How to train for your first triathlon

I constantly hear others refer to me as “crazy” or respond to my next goal by “oh boy!”. The nice thing about that is that it reassures me that what I am setting out to do isn’t the rule, it’s the exception.

In 2018 I set a goal to complete my first triathlon. Granted, it was a sprint tri (5k run, 1/4mi swim and 10mi bike) – no iron man or anything REALLY crazy;  but a triathlon race nonetheless. I was inspired by watching elite athletes that completed Iron Mans and decided I wanted to try something new. At this point I had only ran half marathons. I didn’t own a bike nor did I know how to swim aside from a doggie paddle. I dedicated 60 days to train for my tri sprint and although I would recommend at least 90 (if you are already active), it is something that is doable if you are committed. I didn’t hire a coach or join a club which I also think could have been beneficial for me. Nonetheless, self-training is possible! This is how I did it:

 

  1. Buy your ticket – yes, this is step 1. Why? Because you have a goal and are less-likely to bail if you already spent the money on the ticket. You have a specific deadline for a race, therefore can work backwards and train yourself with a goal in mind. I have never done a tri before, so I chose the sprint distance because it was realistic rather than trying to jump straight into an international distance.
  2. Set a schedule – As I mentioned before, my only athleticism really stemmed from running. According to the different blogs I read, you should complete every sport 2-3 times per week. The sports that you are less great at should definitely be 3 times per week. Another thing to keep in mind for all sports is that strength training shouldn’t be taken for granted. Lifting some weights, doing ab workouts and sustained body strength movements are imperative to build up your overall muscle and endurance. This said, my schedule went a little like this:Monday: Run (1-2 miles) and weights (15-20 mins)
    1. Tuesday: Run (1-2 miles), bike (5 miles) and swim (250-500 meters)
    1. Wednesday: Bike (5 miles)
    1. Thursday: Swim (500 meters) and weights (15-20 mins)
    1. Friday: Rest
    1. Saturday: Long training day – Swim 250 meters, bike 11 miles, run 3.1 miles
    1. Sunday: Rest

 

The days and regimen would change per week, but I would try to mix it up as much as I could to have a ratio where I was swimming 3 times for sure. I am a morning workout person, so I would try to do both workouts in the morning. If it wasn’t possible, one would be before work, then the other after. I also believe in balance and working out 5 days per week vs 7. I think it is nice to have 2 days off to relax and allow your body to recover. These are great days to roll and stretch because that is what recovery is all about! I also found a lot of value in watching YouTube on various techniques for swimming. I listened to various triathlon Podcasts.. YES THEY EXIST! And they were another great tool in learning more about the community, as well as different tips and tricks for training. There are so many great people on Instagram as well that serve as motivation on a daily basis, so start following different hashtags to gets tips and training ideas. Don’t forget that getting your mind right is also part of your schedule and training plan.

3. Grab your gear! – As I mentioned before, I had nothing aside from my Asics to get started on this journey. I went to a local sports store and bought my swim cap, goggles, and bike shorts to start off. I still wasn’t sure what type of bike I would buy, but wanted to start cycling so I got the basics to start with indoor cycle. A few things to note when buying your gear:

  • Try on your cap! I have very long hair so I had to make sure the material I was buying fit my head.
  • Buy lighter tinted goggles. I would have never thought the tint of the goggles would make a difference, but I made the mistake and bought dark purple goggles (they were cute too!). There was nothing WRONG with them, but you felt like you couldn’t see the full swim area, which was definitely not something you want for your first tri. Especially if you are swimming in the bay which is already dark; there is no real comfort in seeing nothing.
  • Check the ratings on your bike shorts online, but don’t get too stuck on them. Gel vs non-gel, etc. try them on and if they are comfy, buy them!

After I got these essentials to start, I decided that I wanted to get a semi-nice bike although I could live without one. I set myself up for alerts on Offer Up and found a great deal! I bought a Fiji that was 2 years old but in great condition. I immediately took it to the bike shop to get a tuneup (bike shops I went to did this for free – so it is worth it!) and they semi-taught me how to use the gears and take the tires on/off. I also got myself a helmet and found a trail where bikes were allowed without cars so I can train in peace. Outdoor cycle is so different than indoor, so make sure you train on both!

