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Sprint Triathlon Training 101

Group of individuals participating in a race.

Imagine your adrenaline pumping, sweat glistening on your skin as your stride quickens finally seeing the finish line up ahead—so close, yet so far. It’s like a scene right out of a movie, arms pumped into fists above your head as you cross the finish line, exhausted but feeling accomplished. Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer and Cardiovascular Pro Jonny Wright and Swim Pro Marni Kerner share tips for helping you cross the finish line to your first sprint triathlon.

The basics

First things first, what is a sprint triathlon? A sprint triathlon is a series of three athletic events typically including a 500-meter swim (pool or open water), 12- to 15-mile cycle and 5K run (3.1 miles). Combining three athletic events into one race can seem daunting but breaking it into smaller chunks will help you accomplish the challenge.

If you are starting from scratch, allowing yourself 12 weeks to prepare for the event is optimal. “I recommend my clients who exercise regularly to spend at least eight weeks preparing for their race,” says Wright. This allows proper time to train for each individual aspect of the race. Training three to five days a week (one to two days for each event) is plenty. Be sure to schedule regular rest days into your training as well to prevent injury.

  • Swimming. Swimming is the shortest part of the triathlon at only 20% of the total race. It is important to conserve energy and save your legs for the next two sections. Focus on correct form and steady breathing. You can often make up time in the bike and run portions of your race. A place to start when training for the swimming portion of the triathlon is practicing swimming for 20 minutes or so one to two days a week. Exclude your breaks from total swim time.
  • Biking. Biking is the longest part of the triathlon at 50%. For the bike portion, keep a steady pace throughout the 12 miles and focus on a smooth transition into running. When transitioning off the bike, give your legs a quick stretch to get your blood flowing. Focus on endurance when training for this portion of the race. Practice biking at a steady rate for long periods of time.
  • Running. Your last leg of the race, running, takes up 30% of your time. Instead of sprinting right out of the gate, it is best to slowly build your speed throughout this event and finish strong. When beginning your training, interval training is beneficial. Run for 30 seconds, walk for two minutes and then repeat. As your training progresses, increase the amount of time you’re running and decrease the walking time.

“Focus on your weakest event,” says Wright. “If you’re already an avid swimmer, your training program could include swimming once a week allowing more time for running and biking.” Training varies depending on your fitness level and limitations.

Being mentally prepared for your first triathlon is key. “You will likely hit a wall during your triathlon, especially during the running portion after having already completed the swim and bike part,” says Kerner. “Think about how far you’ve already come and the finish line up ahead to help motivate you to keep going.”

Top tips

Having competed in multiple triathlons each, Wright and Kerner share their top three tips for completing your first sprint triathlon:

Jonny Wright

  • Keep your training simple. The more complicated you make it, the less fun the event will be.
  • Don’t get caught up in the numbers and data. Focus on just completing each section, no matter how long it takes you.
  • Practice your transitions. Brick workouts can help you train for your transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. An example brick workout would be biking a mile and then transitioning to running 800 meters or so. Practicing this multiple times will ensure you are well prepared for race day.

Marni Kerner

  • Ensure you have proper gear. Local bike shops and triathlon shops such as PlayTri rent out necessary gear so you don’t break the bank purchasing for your first triathlon.
  • Consult with a credible professional such as a professional fitness trainer. They can help you build a training program to prevent injury.
  • Do your research. Researching will ensure you know what you’re getting yourself into and not biting off more than you can chew. When exploring specific races, pay attention to the course map, where the transitions are and start times.

Lastly, just have fun! Signing up for your first triathlon can be scary, so make it less intimidating by finding a training group. Running, biking and swimming clubs can be found in most major cities. PlayTri and other local triathlon shops can help connect you with a group and help you register for your first race. On race day, talk to other competitors. You may learn something about the course or gain helpful tips and tricks from seasoned triathletes.

Interested in training for your first triathlon? Get sport-specific and professional fitness training at Cooper Fitness Center. Learn more at cooperfitnesscenter.com. And it’s never too young to start. Get the whole family involved with our youth triathlon clinics.

