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I read different threads on here that indicate many of you here have demonstrated serious longevity in this sport.

I am kind of like a newby all over again in that whilst I have been down this path before, it was a long, long, time ago. I had forgotten how much I put into this first time through (for very average results). I remember how hard it was though.  Preparing for mdot is an enormous challenge for me. It takes me a looong time to ramp up volume and I think these events are at the edge of my capability. 

I think I am trying to ask, for those of you that can keep these efforts up for years or longer, what are tools and practices you have found that enable you to do this? 

 

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For me, I ruined the sport for myself.

I became to 'results focused' and was never happy with what I was personally doing. My relationship with myself and how I viewed the sport was bad.

I took a few years off because I couldn't keep going lime that. Did something else for 2 years, then I started to miss it again.

Now I truly enjoy racing myself, setting my goals, seeing my friends racing, and acknowledging to yourself no one cares if you come first or 50. People will still be happy for you.

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I don't care what anyone else thinks either.  To quote David Goggins "I wanted to taste victory, and victory for me was finishing". This sport is hard, and I am astounded by how well some do it, and by how regularly others can get it done... 

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I'm not interested in ironman (M dot), but have been on the tri scene for about 6 years. I have found that taking breaks from racing (I always 'train' something everyday though) and mixing up the races and distances keeps it interesting. 

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I'm coming up to 30 years in the sport. I've retired from racing a few times due to various injuries but keep coming back. I've never really stopped training though, even when I can't run I still swim and ride. 

I love being fit, love training, love racing, love pushing myself, love winning, love the social side. 

I don't do ironman though, it's just never interested me. But I've lost count of how many halves I've done. I know some people can back up ironman year after year but I would fall apart (or get bored) pretty quickly.

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Started 1994. 

never not raced each summer  goal 5-15 races each season  

Race all distances but probably won’t do a full ironman again. 10 is enough. 
 

my tip for lasting.

treat triathlon as a hobby.  You’ll enjoy it a lot more. 

Edited by Peter
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Started in 2007/08 season, I race lots. Apart from the odd missed race, I've done the complete sprint series in SE Qld every year. Noosa and Mooloolaba every year. Couple of Bribie races, Kingscliff. Did the GC half a couple of times when it was still a thing, Sunny Coast half about 6 times now. Busso IM and then Kona. 

One major injury which saw me miss most of 2016/17 season. I have a few odd niggles injury wise but I battle on.

I train all year just because I like feeling fit. The intensity of training obviously fluctuates and I'd still do swim, bike, run even if I didnt race.

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I've been around since since 2013/14 (my first race was at the tail end of 2012/13).

I used to race lots at the club races and EE, mostly anything up to club distance. October 2017 I moved up to long course, but I still get a sprint race in every now and again. I have an mdot in the plan, but Rona put a stop to that. Hopefully 2021 will be the year I get the finish.

While not racing the short stuff, I keep involved in the sport. Currently on the management committee of a large club in Sydney and have taken on the race director role until we find a new one. Whenever I step down from club management, I will still be a TO for races I can make it to that I am not interested in racing.

I train all year round, but dial down the run intensity and distance off season, mostly to save the legs, swimming if I can, mostly due to pools being open!

It's a hobby for me. I also get to make use of the years of experience and training I have being a project manager to give back. The sport has given me a lot, when I started I was 125kg+ I was the big girl at the back of the pack that people in Sydney remember as I was out there giving it a go. In 2016 I dropped 35kg, as I knew to go any further I would need to be a lot fitter! 

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I started training to do my first one in '93..... Ok, that doesn't count!  2009 it is.

Was never a prolific racer due to time and other constraints, but always tried to do at least one OD and one thing longer each year, plus a smattering of little stuff.  I've generally done something every year cept last year with the strokes and this year with covid.  But my mate and I are discussing commencing swimming again so I after Xmas it's back on.  

Screwed knees will be an issue, but I've started on the elliptical again and will have to run/walk most races I'm guessing, particularly od and longer.  I was never good enough to be considered a runner.  Never good enough to be considered a cyclist.  Never good enough to call myself a swimmer. So triathlete it is, and will always fudge along and do something.  Never cared too much about my times, I just enjoy being out there doing something.  I still remember chasing to someone while on the bike once and the dude have me a "wtf you doing, this is a race" glare.

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Been doing triathlons consistently for just under 20 years.

