Tag Archives: triathlon

Triathlon Training Day

I’ve mentioned it before, but this July I’m doing the Isoman half and so I need to train for it. I’m doing the running and the cycling and the swimming (a bit), but one of the most important things will be putting all that together – learning how just to keep going all day and through the different elements.

So for that reason I want to do a couple of ‘triathlon-lite’ training days. All the elements together, but without the distance or intensity, but just to get the body and mind used to process of it all.

The first of those will be on May 22nd and I’m inviting any that wants to join me for any of the four (yes four) vital elements of a triathlon.

1. Swim

The swim will be the BLDSA Colwick Park event – it’s a 5km event near Nottingham. As it’s a lap course (5 x 1km lap) you don’t need a kayaker to support you – just turn up and swim.Most BLDSA events are skins only, but this one does have a wetsuit category, so you can enter that one if you like.

If you want to do the swim, then you’ll need to be a member of the BLDSA, so sign up via Entry Central here.

2. Cycle

We won’t rush the transition, but once everyone is ready (and warm and dry) we’ll cycle from Colwick back to Southwell. We’ll take a slightly longer route and try and do about 30km. Nottinghamshire is fairly flat, so it shouldn’t be too tough a ride – although there is one big hill we could go up depending how we’re feeling.

3. Run

Once back in Southwell we’ll do a c. 10-15km route around the village. For me this isn’t about pure distance, but about getting a decent run in on the back of the other two elements to see how it feels and how I cope. So I don’t want to kill anyone (me especially), but just get a ‘good’ run done.

4. Refuelling

The most important element of any triathlon surely? Depending how many people there are we will either find a local pub that will fill us up with good pub grub and a pint (or two), or we will come back to my flat and I’ll feed us all with copious amounts of bacon sandwiches and cups of tea.

I’m particularly targeting this at my Team Bear friends. Do any of you fancy coming along and joining in any of the four elements of the day?

But of course, it’s not restricted to Team Bear members. If you fancy any of this let me know and it will be great to see you – please get in touch so that I can estimate numbers and plan it a bit more, but do come along.



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This year’s targets

After completing my distance goal for 2015, I’m going to set some new targets for this year.


Firstly, it has to be around events. The main reason I train is to be able to take part in the events I enjoy and to not only take part, but enjoy them too. The year has two main goals as far as events are concerned:

IsoMan Half

The IsoMan events are designed to equalise the normal triathlon distances, so that you should spend roughly the same time completing each discipline. As a swimmer, this is music to my ears as most triathlons are very heavily geared towards the cycling and running.

The IsoMan event is on July 2nd and I am doing the half distance, which comprises of a 3.5 mile swim, a 30.6 mile bike ride, and then a half marathon (13.1 mile run).

I really enjoyed watching friends complete the Outlaw Half last year in Nottingham, so I fancied another crack at triathlons. My goal is to complete the whole thing in under 6 1/2 hours, but we’ll see.


For some reason I only swim Windermere in even numbered years (2012 and 2014 were my previous swims), so it seems only right that I have another go at it this year. It will be a real test of my new stroke and the work I’ve put into that to see if it can keep me going down the length of the lake and to a decent finish. Any time within 30 minutes of the IsoMan finish time and I’d be delighted with that.


My year long goal is hit 2,000kms (doubling the original premise of this blog). I hit my target of 1,600kms last year, so I’m going to stretch it a bit further. However, I’m also going to change the algorithm slightly. At the moment I treble any swimming distance and divide by four any cycling distance. My plan for this year is to roughly follow the IsoMan ‘equalising’ algorithm.

What that means for this year is that the swimming will be multiplied by 3.5, while the cycling will only be divided by 2.5.

While it does mean that my swimming is counted more, I suspect the biggest difference will be in the cycling, as not only will it now count for much more, but with the IsoMan coming up I’ll also be doing a lot more of it.

Other Events

All the other events I’m doing are really (in my mind) classified as training for my two main goal events. I don’t always have as much time for training as I’d like, especially the long training swims, so I’ve entered a number of events that will hopefully help me to build up to my target events.

For the IsoMan I have:

  • Southwell sprint tri – this event is in my local village and is great fun. They run it twice a year and I did the autumn version in 2014, so I have a target time to try and beat.
  • Leeds half marathon – I’ve never done this before, but I know a few people who have entered, so I thought it sounded like a great training event, as well as chance to catch up with friends.

For Windermere I have:

  • Bala weekend – I’m hoping to do both the 3km and 6mile swims on the Saturday and then the 3mile swim on the Sunday.
  • Ullswater / Derwentwater – another weekend of swimming with the BLDSA, with the 7mile Ullswater on the Saturday and the 5.25mile Derwentwater on the Sunday.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

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More Arch to Arc

I’ve mentioned the amazing Arch to Arc challenge that someone I’m honoured to call a friend recently completed. Well, here’s some more.

I met Paul on the SwimTrek trip out to Mallorca and while I used that as the foundation to [badly] complete Windermere this year Paul was not only training to swim the channel, but run from London Dover before the swim and cycle from Calais to Paris after it – a combination of madness and extremely inspirational.