Dive Into Cooper’s Masters Swim Program

Not many sports are labeled “lifetime sports.” The reason is many sports can wear out one’s joints and put bodies at a higher risk of injury. Swimming is known as a lifetime sport due to the minimal risk for injury, while enhancing your strength, endurance, flexibility and confidence. The exercise of swimming can be learned at any age—and can be enjoyed for a lifetime! Not only does this sport take impact stress off your body, but it can help you maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs.

At Cooper Fitness Center, we take pride in our Masters Swim Program for these very reasons of low impact and cardiovascular benefits. Swimmers of all levels—beginners to advanced—participate. They meet weekly to work on mechanics and training techniques to improve their overall skills.

In May, Cooper swimmers competed on the Lone Star Masters team, which placed 1st overall at the 2022 Spring National Championship meet in San Antonio. Cooper swimmers medaled in many events—both individually as well as in the relay. Of the 1,800 total competitors, seven Cooper members competed—Tom Christian, Janie Cole, Ken Wooley, Lynn Silver, Ross Meyer, Stephanie Stewart and Elliot Brackett. Congratulations to all!

While the competitive accolades are gratifying, the health benefits of swimming are even more valuable long term. Swimming helps you maintain a healthy weight and healthy heart while toning muscles. Not only does swimming build your strength and endurance, it also keeps your heart rate up. Masters Swim Program member, Peter Roe, says, “I’ve been swimming masters for 9 years now, three times per week, year-round. It has replaced running, which I knew sooner or later I would have to give up. I’ve learned new skills, maintained a mental edge, made many new friends and even lost weight. Every class is different—some days we do sprints, some days long distance, some days both. But always a variety. And it’s as competitive as you want it to be. Our morning group is moderately competitive. Overall masters has been very rewarding to me; I hate to miss even one day.”

Cooper’s Masters Swim Program is a positive environment providing a common bond to foster new friendships. We asked a few of the members how this team has impacted them for the better:

“I began swimming as a kid and have never stopped. Others on the team have come back to swimming after years or even decades of not swimming as a fun way to stay healthy, active and be the best they can be.” – Ross Meyer, swimmer and coach

“Being on the team has meant a great deal to me. From physical fitness, to friendships, and the fun of swimming at competitions, it adds up to the whole package. I was a beginner swimmer when I joined, and it was very gratifying winning third place in the 400-meter individual medley and first place in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2019 long course zone championship at Texas A&M University.” – Ken Woolley

“Cooper swim team is the best hidden gem! Few even know it exists but the ones who do have been with it for decades. This group is very supportive of one another, very welcoming to new swimmers, and the coaching staff are the best in the state! Every level of swimmer can come get a good workout and get help on stroke technique. Each lane has different intervals to welcome all ages. These are small group practices where no overcrowding occurs.” – Stephanie Stewart

“I have the pleasure of being part of our Masters Swim Program as a swimmer and a coach. It’s the people who make this program special. Bobby Patten is our Lead Coach. Always a fun and knowledgeable coach to have on deck! The swimmers are dedicated and entertaining at the same time. Never a dull moment at our practices. Lots of laughs with lots of laps! We welcome new swimmers at any level. Do not be intimidated. We are here to make you a better swimmer and a part of our very special group!” – Janie Cole, swimmer and coach

Location: Cooper Hotel Pool

Dates (ongoing):

Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 6:30-7:30 a.m.

To learn more about joining Cooper Fitness Center and taking advantage of all membership has to offer, visit the Cooper Fitness Center website or call 972.233.4832.

If you are already a member, visit the Masters web page to learn more about how to join our Masters Swim Program!

Chronic Disease Management and Prevention

Backed by science and based on Cooper Aerobics’ 50+ years of health and fitness expertise, Cooper® Tracks is more than just a fitness program. Cooper Tracks combines exercise and education to form specialized programs focused on chronic disease management and prevention. With six tracks—four focused on chronic disease and two on prevention—there’s something suitable for everyone.

Chronic Disease Tracks

Adults with the following would benefit from Cooper Tracks:

  • Cardiovascular: Diagnosed with stable cardiovascular disease, completed cardiac rehabilitation or may not qualify for cardiac rehabilitation or those who have cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Arthritis: Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory arthritic conditions.
  • Diabetes: Prediabetes or those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancer: Diagnosed with cancer or those recovering from cancer at any stage.

