Friday, 29 March 2013

New targets needed

I entered 2013 with some targets in mind. The targets I had in mind were not race based but time targets and consisted of:

  • Complete a 5km run in under 30 minutes
  • Complete a 1500m endurance swim in under 27 minutes and 30 seconds unaided (ie no pull buoy)
  • Complete a 10km run in under 60 minutes.
Given the difficulties I have had with running I imagined these targets would take me most of 2013 to complete.

How wrong I was.

By the end of January I had completed two of these targets by firstly running 5km in 29:33 and secondly swimming 1500m in 27:09.

I was content in the fact that the sub 1 hour 10km would keep me occupied for most of 2013.

However I am pleased to announce that on Wednesday 27th March 2013 I set off on a scheduled 6 mile run after work and 59 minutes and 29 seconds later had completed 10km. I was overjoyed with this and don't mind admitting to shedding a little tear when I realised I had completed this challenge. 

I believe there were several things that contributed to me beating this record. I think I have finally found some trainers which don't give me blisters.

I now have a pair of Puma FAAS 500 trainers following a visit to Accelarate in Sheffield.

My new understated green trainers
The staff here were very understanding to my problem and put up with me trying on 7 pairs of trainers and running in each of them. I left the shop two hours later the proud owner of two new pairs of trainers and I really hope these have sorted my blister problem. One pair for off road and one for on road. I really can't state how helpful the staff were and would recommend anyone paying the shop a visit.

So aside from new trainer syndrome, there is also the fact that I have been managing to run longer without needing to stop and walk. Over the last month the times I have been running without stopping have increased from 40 minutes to just over an hour. On Wednesday I was feeling strong and reached 5km in just under 30 minutes so thought (excuse my French) f*ck it, plod on and go for it. It wasn't easy and it hurt but I felt so good when I reached the 10km target. This target meant so much to me, I can only compare it to the joy I felt on marrying my wife.

Perseverance really does pay off. If any of you reading this are having a wobble and thinking what's the point, please continue on your quest. The payoffs are more than worth it in the long run.

However I am now in a quandary because, I am sitting here at the end of March with no targets (apart from my races) to keep me entertained for the rest of the year. These targets must be achievable so I thought I would offer you, my readers the option of coming up with some targets for me for the rest of the year. I would prefer if these were time and distance based and ideally not cycle based as cycling is affected by so many things like the wind and weather.

If you have any suggestions for me, please either comment below or tweet me (@Triathlon4Harry).

Thanks in advance,


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Outlaw training part one

Sorry for not blogging recently. It's been a hectic couple of weeks now that I have started training for the Outlaw, which is only just over 15 weeks away. In fact I'm sitting here and to be honest I should be training tonight. But I felt like a night off.

Week 1

Since my last post I have been super busy. My training started in eanest on Monday 18th February with a rest day. What is not to like when day one is a rest day. The rest of the first week was not quite as relaxing. Unfortunately during week 1 I missed two training sessions. I missed my 5 mile run on Wednesday and my 1000m endurance swim on Sunday. I'm not so bothered about missing the occasional swim session. I upped the ante on my bike ride though as I was feeling strong and completed 48 mile instead of the prescribed 25 miles.

Week 2

During week 2 I again did not manage to complete all my sessions. This is due to the fact I work approx 11 hours a day and lose track of time. This week I missed Tuesday's cycle and Sunday's swim. Due to the fact I worked on Saturday I rejigged the training and completed my first brick session of 2013 on the Sunday of a 30 mile bike ride with a 2.5km run afterwards.

Unfortunately towards the end of the week I managed to tweak my neck and my muscle went into spasm. I then aggravated this on my bike ride on Sunday.

Week 3

This week I missed all my planned sessions as I was injured, my neck was really not well. Normally I would have presevered but I had a training week planned in Mallorca for the following week and I needed to be better for this.

Week 4 - Mallorca training camp with RG Active

Before I left London I was training with RG Active and decided to join them on their annual training camp to Mallorca. Me and the Mrs flew out on the Sunday and the weather was bliss. I could not wait for the training camp to start. I had no idea what to expect from this camp as the only training I had done with RG Active was swimming where I swam in the second quickest lane.

RG Active are a triathlon club based in London and have two bases, they have a group form East London and Essex and a group from South West London and Surrey. I trained with the SW London group while I was in London.