If you are going to buy a wetsuit, don’t do what I did. I bought a surfer wetsuit, which is a completely different material than a tri wetsuit. Look into the race info and there will likely be a discount on the wetsuits through them. I am yet to buy a tri one (I need to sell my other one) but know it will be beneficial. The price for both, when on sale, are comparable in the $70-85 range. If you decided to buy a tri suit (which I didn’t), then depending how warm you feel in it and when you are racing, you may not even need a wetsuit, but that is personal preference.

  1. Find a friend that can do at least one sport with you – I was lucky to have a swimmer friend who would swim with me once a week for about 3 weeks and that really helped with my confidence. Even if you have support in one area, it will encourage you in all others. This is another reason why joining a club would also be a great idea!

 

  1. Have long training days – Although this may be difficult, having one long training day is necessary. Training the sports right after each other like you will on racing day makes a difference. I thought I was fine with my running so the bike/run transition was going to be a breeze (I used to run 13.1 miles for gosh sakes! What’s a 5k!), but after biking 10 miles, that 5k becomes a lot more challenging. You can also tell in these training days where you start getting tired and need the extra boost. I am not the type of person to take pre-workout. I just make sure to eat enough food to fuel me through the race; however, after training I noticed that I need a boost after biking. I bought some caffeine jelly beans and popped 2 and felt like a champ through the running portion.

 

  1. Eat! Yes, you are going to be hungry so make sure you are eating enough protein and healthy carbs (oatmeal, beans, rice) to keep you fueled on a daily basis. Also make sure to have food right after working out and hydrate! After every long training day I would buy an electrolyte replenishing drink such as Pedialyte and a protein bar so I had something in my system within 15 minutes or working out. Not staying up with my nutrition when I used to run halves was one of my biggest mistakes and I learned my lesson for this sport!

Learn from my mistakes

Being self-taught, there are obviously things I learned along the way that I would change, so learn from me!

  • Get all of your gear as soon as possible. I got my wetsuit 2 weeks before the race and it was so different swimming with it on vs just a bathing suit. It is heavier, my arms were less mobile AND I forgot I need to wear my clothes under it so my swim experience was completely different.
  • If you think you are going to do a tri again, get a tri suit. I don’t have one but think it is worth it and will buy one for my next race. If you aren’t buying one and are using regular bike shorts and a shirt, train with that ON.
  • Train at the location you are going race at (if possible). I did all my swim training in a pool which was great, but swimming in a salty bay with seaweed was very different. I only gave myself 2 chances prior to race day to really feel the experience and I should have done it sooner.
  • Get bike shoes! I still need to get mine, but buying shoes with pedals will help you feel more secure on your bike.
  • Join a club – self-training is a commendable thing, but nothing serves you better than joining other people who enjoy doing what you (want to) do. This will also help with things such as learning better techniques for all the sports and learning how to use gears on a bike (again, another thing I still need to learn).

 

All of these things said, I LOVED my first tri. I felt so inspired, strong and happy. I plan to complete the San Diego Triathlon Triple Crown with my first race in May 2019 and put into action all of the things I learned from my first tri. I hope these tips help you out and you are inspired to take on the tri challenge!! 🙂

 

Cruise tips

Wanna cruise like a pro?

It had been a long while since I last went on a cruise and boy, did I enjoy it. The various offerings of food, entertainment, relaxation and sun make a cruise so much fun! The last time I went on a cruise I was underage and relied on my parents heavily to take care of things, but this time I had to take things into my own hands and do some research. There are a few things I did and others I wish I would have done, so here are my tips for your next cruise!

  1. Before you book – Personally, my husband and I  tend to be very active on our vacations, so we weren’t sure how we were going to like the cruise with 3 days at sea. We took a 7 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise with Carnival  and really enjoyed it. We would do another cruise, but likely 5 days long with 3 stops if we could. During this cruise, we liked the excursions we took (visit the forest, Snuba, waterfall adventure and a beautiful beach) but we also really enjoyed the relaxation that came with it. Bottom line: always think about your travel preference (active/relaxing) when booking your cruise to ensure you don’t get bored/overwhelmed. The days at sea are really relaxing and although there are things to do, you may feel a little cabin fever so if you don’t like a ton of downtime, then choose a cruise with less sea days. If you love the down time and enjoying all the boat’s amenities then a longer cruise or cruise with less stops is best for you! If you are traveling in a large family group, look into group rates. Large family groups are common on cruises due to the price and convenience, so try to get the most for your money and get that great rate!
  2. Read the FAQ’s about your drinks very carefully – Whether you are a big drinker or not, buying drinks on the cruise can get a little pricey. Personally, I do not drink soda, only with alcohol, so that made no difference for me but there is a package for those that do and want to get “bottomless” soda. Remember that on a cruise the water, tea and juice is included but not everything else. There is also a “bottomless” alcoholic beverage package that you may want to buy if you plan on drinking more than ~5 drinks per day on the cruise. If you are a heavy drinker consider buying the package. Keep in mind, however, that you will likely not be on the boat much on the days you dock. Make sure to weigh your pros and cons on each end. In addition to this, also check the amount of drinks you can bring with you on board. We cruised with Carnival and they allowed 1 bottle of wine or champagne per adult. Take advantage of that! You may also purchase a case of waters which is convenient if you don’t want to drink tap water – whatever works for you!
  3. Print your luggage tags and boarding passes– Although many places don’t care for paper, some allow you to print things upon check-in at airports, that was not the case with th cruise. When we checked into our cruise at the Miami port we were expected to have our bags tagged up and our tickets printed. Make sure you have yours pre-printed if needed.
  4. Decide if you will get WiFi – In our particular case, we had to get work done so we bought WiFi. It is pricey and the connection is pretty bad. This is a plus or minus on your cruise depending how you see it. If you really want to unplug, you can. If you need to get work done or still use social media while on board, you can… at a slow pace. This is another perk if you are going wit family because the kids are forced to interact and engage without electronics.
  5. Explore your excursion options PRIOR to getting on the boat – Do some research on your destinations – what are top things to do there? What do you want to ensure that you see and do during the time you dock? Your time is short, so you want to ensure that you make the most of it. The ship will have some excursions available on their site, so look through them and the reviews to make sure you are picking what best fits your interests. It is best to do this before the cruise so you can just relax onboard and avoid lines, as well as avoid lines on board to book the trips. Remember that there is no Wifi on board unless you purchase it so your research capabilities are limited once onboard.
  6. Lanyards are key – literally! You are given a card that is to be used as a room key, credit card and ID for the entire time on your cruise. Everyone either buys a lanyard or has one with them to facilitate carrying the card on you. They sell lanyards on board and they are expensive, so if you already have one, take one lanyard per person to save you some money. This also allows you to leave your wallet and other valuables in the safe in your room.
  7. Get to know your boat! – Once you are on the boat, you want to know where things are. Walk it deck by deck and explore what is on each deck. You start to get a feel and open up your mind to the different things to do while onboard and it helps you better plan your days out at sea.
  8. Read your daily itinerary – The great thing about the boat is that every day there are a ton of things going on all day, for all ages. Carnival has an app that you can use onboard where you just favorite things and it will remind you when they are starting. It doesn’t require an internet plan to use it, so it is very convenient for a variety of things such as dining options, show times, location of things, etc. Checking your itinerary on a daily basis also ensures you don’t get bored and engage while on the boat.
  9. Pack smart – When packing, try to use the smallest luggage you can possibly pack all your things in. Your space is limited, so you want to ensure you aren’t tripping over your bags in your room. I would even recommend packing the small travel sized toiletries so you are comfortable in your shower. Always pack a light jacket regardless of the destination. They are blaring the AC, so you want to ensure you aren’t freezing. Also check how many “formal” nights your boat has. These fancy dinners are nice to go to because there is entertainment, photographers everywhere and it’s fun to dress up with your family.
  10. Enjoy! – Our favorite part about going on a cruise was that it was a worry-free vacation since everything was done for us – food, transportation, room service and cleaning service. Entertainment was awesome and it was given to us for such a low price. We got to see some great ports, just enough to do some fun excursions and we relaxed a lot which is what we needed. There is a gym on board so you can still get your workout in to help offset all the yummy things you are eating, which is also great!

