Thursday, January 6, 2011
Arkansas for Triathlon Training
I know this an older article mentioning how Little Rock just missed one of the best places to train, but I still have to say that I really enjoy Arkansas for training and living. I do know that it doesn't have the diversity of a large city such as DFW, NYC, or any other big city, but it's much easier to get away from the city in no time at all. Another advantage is the low cost of living in Arkansas compared to some larger cities. The summers are hot, but I don't really mind the heat. We generally have a mild winter. The average high in Jan. and Feb typically hover in the low to mid 40's on average, but have many days above 50.
I live in Conway, AR and I can leave my house and be out on open roads in about 5 minutes. Once I cross the Arkansas river bridge and go about 10 miles there really isn't much traffic at all west of Conway. You can go North of Conway for more hills. Arkansas even offers the advantage of completely flat if that is what you are looking for. I can drive down to LR and then ride out SE of Little Rock on roads that are pancake flat.
In Conway, the running is your suburb running. Running through neighborhoods, sidewalks, and streets. There is a running/walking trail that goes through part of town, but it's somewhere I go just to run. In LR, the best option that you have is the River Trail that circles from LR around to I-430 bridge and then back to NLR. It is a great trail to run. There will soon be a bridge that connects it to 2 rivers park which will give you more running and biking options. As far as trail running, you can always head out to Pinnacle (outside of LR) that offers some nice running.
As far as open water swimming, the best place I have found so far is Lake Beaverfork in Conway. It is a great option in Conway. In mornings, it is not very crowded and you can get a nice swim in. There are plenty of great lakes in Arkansas to choose from, but I don't know how well they do for open water swimming.
Now for the final part, racing, Arkansas offers great choices for triathlons. DLT events (dltevents.com) runs many races around Arkansas with road and off road triathlons offered. There is also a couple races put on in NW Arkansas (2.5 hrs) put on by other directors, Texarkana(3hrs), and Forest City (2 hrs). Of course, if you are interested in Ironman series races, there are (5) 70.3 races within a 8 hr drive on less. There is also one Ironman within an 8 hr drive in Houston and an Iron distance race (Redman) in Oklahoma City. There are always races in other cities that are an easy 3 to 5 hrs away from LR.