Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Parkrun Day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | Sport

Every year, Hyde Park Harriers try to take on all of the parkuns in Leeds in a single day. This has become more and more of a challenge as new parkruns start. By this year, 2019, there are now nine of them. With two more starting soon, I have no idea what we will do next year. Possibly a multi-day event.

Having so many parkruns means the distance this year was up to 45km. Anything longer than 42.2km is technically an ultramarathon. 45km is pretty much the easiest ultramarathon you can possibly do, especially as you get a break when driving between them. Or so I thought. It turns out that having a break just gives your legs a chance to seize up.

Roundhay

We started bright and early at 7:30am. Ed Sheran had taken over most of the park so we had to forgo the regular parkrun route and do two laps of the lake instead. Nobody was sad to miss the long drag of the hill up to the mansion in favour of a beautiful view of the lake. It was sunny on the near side and rained on the far side.

Potternewton

By Potternewton, I was already feeling it. Bad times only 5km in! I wanted to pace myself so I walked up some of the hills. Meanwhile, Marcos Angel Valero Palacios came sprinting past me to take a course record of 15:59.

Temple Newsam

I had not packed a lot of food as I only decided to come for it at the last minute and had not had a chance to stock up, so by Temple Newsam I was hungry. I grabbed a coke, a sausage roll and a caramel shortbread from the cafe. The sun was out in full force by Temple Newsam, and Amy and Paul made a guest appearance.

Rothwell

The sun continued to beat down at Rothwell so I took a quick break to suncream up. The tarmac was starting to pound my legs by this point, so I was pleased to have grass to run on for most of it. How easy was everyone else taking it? Toby and Rich lapped me at this one.

Middleton Woods

Ah, the sweet shade of the woods. I felt good at Middleton, at least for the first three kilometres. I was still walking up some fo the hills but was running everything else. After the run, we had lunch on the bike cafe. A cheeseburger and chips went down well, accompanied by two bottles of orange juice and another can of coke.

Cross Flatts

It has cooled down a little by Cross Flatts and we dispatched the course without too much trouble. I felt no ill effects from having stuffed my face.

Bramley

By Bramley, I was tired but feeling good. I had finished both my bidons by this point, so we went to the shop to reload. The ground was a bit soggy when I moved off the tarmac and onto the grass.

Armley

This one was always going to be a challenge because it was so deep in but not quite at the end. We took it really steady so it didn’t hurt too much.

Woodhouse Moor

Ah, the end! I was excited to arrive here and we were joined by a few other Harriers. I went hard to try and put in a good time, but the fatigue meant that a “good time” was still 31 minutes. After crossing the finish line, I would say I felt amazing, but I mostly felt sick. That’s pretty standard with anything over three hours, though.

Conclusion

I can’t believe I made it. Eight others also claimed all of the runs, and while Greg missed Roundhay, he did the most work out of all of us as he cycled between each one. Thank you to Toby for organising it and Ellie for keeping me company at the back.

I’ll see you all next year… for one of the parkuns ;).

Allerthorpe Classic 2019

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 | Sport

Allerthorpe Classic is a standard distance triathlon that takes place in York on the first Sunday of August. I I raced it last year and perfectly paced myself for a sub-3 time before discovering the run was 10.5km and I ended up with 3:00:15. I had unfinished business.

Pre-race

This year looked equally hot and sunny. I had some cereal for breakfast and half a Clif bar at the venue. I ran into Dan and Alison before the race. Alison was with the elite swimmers 20 minutes ahead of us, while Dan had a two-minute head start over me.

The swim

I used a mixture of front crawl and breaststroke. I would have been happy slowly paddling around, but I am having some knee pain which messes up my breaststroke. Half the swimmers in my wave hung back, but I didn’t really want to swim an extra twenty metres, so I went to the front. This inevitably meant I was in the middle of the pack jostling for position, but no serious blows were landed.

By the second lap, things had calmed down and I had clear water. At the far side of the lake, I could feel my swim cap coming off. Normally, I would stop to put it back on. But I decided I didn’t want to lose time and that it was not my fault that the organisers failed to provide a swim cap for my head shape. So, I let it go and did the rest of the swim without it. Some lose hair, but nothing that got in the way.

As we headed to the swim exit, I just managed to pass someone from the wave in front of ours, mostly thanks to their complete inability to sight. It is incredible how much further people swim because their sighting is terrible.

Best of all, I finally remembered not to fiddle with my watch until I was passed the swim exit photography point.

Transition 1

I managed a fairly speedy T1 (for me), although struggled to get my wetsuit off and had to sit down. I slapped some more sun cream on. Unfortunately, despite putting sun cream on both before the race and here, I still came home sunburnt. There is no way to escape it!

Foolishly, I had not turned my bike computer on before the race, so as I hurried out of T1 I was trying to turn it on and load up the route.

The bike

I knew where the photo point was on the route: just as you start the bike. Before the race, I had visions of getting straight down onto my aero bars and getting an awesome photo of me powering away. Unfortunately, I was still trying to sort my computer out at the time, and so all I got was a photo of my meddling with my head unit.

Worse, in the confusion of trying to sort my bike computer out, I forgot to hit the lap button on my watch. I was 12 minutes into the cycle before I noticed!

Once I had stopped fiddling, I got down to business. And by business, I mean onto the aero bars. This was my first real test on them and I had a little wobble early on that knocked my confidence. But I knew if I didn’t get straight back down on them the fear would grow, so I wasted no time in tucking back in.

I used them for most of the course, occasionally going back to my handlebars to overtake and when I spotted oncoming cars, and occasionally to give my legs a break as it is slightly harder to put out power in the aero position. I wondered how my back would hold up as I usually get quite a lot of lower back pain while racing but, surprisingly, I think I got less than usual.

The results of the aero bars were great. Comparing it to Allerthorpe Sprint last month, I only averaged 197 Watts, compared to the 217 Watts I did last month, and yet my average speed increased from 31.5 kph to 32.9 kph. That means I went 5% faster while using 10% less energy.

Fueling on the bike was difficult as my tri suit does not have any pockets. Instead, I put my gel flask in my top tube bag. It was a bit difficult to get it in and out compared to a back pocket, but it worked.

As we were coming down the final road through Allerthorpe I overtook Dan who was powering away the final few kilometres.

Transition 2

I felt a little light-headed in T2 and was concerned that I had not taken enough carbs so I ripped open my spare energy gel and took a mouthful. Then it was on to the run.

My bike split had been so good that I now had 67 minutes to complete the 10.5km run in order to achieve a sub-3 hour time. Something I think I would struggle to miss if I had tried.

The run

By this point it was midday and the sun was blazing. After about a kilometre I ran into Dan again: apparently, my T2 had been slower than I thought! We had a chat before I picked up the pace. I started out at 5:00 per kilometre before dropping it down to 5:15 per kilometre to make sure I could finish in the heat.

At the second drinks station, I took my caffeine gel and washed it down with some water, the remaining of which went over my head. I walked the final drinks station to get some more water, too.

Unusually, a couple of runners overtook me. The first was a woman who then blew up. I found her walking at 7km. After I had overtaken her she took off again and overtook me, before walking and being overtaken again. She made one final assault and managed to catch me before dropping off permanently. The other two were a man who also blew up, got caught by me, and then took off again into the distance, and another guy who was running at roughly my pace the whole way around.

I cannot blame them for walking. The final three kilometres were so difficult; all I wanted to do was walk. But I told myself that walking was for longer distances: there was no reason to walk for these piddly little ones. I told myself I could walk when I got to 9km if I really needed to. By then I wanted to finish so held it all the way to the end.

The result

My official time was:

2:47:16

And my splits were:

Stage 2019 2018 Diff
Swim 39:34 40:49 -1:15
T1 09:09 03:40 -1:31
Bike 1:09:07 1:20:35 -11:28
T2 02:15 01:49 +0:26
Run 54:09 53:19 +0:50
Total 2:46:16 3:00:15 -12:59

It is by far the fastest standard distance race I have done. The bike is only 38km, and it is a flat and fast course, but the run is slightly longer. My increase in T2 is to be expected as I now cycle without socks and then put my socks on in T2, hence a much faster T1 but slightly slower T2.

Similarly, I’m not too worried about the increase in my run time. In last year’s race, I was sprinting my heart out to get under three hours. There was no need to try and kill myself this year as I knew I would be comfortably under.

