Adam Ragsdale, longtime runner and Brand Manager for Athlinks (part of Life Time Fitness) is taking on a new challenge in 2016: Life Time Tri Boulder Peak presented by Voler on July 10. We sat down with him to discuss training, the triathlon community and how he manages to work full-time, raise a 2 ½-year-old and be a new triathlete.
Life Time Tri: What motivated you to take on a triathlon after participating in running events for years?
Adam Ragsdale: I’ve been a passionate runner for 10 years and have participated in a handful of half marathons, my first being the ING Georgia Half Marathon in Atlanta.
While training to do my first full marathon, I broke my foot on my second 20-mile training run, and coincidentally, my physical therapist strongly suggested cycling as a form of cross-training, which was my first entrance into the cycling world. This was about the same time I started working for Life Time Fitness, and was surrounded by a community of cyclists and triathletes that made the transition into sport appealing.
From there, I volunteered at the Life Time Tri Boulder Peak in 2015 and recognized that I was already regularly running and biking, so all I needed to do to take on a fun, new challenge was to incorporate swimming.
LTT: How do you fit in training while working full time and raising a 2 ½-year-old?
AR: First and foremost, I have a really supportive wife who appreciates my lowered stress levels that come with staying active and training throughout the week [laughs]. I’m also very lucky to work in an environment where fitting in personal fitness and training into your workday is not only accepted, but encouraged.
On top of that, I have a lot of access to things at the office like stationary bikes and treadmills, showers, which are a lifesaver after a long lunch run, and incredible trails to run and ride on right outside the doors.
Lastly, for the first time in my life I have become a real planner — each night I’m packing my meals and snacks for the next day, as well as my training clothes. Then all I have to do is wake up in the morning and head to the pool before work to get a swim workout in.
My goal is to do two swims, two bikes and two runs per week, yet of course there are times when you miss a workout. Just move on from it, if you can get two workouts in the next day, great; if not, it’s not the end of the world. And I’ve definitely been that dad who runs with the stroller and tows my son behind my bike on rides, which hopefully will prove to be a good training technique come race day.
LTT: Which discipline do you like the most?
AR: It’s a toss up between the swim and the bike right now because they’re both new to me and I can track my progress and see myself improving week to week.
That being said, I’ve fallen in love with the swim workouts. I’ve never swam before except for fun, and while I’ve always felt very comfortable in the water, I had never strapped on a pair of goggles and a swim cap until deciding to do a triathlon. I’ve found the process of starting my day off with a swim to be really meditative.
On the other hand, I’ve really been enjoying the bike, as I have a lot of friends and co-workers who ride, so it’s become a fun, group thing to do on the weekends that brings about a sense of community.
LTT: What’s your average swim workout?
AR: Honestly, I kind of make them up as I go along. This morning I started with a warm up of 200-300 meters of a freestyle swim, then did 8×250 meters with 30 seconds of rest in between. My goal is to work up to the endurance level required for the full 2,000 meter swim so, come race day, I won’t be surprised.
LTT: What surprised you in training for your first tri?
AR: I haven’t come across too many surprises, as I’m fortunate enough to work with and have friends who are all experienced triathletes, so I’ve had a lot of guidance along the way.
LTT: Do you have a goal for race day?
AR: Not yet. I will absolutely have a time goal come race day, even though that probably goes against people’s advice for a beginner triathlete. It’s not enough for me to just finish, in all honesty, so I’ll have a pretty specific time goal dialed in by the time race day hits. I may share it, I may not [smiles].
LTT: What general tips would you give to those interested in trying a tri?
AR: Some valuable advice that I haven’t fully taken on myself is to probably seek out some kind of professional coaching. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been surrounded by friends/amateur coaches who have filled that space for me, but it’s not enough to try and take on this new training regime totally alone. I’ve been thinking pretty seriously about getting a swim coach to help me work on my mechanics before I develop bad habits.
Next, just go get in the pool or hop on a bike. Triathlon tends to have this incredibly intense reputation because of IRONMAN, but not all triathlons are that intimidating.
A sprint or Olympic distance tri is attainable, and it’s really, really empowering when you start to believe in yourself and see that you can actually do it. There really is so much information out there and the triathlon community as a whole is a really welcoming one.
I would also highly recommend doing the Indoor Triathlon Hour, which I did in January. It’s a huge confidence booster and a really reasonable amount of time. The 10-minute swim, 30-minute bike and 20-minute run sets you up really well to experience what the transition from sport to sport looks and feels like.
Lastly, seek out all the resources you can. Whether it’s through Life Time Tri training clinics, talking to different experienced coaches or friends or even researching online, you’ll be able to find the training path that works for you.
Learn more about Adam’s first tri, Life Time Tri Boulder Peak, and consider joining him! Individual and relay team options are available.