Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Random musings of a first-time triathlete

My training continues apace. I am into month 2 of taking this seriously and following a training regime I found, somewhat disappointingly, on the internet. I was hoping a grizzled Patches O'Houlihan type character might spot me in a bar, shooting whisky and weeping into a copy of Tri-Monthly, and offer to take me under his wing and coach me to glory. The problem is I don’t often go to bars and world-class trainers down on their luck don’t often frequent East London pubs. All that sourdough bread lying in wait to tempt their athletes from the righteous protein path. We all know bread is cake and the watering holes of our fair capital are a yeast-strewn minefield. Fact. So Google came up with the goods, again. 

My timetable involves 7 training sessions a week, with 2 cycles, 2 runs and 3 swims. This week I will train for a total of 7 hours. Next week the duration will increase by 10% to 7 hours and 40 minutes, and then by another 10% in the 3rd week before dropping down 40% in the final week of the month for recovery. If you think that sounds complicated, it’s not a patch on some of the rigorous programmes out there. I want to train hard for this challenge so that I can complete it strongly but I don’t want it to take over my life entirely. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to cycle up and down the stairs 300 times before bed. 

The focus that training for the triathlon has given me is great and a much needed distraction at this time. People tell me to ‘look after myself’ and that is what I am trying to do, by way of a brutal and punishing exercise diary. I can certainly feel an improvement in my fitness level and my swimming especially is getting faster. Watching technique videos on Youtube and then practicing what I have seen in the pool is a great help. Who said I was obsessed? Feel the water, keep the elbows high, and don’t swim up someone’s backside. 

London Field’s Lido is a fantastic facility to have practically on my doorstep but it does get very busy on sunny mornings. And now I will air a couple of gripes: why do people not realise they are in the wrong lane when they are being consistently overtaken and lapped? And why do people treat the end of the pool, the space where a swimmer needs to turn at the end of a length, as social club to catch up with their mates? Both behaviours are incorrect and for both a suitable punishment would be to snatch them up with a giant fairground claw and deposit them in the park, soggy and confused. The appropriate equipment not being available however, I take the only other suitable action; to silently fume. How English. I will try to update this blog every week up to the triathlon and post my results at the end of September so please do check back. Coming soon - trying on wetsuits. Thanks for reading.

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