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Triathlon training

May 5, 2011 | 9:39 pm

I went on my first ever triathlon training session last Saturday, run by British Triathlon.

It started off a bit disjointed as the coaches had been let down by Speedo, but ended very well, and I picked up lots of good little tips during the day.

Most importantly, I had my first go at open water swimming!

The day was offered to novice triathlete’s who had signed up for the Rother Valley Triathlon festival. I’m not strictly a novice having racked up a Sprint Triathlon and two Duathlo’s to date, but I have never done an open water swim before. The triathlon I did in Spetember 2009 included a pool swim, so when I entered the Rother Valley Triathlon online, I ticked the box about the training course, hoping to get a chance to try swimming in the lake before the day of the race.

During the welcome at the beginnnig of the day, Judith Brand from Linoln Tri Club, had to start by apologising! We were supposed to be joined by Speedo who were going to show off their wetsuits, and let us try them for size in the lake, before buying. Except they cancelled! And then it turns out the lake temperature was too cold and we couldn’t swim anyway – even for those with their own wetsuits!

Not a great start then. However, this is where the coaches came into their own. Forced to re-organise the itinerary, they juggled things around and we set to focusing on the other two triathlon disciplines. I was the only bloke with a group of girls and we went off to practice transition on and off the bike.

Brilliant, I thought. If I can’t swim in the lake, I can have some fun. And as far as I’m concerned, anything to do with bikes is the most fun you can have (on your own of course!!!).

We spent about an hour with Judith going through some basic techniques, and I have to say, she was really good. She pitched it at the right level for the group as a whole, but also threw in stuff for people like me who wanted to know a little bit more.

As the day warmed up, so did the lake, so by lunchtime and armed with a new temperature reading, they were able to give the go ahead to swim in the lake. Still no Speedo of course, so those of us without wetsuits had to borrow watersports wetsuits from the Rother Valley Watersports centre. It was very good of British Triathlon to pick up the cost of this, but I hope that a swimming wetsuit is different from the one I got!

The cold of the lake didn’t bother me. It measured 14 deg Celcius when we got in. Having never done anything like this before, I don’t know whether that is really cold or not, but after a few minutes getting used to it, I was fine.

What I found hard was swimming in a wetsuit. I am used to pool swimming and so found the wetsuit very claustrophobic. To the point where I was struggling to breath after less than a couple of hundred meters. I hope that this is because of the watersport type wetsuit, and not just open water swimming in general. If so, I might be tempted to do my swim wihtout a wetsuit on! Anyone know how warm the water has to be before they’ll let you do this?

Swim over, we broke for lunch, then did a mini duathlon after. Any race is always fun, but it served to underline what I already know. I’m pretty quick on the bike but PAINFULLY slow at running.

All in all, a fun day where I learnt loads. A big thank you to all the coaches from British Triathlon who where so patient and enthusiastic.

The race itself is on Sat 11th June, in aid of Diabetes UK of course. Come along and support me if you can, or read more about it here.

Posted by Gareth

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