Category Archives: Triathlon

Heaven for Strava nerds

If, like me, you love seeing your rides on Strava (and I have lots!) then I highly recommend VeloViewer. At only £9.99 a year it gives you an almost infinite number of ways to view your ride (and run) data. Some beautiful graphics as well such as this one from the Blenheim Palace Triathlon a couple of years ago:


A great British one man business that is doing something very creative and useful. Worth Supporting.


What’s been up Doc?

So I have been pretty quiet here for a while. The main reason is a combination of Triathlon recovery and a busy time at work.

Earlier I wrote about my preparations for the Leicester Triathlon, in the end I did 2 training runs, both 5k. The 2nd was on Tuesday 29th April with the race on Monday 5th May. In hindsight this was a mistake – although not as big a mistake as leaving running training so late ūüôā

The first two parts of the race went well but when I came to start the run my knees were hopeless and I had to walk/hobble nearly the whole 5k. My overall result was still better than I expected at 1hour 38minutes 51seconds but the breakdown shows how biased the speed was against the run.

The problem is that my knees have still not recovered. A couple of things have taken me backwards. First a weekend after the race I had to do a fair bit of driving (3hrs on both Saturday and Sunday). Both the position and the weight of the clutch made my left knee considerably work. Then last week I had to do more walking and step climbing than normal while delivering and collecting Christian Aid envelopes (on one road every house has about 6 steps).

I have been able to get around by bike but have avoided long rides and have been slower than normal. Even when almost unable to walk it is quite possible to ride slowly without pain.

In the last day or so they do seem to have improved quite a bit. That is good news because this weekend is a big ride, the Methodist Pilgrimage to Epworth. We have 5 riders doing 165 miles over 3 days and 2 riders doing a slightly shorter ride of about 100 miles. The Pilgrimage includes a fundraising element 50% for Epworth Old Rectory (the family home of John and Charles Wesley) and the other 50% to Syston Methodist Church¬†towards our project to create a Youth Cafe and Community Hub (sadly Syston has nowhere for young people to go in the evening and our current 1960’s facilities¬†need a new separate entrance, refurbished toilets etc).

Please sponsor me at cos these are both excellent causes.

Because of the knee problems I have changed my plans for the ride a little. A friend is driving our car as a support vehicle so I have decided that instead of using my Shand Stoater bike for life I am going to carry far fewer tools etc and ride my Whyte Suffolk hoping that a lighter faster bike will allow me to ride in a much more knee friendly way.

While my Whyte Suffolk does not have a rack (there are mounting points but the whole point is to keep it a lightweight road bike – albeit one with excellent disk brakes and comfortable 28mm tyres) I can carry quite a lot of stuff now. I can have three bags on the bike (all British made):

So with the smaller bag on the handlebars I should still have 20 litres capacity with the frame bag ideally suited to relatively heavy tools while the others are going to be great for people’s immediate clothing and food needs.

I am looking forward to the ride which is with good friends. Jane is coming and it will include her longest day ride (twice) and more long days in a row that she has done before.

Anyway your sponsorship will be much appreciated at NB if you give on a Wednesday between 5pm and 6pm (UK time) then Paypal should match your donation (but it is likely to be used up very quickly each Wednesday so it looks liek you need to get in at 5:01pm


Triathlon Preparation

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 ūüėČ


Completed my first 3 mile / 5 km run in 35 years!

Wow, so pleased with myself today. I actually managed to get myself out of the door for a run! I had only one goal which was to run 5k as that seems quite important given that I am in the Leicester Sprint Triathlon in two weeks time.

I started at a pace that could be described as:

  • can you really call that running?
  • watch out for overtaking tortoises
  • this is embarrassingly slow

but I managed to just keep going. Clearly a big problem with previous attempts has been to run to fast caused by not wanting to be embarrassed.

Beyond achieving my goal of actually running the 5k distance the other good news was that I was not overtaken by anyone walking or by an canal boats!!!!

I figure the faster club rides with Syston Syclers have really helped my fitness. The other thing that really seems to have helped is running in neoprene knee supports, at least so far my knees are not hurting which is a first.

Also for the first timer I didn’t get any pain in my shins while running. I think the slower pace and not mixing in walking might have helped. Whatever it was a very good thing to not have!


Breaking in my knees for running

So I have entered the Leicester Sprint Triathlon¬†on May 5th and this involves running 5k. I can’t currently run anything like 5k and the last time I tried the NHS Couch to 5k programme I had to give up after about a month because my knees were so bad that I could barely climb the stairs. So this year I am trying to more carefully handle breaking in my knees for running.

Today I started with a 5k walk (for pedants it was 3.3 miles or 5.3k). The weather is disgusting, heavy rain and strong winds so I was dressed up in hike boots and waterproofs. Here are the details from Strava (recorded using the Android Phone App).

As I don’t normally do much walking and almost never any running my theory is that doing a week or two of regular walks should be gentler thus breaking in my knees for running without breaking my knees.

What do you think?


Going public on a goal for 2014. The Leicester Sprint Triathlon

Time to go public! Following the esteemed and scary example of my boss (@RachelParkinso2) I have decided that a goal for 2014 should be to enter and complete the Leicester Sprint Triathlon. It is a convenient event for me as it is not on a Sunday, includes indoor swimming and is nice and local.

As a Sprint event it is a 400m (16 lengths) swim, 20km (12.5 miles) cycle and a 5km (3.1 miles) run.

Just to be clear. I have never done a Triathlon before (nearest thing was to ride the cycle section of a relay triathlon last year). I used to swim a lot, although never very fast and not very much front crawl. I haven’t successfully run 5k since I was about 15.

So I don’t have a target time, just to finish will make me very happy. As far as the 3 elements of the race are concerned I am not worried about the cycling which I can use as a bit of a rest (or if feeling strong an opportunity to catch-up with some people).

As for the swimming I know I can swim 16 lengths, but my goal will be to train enough to do them all as front crawl which is far beyond what I can do at the moment. The entry form asked for an estimated time, I had no idea what to put as I haven’t timed myself yet!

The running is a much more scary thing! I tried the NHS Couch to 5k programme last year but gave up because it was causing me lots of knee pain. I’ll try the same programme this year but will take it slower so I probably won’t be able to run the whole distance by May, although I should be able to still finish (not on my knees though because they are always the biggest problem).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: