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The London Triathlon in aid of Cancer Research

Cancer Research UK
Just Giving


Part four, the final bit!

To read from the start of this article use the drop down menu above or click HERE

This is the last page, the final run to the flag (or start line in this case). This quarter will be spent honing the skills I've learnt so far and hopefully continue to build on the endurance and speed I've picked up. I've entered a few more short races to build on the speed side of it and a longer race after London to encourage me to build endurance. I need to work on race strategy and get it clear in my head what I aim to do on the day. The race is long enough to prevent me going all out from the off so I need to think about just how fast to swim/bike in order to have enough energy to complete the run. It's all a trade off, I'll deliberately swim slower in order to save energy but just how slow without robbing myself of a good time. I don't want to finish feeling fresh. All these things will be practiced in training and racing before the big day.

Remember, this is in aid of Cancer Research and you can donate to them online by clicking the 'Just Giving' logo above or the thermometer on the left, you can also view others who have sponsored me.

SwimMay 04:
I've swam my first open water swim. I went to a lake just off the M20, near the Aylesford paper mill. They gave me an hours swim coaching then I had a go swimming in the lake. It's very different from a pool swim and is a lot easier. The wet suit seems to do the majority of the work for you and you just pull yourself through the water. The difficult bit is seeing where you're going, there's no line on the bottom to follow! All good fun though and I really enjoyed it. All I need to do now is get up to the required distance non-stop and practice doing it!

I've been back to the lake and will try to make it a regular Friday evening event. I'm getting the hang of sighting and can swim across the lake quite comfortably (550m). I'll try to string a few lengths together and build up to 1650m, that should be more than enough for the London Triathlon.

June: I'm continuing with the lake swimming, putting together a 2200m swim in 45 minutes. What's interesting is how different the lake is from week to week. Some days it feels quite fast and on others quite slow. The wind has a bid impact on the conditions and can make it very difficult. If it stirs up some waves it makes breathing very difficult. The changing conditions make lake swimming much more interesting but the journey to the lake is very annoying, there's almost always traffic on the M25/M20. How do people travel along those roads every day?

July: I've stopped going to the Bromley Masters swim sessions as they were starting to annoy me. Swimming lots and lots of very short swims (one or two lengths about 80 times on a Sunday) isn't doing my endurance any favours so I stopped going. In it's place I get to West Wickham pool twice in the mornings, they open at 6.30am, and swim a non-stop 1500m. So far the time is around 30 minutes which is exactly my target time for the race. I'm swimming longer at the lake on a Friday too, somewhere around 4000m which is over 2.5 miles and takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

BikeMay 04:
Speed continues to improve as the weather gets better. I'm able to get out on the roads more often and have now gone under 2 hours on my 30 mile hilly ride (1 hour 50 minutes) and finally broken through the 18 mph on the 20 mile ride, 19.4 mph average. I'm back to enjoying cycling as it's nice to get out. I'm working on endurance and trying to get a couple of long rides in per month, somewhere around 60 miles.

I've managed to get my average speed up to 21.2mph in a race. It all went very well and I'm very pleased to achieve this in a race situation. It was a short ride, 21k (as apposed to the London bike leg of 40k) but still going in the right direction.

June: I hit a pothole near Cudham while riding at 48mph (down that really steep bit that takes you back to Downe). That was very worrying as the back tyre blew out and the wheel started to snake all over the place and it's very fast to start fighting with the bike. It buckled the back wheel and I had to get it rebuild and the tyre and tube needed replacing. I'm also getting some knee problems from cycling, on my long Sunday ride it's making the top of my knee sore. I don't think it's anything bad, just the connective tissue adapting but it's not very nice. Long Sunday ride is now up to 60 mile and that takes 3 hours 45 minutes.

July: I'm still riding a long Sunday ride or around 4 hours, 60-65 miles. I'm getting up early to miss the traffic and get the ride done before the days gets going which leaves me with plenty of time to do other things (which usually amounts to sleep!). I feel I'm getting stronger on the bike and bits are aching less after a long ride. I hope to increase the time in the saddle this month to around 5 hours. That will be good for overall endurance and should help out a lot when the race comes around (especially the longer races later in the year).

RunMay 04:
No problems with running. I increased my longest ever run distance to 13.1 miles, which took 1 hour 56 minutes which is a more than respectable time for the distance. I didn't suffer any ill effects from the distance other than the usual aches the following day. I've had some heel problems but Trevor, the massage chap, sorted that out for me and I'm now fine. I have struggled with pace, it seems to fluctuate really wildly so I've been using my new training watch to help me even it out, the Timex Speed and Distance watch. It displays your current running speed and pace so you know exactly how fast your running at any given moment. That makes it much easier to keep an even pace.

I've just got back from another 10 mile run. It's starting to feel good and I'm able to push the speed up a bit without sending my heart rate through the roof. I must be getting fit!

June: I've upped the long runs to 12 miles and try to run that once a week. That means getting up very early on a Friday (5am) and going out. It's quite nice though, seeing the world as the day breaks and it's quite peaceful with only the animals to keep me company. So far I've seen a deer, lots of rabbits, sparrow hawks and a badger (as well as the usual cows, sheep, horses, crows etc). I might increase the distance again but only to add another mile or two, this is in preparation for Sherborne in late August. I'm starting to feel quite comfortable with running and the only problems I'm getting is what you'd expect from a 2 hour run, things like soreness where my legs rub together, sweating quite a lot and some blisters.

July: Still increasing the distance, now up to 14 miles before work and I've changed it to a Wednesday so it doesn't fall on the same day as my long swim. It's sensible to spread the long sessions about the week to give the body a chance to recover. People tell me that I should get the run distance up to around 2.5 hours, which would be approximately 18 miles, to fit in with my Sherborne plans. That'll be a lot of work before going to work! Everything is fine body wise, no major aches or pains other than the usual niggles. A massage once a month continues to help out a lot.

The Day before the race

To bring you right up to date, I sit here on Saturday afternoon with a very sore ankle. Rather then do my long 16 mile run on Wednesday I decided it'd be safe to shorten the run and keep off the roads to avoid any last minute injuries. I ran 13 miles on grass instead (10 large laps of Sparrow's Den). That turned out to be a bad idea as I sprained my ankle while running. The ground must have been a bit more uneven then I'd realised. It wasn't that bad while running, just a minor niggle but once I stopped it went from sore into very painful. I iced it and rested as much as I could for the week but it's still with me today. I shouldn't race tomorrow but I'm going to anyway. I'll be fine on the swim and bike as that puts no pressure on ankle ligaments but the run will be a challenge.

I'll put a race report here: HERE

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