Posts Tagged ‘triathlon’

Triathlon For Beginners

Sunday, August 12th, 2018 | News

In June, I launched my Running For Beginners course. It has been a big success with nearly 2,000 students registering in the first six weeks and plenty of five-star reviews.

Following on from that, I’m pleased to announce my next new course, Triathlon For Beginners. Here’s the blurb:

This course will teach you everything you need to know to complete your first triathlon with confidence.

We’ll start right from the basics and build up to advanced techniques. We’ll cover swim, bike and run, of course, but also all of the bits that connect triathlon together and the strategies and secrets that will allow you to complete the entire event. Including:

  • How transition works
  • Building a training schedule with brick sessions
  • Strength, stretching and recovery
  • What nutrition and kit you need
  • How to use sport psychology to your advantage
  • Everything you need to know for race day

Whether you have signed up for a race, done a mini-triathlon, or just thinking about giving it a go at some point, there is no better time than now to start learning. Click buy now to get started. I can’t wait to see you inside the course!

It’s available on Udemy now, and you can check it out here.

Allerthorpe Sprint Triathlon

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 | Sport

Allerthorpe is a village about ten miles outside of York. They are hosting a series of triathlon over the summer, including this one, the Allerthorpe Sprint.

The swim wasn’t great. Few venues have the luxury of the beautiful clear waters of the Blue Lagoon or the size of Waterloo Lake. In this case, the lake was small, requiring two laps for the 750-metre swim, murky and shallow: you could walk a large amount of the swim.

T1 wasn’t smooth, either. I got everything done and then realised that I hadn’t vaselined my toes, so I had to take my shoes and socks back off, do some toe care and then put everything back on.

Once on the bike, things started looking up, though. I was really pleased with my average speed of 28.6 kph that I set at the Evolve Quarter and at the start of the bike section here I thought to myself “if I keep training hard, I’ll hit 30 kph eventually”. As it happens, I did just that. Faster even, as I managed 31 kph.

T2 and the run were smooth, also. I was about 25 minutes in the run, which clocked in at a little over 5km, so I’m happy with that given the heat.

In the end, my time was:

1:30:17

My spreadsheet predicted I would be around 1:33:11, so I was pleased to be ahead of that. But it was disappointing that if I hadn’t made the mistake in T1 I would have gone sub-90.

I am happy enough with Allerthorpe as a venue, too. Which is good news because I am back racing there at the start of August and again at the start of September.

Evolve Quarter Triathlon

Thursday, June 28th, 2018 | Sport

Last week I was back in Womersely for the Evolve Quarter Triathlon. It’s described as a quarter, rather than a standard/Olympic distance because it’s based on a quarter of a full distance: that means 1,000 metres, 45 km bike and 10.5 km run.

The Blue Lagoon is a beautiful place to swim and made a great venue for the sprint race last month. Due to the warm weather, the water temperature was up to 23 degrees by the start of the race. At this temperature, it’s technically wetsuits banned according to British triathlon rules.

It was a mass start from deep water. As we set off, the entire field swam away from me. One other competitor soon slowed down, though, and I was able to overtake them and come out second-to-last out of the swim.

As we hit the bike, I stayed ahead for 15km before moving to the back of the race. But it wasn’t to last long as I passed two people, and later a further three. Overall, the bike went fantastic. I finished in under 1:35, with an average speed of 28.6 kph. This smashes my previous best pace of 27 kph at Wetherby Triathlon.

The roads were mostly quiet, with a few busy stretches. No stops required, and the road quality was consistently good. The maintenance engineers on the level crossing very kindly agreed to set up the traffic lights to allow the racers to come through without stopping.

Then came the run, though. After two hours of racing, it was 1:30pm in the afternoon, the sun was at its height, and a complete lack of breeze provided no wind chill from the 25-degree heat.

Despite applying suncream as I ran, my first kilometre was the fastest. After that, the heat got too intense and I was forced to drop the pace. As went on, I got slower and slower. Time and time again I was convinced that I needed to stop and walk. And time and time again I somehow found the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I made it to the aid station at 6 km and stopped to down two glasses of water and some energy drink. Off again I went, burping with the amount of liquid I had just consumed. Two kilometres later and a race support car offered me an orange juice, and I downed that, too.

In the end, my run split was 55 minutes. 7 minutes slower than normal. However, I passed the fast biker and three other people on the run, and, it turned out, someone who got lost, too. And even the guy who won said he was 9 minutes slower than normal and had to stop at the aid station, too.