Anyway, during all the training and the challenge itself Paul had a photographer from Reuters follow him and take some amazing photos. Like this one:

You can read more about Paul’s journey (and Neil’s the photographer) here or here – and I urge you to do so.

– – –

Paul is listed as “the oldest person to complete the race” – he’s 49. Because I’m a bit crazy like that, part of me reads that and says, “right then, a target for my 50th!” We’ll see…

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What I learned yesterday

Yesterday I did another sprint triathlon after doing one two weekends ago. This one was in a village about a 45 minute drive from me, so again it was a nice gently start to the day. It wasn’t quite so gentle later on and this is what I learned:

1 – Triathlons are bloody hard work – even the sprint distance.

2 – Sprint is very much a misnomer – I’m not sure that other than a quick burst in the pool I officially sprinted ever during the event.

3 – I owe Steve £20 – I made a silly bet that I was bound to lose, but that’s ok because he has done 14 triathlons this year for charity and I’m happy to pay up to his charity – you should too if you’ve got a spare tenner (https://www.justgiving.com/Tri2014/).

4 – Actually, despite the above, it’s a pretty good way to spend a Sunday (especially when you can then go down the pub afterwards and have a few pints and a game of darts – which is what I did for post-event refuelling).

5 – It was great to meet Rachel in real life and I love the TeamBear ethos.

6 – I could spend a LOT of money on kit – I’m not going to, but it’s fascinating to rack my bike up next to bikes that probably cost more than my car.

7 – I have a very weird relationship with on course support – and I’ll probably blog about this more later.

8 – I’m not going to enter another event before I sort out my personal life – I probably won’t blog about this later – I’ll leave it intentionally cryptic, those that know, know. But if I need to go to *that* place at the moment I find it full. I don’t want to make excuses, but I do think this has affected *some* of my performances this year.

9 – Some driver are dicks. There were 3 or 4 that passed me by the absolute narrowest of margins on the course, but the trophy today goes to the woman that decided to turn right next to me in the village at the end of the event. She crowded me at the junction, turned with me and then overtook me even though I was indicating to turn right. I do hope that the 13 seconds she gained by that helped her out.

10 – I need to find a way to stop nipple rash – nuff said.

– – –

11 – Monday morning update. Number 4 was a bad idea!


Filed under Charity, Cycling, Kit, Motivation, Running, Swimming

Suffer but NEVER surrender

I’ve got my second triathlon coming up in a few days – I’m going to East Leake to do the sprint triathlon down there. The course is a little longer than the Southwell one I did the other week (a slightly longer bike ride), but it’s meant to be flatter too.

I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to it, but….

However, something that I will be using as a mantra for the event is:

“Suffer but NEVER surrender”

Team Bear Logo ButtonThis is the motto of the great Team Bear tri team that I am proud to be a member of. It’s a virtual team of like-minded athletes who want to support and cheer the effort (not the times or results, but the effort) of each other. Where possible there is physical cheering too, but there is always a lot of virtual (social media) cheering.

I talked recently about the great community within swimming – and that’s true – but it turns out that its not just swimmers, there are other nice people out there too. I’ve been chatting on Twitter to a couple of people who have provided great support and cheering over the last couple of months (especially after Windermere) and as we got to know each other better I realised that they were part of Team Bear, so I checked it out and I LOVED the ethos of the team (apart from the cake bit). I told them I loved it and they asked me to join, so I did – as simple as that.

I’ve already found out that another Team Bear member will be doing the East Leake tri too – it’s actually his 14th triathlon this year and he’s raising money for Derby Hospitals. To make it more fun, I’ve told him that if he beats me on Sunday, I’ll put £20 in the pot (as Team Bear is not really about the results, I’m gonna put £20 in the pot no matter what – but don’t tell him).

So if you see someone with “sbNs” written on their hand on Sunday it’s likely to be me (or Steve). Please cheer us on in true Team Bear fashion.

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Triathlon Done

In a moment of madness inspiration a few weeks ago I decided to enter the Last Minute Tri organised by One Step Beyond, sponsored by Esendex and most importantly taking place in my village. My view was that it would give me something to focus on after the big swim and stop me spending all of September on the sofa.

After such a disappointing Windermere swim however, I very nearly pulled out. It wasn’t just the effort of the swim, it was because it had been so tough I felt physically broken and mentally angry – not the best starting point for a triathlon. But a couple of weeks had passed and I thought it was worth giving it a go.

Last Minute Tri transition area

Last Minute Tri transition area

The one thing I didn’t want to do – especially after Windermere – was set myself a target. I was just going to have fun and see how I got on. And that’s what I did.

The organisation was great and my wave started exactly on the 10:34am start time. We were started in the pool in groups of five, based on our predicted swim times. The slowest went first and it gradually built up to the quicker ones that set off at 11:30am. What that meant though was that slower swimmers were already in the lane finishing their swim. Unfortunately for me, they were very slow. However, a few lengths of breaststroke and a sprint to overtake them and I had a nice relaxing swim with a lane almost to myself.

I had predicted 7mins 30secs for the swim and a quick glance at my watch as I got out of the pool suggested that was pretty accurate, but then we had to run round the building and into the transition area before the official swim time was registered. I did this quite gingerly – I hate doing this without my glasses.

The bike was next and it was an out and back course with a quite a hilly section to start with. It was by no means easy, but I survived. And even though my swim time meant that I started with the ‘good’ (but not super elite) triathletes, what pleased me was that only eight people passed me on the bike.

Now it was time to see if my legs could cope with the run. Again the run has a hill early on, so I decided not to go crazy and walked up this, but the rest of the run was steady if not spectacular and I plodded round nicely. The run course is two laps and the second lap followed the same pattern, apart from the ‘sprint’ finish.

I crossed the line in 1hour 19mins and 10secs. And although I said I didn’t have a target, I was secretly aiming for 1hour 25mins, so I was pleased with that. Right where do I sign up for another?

Last Minute Tri timing

Last Minute Tri timing


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Tri Hard Today

In about two hours time I’ll set off on a sprint triathlon:
– 400m swim
– 17.6km bike ride
– 5km run

After my disappointing recent swim I’m not setting any targets or aiming for a particular time – I just want to finish and enjoy it.

Considering I’ve not trained for the bike or run part it’ll probably be a bit tough. But nowhere near as tough as the Arch to Arc that a friend of mine is currently undertaking.

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Yesterday I went for an actual run. You know, outdoors, along roads, in the fresh air, using my legs to propel me forward and not in a lake!

It may not sound like much to most of you, but it’s my first proper run for probably about three or four months. I occasionally do a couple of kilometres on the treadmill at the end of a gym session, but I’ve not been outside for ages. It was really nice just to be able to set off and see the scenery, say hi to a few cyclists and explore different terrain.

I wanted to run for three main reasons: 1) just because; 2) to try out my new GPS watch – it works!; and 3) to see if I could and therefore whether I could enter a triathlon in a few weeks time.

My running stats

My running stats

It turns out I can run (in a fashion), so I have now entered the triathlon – only a sprint triathlon and is a pool swim (so no wetsuit needed). It’s two weeks after my Windermere swim, so I’m not expecting to break any records, but it’ll give me a focus immediately following the swim and I may even like running and cycling more.



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“When pictures of Noah, aged eight, carrying his disabled six-year-old brother to victory in a children’s triathlon, were posted on the internet, the inspiring story of brotherly love went viral.”

Read the full article in The Telegraph.

As for my previous post about wetsuits,  I don’t mock triathletes – but I do think it’s a shame that they are forced to wear wetsuits – how could I mock anyone like Noah and Lucas?

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Juneathon Summary

So Juneathon is now over and I’m delighted that I took part. The end of May saw me do nothing – and I mean nothing – from a fitness perspective and it was hard to motivate myself. I saw Juneathon as a way to provide that extra motivation and that proved to be the case. So here’s a bit of a summary of the month.

Firstly the numbers. Before I started I said that I wouldn’t be running every day (partly as I’d be swimming, but also because I’d have some rest days), but I set myself a target of 25 days of activity. And although I didn’t state it out loud, I wanted to do 100kms in the month.

– Days of activity – 23 (the last week saw me have a couple of unscheduled “rest” days)
– Running – 70.18kms
– Swimming – 17.3kms
– Cycling – 18.4kms
– Total – 110.91kms (I count swim distances as double, but cycling as 1/3 distance)

But of course Juneathon is about much more than just the numbers, so what have I learned over the month:

– I enjoyed the month – let’s face it, without Juneathon I wouldn’t have been able to see things such as this heron inheron Hyde Park.

– I can run – I haven’t done much running at all over the last couple of years and when I did I got injured, but over the month I gradually increased the distances run (going as far as 7.7km) and now feel that I could train up to a half-marathon.

– I enjoy running – it’s funny that once it becomes a bit easier and I’m injury free I started to enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy every run, but I don’t think I had a single run that had nothing good to report from it – and I had plenty that I really enjoyed.

– I do have time – one of my excuses in the past is that I don’t have time, but with a bit of careful planning clearly I do. Also, now I’m enjoying it more I don’t need to spend as much time psyching myself up for it – I can just get changed, run, shower and then get back to my day.

– I do have the energy – another excuse is that I don’t have the energy after working hard. I’m sure I don’t work any harder than many people, but it does take it out of me and I don’t always fancy going out to run (or swim). What I’ve found this month is that the exercise is helping to give me extra energy and it’s when I don’t exercise that I don’t have the energy.

– I could do a triathlon – I’ve done a couple of triathlons in the distant past and I’d like to do more, but I’ve always been put off by the running, now that I’m confident I can 5km (enough for a sprint tri) easily enough I’ll enter some.

Now what I need to do is create my own “Julyathon” to keep the momentum going (yeah, right!)


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