So a week today I have my first ever triathlon. I’m doing the “Sprint” distance of the Leicester Triathlon ie 400m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run.
Since going public about this on 31st December my “training” has not been what I would like. I’m going to take the easy way out and blame the 8 weeks that it took me to get over a horrible virus that left me with a bad cough.
I know I can swim 400m (16 lengths), I did it last week (and yes that was the first time this year). However, I can’t do it very fast (aiming for just under 12 minutes) and I can’t do much of it front crawl. My “best” strokes are side-stroke and breast-stroke and the big risk is making my knees hurt for the cycle and swim that follow.
Clearly the cycling is my best part of the course. In order to gain as much time as possible over others at the back of the field I have fitted tri-bars. On a test ride today I managed the first 8.5 miles at 19.5mph (then I ran out of fast roads as I was on the way to visit Jane’s building site).
Obviously I need to set a balance so I am able to still crawl around the run. But I’m going to aim for 18mph which “should” be possible with the tri-bars. Last year I did the cycling only element of the Blenheim Relay Triathlon in just under 43 minutes. I’d like to beat that as I am a bit fitter this year and the tri-bars do make quite a difference but I don’t know if that is more than the tiredness from the swim?
The run is just about survival to help this I’ll be slipping on knee bandages during the transition from cycling. My first and only 5k run in the last 35 years which I did last week took me 35 minutes 26 seconds. I guess after the swim and cycle I will be delighted with anything under 40 minutes (well to be honest I’ll be delighted if I am still alive by Tuesday next week).
One of the reasons that Triathlon appeals is the toys you can buy. I haven’t gone all the way with a triathlon specific watch. But the tri-bars are just for this as the easiest possible way to save time pover the course.
I have treated myself to some of the cheapest triathlon specific shorts. They look just like slightly long cycling shorts but the pad is much thinner, supposedly suitable for swimming and running. I used them today and the reduced padding is very noticeable when riding (particularly when on the tri-bars), they are still bearable though.
I also got a triathlon race belt cos you have to do something with your race number (on the back when cycling and front when running).
I have some proper running shoes (and yes I bought them from somewhere that tests your gait). I’ll be using my normal cycling shoes with my normal speedplay frog pedals.
I’m not going to try anything fancy for the transition to bike such as having my shoes clipped onto the pedals and putting them on after you start cycling. For a start I can run reasonable ok in and out of transition with my mountain bike style cycling shoes with the frog pedal clips (in fact last year I was running in and pout of transition at about twice the speed I intend to use for the whole run this year).
My biggest fear is knee pain. It is what generally puts me off running. I’ve been reading about it and I think the biggest thing to try in the next week is cold to reduce inflammation. With that to try I think I may try one more practice run tomorrow – surely 2 runs does not mean I run the risk of overtraining 😉