In the end, I finished 20th out of 30, with a time of:

2:57:40

I was chuffed to be under three hours. Although it is a little different from standard distance, it seems comparable.

After the race, we cooled off in the shallows of the lagoon beach. Evolve events are awesome. Really friendly, a great team of marshalls and a beautiful location to race in. Not to be missed!

World Triathlon Leeds elite races

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 | Sport

Long after us age groupers had packed up and gone home, they gave the elite racers a chance to race the same course at World Triathlon Leeds.

It’s a very spectator friendly course in Leeds because they make them do seven loops of the course on the bikes and then four loops of the same course on the run. So, if you can get a good spot, you can see everyone come past eleven times.

Many people opted to view from The Headrow where they could enjoy the sunshine while watching the race. We’re from Yorkshire and Finland, and we have a Yorkshire-Finn baby, so we chose Greek Street, which was firmly in the shade for the entire day.

The barriers they put up are brilliant. I wish they were there all of the time. We could let Venla run around as much as she wanted without fear that she would run out into the middle of the road and get knocked over by a car (or in this case a bike, or a runner).

It was awesome to see Vicky Holland and Georgia Taylor-Brown take a one-two for Team GB. Not quite as perfect as if Jessica Learmonth had won it, given she is the local girl, but still a superb result.

In the men’s race, both Tom Bishop and Marc Austin ran awesome races. Bishop came home in 6th, which I think is his best ever result in ITU.

Unfortunately, Johnnie Brownlee had to pull out with stomach issues. In fact, a lot of athletes who had swum in the River Trent in Nottingham on Thursday had the same thing. It struck a chord with me because I assumed I had food poisoning last month. But it was only a day or two after I had done Wetherby Triathlon in the River Aire.

World Triathlon Leeds

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 | Sport

Back in November last year I was wondering whether multisport might be for me. So, I took part in the inaugural GO TRI Temple Newsam duathlon and decided it was fun enough to register for the World Triathlon Series event that was taking place in Leeds next summer.

Since then, I’ve been busy. I’ve done a bunch of GO TRI events, Skipton, Evolve and Wetherby triathlon, so I had already hit my goal of completing an Olympic distance triathlon. But it was gratifying to reach the race I had targetted for almost a year.

With it being an ITU World Series event, it was big. There was 2,000 of us doing the standard distance alone, plus many more people doing the sprint distance and GO TRI events that ran the day before. So big, in fact, that we had to go check out bikes into transition the day before the race.

You also had the chance to do a familiarisation swim on Saturday while checking your bike in. This was fairly relaxed: there were no rules, you could swim wherever you liked. I did two laps of the 750m course.

On the day itself there was mist on the lake, so they cut the men’s age group swim to a single lap of 750 metres. This was a little disappointing as I was ready for the full thing. But did mean that I only got caught by one of the waves setting off after me, which were spaced five minutes apart. So, at least I didn’t have a bunch of people swimming over me. The mist cleared up soon after and the women, who set off an hour later, got to do the full distance.

Tragedy struck at transition one, though I didn’t know it at the time. My timing chip bracelet fell off my ankle, so I don’t have an official time after crossing the swim exit map.

The bike went well. I managed to maintain an average speed of 26.5 kph. This is slightly slower than the 27 kph I averaged at Wetherby, but I am more than happy with that because Wetherby was flat. In contrast, I thought the drag up Stonegate Road would slow me down a lot.

Nobody was laughing at my low-geared cross bike as we hit the 8% section. Nobody laughed at any point; everyone was very friendly. Even the officials in transition were firm but fair when someone unracked their bike without their helmet on. No DQ, but he had to take his bike back, re-rack it, put his helmet on and start again.

I saw two or three mountain bikes on the course, so I wasn’t the only person there without a £5,000 tri bike.

I felt pretty crab when starting the run and I was glad that I had an additional gel flask to take with me. More aid stations on the run would have been nicer. The city centre run was cool: not huge crowds, but enough people cheering that it gave you a bit of a boost. Including Julie & Tim.

Thanks to the shortened swim, I made it home in:

2:43:00

This was comparable to Wetherby. 20 minutes faster, but then I saved 20 minutes on the shorter swim. The bike was also 4km shorter, but it was hillier and there was about a kilometre of running inside transition that added quite a lot of time.

