap counters and but you can have the racers count their own laps….if you can trust them ;-)
2) The bike: For this you’ll need the computerized bikes that have a speed, distance and difficulty/tension settings. The most poplar bikes that I see everywhere are the Lifecycles with the small red lights that make up that little digital graph that you can watch as you are biking. All the racers start peddling at the same time (the bike starts exactly five minutes after the swim) and they go for 15 minutes. We record how far they’ve gone in that fifteen minutes. Most of the computerized bikes will have a difficulty setting. The harder the racers makes the resistance the farther they go with each peddle stroke. The resistance is completely up to them.
3) The run: We use 5 treadmills that are lined up next to each other. The 5 racers start at the same time (exactly five minutes after the bike) They set the treadmill speed to whatever they want (they can also increase or decrease the speed) and we record how far they’ve run. Some walk, jog or run, this is completely up to them.
4) Scoring: We score the race based on a simple point system. The triathlete that goes the furthest in each segment gets a maximum of 3 points for that segment. The next triathlete gets 2.5 points and so on. The exact points are based on a spreadsheet that assigns a percentage of the maximum of 3 points based on the total number of racers. The racer with the highest total point total wins. We like to keep it simple, so we have only the top three men and the top three women awards, but you could break it down into sub categories like age, sex and amount of beer drunk the night before.
5) Rules, Regs and Penalties: There are non. The only real rule is that racers have five minutes for each transition. If they are late getting changed (our folks change in the locker room). You miss the start of the next segment and thus you have less time for that part of the race. Typically a lot of newbies are a bit slow getting from the pool to the bike. This just means that instead of 15 minutes they get a few less on the bike.
6) Body Marking: You bet like the real thing.
Well that’s it; The Everyman Indoor Triathlon can be your winter racing fun. I started the race at my health club with a little help from some friends and management. The club management loves the event as it keeps the members in the club and active during the slow weekend times. We put on the race last Sunday afternoon of each month during the winter.
It’s a great event for newbies and pro’s alike. More importantly it is completely friend and family friendly.
If you’d like more info on how to put on this race in your neck of the woods just send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll be happy to get you started on a winter of indoor racing fun. That way you can eat, drink, and eat some more this holiday season.