I don't see Sprint Triathlons as lesser races than Ironman.  Was Emma Snowsill a lessor athlete than Mirinda Carfrae ? Was Craig Mottram a lessor athlete than Monaghetti?

Have completed between 5 to 15 races every year (probably not going to happen this Summer).  Sprint Triathlon, Olympic Distance, Half Ironmans, Duathlons, Trail Runnings Races, Fun Runs, Cycling events, Open Water Swims, Adventure Races.  And a single Ironman, mainly because the run course went passed my house, so knew I regret it on the day if I wasn't racing.

I love the pre-race feeling of nerves and anticipation.  If I haven't had 3 pre-race shits, I'd have to re-think why I was there.

Usually pick one (occasionally two) Half Ironmans as my 'A' race, then choose the leadup races that fit in the best.  There are some races like Geelong 70.3 and the local sprint tris that I have done many times, but I never have a race I 'have' to do every year.  I only pick a race I 'want' to do.  Even though I usually do several Sprint Triathlons every year, I rarely enter the series or do every race.  Never want to feel obliged to do a race.  I want to be excited EVERY time I front up on the start line.

I also enjoy training. Am lucky to be a member of a large triathlon club. Not a big fan of swimming. Getting up at 5am in the middle of Winter to do a swim squad in an outdoor pool by itself isn't fun.  But I get to see all the people who are now some of my closest friends.  Struggle to swim 2km by myself, whereas 4km in the squad feels so much easier.  Do all my runs solo (which I love), but love the long group rides with the club.  Look forward to some of our big training sessions (and training camps) more than I do the races themselves.

Every year (after the last race) I take a break. Usually between 4 and 12 weeks.  If I feel I need a break mid feb, that's when I end my season.  I rarely race in March or April.

I'm not a big training hours person.  Once I hit 10 hours a week, I consider myself in full training.  A big week is around 15 hours.  But if I wasn't doing any training, I would be miserable.  I enjoy training.  Entering races gives my training more purpose and makes it even more fun.

I write this as I'm about to head out for a really hard run session.  Something I'm looking forward to, and dreading at the same time.

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26 minutes ago, Rob said:

I don't ever want to feel obliged to do a race.  I want to be excited EVERY time I front up on the start line.

 

This. 

This, IMO, is critical. 

Do it for you. Not others. 

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15 hours ago, BogFrog said:

I'm not interested in ironman (M dot), but have been on the tri scene for about 6 years. I have found that taking breaks from racing (I always 'train' something everyday though) and mixing up the races and distances keeps it interesting. 

This (except that after 35 years of it, some days I don't train - it's called life :) ).

 

I go though mega cycles (like 8 years long) slowly getting fatter until I can't bear it any more so fix a target (eg a World Champs) and get serious about it over say three years, then a plateau, then do another degree. Rinse and repeat.

Edited by trifun
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I have been in the endurance sport for 30 years, the type of the endurance sport has changed, but still in it.

Did my first 1/2 at 22 years old, back in 1990, did these for a couple of years before stepping up into marathon. these were all about trying to go fast over this distance.

Then moved into multisport (run/bike/kayak) as this was the NZ right of passage with Coast to Coast. These were often off road running and cycling with the kayak in challenging conditions. This was the adventure and beauty of the landscape. Got to travel through some amazing area of NZ. These races were anything from 4hr to multi day, either continuous or multistage type racing. Did this for about 12 years picking adventures/races. Largely stopped due to challenge of finding support crew to follow me around moving gear to transitions.

This also morphed into off road running style adventures, with the growth of the off road run sport scene. This partly came from the cost and difficultly of using roads, and tighter rules for adventure sport in general.

And endurance riding races either on the road or MTB, these were really an offshoot of the above endurance and the people I hung out with. Going along for the ride/adventure

Triathlon had only held interest as an Ironman (endurance is what it is all about), learnt to swim in 2006 to do IMNZ. I had been a non swimmer until that point of my life at 38 years old. Triathlon meant didn't need support crew. Been doing triathlon since then. some years do more than others, but at least 1 a year in the lean years.

When i Sydney even did some ocean swim evens which were really not my comfort zone

Also done the ultra running of 100km race. This was a bucket list event from the early 90's running. And a realization that i couldn't go fast so may as well go long!.

Hip dislocation in 2015 should have ended my running and endurance days, but ignoring conventional advice i have carried on, done a couple of marathons to prove i could and celebrate my 50th, did the same for Ironman.

Now days I generally ride for fitness, and run for sanity. Although the running is less and less, I pick and event and train for it, otherwise very little running. Am able to commute cycle for the first time in years and that is fun when we are allowed in the office.

