Thursday, 26 June 2014

Continuous improvement through reckless experimentaion

Triathlon preparation, like much in life, seems to be an endless series of experiments and purchases

After injuring myself in 2012 and taking the first half of 2013 to recover I  was nervous about running. I first tried "barefoot" running in the Saucony Hattori shoes (I reviewed them here). Once that worked I realised I wasn't going very fast/it wasn't comfortable for longer than an hour/i had no grip at all* in the wet. I bought some merrell road shoes. Got used to them and then realised I preferred the Hattori. I have experimented with the following...

  • Shoes
  • Breathing
  • Training patterns
  • hydration equipment (bottles/bladders)

I have made a few changes to the bike...just a few. None of which I have settled on. I even bought a brompton (which in this blog I'm going to call my "winter trainer"*). I am now panicking as the bike has transformed into a racier machine, just as I realised I'm doing the Dunwich Dynamo in 2 weeks and may need to convert it back a bit!!*

  • Removed rack
  • Removed second bottle cage
  • Lowered handlebars
  • Extended stem
  • Added a small saddlebag and a bento box
  • Tried 1980's bar extensions (FAIL)
In a box to do whenI get home tonight I have a 
  • Change of  handlebars
  • Modern ICU approved tri bars (we'll have to wait and see)

I could not swim far or in open water. Given my  lack of ability, swimming  kit and experimenting has been kept to a minimum. I read"total immersion" and applied it.

  • 2 different pairs of goggles
  • Different pools
  • Swimming in the sea
  • 1 ill informed wetsuit purchase

Other equipment:

  • Bryton cardio 60 triathlon watch - currently broken due to swimming in it...
  • Zoot Tri Suit
  • 2 running vests
  • 2 pairs of running shorts
  • 2 running t-shirts
  • 1 running jacket
  • 1 pair running tights
  • I thermal running top

* The author is prone to gross exaggeration

Monday, 23 June 2014

Croatia and triathlon training

I'm now only 6 weeks away from my first triathlon. Whilst my holiday to Croatia felt like bad timing when I was planning my training in actual fact it couldn't have come at a better time. I run and cycle the same routes quite frequently and so to go somewhere else and run trails by the sea ( and on one occasion up a dual carriageway up a mountain) mixed things up a little. 

I purchased the wrong size wetsuit a few weeks back and had been using this as an excuse to not swim in open water. In Croatia I swam in the sea 6 times. On one occasion I managed a 1km swim and felt absolutely fine at the end of it. I managed to cope with currents, tides, rocks and fish. In the interests of disclosure I have always been terrified of natural water. Not always, but from the age of 16. I watched  2 sisters bodies dragged from the sea and heard the wails of the surviving sister and mother whilst camping in wales. Their dingy capsized and they drowned. 

At 4 I fell into a river and was fine until my rescuer suggested we check my wellies for fish. Swimming in the docks of London is going to be a big deal for me. More so than the distance or the 3 hours competing. 

I ruined my triathlon watch as it turned out to not be waterproof, but Rutland Cycling are going to take a look and see if it's a warranty job. Anyway. I really enjoyed swimming in the sea. Goggles, rock-shoes and trunks.