What cruises are you considering in your future? Do you have any additional tips?

Ahoy!

XO,

Gina

 

How to get up earlier

Hey, friend!

Happy second week of the year! If you’re like me, you are working on implementing something new in your life this month. If one of your goals is to get up earlier, this blog is for you!

I typically get up between 4:30-5am to kick off my day and constantly get asked how I do it, so I wanted to share a few tips and tricks to get your day started a little earlier than usual. It doesn’t have to be at the time I wake up, but just earlier than your normal time to maximize your day. Here are a few tips to get your day started earlier:

  • Sleep earlier – This may be the hardest one, but by far is the most important. In order to find your routine of getting started earlier, you need to find out how many hours your body needs to sleep. It is recommended you get at least 6, but preferably 7-8 hours of sleep per night. I have found that my body can live with 7 hours of sleep and be happy. I am not sleepy halfway through the day (after some caffeine of course!) and have enough energy to workout in the morning. So if you want to start your day at 4:30am, like I do, you need to be in bed by 9:15 at the latest to give myself some time to unwind and be asleep by 9:30. In order to establish a routine, I recommend you try it for three (3) weeks straight, including the weekends. Let’s be real – you are busy on the weekends, so if you can’t be asleep by 9:30 (in my case), then set an alarm 7 hours (or whatever your sleep time is) from the time you fell asleep. This will help set you up with a routine and gives your body consistency and you will later find yourself waking up at your desired time.
  • Get excited!: Know why you’re getting up earlier, and what you will be doing. When you are getting ready for bed, re-connect on why you are getting up. Remind yourself how great you will feel after doing “X” therefore it is worth waking up. You should know EXACTLY what you will do when you get up as well. For example, if it is working out – will you be doing cardio? If so, running? Stairmaster? Or is it a specific routine? Again, takes the thinking out of what you will do that morning. I take this one step further and find a quote on Pinterest that I can relate to the night before. I have since started a “motivation” board on Pinterest to motivate me the night before and get me excited for the morning. In my case, I workout as soon as I wake up, so my quotes are usually about fitness.
  • Set your clothes out: If you are trying to get a workout in either sleep in your workout clothes, or set them in your bathroom next to your toothbrush to get dressed easily in the morning. This is a HUGE time saver, and allows you to run on auto-pilot. You should prepare everything down to your watch, socks and shoes. Also have your water bottle ready to go.. That takes time and energy in the morning that you don’t want to worry about.
  • Set your alarm further than arm distance away: This forces you to get up to quiet is down. If it is possible and you can hear the alarm, set it in the bathroom on top of your clothes so if forces you to get out of bed and you can even start changing right away. If you allow “snooze” too many times, you will likely not get up in time to complete what you wanted.
  • Drink water: YUP! You are dehydrated from not drinking all night, so water will help you wake up and hydrate your body. If you need a little extra push, take some caffeine right away.
  • PRO TIP: Have your go-to playlist of music that pumps you up! Have a dance party and get into the groove!

 

As you can see, most of the work happens before the morning, so prep is key in starting your day earlier. Try these steps on a consistent basis, at least for 3 weeks and I am positive you will be waking up earlier and feeling UH-MAZING!

Do you have any other tips to get up earlier?

 

XO,

Gina

 

The power of habit trackers

Hey, doll!

Want to make sure you stay on top of your New Years resolutions? One way that I like to keep track of my goals and habits is through a habit tracker. I found that many BUJO (bullet journal) junkies make these so I started them back in 2017. You don’t need a journal to start one, you can start one in any planner or journal that you have. There are also some printable ones if you find yourself not wanting to create on yourself.