Been reading the running threads and while I wear a garmin and like data I just run. I don't do structure, I just run. if i feel like running faster I run faster, or i just plod.

I really think the reason why I still in the endurance sport after all the years is the variability of the types within the sport. Be it MTB, trail running, Tri (sprint upwards), marathon there is always a challenge that you can choose to fit in the lifestyle. My Kids and wife know it is part off me and have been known to encourage me to bugger off for a run/ride.

I also hold the current 1/2 marathon fastest time!!!!!

 

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I'm missing the "trash talk" with my buddies before a race and the challenge of going sub11 hrs. 

I'm not missing dragging my ass to the pool to swim 4km by myself. Or looking out the window & thinking when should I go for a run to avoid the rain. 

I'm enjoying riding my bike and having the oppurtunity to race on a regular basis. 

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I've been in the sport since 1994 I think when I did my first "Ride N Stride" and then Nepean Triathlons. Was a runner only up to then getting into that at age 28. I've run eighteen marathons, Seven Ironmans, countless halves and shorter distances. Joined Transitions from its' inception although don't post much these days, but I lurk. I have met quite a few of its' members. 

I still train and race and a member of a Tri Club. Currently entered in Club Champs and Port 70.3. Did my last big race in 2019 at Big Husky and did 6:25. Tri for me is a bit like a marriage, I have past the hot urgent passionate stage and settled into a respectful loving relationship. We've had our moments but we always make up.

I've had many niggling injuries and accidents which often make me think its' over but one thing I've learned is that the body is resilient and patience and time is your best physio. I'm 66. 😃

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1 minute ago, more said:

For all the old farts what age did you notice you started to break down and had to take more care with injury prevention? 

About four years ago

I've been participating (I was about to say 'racing' but thought better of it) since the BRW corporate tri in 1995.  Seven IMs, twenty Nepeans, many kurnells and others over that time, with not too many breaks 

If you want to do it properly, get a coach 

 

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I used to have a month or so off each year, usually at the end of season, would freshen me up and get me keen to get back into training.  Over the years the spread of my S/B/R varied depending on life and family circumstances.  Most of my training was social, and that's why most times it didn't seem like a chore. 

14 minutes ago, more said:

For all the old farts what age did you notice you started to break down and had to take more care with injury prevention? 

Mine was a funny one, started in 1991, In all those years never more than the odd calf niggle (never stretched, never did core). A few years ago was having some time off to rebuild the house and when I started running again had major hip issues, took a while to get to the bottom of it, but result was a new hip and no more running. End of story.  I'm sure if that hadn't of happened I would still be racing.  Such is life. 

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25 years in triathlon, and 15 years of running (on and off) and intending to do a tri before that. Early on, it turned into a lifestyle.  I'd been thinking about giving up regular employment and becoming a self employed consultant for a while, and triathlon was the final push I needed to take the plunge. Then I could organise my week largely around riding, running, swimming and all the other stuff, and do it as often as possible with friends and clubmates.

When I started out, I consistently did intervals and other intensity/speed training, and supplemental weights. For the past 10 or 15 years, though, most of my training has been long slow distance, with some tempo rides and runs mixed in.

Ironman distance has been the focus of my training and racing for the past 20 years, except when I've taken a break for ultrarunning. It's been two and a half years since I last finished an IM – ultras and life have taken priority. But I'm back in a training cycle for a full, although it's been stop and start for the past few months as races have been postponed and canceled. My goal now is Taupo and/or Roth, depending on travel restrictions and whether the races happen at all.

Travel is an important part of it. Triathlon has taken me around the world, and that keeps me fresh. It also lets me race both summers, north and south. Half IMs are part of my training/racing cycle, and I try to mix in as many sprints as I can.

I've been lucky with injuries, and don't worry about how I place. Winning is finishing and looking forward to the next race.

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3 hours ago, more said:

For all the old farts what age did you notice you started to break down and had to take more care with injury prevention? 

I see so many newbies that go to a physio fortnightly like its a Part of the sport.

i often wonder, if in their brain, do they talk themselves into injuries. As in, its a Niggle but they need to see a physio for the 2-4 sessions in a fortnight just because in their head its a Show stopper. 
 

 

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On 24/09/2020 at 6:28 AM, Peter said:

Started 1994. 

never not raced each summer  goal 5-15 races each season  

Race all distances but probably won’t do a full ironman again. 10 is enough. 
 

my tip for lasting.

treat triathlon as a hobby.  You’ll enjoy it a lot more. 

This is pretty much what I have done. Started in 1985. Used to average 15 races a season, all short course and Olympic distances. Easier back then because there was more races. Now average 8. - 10 a season. This year thanks to uncle Corona, just one race.
Learnt early on to make the sport part of my life like a hobby and balance the rest. It’s easier to do that once you accept you just do the best in a race on the training you can get done, while maintaining balance in your life, the more you will enjoy it. 

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I've raced every single year since 1985. 36 consecutive years.

Biggest break I ever took was 6 weeks of casual MTB riding and concentrated. strength program, other than that through the 90's I took usually 2 weeks off each year then 2 weeks light exercise.

But since 2000 pretty much no breaks at all, and definitely I never stop running totally given it opens me up to injury....except for minor injuries that might have forced 5 days of no running every 5 years before I was able to restart running or I mean 'jogging' even at 8-9:00/km pace and 'below the pain' which gradually sped up as the injury status improvement over what was typically a 6-week period. I have no problem going super slow when injured, what people think of me going so slow never bothered me.

For me the big thing is the quantity of quality...not doing too much too fast. I have always viewed the hard/fast work as the icing on my cake, and put massive priority on low aerobic intensity training to build up the body instead of always breaking it (and the health) down like so many do.

Guessing I have averaged circa 19-20h a week of training for 36 years, although I was swimming for 6 years before that and running for the 4 years before (I'm now 51, so circa 40 years of running).

I noticed the biggest change lost smack bang on when I turned 50.

Up to that point, I felt like my recovery was actually better year on year than worse, although I was still obviously gradually getting slower.

But especially the last 18 months there has been a noticeable and sudden drop in aerobic capacity, most noticeable in the swim and run.

Also some patellar tendonosis which requires managing, and, after not having a swimming injury since I was 12 (so 40 years ago), my left shoulder has been mildly bothersome again and also requires management these days.

Apart from that, I am very, very tight...especially in my hips and in my knee joint....movement helps. Stretching helps but only temporarily. I still wake up everyday as stiff as a piece of 4x2, until I get some blood flow happening. Rest makes rust.

I never really stretched.

I currently lift two days a week. Heavy. Especially Hex Bar Deadlifts. It's noticeably good for my hormones. 😉

Be long term greedy. I always avoided 'shoot the lights out' workouts....I called those race day. I save my best efforts for that, and make sure nothing I do in training is 'too' much of a replication, at least in terms of how long I do it more. Sensible exposure and enough to get the adaptations I seek, then shut it down.

I reiterate the very high percentage of base work I've always done. Or aerobic-support as I call it.

I've trained to a very consistent weekly model, for a very long time, with slight variants inside of certain workouts.

I never miss...unless due to (touch wood) rare illness like a getting a cold every 18 months.

I am organised. I don't know anymore more so.

I am pretty beat-up these days. But I think a large part of it is also genetic. No matter how much I trained, even as a kid running the City to Surf as a 12 year old, I was always the guy that was so sore after a race that I could sometimes barely change my own under-pants the next day.

Ironically, medical tests show that the same thing (break-down) goes on at unnaturally high levels inside of my heart, too....even when the exercise ISN'T hard. I've continued to train with that knowledge the last 8 years, my own choice. I get a strong sense that worrying about it does me the same, or more, damage.

I've got out of bed at circa 5am everyday, or 3:30am of a Saturday, for the last 20-30 years, so I can get my first session done before breakfast/work/kids to school, and, given I work for myself, have always done my second session through lunch-break. I aim to be in bed by 9pm.

On diet...I have been pedantic. I rarely eat crap. Nutrition is something I am passionate about. It's always been about good health and function to me.

I rarely drink. Probably 4 years since I last had a beer. I just don't feel like it.

Staying in one piece, though, is finally, and rather suddenly, proving more challenging.

I limit my running to 3 days a week now. One of these is a treadmill session.

Probably lots more I've forgotten to add.

 

 

Edited by MJK
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Interesting that you mentioned weights and hormones, I'm the same age as you but female, so that has become much more of a priority for me these days. Everything has changed in the last 12 months! 

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7 hours ago, CharlieB said:

MJK, I can't fathom being able to maintain that much volume and consistancy for that many years.  Extraordinary.

Lol, I know, it looks demented 'on paper' when I look back. 