More importantly, I finished more than seven hours before the so-called “winner” of the men’s race, Richard Murray. Sure, the elite race had a later start time, but in my defence, I did ask if I could switch to the elite race so that I wouldn’t have to get up so early.

The 50 Best Tips Ever for Triathlon

Saturday, June 9th, 2018 | Books

The 50 Best Tips EVER for Triathlon Swimming, Biking and Running is a book by Scott Welle. Welle is a motivational speaker and has completed half a dozen Ironman triathlon as well as ultramarathons and many other events.

I took some useful advice away from this book.

Welle argues that you should take it really easy up a hill and go as fast as you can down. Typically, you would think of climbing as hard and descending as some recovery time. But he points out that going 10% faster up a hill is not much faster, whereas 10% faster when descending makes a big difference.

He also argues that transition is not that important because it is so little of your time overall. It’s not that he suggests you ignore it: he does suggest some planning and rehearsal. But he argues you aren’t going to make big gains here because it’s such a small percentage of your race overall.

He shuns all the fancy bike accessories you can buy, except for some wheels and an aero helmet. The only essential you need after buying a good bike is a proper bike fit. And he shuns junk miles: everything should be really easy or really hard. Ideally, some of it should be on grass to be easier on the body.

Nutrition wise, he suggests eating 200-300 kcals per hour you will be racing. So, two hours before, take on 400-600 kcals of carbs, no protein, fibre or fat. During exercise, 200-400 kcals per hour depending on your body weight. And for recovery, use a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

Wetherby Triathlon

Friday, June 1st, 2018 | Sport

Last week, I completed my first standard distance triathlon. Standard distance is 1500 metres swimming, 40km bike and 10km run. This is the distance then use in the Olympics and one of the distances they use in the World Triathlon Series, alongside the shorter sprint distance.

It starts in Wetherby with a swim in the River Aire. Luckily, we didn’t have to tackle the weir. The course goes upstream, then down, then up again. The current didn’t seem to make any difference as I couldn’t tell it was flowing.

It was lovely and warm compared to the lakes I’ve been swimming in. It was clocked at 18 degrees the evening before and while it might have go down overnight, it felt warmer than the 16 degrees at the Evolve sprint race.

The bike was an out and back course to Boroughbridge. It was very flat with a headwind on the way out and a tailwind on the way back. This made for easy riding: I managed an average speed of 27.3 kph, which is faster than I went at Evolve. Finally, the run went down the Sustrans route that runs through Wetherby.

There were two or three people behind me at the end of the swim, it was all even on the bike and I passed five people on the run. With it being my first standard distance I assumed I would be somewhere in the 3:30-4:00 range. But I was a lot faster. My time was:

3:02:18

I couldn’t believe it when they gave me the printout. Everyone seemed to make it home faster than previous years so maybe it was just a fast year. But, importantly, I managed to avoid being the lanterne rouge, which was a very real threat based on my initial estimates and previous year’s results.

I’m clearly a runner pretending to be a triathlete. If you compare what place I was for each section:

Swim: 98/102
T1:   96/102
Bike: 94/102
T2:   96/102
Run:  64/102

I’m one of the slowest people in most sections, until the run, when I vastly move up the rankings.

My next triathlon is ITU World Series Leeds, where I’m hoping there will be a much wider range of abilities so I’m not at the back for the entire race.

Evolve Sprint Triathlon

Saturday, May 19th, 2018 | Sport

After visiting the Blue Lagoon for an open water swim a few weeks ago, I returned to compete in their sprint distance triathlon.

I got there one hour forty-five before the race, which was more than enough time to faff about. Despite warnings of rain, it was gloriously sunny. Too sunny in fact: despite the copious amounts of sport-specific suncream (at £8.50 per bottle) I applied, I still came away with sunburn.

54 of us took part, and I ended up about two-thirds down the rankings in 33rd. The swim went well: the water temperature had risen to a balmy 16.2 degrees C. That still feels really cold when you get in, but once you are swimming it is fine, and my hands were still mostly usable when we came out. I managed to avoid being last in the swim and things only went forward from there.

The bike course was two laps around some local roads. There were very quiet and I barely saw any cars. It’s a pretty flat course with only one real hill and no serious descending, so it suited me well. The run was a bit too warm but otherwise fine.

My official time was:

1:30:51.4

Here is a comparison between my time here and Skipton triathlon.

