Triathlete Profile: Todd Jenson
Understanding how to balance life with triathlon training, family and job responsibilities is the key to being successful in your triathlon journey.
We are showcasing beginner and seasoned triathletes so you can see how they do it!
How long have you been doing triathlons?
Over twenty years! Wow, time has passed. I had been bike racing off and on since the early 1980s and did a bike-run biathlon (before the term duathlon came about) in 1989. I did my first triathlon during the summer of 1990, an Olympic distance race in Madison, WI. I have a more complete racing biography. In 2006, my wife and I started Tri Faster to formally provide our coaching services and clinics.
How do you balance your workouts with family/job responsibilities?
Lauren and I help busy people achieve this balance all the time. Many of our clients are training for long distance races and the perception is that one needs to train 20 hours or more a week in order to finish. This is not the case, as we have coached people with demanding jobs, young children, and the desire to not be tired all the time on much less than that. I think my biggest week ever of training has been 20 hours, and that was because I was on vacation with nothing else to do. People see triathlon as this all-consuming activity, and for some people it is. But it can also be enjoyed in healthy moderation!
The balance is achieved in three ways. One, being realistic with how much time each week can actually be devoted to training after all the other responsibilities are accounted for; two, being realistic with race expectations; and three, having an overall plan for the season that provides the outline to meet the training and/or race goals.
Do you have a favorite triathlon moment?
After over twenty years in the sport, there are many. If I had to pick one, it would probably be my performance that resulted in my first triathlon overall win. It was a sprint race with a time trial format, and went flat out for just under an hour. I swam to the best of my abilities, used all my bike racing tricks to squeeze out every second possibly over the 15-mile cycling course, and then gutted out the 5k run on very fatigued legs that screamed bloody murder with every step. I didn’t find out I won until someone told me about an hour later that my name was at the top of the results just above the guy who usually won everything in the area at the time.
What is the best advice you can give to a newbie?
The only goal you should have for your first race is to finish with a smile on your face. Don’t be concerned about your time or place. Realize everyone else is more concerned with themselves than how you perform. No matter what you will get a PR! You want to go into the race understanding your limits and have some goal paces, but understand triathlon can throw many unexpected punches and sometimes you just need to roll with it. So concentrate on moving forward and getting across the finish.
What is your favorite workout?
High Intensity Brick Intervals. We usually do these with small groups but they are great for really increasing your fitness and practicing your transitions. Basically, it is like doing a bunch of short duathlons in a row. A typical workout would be something like: run 1/2-mile, bike 2 miles, run 1/2-mile, rest, repeat. I wouldn’t advise anyone do this workout before they have a good base level of fitness and some tempo work done.
What’s next for you?
Ironman Wisconsin 2011 is the main focus of this season. Lately I’ve been more of a recreational cyclist and runner in terms of training, so I need to get to the pool and local lakes ASAP!
Interested in telling TriathaNewbie.com readers how YOU balance YOUR life with triathlons? Email us with the subject line “Triathlete Profile” and let us know! We would love to hear from newbies as well as seasoned veterans. Your words just might inspire someone to get off the couch and to the starting line!
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