Almost all of the improvement came on the bike. Given I only improved slightly at the sprint race last month, I can only attribute that to the aero bars, possibly including some placebo effect from having them on my bike.

I was 146th out of 306 finishers, so just in the top half, which is great! My position splits were 276 (swim), 150 (T1), 94 (bike), 264 (T2) and 110 (run). I have never placed higher in the bike than the run before: normally my run is far ahead of everything else, so this was a new experience for me.

After the race, we cooled off in the lake before I stuffed my face with recovery carbs and protein, and had a massage.

Conclusion

I have done so many races at Allerthorpe now that it feels like a second home. I am very pleased with my bike time and now feel completely justified in buying a triathlon bike. Hopefully, it will be a little cooler next year!

Redcar Sprint Triathlon

Monday, August 5th, 2019 | Sport

A sea swim? Closed roads? Draft legal? Who could say no?!? Cat, Greg, myself and nearly 200 other athletes could not.

Pre-race

Thanks to Greg to booking ahead, we had an HPH table in the club zone. This was super useful for having somewhere to dump all of my stuff and go rooting through my bags. Luckily, there was no rain, but it was nice to have some indoor space anyway.

The swim

We walked down to the beach and had five minutes to wade into the sea and have a swim to warm up. After that, we waded back to the shore and lined up on the start line. When the whistle went, the fastest swimmers charged into the water while the rest of us waded in a little more slowly.

The water was choppy. As the waves came and went we bobbed up and down. I swallowed a lot of seawater. It was fun to be back in the sea at first, but the more I swam, the saltier my mouth became until it started to burn my throat.

Once we are out past the first buoy, we turned to swim parallel with the shore. This made it easier than swimming directly into the waves. In some ways, the waves made it easier to do front crawl than breaststroke, although you did get a sensation of falling when your hand came down into the water in front of you.

After the final buoy, I turned towards the shore. The waves pushed me forward but then seemed to drag me back. It felt frustrating and I had to use markers to test that I was still moving forward, which I was.

My total swim time was 22 minutes including getting off the beach. This is pretty typical for me; slightly slower because of the beach run and challenge of swimming in the sea.

Transition 1

The water became shallow a fair distance out and it made for a slow wade to the beach. We then ran up in it and into T1. I had brought a bottle of water to wash the sand off my feet before giving them a quick dry and throwing my bike shoes on.

The bike

The bike course was on closed roads, mostly along the seafront. It was also draft legal, although you could only draft with people of the same gender. The closest roads made for fun racing as you could go around a corner without worrying about oncoming traffic: although you did have to watch out for parked cars on some roads!

The first lap was lonely. As I am a slow swimmer, I was mostly on my own. At the second lap, I began to find people to draft. I assumed I had caught people up as we were quite well matched on the bike. I followed a couple of people’s wheels, although nobody ever seemed to follow mine.

At the end of the third lap, most of the athletes I was cycling with peeled off into T2. It turns out they were a lap ahead of me, which I was surprised at as they clearly could not out-bike me. This made for a lonely final lap. Drafting made it a lot easier and I was regularly doing 35 kph without too much effort.

There were supporters all around transition, and, at the far end of the course, a church group outside of their building. I decided to give them a wave on my final lap and got an extra loud cheer.

Transition 2

Nothing much to report here. I pulled my shoes and socks on and set off on the run.

The run

The run route took us along the promenade and back again, followed by a quick loop around the boating lake to complete the lap. There were three in total. I almost followed someone going the wrong way at the turnaround point but managed to correct just in time.

I saw Cat coming the other way, and Greg up ahead, almost I suspected (quite correctly) that he was a lap ahead of me.

As I came towards the last half of the final lap I could see that I wasn’t quite going to be able to squeeze it under 90 minutes, so I decided not to push too hard and enjoy it instead, walking across the line in celebration.

As I crossed the line, my sister and brother-in-law had turned up to cheer me on (I completely missed them) and Elina and Venla were also there (I completely missed them, too), but did see the rest of the Harriers cheering me on. What we can learn from this is that if you want to be seen, at a minimum, you need to be wearing a Harriers jersey.

