Thursday, 21 June 2012

How not to train for a triathlon

With my first triathlon just round the corner (a fact I have been conveniently ignoring for the past few weeks) I am now starting to seriously panic!  I have had a major case of the CBAs (can’t be arsed) when it came to actually training for this event and as a result I am completely and utterly unprepared. 

In an attempt to make myself feel better I decided to check out the results from last year and... you guessed it there is every chance I am going to be last!  Given my current estimates for my swim and bike times I will be equal with the guy who finished last last year (just to bring it home with a bang, he was in the 70-79 year old age category... massive fail!!). 

I really don’t mind coming last (someone has to) and it is my first triathlon.  I just don’t want to last by such a long way that everyone else has packed up and gone home!  I am also well aware that if this happens it is entirely my fault (and there’s nothing I like better than someone else to blame).   

My swimming has been progressing nicely with my weekly swimming lessons and although I am still slow and my style leaves something to be desired, I am confident I will make it without drowning.  The running side of things is covered with my marathon training – the run leg is only 1.5 miles, so should be a walk in the park. 

And onto the bike... you may have noticed a distinct lack of bike training recorded in my posts for the last few weeks... that is because I haven’t done any... none at all.  In a previous post (here) I talked about how I had developed a fear of my bike as a result of being new to clipless pedals and falling off numerous times.  Well, I should have gotten ‘straight back on the horse’ but I didn’t and as a result my anxiety has increased ten-fold and even looking at my bike brings me out in a cold sweat and makes me want to hurl.  The most ridiculous thing is that I have no problem commuting to work on my mountain bike – because I’m not physically attached to it. 

Yesterday I decided I had ignored the problem long enough and it was time to admit defeat and go back to regular pedals until I get my confidence back.  I headed over to TriUK and they very kindly gave me some pedals for free.  I also got some elastic laces which I tried out this morning at the gym - one word... Genius! 
Pedals and elastic laces (in pink, obviously)

Me and my elastic laces... am a bit too excited about this... Nerd alert.
(Am slightly annoyed I paid £9 for them yesterday, then got a free pair in the post this morning... oh well)

Removing that fear of being clipped in was enough to get me excited about cycling again – I just have to wait for Arran to fit them on my bike, then away I go!  Although, it is far too late for anything I do in the next week to have any bearing on this triathlon, it means I can train properly for the next one in August. 

So, lessons learnt:

  • Do enter a triathlon, set up an achievable progressive training plan that fits in to your schedule and stick to it... consistency wins out
  • Don’t enter a triathlon then do no training whatsoever
  • Do get straight back on your bike if you fall off – practice makes perfect
  • Don’t repeatedly fall off your bike, develop an irrational fear of said bike, then refuse point blank to ride it for the 5 weeks preceding the triathlon
  • Do practice your transitions until it becomes routine – know how you want your stuff laid out and in      what order you will do things
  • Don’t ignore the concept of transitions and just hope it will be alright on the night by copying what everyone else is doing
  • Do include some brick sessions in your training so your body gets used to moving quickly from one discipline to another
  • Don’t fail to include brick sessions in your training to prepare your body for running on the inevitable ‘jelly legs’
  • Do at least some of your training on the type of terrain you will encounter on the day
  • Don’t enter a triathlon with a hilly bike leg (regardless of length) if you are not prepared to ride up even the slightest of inclines! 

Today's Workout

  • Easy(ish) Run     6 miles                 Avg pace - 9.18mm
  • Swimming          1000m
  • Weight Training 
This morning run was scheduled to be an easy run (approx 10mm) but I decided to run on feel without checking my Garmin (this ended up taking all my willpower) to see how well my perception of pace is developing and whether I am able to maintain fairly even mile splits. 

I know I slowed down up the hills but this was deliberate as rather than maintain a particular pace I wanted to maintain an easy breathing pattern.  When I got home I was pleasantly surprised, my average pace was faster than I thought it would be and my splits were fairly good (for me anyway) – 9:29, 9:12, 9:20, 9:31, 9:31, 8:47.  I deliberately ran the last mile faster as it is predominantly flat with lots of downhill (and because I can)!!  

I got to the pool later than planned so only got in 1000m before the public swimming session ended.  I managed 4 x 250m with a 1 minute rest between.  It was hard work today with lots of waves being generated by other swimmers - I guess that is good practice for me though.  

I headed straight to the gym for some weight training and although I completed each set maintaining my form, my head and heart just weren't in it today, it felt like I was just going through the motions.  It was the first time I have ever finished a workout and didn't feel better for it.  I actually felt that I should have just skipped it.  

Now to begin a 7 day stretch at work... 


  1. These are great tips! I doubt you'll be last. :) I definitely need to work in some brick bike-runs, and could use lots of swim practice... thanks for the comment on my blog!

    1. You'll be great, I'm sure! My swimming lessons have made a whole world of difference - I only really learnt to swim properly in March and have come such a long way in a short space of time. Hope you enjoy your training x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...