Prevention Tracks

To help prevent illness and chronic disease, adults with the following would benefit from Cooper Tracks prevention tracks:

  • Immunity and Reconditioning: Desiring to follow a preventive approach to boost immunity or those recovering from COVID-19 or illness/immobility.
  • Well-Being: Who desire to follow a preventive approach to health, deconditioned or sedentary and inconsistent with regular exercise.

Watch the video below to learn more about Cooper Tracks.

Programs are eight weeks in length with two small group exercise/education sessions per week. Sessions consist of a 50-minute workout including a warm-up, cardiovascular exercise, strength-training and cooldown. Each program begins with a pre-program health assessment which includes testing cardiovascular endurance with a six-minute walk test and a body composition test. Throughout the duration of Cooper Tracks, participants are given a personalized exercise plan as well as education materials, including goal setting, to help them better understand how to manage their chronic disease and live a healthy life. At the conclusion of the program, the same assessment is performed to show individuals how far they’ve come over the eight weeks.

Lotty Repp Casillas joined the Cooper Diabetes Track at Cooper Fitness Center thinking it would invigorate her but she gained so much more. “It has been good to have a group who has diabetes to talk to and figure out how to deal with the good and bad days. I have loved this experience; it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time,” says Casillas. Not only has Casillas gained a better understanding of exercise relating to diabetes, she also bonded with other participants and instructor Debi Wilkins, MS, professional fitness trainer. “Debi has been incredible. She has really taken the time to know and understand how we are dealing with diabetes.”

Cooper Wellness Strategies Programs Director Sheryl Brown, PT, MSPT, says “Cooper Tracks is not your typical small group training. The education component is specific to the chronic disease being addressed which promotes self-efficacy and independence with management of the chronic disease. Cooper Tracks focuses on all four domains of health and wellness—physical, mental, social and behavioral— which sets us apart from other fitness programs.” Addressing all domains of health ensures the participant’s physical, social and emotional needs are being met which fosters long-term compliance and better outcomes for the participant. These programs are individualized based on the needs of each participant while also providing community, accountability, fitness and education in a small intimate setting.

Carla Sottovia, PhD, Director of Fitness and Personal Training Education at Cooper Fitness Center, says “My favorite part of seeing Cooper Tracks come to life is the positive feedback we’ve been given. Participants have enjoyed the program structure and it has been great to see them grow from day one to the end of the program.”

While the chronic disease tracks are specific to individuals living with a chronic disease, Brown and Sottovia agree that the prevention tracks truly are for anyone. “The Well-being Track can apply to anyone because it consists of comprehensive educational content centered around mental health, stress management, body ergonomics and mindful relaxation techniques,” says Brown.

Whether you are diagnosed with a chronic disease or want to focus on prevention, Cooper Tracks is proving that fitness and wellness is for everyone.

Cooper Tracks is currently offered at:

To join Cooper Tracks, contact one of the facilities in your area. Interested in implementing Cooper Tracks in your facility? Visit the Cooper Tracks page on Cooper Wellness Strategies website, call 972.560.3263 or fill out the online form.

Cooper Fitness Center Pro Zone

June 22, 2017 1 comment

Welcome to the Cooper Fitness Center Pro Zone! This monthly blog post will be the place to learn all about our Cooper Fitness Center sports professionals, the programs they offer and how sports training can benefit you. From tennis, swimming and basketball to boxing and martial arts, we have a pro for you!

Whether you’re looking to add a new level to your workout routine, participate in a group exercise program or enhance existing athletic skills, you’ll accomplish your goals with our pros. Get to know Mike, Corey, Derrick, Marni, Andre and Coleman below:

Mike Proctor, Martial Arts Pro: 45+ years of Pro-Zone-Mike-Proctorexperience

Q: How did you begin practicing martial arts?

A: I began practicing the martial ways as a child growing up in a U.S. military household. In 1962, I began to take lessons in various styles of the arts.

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: Each New Year brings reflections of the past and visions of the future, along with a body that is a year older. It is never too late to challenge yourself with new activities and a healthier lifestyle.

Q: What is one thing you wish everybody knew about martial arts?

A: Martial arts demand focus and dependability. These are two aspects of character essential to meet any challenge, whether set by oneself or by life. To quote Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.” It worked for Great Britain in 1940, and it will work for you in 2016!