I like habit trackers because you are able to see how you are doing on specific habits in one area, at a glance. You can track different habits every week, but typically you should be trying to create and maintain new habits on a monthly basis, right? They say it takes 21+ days to create a habit so it is best to make them on a monthly basis. I track my Miracle Morning habits (SAVERS) on here, my eating habits and even my sleeping habits. If there is an area where I am struggling, or trying to focus my energy on, I will also add that to my tracker.

Aside from visually seeing how you are doing on your habits, you are also physically practicing reading the habits every single day and checking them off. You are interacting with the habits that you want to create every day, manifesting them, which also ensures that your habits are top of mind.

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Do you use a habit tracker? What do you track? If not, you should try it out and let me know how it goes!

 

XO,

Gina

 

2018 Favorites

Hey, friend!

Can you believe another year passed by?! SO crazy! I feel like the older I get, the faster the time passes by. This year was a great one and I got to experience some pretty awesome things, including turning 29 a couple weeks ago… EEK! I am officially in the final year of my 20’s.

A few of my favorite 2018 events and things that I will be talking more about in my blog are:

  1. Traveling and Adventuring: I absolutely LOVE to travel, try new experiences and see new places. We visited Guadalajara, Mexico, went on a cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. John, Virgin Islands, Nassau, Bahamas, Amber Cove, DR and we went to Cabo, Mexico. We tried Snuba for the first time which was pretty awesome! We also got to experience Splash House for the first time which was a pleasant surprise. I went on a river boat and tried wakeboarding for the first time. I was initially scared of it since I hurt myself snowboarding in the past, but this was a different experience and it was such a rush!
  2. Practiced self-care: I set a goal to do something every week that made me happy and it changed the way I went about planning my week. Every week I would ask myself: “Am I doing something for myself that will make ME happy?” It could be anything from buying myself my favorite coffee, sleeping in, waking up early to complete my morning routine, taking a dance class, exercising outdoors or even putting on a face mask and reading. This question fundamentally changed my year to bring me more happiness and fulfillment.
  3. Completed my first triathlon sprint: This was a goal that I was really excited about since I retired from half marathons in 2017. Completing this race gave me a challenge that I needed to push myself and prove that I am a versatile athlete. The entire year I focused on  how to become a stronger version of myself which added up to a successful race. This goal has now pushed me to do more races and hopefully place in the top 10 in my age group in 2019.
  4. Spent quality time with my loved ones: I am the eldest of 7, am married and have an amazing group of friends. This year I was committed to being more thoughtful. Whenever I hung out with my loved ones, I made sure I was present and there when they needed me most. These experiences brought me so much fulfillment and happiness and I am committed to continue to be present when I am with my family.
  5. Hit my 5 year marriage anniversary: This is a HUGE one! Being married to my high school sweetheart and best friend has been one of my biggest blessings. We continue to grow together as a couple and as individuals. Our anniversary this year makes me so proud of who we’ve both become and the achievements we have accomplished together.
  6. Expanded my team at work: I am fortunate to have grown my team at work which has made me an even stronger professional. I continue to work on myself to be a stronger professional, trainer and leader.

What were your highlights of 2018? How are you going to use those memories and lessons to fuel your fire in 2019?

Xoxo,

Gina

 

Hi, I’m Gina!

Welcome to my blog! I am a 29 year old living in San Diego, CA. I love all things fitness, traveling, brunching and learning.

I started this blog because, as I approach the end of my 20’s, there are so many things that I feel we can share, learn and talk about together. As I continue to learn and grow, I would love to take you along my journey so it can hopefully help you out as well.

The topics on my blog are the things that my girlfriends and I talk about, so it’s a very free-flow blog that is meant to build community and open up conversations around the things that we are facing on a daily basis. You will find things about: health & fitness, travel, career lessons, self-care and most importantly – honesty.

I hope that you enjoy my content and we connect on Instagram to get to know each other better!

XO!