Stage Evolve Skiption
Swim 12:29 9:36
T1 4:09 5:46
Bike 52:06 53:05
T2 0:50 1:56
Run 21:14 23:40
Total 1:30:51 1:34:02

I put this in more because it looked interesting than that it is of any value. It’s very difficult to compare across venues as they all have different lengths. This was a 500-metre open water swim, vs the 400-metre pool swim at Skipton, but also the distance between getting out of the water and getting to my bike varies massively.

I’m fairly sure the run distance here was less than 5km as I’ve never run a 21:14 before. Skipton was also a lot hillier. But this table isn’t completely pointless. I’m pleased that my T1 time didn’t increase even though I had a wetsuit to take off this time.

It was my first race as a member of Hyde Park Harriers and it was a nice perk to be part of a club rather than hanging around like a total loner. Everyone was very friendly. A big thank you to Graeme for spotting me and Gill for bringing the bacon, and congratulations to Naomi for winning first place in the women’s category.

Next stop, Wetherby triathlon…

Skipton Triathlon

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 | Sport

Skipton triathlon is often considered the first triathlon of the season and claims to be the UK’s largest pool-based triathlon with around 900 people registering to take part. For me, it represented my first professional distance event: I’ve done a lot of mini triathlons but this was my first chance to get my teeth into an hour-plus race.

I arrived two hours early to give myself plenty of time to faff around and get comfortable. The car park is Skipton auction mart, where we make our annual pilgrimage to Yarndale. It feels like the only bit of Skipton I ever get to see.

Despite all of my preparation, I made some silly mistakes. Foremost of them was leaving my goggles hanging on my handlebars: something I only realised once I was sitting at the poolside ready to go. I also forgot to vaseline all of the key areas and managed to misplace my energy gels. However, none of this was fatal to my race and I finished ahead of my target window of 1:45 to 2 hours.

1:34:02

This breaks down to 9:36 for the 400m the swim, 5:46 in T1, 53:05 for the 22km bike, 1:56 in T2 and 23:40 on the 5km run.

I’m pretty happy with all of that. 9:36 in the swim suggests I should swim without my goggles the whole time: perhaps some improvement is needed in my technique. 5:46 in T1 is a long time. But it didn’t feel like I was messing about: it just takes time to get your shoes and socks on, and I would rather take care of my toes than shave a few seconds off.

53:05 on the bike represents an average moving speed of 25.6 km/h. This certainly isn’t the 40 km/h the pros race at but given I often struggle to hold 21-22, I’m happy with the result. I was expecting the course to be hillier than it was as the GPS said 240m of climbing but it was actually only half that. 23:40 is only 32 seconds slower than my Parkrun PB, so no problems with the run.

For comparison, the winner finished in 57:26, so 36:36 quicker than me. I was 368th out of a total field of 759 that made it to the end. The lantern rouge finished in 3:35:13.

The event was very well organised. At every point there was an army of volunteers helping out with registration, poolside, checking people in and out of transition and marking the route. The event starts at 8:00am and the last person doesn’t finish until around 4:30pm, so the volunteers do an amazing job.

Bramley Baths triathlon

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 | Sport

Last weekend, I headed back to Bramley Baths for another Go Tri event. The first was an indoor triathlon that took place in February. This one was a more traditional affair with the bike and the run outdoors.

The distances were a 230m swim, 5km bike and 1.5km run.

We set off in waves three minutes apart. I was in the third wave. The swim went well. I was 5:30 despite getting stuck behind someone else, which suggests I should easily be able to hit the 11:00 minute target at sprint distance.

The first transition took two minutes. Seems okay given I had to dry my feet and get my shoes and socks off. But now all of my stuff is covered in talc.

The bike was a mixed bag. I forgot to stop my watch until I had racked my bike, so although my average speed is 21.1 kmph, I think it was actually more like 23 if I had recorded it properly. In general, it feels like I overtook a lot more people than caught me.

The run was good. I was 4:25 per kilometre, which is a faster pace than my Parkrun PB. I overtook two people with no places conceded.

The results

I finished the race with a total time of:

27:53

Which translated to 8th out of a field of 31. The winning time was 23:45, with the first female home at 28:46 and the last person home at 51:48.

The event

Bramley Baths did an excellent job of organising everything. There were loads of volunteers including people lane counting in the pools, managing and helping out in transition and marshalling the bike and run courses.