Corey Noel, Tennis Pro: 10+ years of experience Pro-Zone-CoreyNoel

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching tennis?

A: I love teaching tennis because it’s a lifelong sport. It’s my biggest passion and I love seeing the enjoyment on players’ faces when they learn a new skill or see improvement in their game.

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: Set achievable, concrete goals. Ideas such as “lose weight” or “eat healthier” are positive goals, but are difficult to achieve and measure. Setting specific week-to-week or even day-to-day goals are easier to achieve and keep you in line with what you’re aiming for overall.

Q: How do you define good sportsmanship?

A: I define good sportsmanship as playing the game with integrity and common courtesy, much the same way we should all try to live our lives. It means giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that fun should be the primary goal of any sport and playing each game or match to the best of your abilities and with maximum effort.

Derrick James, Boxing Pro: 35+ years of experience Pro-Zone-Derrick-James

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching boxing?

A: I enjoy the interaction I have with my clients and members – they are always eager to learn and to work hard.

Q: Who was the primary influence when you were introduced to boxing, and who is your greatest role model?

A: My mother and my boxing coach are my biggest influences, and also my role models. They always had high standards and I didn’t ever want to disappoint them.

Q: How do you define good sportsmanship?

A: A good sport is someone who is able to take a loss with the same grace as they embrace and enjoy a victory.

Marni Kerner, Swim Pro: 15+ years of experience Pro-Zone-Marni-Kerner

Q: What is your favorite thing about Cooper?

A: There are so many things I love about Cooper! Perhaps at the top of my list is knowing I am part of a community that is surrounded by the most amazing resources for health and fitness knowledge, opportunities and experience.

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching swimming?

A: I love teaching confidence in the water. I believe it carries over into other aspects of life. Swimming can be very technical and challenging, so I often see a growing sense of pride alongside skill improvement, which leads to the health benefits swimming can provide. I am also happy to know I am teaching a lifelong sport and perhaps lifesaving skills.

Q: Who is your favorite role model, and why is he or she important to you?

A: My father is an amazing role model. At almost 80 years of age, he portrays a Cooperized lifestyle. He stays fit with daily exercise, including swimming!

Andre Vahdat, Assistant Tennis Pro: 10+ years of experience

Pro-Zone-Andre-Vahdat

Q: What is one thing you wish everyone knew about tennis?

A: Tennis is incredibly beneficial for the health of your body. It is a full body workout that you can do from your young years all the way to your senior years. It’s a great aerobic exercise that keeps your heart healthy.

Q: When did you begin playing tennis?

A: I began playing tennis at the age of 8. I  would play with my parents just for fun.

Q: Are you right or left handed?

A: Right

Q: Who would you like to play tennis against most?

A: My son. When the time comes, he can challenge me!

Coleman Crawford, Basketball Pro: 40 years of experience Pro-Zone-Coleman-Crawford

Q: For those setting health and fitness resolutions, what is your number one tip for success?

A: I would suggest people set attainable goals, be consistent with efforts to achieve those goals and listen to your body throughout the entire process. Always pay close attention to your health.

Q: What are some of your favorite basketball memories?

A: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) basketball games…and meeting Michael Jordan!

Q: If you could train in another sport under another sports pro, what would it be?

A: Boxing with CFC Boxing Pro Derrick James.

Tune in for more information and news about Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros at cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.

 

Cooper Fitness Center Starts Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

Today is a big day for Cooper Fitness Center and Cooper Aerobics. With our members, employees and media guests here to celebrate, we’ve got big news to announce. See the news release here.

  • 10:05 – Dr. Kenneth Cooper discusses the 1982 reopening of the fitness center

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  • 10:13 – Roger Staubach talks about his time at Cooper Fitness Center amd Dr. Cooper’s importance in the health and wellness world.

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  • 10:17 – Dr. Tyler Cooper announces a $6.5 million dollar renovation for Cooper Fitness Center.

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  • 10:20 – Dr. Tyler Cooper introduces the new restaurant to open with the new fitness center, Cedars Woodfire Grill. This will be the restaurant’s first Dallas location.

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  • 10:25 – Dr. Tyler Cooper begins demolition!

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  • 10:30 – Everyone is enjoying Cedars!

Watch this video of Dr. Tyler Cooper operating the excavator to start demolition on the Cooper Fitness Center.