Training For The NYC Triathlon

Like most fitness enthusiasts, I’m always in search of a physical challenge. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has allowed me to experience a lot of personal growth. Besides, if you only do things that you’re good at, you probably won’t get to do that many different things.

Though I’m known primarily for practicing bodyweight strength training, I’ve also been a recreational runner for several years, having completed multiple races such as the Brooklyn Half Marathon and the NYC Marathon. In fact, I’ve often said that running is the most basic form of bodyweight training in existence. It’s an essential life skill that any fit person should be capable of doing. The same can be said for swimming and cycling. With that in mind, I’ll be participating in my first triathlon this summer. The NYC Triathlon is less than two weeks away and I am ready to rock!

Try to Tri
Triathlon training can be very demanding both time-wise as well as logistically. Arranging to train in three different modalities that all require unique parameters and equipment is overwhelming on it’s own, to say nothing of actually doing the workouts.

Add to that my continued dedication to my strength training during all this and we’re talking about a huge time commitment. Good thing I love working out!

Sink or Swim
Like most triathlon first-timers, the swim was the part I needed to work on most, so I’ve practiced swimming at least three times a week since I got accepted into the race last fall. Nine months ago I could barely swim 100 meters in a pool without a break; in less than two weeks I’m going to attempt to swim almost a mile in the Hudson River.

The rest of the race consists of a 25 mile bike ride, followed by a 6.2 mile run. While neither of those things is too daunting on their own, doing them back-to-back right after the swim is going to be a serious challenge. Though I’ve been running and cycling on and off for years, I’ve recently increased my milage in preparation for this race. My cardiovascular endurance feels solid and my legs are ready to go.

Strength and Conditioning
Of course I’ve also been doing strength work 3-5 times a week. But by treating those workouts strictly as skill practice (low reps, lots of breaks and only working on one or two things at a time), I’ve managed to maintain most of my strength and even improve at a few things like lever holds and hand balancing.

I’ve become a much better swimmer since beginning my triathlon training, and my running and cycling have felt as natural and fluid as ever. If you define physical fitness as being fit to do various physical things, then I am the fittest I’ve ever been. I’m not looking to set any speed records on this race – just finishing will be enough satisfaction. I’ve dedicated my career to calisthenics and bodyweight strength training, the triathlon is something I’m doing just for fun.

Watch the video below to see some highlights from my triathlon training:

If you’re interested in to getting a pair of running sandals like the ones I’m wearing in the video, check out Invisible Shoes.

22 thoughts on “Training For The NYC Triathlon

  • By Arek Mytych -

    Well, good luck with race Al!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Arek!

  • By Kddubb -

    Funny how things align in different ways.  I came from ironman and triathlon training and decided I needed more strength, which led me to Pavel, which led me to Dragon Door and Convict Conditioning, which just recently led me to you and Raising the Bar.  

    Like you, I can say I feel like I’m in the best shape to do anything in my life.  It’s a great feeling…best of luck!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Kddubb!  We may have started in different places but I guess it all eventually comes around full circle.

  • By Jgreenservices -

    your an inspiration Al , all the best with the rest of your training and the race. Make sure you let us know how you get on.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks!  I’ll be sure to post a race report once it’s all said and done.

  • By Matt C -

    Enjoy you first Tri. I did a sprint try last year for the first time it was fun. I do have on tip for you. Try to avoid breathing every swim stroke. Its wasted energy. You should easily be able to go 3-5 strokes before a breath. It doesn’t sound like much but you may want that little extra for the end of the run.

    It will probably be the only tip I could ever give you. LOL! Thanks your all of yours!!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Matt!

  • By Bluenote84149 -

    Just out of curiosity, did you gain, loose weight as a result of your training regime or did it stay the same. I know you barely weight yourself, but I’m wondering.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      No significant weight gain or loss, but I’ve actually been training this way for a while already so my body is accustomed to it:

  • By Anil -

    Hi buddy,

    I wish you an happy triathlon race. Post about it. Best. 

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Anil!

  • By Jakjylben -

    I’ve been waiting for this post .. Thanks for sharing and have fun
    You will do great .. Can’t wait to see here about your experience .

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for your support, Jakjylben!

  • By Dendritical Neuron -

    Good luck Al, sounds repetitive but ‘Do your best!’
    Just dropped by to really THANK YOU!
    Following your book and your nutritional advice ( I read the book you recommended), I managed to lose 7 lbs and counting, feeling the best I have in years, not to mention building muscle and feeling ZERO pain in joints now. THANKS AL!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      You are welcome!  Congrats on your progress!

  • By Nickfrew -

    Good luck with this Al. Funnily enough, I’m thinking of starting running again after basically not doing any for a few years (outseide of sprints for conditioning). I saw you lacing up the ‘racing sandles’. I’ve just re-read ‘born to run’ and I’m thinking of going done the minimal footware route. Any thoughts?


    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Right on, Nick!  As for minimalist footwear, I am a big fan of Invisible Shoes brand Huaraches (link to their website is right under the video posted above).  Just make sure you ease is slowly if you haven’t run in a long time.

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  • By bill -

    Hey Al, thanks for the awesome article. I was just curious if you ever do “deload” week or simply taking a week off.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Bill! And yeah I took it easy the week of the race.

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