I'm not ABSOLUTELY POSTIVE this is right for me
Kudos to you for recognizing that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. It's important that you choose a plan that is right for your ability and your lifestyle, so let's address some concerns you may have.
I'm concerned that I'll get injured doing the required high intensity workouts
The first thing to realize about injuries is that they are caused by placing repetitive stress, or loads, on the body greater than the body can handle. You typically don’t get injured from just one run. You get injured when the body is not allowed sufficient time to recover between runs.
A study conducted by the University of South Carolina studied 583 veteran runners. They found that the most important predictor for injuries was total mileage. Those who ran 40 miles a week or more were more likely to get hurt. This doesn’t mean you should never do more than 40 miles a week in your training, but the research does suggest that, over the long haul, mixing in hill repeats and speed work with the long runs may be the way to go.
Note that the South Carolina study was conducted on veteran runners, not beginners or sedentary subjects. This is important because it clearly indicates the injury rate for experienced runners is similar to that observed in beginner runners. Runners are frequently told that with proper training and time that they can safely and successfully increase their weekly mileage. This study clearly indicates otherwise.
A study shown in Med Sci Sports2 showed that running 30 minutes, 3 days/week resulted in an injury rate of 12% – 24%. Running 30 minutes, 5 days/week resulted in an injury rate of 39%. Running 5 days a week for 45 minutes each time resulted in an injury rate of 54%. This study does a great job of illustrating the increasing risk of injury associated with increasing training volumes. Each increase in training volume results in an increase in rate of injury.
Notice that injury is related to total running volume and not speed work. Conventional wisdom holds that speed work causes injury.
Research challenges that belief.
The strength building portion of The Balanced Approach is essential for injury prevention. Building strong muscles and joints will help prevent injuries as well.
References: 2Pollock ML, Gettman LR, Milesis CA, Bah MD, Durstine L, Johnson RB. Effects of frequency and duration of training on attrition and incidence of injury. Med Sci Sports.
Everything in triathlon costs so much!
There’s no denying that triathlon is an expensive hobby. At the minimum you must have a bike, helmet, pair of shoes, a swimsuit and goggles. From there you can spend tens of thousands of dollars in pursuit of having the most aerodynamic time-trial bike, lightest shoes or fastest wetsuit. But even the most casual of multisport athletes probably spends more money than they think on gear that will have a very minimal impact on their performance or overall health and happiness.
So instead of upgrading to that $50 carbon-fiber water bottle cage or $60 for the Speedo goggles that Michael Phelps wore at the Olympics, invest that money in a guide that will help you achieve your goal of the full distance finish without sacrificing your relationships, and will give you fitness and nutrition knowledge that will last you a lifetime.