The result

My overall time was:

1:30:27

And my splits were:

Section Time
Swim 23:50
T1 01:41
Bike 37:47
T2 01:28
Run 25:39

I am satisfied with those times. The swim was more like 22 minutes plus extra time to wade up the beach. And the run was pretty speedy given it was 5.5km.

Conclusion

I would highly recommend Redcar sprint triathlon. The sea swim adds an extra challenge and the closed roads make the bike section a lot of fun.

Cricket World Cup

Saturday, July 27th, 2019 | Sport

We won!

I literally know nothing about this. But I need a blog post for my end of year review. Although it seems hard to believe that this is the first time we have won it. We literally invented the sport so that it would be too confusing and boring for any other country to be good at.

Dad’s first triathlon

Thursday, July 25th, 2019 | Sport

My parents are pretty awesome cheerleaders. They brought their caravan up to The Yorkshireman, for example, so they could cheer me on for the entire 14 hours and 35 minutes. They came to World Triathlon Leeds, too, and at some point during the day, my dad was bitten by the triathlon bug.

As a result, he signed up to a Go Tri with his friend Tim. I want to say, for the record, I did nothing to encourage this. Not that I’m displeased, but I would hate for anyone to blame me for getting them into triathlon when they are halfway through the run and cursing the idea of triathlon. Something I do a lot :D.

Skipton Go Tri is a 200-metre pool swim, 10km bike ride and 2km run. They start it at 7am before the pool opens to the public and the roads get busy, which meant a 4:30am start for them. We decided to drive down and surprise them, giving us a more leisurely start of 5:30.

The swim start was pretty random, which made for mixed abilities. He was soon zooming past the person in front of him. Onto the bike and be clocked 50kph on the downhill sections: clearly a much better descender than me! And finally onto the run around the park.

The result: Tim and my dad came first and second in their age group! Granted it wasn’t a huge age group, but there were a couple of other people and a win is a win. Great effort, team.

Castle Howard Triathlon

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 | Sport

I have been feeling pretty terrible recently. After my ironman, I did nothing for a week, then a week of light training. Then I smashed 10 minutes of my sprint distance time, while ill, and was ill for another whole week.

So, by the start of week four, I stepped on the turbo trainer and found I couldn’t hold my power. Not even close. I finished the workout at 70% intensity. I’ve never had recovery take this long, but I decided to listen to my body: eat more and take it easy.

All of this meant that I came to Castle Howard with the aim of setting a personal worst time over the standard distance and doing something that other people have called “enjoying myself”. It’s a foreign concept to me, but I decided to take it easy and give that a go.

Pre-race

We arrived on Saturday afternoon, just in time to cheer the HPH relay teams home. The club was well represented with three separate mixed relay teams, all of whom worked hard to put Hyde Park Harriers on the map.

We were originally going to camp, but the weather looked miserable, so we checked into the campsite for our event passes before heading off to a local hotel for the night.

This worked out really well because The Talbot, the hotel in Malton, had a music festival going on in their back yard. It turns out that Venla really likes reggae music, and had a good dance to Levi Roots who was headlining the festival. We had some Chinese takeaway from Tang’s Delight before heading to bed. It took me a bit of time to get to sleep due to the noise coming from the bar, but the large bed was big enough to accommodate all of us.

I got up at 6am, tried and failed to get some breakfast at the hotel, and then made the short drive back to Castle Howard to start the race.

The swim

After a long race briefing in which none of us really understood the swim course, we made our way into the water and started the race. The lake was murky and I ran into weeds with my hands, feet or face with almost every stroke.

The course was a little confusing at times. At World Triathlon Leeds, the colour of the buoy indicated which side you should swim around it. Not so with Castle Howard. They had two colours but some you passed on the left and others you passed on the right.

My left knee was hurting and I resorted to switching to front crawl repeatedly to get some respite. I’m still nervous about cramping up, so I took it pretty steady. It was a two-lap course with the next wave starting 30 minutes after us. I almost made it to the turnaround point on my second lap before I heard the whistle go and decided to speed up to stay ahead of them.

This, it turns out, was a mistake. The burst made me feel a bit dizzy and disorientated and I think I started to have a little panic attack. I slowed down and used some of my best self talk to bring my anxiety and my breathing under control and then managed to beat out a steady breaststroke around the final buoy where I felt more confident again and put in some more front crawl.

