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Tips for going from novice to Half Ironman in 10 weeks

Tips for going from novice to Half Ironman in 10 weeks

(Rebecca Richards)

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SALT LAKE CITY — My twin sister and I are not triathletes. We grew up enjoying activities like soccer, volleyball, skiing and hiking — nothing that involved goggles and a swim cap or prolonged periods of running. That being said, competing in a Half Ironman had always been a goal of ours. We decided that it is now or never.

With just 10 weeks to prepare, Hayley and I set out determined to prove with a little hard work, dedication, and the support of our local community that great things can happen. We are going to go from no formal training to conquering the St. George 70.3 Ironman on May 3.

We definitely have our work cut out for us attempting to do an exhausting 1.2-mile swim, 56 miles of biking, followed by an excruciating 13.1 mile half marathon. Not only will the physical demands of a 70.3 Ironman without any previous experience be challenging, but also juggling a training regimen with our full time schedules will be a feat in and of itself. Hayley is a full time clinical therapist and I am a small business owner and full time mom. Still, even with our busy lives, we are determined to succeed.

My sister and I both live in downtown Salt Lake City and have been able to use this great location and community to our advantage. There are an abundance of trails and canyons surrounding the city itself that offer the perfect platform for endurance training. Check out for suggestions and directions on fast, easy access to great biking and running minutes from downtown Salt Lake.

Salt Lake City is an active community and as the idea of our Ironman unfolded, we’ve encountered a huge base of support from local businesses that believe in being active and achieving goals.

We initiated the preparation phase of our 10-week training at Canyon Bicycles. I’ve been an avid mountain biker for years now, but racing on a road/tri-bike in an Ironman is another story. At Canyon Bicycles we found much needed help and advice from Ali Black, a professional Triathlete and Team Manager. We were able to try on and check out triathlon clothing and learn more about what was needed for the cycling portion of the Ironman.

Next came the running. When it comes to running, I prefer not to do it unless I am chasing something or being chased. Training for an Ironman will be a different challenge and we needed a little help. We went to Wasatch Running Center to learn more about the demands of running a half marathon and to get the proper footwear. I also found the running gait analysis Wasatch Running offers to be helpful.

As I mentioned before, Hayley and I are not swimmers. Before last year, I could count on one hand the number of times I'd “swam laps”. However, with the help of a friend offering his collegiate swim career tips, we have begun our swim training at our local gym. Swimming laps isn’t too bad so far, but as our training program calls for, the short little swim workouts we’ve begun are just going to get longer and longer.

Nutrition will also play a key roll in our training and success. Research has almost become a second job for me followed by the trial and error of experimenting. Eating while exercising is a new game to me and I know will need practice.

With all my trial and error thus far, I have found some products that have been working really well. Gnarly Nutrition is a local Nutrition company that puts out a great product. I have loved their Electrolyte Boost drink that helps replenish lost electrolytes and energy. Good Earth Health Food store is also a great place to pick up Gnarly Nutrition products as well as ordering online. Besides finding the right nutrition supplementation, eating well balanced whole foods diet is key to any training program.

With a couple of weeks under our belts, the groundwork has been laid out. With our own 10-week modifications to a 16-week Ironman training program, I am confident that we have a great start.

Bryn Bingham is co-founder of, a travel blog that celebrates the sweet spots around the globe. She currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and son. Email:


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