Working from January Cold to Summer Beachbody

Working from January Cold to Summer Beachbody January 11, 2012

Last summer I successfully completed my first 2-month Sprint Triathlon training: Swim 750m/.47 mi, Bike 20 km/12.4 mi, Run 5 km/3.1 mi. I used the free training program available here.

In the fall, I started a 4-month Olympic Triathlon training (1.5 km/0.93 mi Swim, 40 km/24.8 mi Bike, 10 km/6.2 mi Run), but I lost my momentum as the days shortened and the weather grew colder. However, here in January — on the other side of solstice — as the days slowly lengthen, I can feel myself ready to start shaking off the call to eat rich foods and hibernate by the fire. And appropriately one of Patheos’ themes this month is Health and Wellness. Currently, I’m in the middle of week two of the training. I’m not sure if I will run an actual race, or if I’m simply doing the training to see if I can go the distance for my own sake, but there is an online Triathlon Calendar if you are looking for a nearby race.

When it is over forty degrees, I am usually running and biking outside. Otherwise, I hit the treadmill and exercise bike. And we are fortunate to have access to an indoor pool about twenty minutes away. For determining what to wear in various temperatures, I highly recommend Runner’s World free “What to Wear” website.

While running and sometimes while biking on trails, I enjoy podcasting or listening to music. I have also enjoyed using the Runkeeper app on my iPhone to keep track of my distances. I set the program to let me know my total distance and pace every ten minutes which helps keep me motivated and aware of where I am in process.

For the strength training, I pair the three weight days of P90X2 with my running days because the swimming and biking are usually paired together on the plan I am using.

I love the balance of triathlon training, instead of simply pounding the pavement with everyday running. But if jumping into a triathlon sounds like too much, I’ve heard many reports of success with the Couch-to-5K Running Plan.

There’s lots of equipment you can buy, but for swimming all you really need is a pair of good googles. For biking, I’m still using my mountain bike, although I may get a tri-bike eventually. And you really do need a pair of good running shoes that you use exclusively for training. Consult your local running store for recommendations. I also recommend this recent post on Beginner’s Guide to Long Distance Running by a Matt Frazier, a frequent blogger, marathoner, and ultramarathoner.

What are your plans in 2012 for a more embodied spirituality that incorporates spirit, mind, and body? Any advice out there for triathlons, running, biking, swimming, or weights — or for those just beginning to train? I welcome your feedback in the comments section.

The Rev. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. candidate at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook ( and Twitter (@carlgregg).

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