But it's just been a natural consequence of doing what I love, and am driven/motivated by.

I also recognise that my needle might swing a bit too far from centre.

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I am wondering if the ability of some being able to handle such volume over so many years is also genetics? I have had to change sports a number of times over the years due to various injuries!

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34 minutes ago, Dalai said:

I am wondering if the ability of some being able to handle such volume over so many years is also genetics? I have had to change sports a number of times over the years due to various injuries!

The biggest issue is most people don't know how to do basic endurance training properly. They go too hard, above the level that builds the body and the constitution, and it's ability to absorb training.

They don't relax enough on their endurance workouts to be able to do enough of it.

The common mentality is that if you have 1h of running, then it ends up pretty solid, or full of intervals, instead of feeling like you could turn around and do it 3-4x over again.

 

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On 25/09/2020 at 08:54, more said:

For all the old farts what age did you notice you started to break down and had to take more care with injury prevention? 

My race times peaked around 48yo (now 51).

I didn't get slower in anything, it was simply the ability to recover between sessions.  So I could no longer fit in the training required to get all 3 disciplines up to the same levels.

Eariler this year (before COVID), I hit swim PBs (ie. Geelong 70.3), scored Strava cycling PBs up climbs (ie. Kinglake) but my running went to shit.  Probably because whenever I was feeling sore (ie. not recovered) I would swap a run session for a swim.

Since COVID I have been concentrating purely on running. With no cycling or swimming, I have far more recovery time and my running has improved out of sight.

I've always used foam rollers, spikey balls and stretching.  I like to do these before bed so that my legs can recover during sleep before I train again.

I have several strength and conditioning sessions I can do by myself, but lack the self discipline to do these regularly.  Found I would do it 3 times in one week and then nothing for the next 2 weeks.  Had far more success by signing up to a weekly 60 min Reformer Pilates class. During COVID, I have been doing a weekly 45 min Strength and Conditioning class via Zoom.

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With exception of a couple of great races pre spinal ops, I'm running consistently faster across more distances than I ever have before.

My tope end cycling has definitely dipped but I still manage to tow the young bucks back along the flat 8km to home on our Monday chain gang. 😉

Mostly I do some yoga and core and stick rigidly to my surgeon's post op advice.

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17 hours ago, MJK said:

The biggest issue is most people don't know how to do basic endurance training properly. They go too hard, above the level that builds the body and the constitution, and it's ability to absorb training.

They don't relax enough on their endurance workouts to be able to do enough of it.

The common mentality is that if you have 1h of running, then it ends up pretty solid, or full of intervals, instead of feeling like you could turn around and do it 3-4x over again.

 

This is definitely where I stuffed up.

Peaked at 48-49, then I broke.  Trying to get back to be able to race sprints consistently, long course, even ODs are over for me.  Discovered mountain biking in the interim which is a nice training variation, though I find still v high intensity on the technical climbs.

For me I think diet may be a big longevity factor re not feeling constantly sore & inflamed - still early days on my experiment with this one but I think gluten & too many carbs don't suit me.

Also think most (all?) coaches don't take body type into consideration when setting programs.  The need for ectomorphs to do some specific strength & balance building BEFORE they can absorb the training volumes/intensities required for long course triathlon.  

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I broke pretty much from the moment I started all this in the mid to late 2000's, but had underlying issues I never sought treatment for (and didn't necessarily recognise), which obviously became exasperated by doing stuff.  Funny enough, if I'd been doing this 20 years longer the issues probably would have been picked up and rectified before the damage was irreparable.

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I have played competitive sport since 1967 (8 YO) to the present day- only missing 2008 due to a serious bike accident. This has been rugby league, basketball, swimming, running and 30 years of triathlon. 

The knees have suffered a little bit over the past few years but my cycling and swimming have been better over the past five years. Running is slow and gone backwards dramatically for about the same amount of years. 

I have been lucky with injuries considering I am a big unit and rarely under 95 kgs. I always take off at least June after Port. This year I have lost motivation and hardly done anything since March/April. 

i must have a bit of genetics on my side. Strength, core and different sports have helped me stop overuse. However, I have never really done any sprint type work - 95% of training is LSD or strength work. The reason I don’t do sprint work - not a single fast twitch fibre in my body.

FM

 

 

Edited by Flanman
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Back into the gym and onto the elliptical to get some semblance of running fitness.  Probably start swimming in a week or so, which is telling as my mate and I only start swimming a little while before a race.  I will be taking on board that concept of going too slow! 

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