Category Archives: triathlon

Preparation for the 2008 London Triathlon – sprint distance

London Triathlon 2008 – sprint distance

The London Sprint Triathlon was yesterday: 750m swim, 21km bike, 5.2km run. The Excel Centre was quite a big, daunting venue for my first race of any kind, and my race was last on at 17:00.

It was a horrible day for it – persistent rain and  a bit of a wind. I’d managed a couple of swims in my wetsuit, and it was beginning to feel less like an alien lifeform engulfing me. I knew I could do the distance.

In the event, however, it wasn’t the distance, the wetsuit or the open water that bothered me it was complete inability to deal with swimming with so many people (over 300 in my wave).

I just couldn’t get any rhythm, with feet and arms and heads everywhere. So I panicked and hyperventilated. The unfamiliarity of the open water, and of my first race obviously contributed, but the main problem was swimming in a crowd.

Once I was away from other swimmers, I got into some rhythm, but every time I caught up with a group, I’d start to panic again and lose the plot. The kayak marshals were great, but I nearly gave up there and then. In the end, I completed the swim leg in over 28 minutes.

I walked slowly through transition 1, and used it to regroup, but felt much better once I was on my bike and starting to overtake people. I’d always known this would be my best discipline, and was reasonably pleased with my time of 46:29 in persistent rain and wind.

By the time I got to the run, I just decided to treat it as a jog in the park, and make sure I got home in one piece, without walking. It took me 31:37, and I finished in 1:55:23.

I felt pretty good afterwards, and just have slightly tired legs today. I’d do it again, but I’d try to pick an event with fewer competitors, and sort out my open water swimming, so that I have more in reserve to deal with the splashing crowds.


Long overdue update

old and new

I’m crap at blogging, aren’t I? I’ve got a few things I want to say, but I don’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll probably post again later.

I haven’t been as organised in my training as I intended, but I’ve been doing quite a bit of running and cycling. And, as you see, I have new running shoes. Now I must go and get them dirty.

I got out of the habit of swimming when my skin got really sore in the cold weather earlier this year. The chlorine and wetness seemed to make it much worse, and I haven’t got back into the habit since then. I intend to start swimming again this week. 750m is minimal in terms of distance, but I do need to work on my technique.

Likewise, I haven’t been keeping to a diet for a while now. My weight has been stable since I stopped dieting, but I should make a final push to lose this last half a stone – I’m sure it would help my fitness level.

In exciting personal news – I now have a niecelet to add to my collection of 5 nephews. Born at 4:17 this morning. My mother is delerious that she finally has a granddaughter.

Triathlon goals

State of play, end of February.

There have been a few disturbances to my intended schedule:

Firstly, my bike was stolen. This also affected my swimming, as the pool is at least a couple of miles away, with no easy public transport link. Having to walk there and back makes the exercise very time-consuming.

Secondly, I haven’t been very well in the second half of February. I had fairly severe skin soreness in the cold weather, followed by stomach upsets, apparently caused by coffee intolerance, followed by caffeine withdrawal headaches when I tried to sort that out. Ho hum.

Taking this into account, I’m reasonably happy with where I’ve got to so far:

Have run max of 45 minutes continuously. Have run two or three times per week. Can run 5km in 32:48 at comfortable speed (measured a couple of weeks ago before I got poorly).

Have swum < two times per week on average. Have recently suffered a bout of very sore, dry skin, and haven’t wanted to risk the chlorine followed by a walk home in the cold.

Can easily swim 750m in front crawl. Can swim 30s lengths for couple of lengths, but I have to slow down a bit to swim 750m.

SPL (average): 22

SPL (minimum): 17

Was cycling until my bike got stolen. Have just received my new bike, and bought a cycle computer to log progress.

Have averaged 1660 kcal per day since 21st January. Have lost 6.2kg since that date. Am now within “healthy” range, but I need to lose quite a lot more to be race fit.

General health and fitness:
Quite good until the last couple of weeks. No migraines or fainting. No colds or flu.

Done masses of walking (well, with no bike, I have little choice).

My arms and legs are becoming noticeably more toned, but I have no abs to speak of.

Goals for March:

Run 3x per week (2 short, 1 long, or 1 short, 1 medium, 1 long). Increase duration of long run conservatively. Be able to run 60 minutes continuously by 31st March. Try to include some gentle speedwork on some of the shorter runs.

Maybe buy some new running shoes. I’m currently running in *ahem* “Aldi Technical Jogging Shoes”. They don’t seem to have caused me any problem, and I’m not sure whether the whole running shoe industry is largely a con, but since I’ll be increasing my volume of running, it might be better to be safe than sorry.

Swim 3x per week. Make one of these a 1-hour session. Try to get to pool a bit earlier to maximise lane-swimming time. Incorporate drills, rather than just ploughing up and down. Aim to reduce SPL. Visit Command Baths (50m pool) when I go home.

Ride regularly, now that I have a bike again. Try to get at least one long ride in per week. Do a bit of Fartlek. Get gear to build racing wheels onto my MA2s.

Continue on 1600-1700kcal per day if possible. Aim to lose 3kg in the month.

I really should try to do some core exercises and stretching. And limit the coffee.

Oh shit.

What have I done?

What possessed me? I have committed myself to half a year of pain. I’m not sure I can do this. I could do each leg in isolation, but in quick succession? I must be out of my mind.

Did I mention that I haven’t swum since summer 2000?

Small steps

I had a piss in this corner

Originally uploaded by Yersinia

I went for my first run of the year today.

Actually, it’s an insult to runners everywhere to call what I do “running”, but I’ve always hated the word “jog”.

I haven’t run for about six months, so I started gently – just walked to Forster park and did three 5-minute runs separated by a minute of walking, then walked home.

It went fine. Obviously I’m slow at the moment, and I was slightly overdressed for the mild weather, but I had no real problems.