As I got to the finish, the lake became too shallow and I stood up, only to find my feet in thick mud. I waded over to the site to grab the fencing and eventually managed to unstick my feet enough to make it up to the swim exit.

After that, it was simply a matter of running the 600 metres up the hill to transition. Thankfully, the club was there to cheer me on, and remind me to remove my neck protector before getting on the bike this time!

Transition 1

I cycle without socks now, which is a big time saver as I can just throw my triathlon shoes on and set off. Although, on this occasion, I also did an energy gel.

I usually take a gel flask that I keep in my back pocket. I can operate this with one hand, so I can take all of my gels on the bike. However, I wanted to represent the club in my tri suit and the tri suit does not have a back pocket. In the end, I decided it was more important to represent the club, and so had to rework my nutrition strategy so that I could do individual gel sachets.

The cycle

Because they use the same cycle route for the standard in the middle distance race, it was a 45km route. However, emergency gas works had added a 5km detour, so that meant the 40km cycle was now a 50km cycle.

And hilly. Really hilly. Most triathlon courses are pretty flat but this one was like riding the Tour de Yorkshire. Regular 8% climbs, with some as high as 11%, and a lot of false flats that were hard work, too.

I kept overtaking one guy in the climbs, who would then overtake me on the descents. I thought I had left him behind after one of the long climbs but he appeared again half an hour later. And I caught him back up half an hour later after that, on the flat of all places.

I stopped at the feed stop to do one of the gels I had tucked into my race belt (another victim of the lack of a pocket for my flask), and because my back needed a good stretch by this point, too.

Shortly after, I almost got taken out by a car. They were turning onto a side road and not looking where they were going. When they saw me, they slammed on and managed to finish with their bonnet halfway across my lane. Luckily, I was to the left and did not need to make a course adjustment. But my heart was definitely in my mouth.

As we got back to Castle Howard, up another large hill, the club was once again there to cheer me on. As we got to the roundabout, the sign said left, so I made a move to go left. It turned out the roundabout was still live to traffic and I needed to go around it as normal, but luckily the marshall’s shouts were in time and I quickly corrected my course.

Transition 2

No problems here. Another gel down the neck and my trainers on.

The run

The run started with a long downhill and my knee was really giving me some grief. After the first few kilometres, it eased off into a general ache, possibly because I showed down. The course was on trail with some narrow bits that involved dodging around people and some steep hills that held mud steps dug into them.

Although some of the triathletes on the course were faster than me, a lot of the runners were slower and I got a bit of a boost from seeing that most people were struggling and I was able to keep running, albeit at a pretty slow pace.

At the second water point, I took a caffeine gel to tide me over to the finish. I had a brief walk after the feed station, while I munched two jelly babies. After that, it was a metaphorical sprint for home.

Returning to the grounds was lovely. It was scenic most of the way, but running between all of the visitors and spectators and along the side of the house was cool. The closer we got to the finish, the more supporters there were cheering, including the club yet again! I went in for some high fives before crossing the line.

The result

I finished in:

3:46:05

And my splits were:

Section Time
Swim 41:59
T1 4:12
Bike 1:58:51
T2 2:20
Run 58:41

I am happy with all of that. I said I did not want to push it too hard, and I did manage to take it easy, or at least “easier”. I had some time to look around and enjoy myself in parts. The extra distance added probably 25 minutes on to the cycle, and the hills and an easy-paced run accounted for the remaining difference to a more usual time.

Event organisation

The event organisation was mixed.

They closed the rounds from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday for the junior event. However, they said the campsite would still be open. The diversion took us the wrong way, though, and when we stopped to ask the marshalls, they had not been told anything about what was going on. In the end, we did a loop three-quarters of the way around Castle Howard before finding the road in.

When we got there, we found nobody manning the campsite desk. We drove around for half an hour and tried to call the campsite manager, but it just dropped to voicemail. In the end, we managed to get through and get everything sorted.

They also had not prepared enough racking for all the events they were running. Even before people had finished the standard distance, they were begging people to collect their bikes from transition so that they could free up space for the junior races.

