Triathlon – pre-race preparation

Thought i’d give my pre-race observations, it might be interesting to compare with the race report.

Training
I started training in earnest at the start of July having only done a bit of running and the occasional swim beforehand. Overall things have gone really well, i’ve managed to make progress every week either further or faster.

The swim still worries me as I can still only front crawl around 60-70% of the time and I’ll have to do a certain amount of breast-stroke on the day.

My friend Andy lent me a pair of tri-bars, telling me to have a practice as they can be a bit odd at first. I’ve…erm…completely failed to do any practice and here I am using them for the first time in the race.

All the advice also seems to be practice swimming in your wetsuit, in the sea. Again, i’ve kind of failed to do this either, though with this I at least planned to, I was simply thwarted either by Royal Mail or the weather. We’ll see whether this comes back to haunt me or not.

Gear
I really underestimated the amount of stuff that i’d have to buy to do a triathlon. I already owned a racing bike, have running shoes and swimming stuff. I guess I assumed that a wetsuit would be optional this time of year and it turned out to be mandatory. Also I’ve had to get various sundries for the bike, alltogether it’s really added up and this was without luxuries such as heart rate monitors etc.

Anyone thinking of doing triathlon – be prepared for an outlay!

Prospects
When I started training I would have been fairly hesitant thinking about even finishing. Things have gone pretty well since then and in recent weeks I’ve even started the very dangerous thinking of doing ‘a time’. I should probably whisper this, but I think that if things go well and the transitions aren’t too long then three hours or less might be possible.

Feeling excited, hope the weather isn’t too hot and hoping we get there in time, so that I’m not forced to rush!

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Triathlon – brick training #4

This was my last big session before the race next Sunday so I was keen that this went well.

238 - gears

Again I was in Dulwich park so that I could train on a flat course and not have to stop. This time there seemed to be far less people in the park, particularly families which helped me and the lack of a puncture this week was also welcome.

I managed a quicker bike time of 1:29 and a fairly comparable run of around 00:43. Crucially I felt a lot better afterwards and not like I was going to die. I feel better than ever about finishing next week though I’m still worried about the swim – I never did have a try-out in the sea.

Today I’m stripping all the unnecessary bits off the bike to make it race ready and next I’ll be getting all my gear together for the big day.

Triathlon – swim training

Six weeks ago I could just about manage a bit of breast-stroke once a week. Now I’m swimming with the confidence of a barracuda, though not quite the skill.

233 - ready for a swim

For the last few years I’ve been going swimming every so often, doing the same stroke and not really feeling like I was improving. Signing up for the triathlon, however, has made me try to get better and even to have a go at front-crawl, something that I’ve never been properly taught.

In the absence of any convenient courses, I’ve been observing other people in the pool and in videos on the web and slowly tried to swim front-crawl. At first I could only manage the odd length before nearly dieing, but over the weeks my fitness has improved and so (I think) has my technique.

Sadly, I think I’m going to run out of time before I’m going to be able to swim front-crawl non-stop, but I’m hoping to manage it at least half the time in the race.

Over the winter I aim to really work on the swimming and next year I should have no excuses!

Triathlon – brick training #3

The tiredest I’ve felt for a very long time.

Triathlon no.3 - Run

As the big day approaches i’m trying to train as close to the race conditions as possible. The training I usually do involves lots of hills whereas the race will be completely on the flat. My solution was to go to Dulwich park early on a saturday morning and train there.

Bike
I started my ride around the 1.25km circuit and was going well up until the 6km mark when I got my first (ever) puncture. In a way, this was a relief as it gave me a chance to practice changing a tyre and i’ll now be less worried and hopefully quicker if I get one in a race.

I carried on and after 1hour 35minutes of a fairly boring ride, finally finished my 40km. I’d pushed things pretty hard, but still think I can put in a better average than 25.1kmph.

Run
Tried to do a quick transition, but I think I took ages to get into my trainers and grab my iPod. I hadn’t set myself a target for the run, but I was finding it ok and finally managed just over 7km. I felt pretty done for by the end, but I know I could have carried on to 10km if I had to.

I feel things are coming together now and feel more confident than ever of finishing. The problem I’ve got now is that I’ve started thinking that I’d like to do a sub three hour time.

Perhaps I should walk before I could run.

Triathlon – brick training #2

Wanted to head to the coast and do a ‘sprint’ distance run through including a sea swim. The weather had other ideas though and the sea was running at force 4-7 so I couldn’t risk it.

223 - Triathlon no.1 - Swim

Instead, I took the opportunity to have another, slightly longer brick session. I did another 36.6km cycle and then a 5.3km run and this time felt a lot better.

Feeling fitter each week, it’s only the swim that worries me now as i still can’t front crawl the whole distance. Something to work on over the winter I think.

Triathlon – brick training #1

“If you want to finish a triathlon, then finishing costs – and here’s where you start paying.”

216 - triathlon training

I’ve been training for a triathlon for the last six weeks, slowly building my distances and times. I’ve been running and swimming twice a week plus a long cycle.

Today I did my first ‘brick training’ session – a long 36.5km cycle followed by a 5km run. After the cycle I felt ok, but the run was really hard and felt like I was dragging round lead weights on what is normally a fairly short distance for me.

I have just short of four more weeks before the South Coast Tri where I will be swimming 1.5km, Cycling 40km and finishing up with a 10km run.

Easy eh!