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Rookie In Training: The Nation’s Triathlon

"Rookie in Training" columnist Jason Devaney writes about his first race after Ironman 70.3 Timberman.

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Every Wednesday in “Rookie in Training,” beginner triathlete Jason Devaney will share training advice he learns as he jumps into the sport.

In the two and a half weeks since my half-Ironman, I’ve done three bike rides, three pool swims and zero runs. Later this afternoon I’ve got a short run and a bike ride scheduled.

Did I mention I have another race this weekend?

I feel dreadfully under-prepared and out of shape.

I haven’t really made any changes in my diet, other than not consuming as many bars, gels and chews (because of not riding and running, you see). So I’m eating roughly the same amount of food and not doing much working out.

See where I’m going with this?

I have to admit though, it’s been nice to take some time off from training. After the half-Ironman I relaxed at the beach, where I soaked up some rays, read a few books and ate lots of seafood.

It was exactly what I needed. But now that my next—and final—race of the season is just a few days away, I’m starting to doubt my conditioning and overall fitness. Of course, it’s probably all in my head. And it’s an Olympic-distance triathlon, not another half-Ironman.

A year ago if you told me I would do an Olympic triathlon to have fun, I would have laughed and called you crazy. But that’s what I’m planning to do at the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. on Sunday: Have fun.

PHOTOS: 2012 Nation’s Triathlon

Gone are the high-end, full-carbon wheels for my bike I rented for a month. I’m back using my stock setup, which is not particularly light or aerodynamic. But the swim has historically been wetsuit-legal, which will make swimming in the Potomac River more enjoyable. The 10K run shouldn’t be too much of a challenge and I’m familiar with the route, having done some other races on the same roads. It’s flat.

The lesson I’ve learned the past few weeks is that it’s important to relax after your big race of the season. After spending months training, a well-deserved break should always be your priority. Your body needs time to recover from the grinding of training and racing.

It’s good to give the mind a rest too. I did that by laying on a sandy beach for a week.

After this race, I’m going to sit down and jot down some notes about my season—what worked and didn’t work, did I hit my goals, etc.—and start figuring out an off-season plan.

I’ve already got some goals I want to accomplish next year, which won’t be possible without a solid fall and winter of training.

If you’re looking for me in the meantime, I’ll be in the nation’s capital having fun.

Jason Devaney is a freelance contributor to, and A resident of Virginia, he spends way too much of his free time training. When he’s working, he’s typically dressed in either sweatpants or a cycling kit. Follow him on Twitter @jason_devaney1.

Learn more about the Nation’s Triathlon at

For beginner tips, read past “Rookie in Training” columns.

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