And everyone ran out of bacon on Saturday.

Beyond that, though, the event looked well put together. They had activities for children, including a bouncy castle (they had two, but one of them was broken), a large event village and plenty of marshalls out on the course.

Conclusion

Well done to everyone who raced over the weekend! It is great to see the club continuing to grow and develop and the Castle Howard weekend is a great example of that. I would race at Castle Howard again.

Women’s World Cup 2019

Monday, July 22nd, 2019 | Sport

After our third-place finish at the 2015 World Cup, it was looking good for England in 2019. But yet again it was going to be heartbreak.

We made it as far as the semi-final, where we faced a top-ranked United States team. And, to be fair, we gave them a great game. If it hadn’t have been for the penalty we missed, or the goal disallowed, we could easily have beaten them. As it was, they won and went on to beat the Netherlands in the final.

Still, it would not be a proper World Cup without some England heartbreak.

Allerthorpe Sprint Triathlon 2019

Sunday, July 7th, 2019 | Sport

I completed Allerthorpe Sprint Triathlon last year in a time of 1:30:17. This year, I dragged Elina and Venla along, thinking they could enjoy the sunshine and paddle in the lake. As it turns out, the day was cool and overcast: perfect for racing.

I had come down ill on Friday and still felt pretty rough. The combination of having a toddler and a compromised immune system from a training load designed for ironman hasn’t been working out well for me: I had a cold for Driffield and World Triathlon Leeds, too. However, I decided to power through and race anyway, especially as I set a great time at Leeds.

The swim

The swim went well. I was in the last of three waves setting off five minutes apart. I mostly used breaststroke with some front crawl to try and say on the feet of other people when I needed to speed up. Just at the end, I managed to overtake one of the slower swimmers from the wave in front of us!

Having cramped up in my ironman swim, and in one of the long prep swims, I was a bit nervous of it happening again. This was irrational because I only cramp after over an hour in the water. But it still played on my mind and I had to back off once or twice.

The bike

I had decided to go without socks on the bike, so as I entered into T1 I just had to pull my wetsuit off and pull my tri shoes on. This made for a T1 time of just over two minutes: a far cry from the 16 minutes at The Yorkshireman or eight minutes in Leeds. I forgot to take my neck protector off, though and had to do the entire bike with a giant piece of rubber around my neck.

The bike felt pretty fast and I tried to keep my watts around 220. My swim was a bit faster this time which meant there was an uber biker that was a slower swimmer than me. Baring that overtake, though, it was business as usual with me gaining places consistently throughout the bike and run.

The run

In T2, I pulled on my flat cap and headed out for the 5km. I went out a little too fast on the run, but nothing I could not handle. After the first kilometre, I settled down into a sensible face and held that to the end. I managed a sprint finish, hence the look on my face as I came through the finish gate.

The result

My official time was:

1:20:10

It’s a shame it wasn’t 11 seconds faster. I was 17 seconds over 1:30:00 last year, and I just missed three hours by 15 seconds at Allerthorpe Classic. But that was somewhat intended: I didn’t look at the overall time on my watch because I knew if I was around the 1:20:00 mark, I would push myself harder than I wanted while I was ill.

Splits were as follows:

Stage 2019 2018 Diff
Swim 18:21 22:01 -3:40
T1 01:52 04:39 -2:47
Bike 35:55 37:10 -1:15
T2 01:43 1:27 +0:16
Run 22:17 25:01 -2:44
Total 1:20:10 1:30:17 -10:07

Pleased with almost everything there. A sub-20 swim is a great swim for me. Maybe a bit disappointed by the bike time as I’m now riding a super aero ride bike with aero wheels on, too. That is a lot of cash for very little extra speed. T2 was slightly slower because I put my socks on in T2 rather than T1. 22:17 is a super 5km run time: only 11 seconds slower than my all-time 5km PB.

I came 75th overall, out of a field of 166 finishers. 11th in my age group.

It was also my first race in my club tri suit. Does that account for the 10 minutes knocked off my time? Maybe so!

How do you keep going for 14 hours?

Sunday, June 30th, 2019 | Sport

When I tell people that it took me 14.5 hours to complete my full distance triathlon they often ask “how do you keep going for that long?” It might be meant as a rhetorical question. But I’ve some thought into it.

Prepare your body

You need to do the training. Nobody would be surprised if someone did not do the training and failed to finish. It’s not just the volume of training: you need to do some distance work. You need to prepare your body for each discipline because otherwise, you run into things you hadn’t run into.

In the run-up to the event, I did a 4km swim in the pool, a 3km swim in open water, 2 x 100-mile bike rides and a three hour 30km run. Three of them were on back-to-back days.

I think it is important to do this because you hit things you wouldn’t hit in short workouts. Things like cramps. Things like back pain that only sets in in the later hours of the ride.

Prepare your mind

Two things you need to do here:

First, make sure your training gives you the psychological belief that you can do it. Do this by doing hard events. Few people believe they can do a full distance race if they have never done a triathlon. Neither did I. But I did understand I only had to believe in the next step.

I did a sprint. Then a standard. Then a load more standards. Then a half. Even then, it was only after I ran a marathon and an ultramarathon that I started to believe I could do it.

In preparation, I did some long sportives including the Tour de Yorkshire (only 123km but 2,400 metres of climbing) and The Flat 100 (160km). The latter was down as part of a race simulation weekend where I also swam 4km on the day before and a 3-hour run on the day after.

Second, it helps to have some mental strategies to assist you on the day. Mindfulness and self-talk are two of the most important and I teach both of these on my sport psychology course.

Keep eating

Providing you don’t get injured (you did some strength training, right?), the two things that are going to stop you are running out of energy and running out of mental resilience.

Your body cannot convert fat into energy fast enough, so you need to supplement this with food to avoid hitting the wall. Being hungry or dehydrated will also make you grumpy, which will increase your chances of wanting to give up.

Therefore, it is important to keep eating throughout the entire event. I’ve written about my fuelling strategy here.

Pace yourself

As you get more tired and fed up, you may encounter a desire to speed up. You want to get it over with. Do not listen to this voice.

Going above your target pace increases the risk of cramps, increases the risk of hitting the wall and is generally unsustainable, so will produce a slower time overall and maybe even a DNF.

Summary

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Actually, it’s a marathon plus 112-mile bike ride and 2.4-mile swim. So, take it easy, keep eating, and make sure you have spent the time building up your muscles and building up your confidence.

Fuelling for The Yorkshireman

Saturday, June 29th, 2019 | Sport

How do you keep going through a full distance triathlon? By eating a lot. I was aiming for around 60-75g of carbs per hour. My friend Meghan thought I would be fine on around 40g, which is good news because I didn’t hit my target.

The swim

I took a High5 energy gel (23g) just before the start and a Torq gel (30g) halfway through the swim.

Yep, I took a gel at the turnaround buoy. You can stick them in your sleeve but you need to get them far enough up that the wetsuit seals again. Or you can stick them down your chest. I do both in case I need two.

53g of carbs over 2 hours, so 27g per hour.

The bike

I optimistically took 10 gels with me on the bike. However, my stomach was not too happy when I ate so I only managed to take 4 of them (30g each, 120g total) and ate my way through 3 Clif bars (45g each, 135g total).

I also drank 2 x 750ml bottles of Lucozade and a 750ml bottle of SiS energy drink (123g in total).

That makes a total of 378g over 7.5 hours, equalling 50g per hour.

The run

On the run, it gets a bit more guesswork as I predominantly did it on the nutrition provided by the feed stations.

I did five energy drink cups per lap on the first two, plus two more on later laps, so 12 overall. I’m guessing they had around 150ml of liquid in each. That makes a total of 1800ml with around 80g of carbs per litre. So, let’s say 144g of carbs there.

I also had 8 cups of coke. They might have been a bit smaller, maybe 100ml per cup. Coke says there are around 11g of coke per 100ml, so 88g of carbs there.

Finally, I had a High5 energy gel (23g), 20 jelly babies (5g each, 80g total) and some handfuls of crisps (approx 5g total). The total of these three makes 108g.

That makes a total of 332g over 4.6 hours, equalling 72g per hour.

Summary

I was surprised how much energy I took on through the drinks on the run, roughly hitting my target. In total, I took on 763g over 14.5 hours (including transition), which equals 53g per hour.