About a year ago, Garmin software engineer Lauren Olson was just getting her feet wet in the sport of triathlon. Now, she’s diving right in, completing the Marquee Triathlon (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run) with an amazing finish as 5th female overall. While we’re impressed with her quick progression as well as her times, we really shouldn’t be surprised since she’s had the best training tools at hand. Lauren has a long history with Garmin fitness devices and most recently has been using the Forerunner 910XT — our premium multisport watch with swim metrics. Next up on Lauren’s race calendar: Ironman Texas, on May 19. Her Garmin family will be following along and we’ll keep you updated after her race. For now, find out how Garmin fitness devices have shaped Lauren’s tri training and helped her smash her previous PRs.
I started out with a Forerunner 205 roughly 7 years ago (I was “just” a runner at the time). I really loved it and it played a big part in my wanting to work for Garmin. I’ve retired the 205, but currently use a Forerunner 405 for runs, an Edge 500 for biking, and the Forerunner 910XT for swimming and brick or triple workouts. The biggest benefit for me personally has been finally incorporating heart rate-based training. I used to poo-poo heart rate monitoring, thinking that I know my body and what it is capable of, but it turns out there was a whole other level I hadn’t been tapping into. I’ve been on a heart rate-based plan I found online for about 6 months now in preparation for Ironman Texas, and I use a Forerunner or Edge in every workout to make sure I’m keeping the intensity I’m supposed to. Having a plan like this makes it really easy. You go out, you make your Garmin say what it needs to say, no thinking about it, no excuses.
One of the things I really love about the 910XT is seeing exactly what I did in the open swim, which usually entails getting way off course. It’s nice to have some feedback about my weakest discipline and hopefully use that to improve my sighting technique — or lack thereof. I will wear my 910XT at Texas, as I have also found watching my average speed on the bike really helps keep me on target. When a race is hours and hours long, you sometimes forget you are supposed to be pushing yourself! I’ve been shattering my PRs lately, taking 12 minutes off my half marathon (I did my first half marathon 9 years ago — it is very satisfying to kick your 20-year-old self’s butt!) , and most recently a half hour off of my 70.3 tri at Marquee. My time was 5:16:52, which was 5th overall, 2nd in my age group, plus I had the 2nd fastest bike split. I am still very new to triathlons, Marquee was only my 5th triathlon ever (3rd in the 70.3 category), and my first tri was almost exactly a year ago. I’m very excited to see how much more I can improve using this training approach.
After Ironman Texas, I’ll compete in the ITU Long Course World’s in Vittoria, Spain at the end of July, so this is turning out to be quite the season for me. This sounds crazy, but Ironman Texas is actually a warm-up race for worlds so that the O3 distance doesn’t seem as intimidating. I sort of lucked into qualifying for it. I was the last qualifier in my age group at nationals last October. But it has been very motivating knowing that I’m going to have “USA OLSON” printed on my tri suit, and I want to have a good showing for myself and my country. Now I’m feeling very confident about things, and excited for summer to get here already, which is not something we usually wish for in Arizona.
Check out Lauren's swim, bike and run data from the Marquee Triathlon in Garmin Connect, our site for free online analysis, storing and sharing.