After reassembling my bike on the Sunday I awaited the arrival of my club mates from South West London. They flew in really late so I didn't get to see them on the Sunday.


I finally met up with my old training buddies from SW London and we all had a briefing after breakfast. The plan for Monday was a ride out to Formentor. This was sold as a steady 40km bike ride. This was it the first time I had ridden in a group. I was really nervous when we set off but quickly settled into a rhythm. One thing I learnt early on is that the group moved a lot quicker than I was used to.

The easy 40km ride actually turned into a 58 km ride with a total ascent of just under half a mile. Given I live in one of the flatter parts of the country, this amount of climbing was a culture shock. I even joked that I climbed like an elephant on roller-skates. I learnt so much during these early climbs and am so glad of the coaching I received. On arriving at the lighthouse at Formentor I took a photo.

The ride was exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable. In the afternoon we went for a sea swim. The sea in Mallorca was erm.......... FREEZING but I was thrilled that I finally got to try out my new Huub Aerious wetsuit. It fit superbly and really lifted my legs. I found swimming in my wetsuit a lot less restrictive than swimming in my Foor Classic wetsuit from last year. We completed two laps of just under 1/4 of a mile but I developed cramp on my second lap.


Tuesday was the day where we planned to complete the 90km bike ride from the Ironman 70.3 course in Mallorca. Given I will complete this race in May, this was superb experience. We didn't uite manage the complete loop due to time constraints but the 49 mile ride with a climb of just under half a mile was cracking experience. We then bricked this bike ride with an hours run. I was on empty at the start of the run and only managed 25 minutes but that is still 25 minutes.


The weather on Wednesday was atrocious, we were planning on completing a brick session but due to the forecasted weather we changed our plans. We completed a running workshop in the morning. I really enjoyed this and was even used an example of an efficient runner. Me at just over 15 stones an efficient runner. Everyone commented on the fact that I made the running look easy. After the running session we had a bike maintenance lesson which was invaluable. The weather had really set in now and  was awful. Some people in other groups came back from their rides with hypothermia. I am so glad my coaches decided to cancel our planned rides.

Because of my efficient running style I got voted the "athlete of the day" by the coaches from RG Active. Me an athlete. I was ecstatic about this.


On Thursday we completed out planned brick session, I completed one lap of the run (2.5km), 2 laps of the bike (27km), one lap of the run (2.5km), one lap of the bike (14km) and two laps of the run (5km) in a time of 2 hours and 46 minutes. In the afternoon we completed a two lap ocean swim.


On Friday we had a long ride planned. We were planning on completing 100km. After the first 40km I was on empty, I had nothing left so had to retire to the transport to recover. After about an hour I perked up and decided to ride again. I  completed a further 48km on the bike and set some new records. I completed 5km in a new PB time of 06:38 which is an average speed of 28mph. This was on a descent and I love descending at speed.

My club mates completed 130km whereas I completed 86km. This in itself taught me an important lesson in how to listen to my body.


Saturday was the day of the RG Active relay triathlon.

We were put into teams of three. I was teamed with Karen from RunwithKaren who was my run coach and Brett from the East side of RG Active.

The relays consisted of two races.

In the first race the idea was to complete the distance in your worst discipline to develop a handicap time over the race which would then determine your start time for the second race. The second race was a staggered race using the handicaps from the first race where you should complete in your best discipline.

For race 1 my team decided that Brett should swim, Karen should bike and I should run. The idea being that you work as hard as you can to complete the course in as slow a time a possible. We completed the course in third, this was not according to plan. It transpired that the runners who left before me ran too far. I completed the run leg of 2.5km in 12 minutes. Me running a 12 minutes 2.5km is unheard of. I had no idea my body could do this.

Because we finished third it meant we were the penultimate team to leave in the second race.

For the second race we decided that  I should swim, Brett should bike and Karen should run.

Each playing to their strengths. I set off 3 minutes and 19 seconds behind the race leader. The swim leg was 400m long and the seas was immensely choppy. This played to my strengths as choopy seas have never bothered me. I started to reel people in and despite my 199 second deficit I managed to overtake 4 people during the swim. Had t not been for a few teething problems  getting my new wetsuit off I would have had the second quickest swim time of the day but got overtaken in transition by two swimmers. This was another key learning point for me. I must practice removing my wetsuit.

After the activities had been completed we had a few celebratory beers to cap off a hard week of training. Given I couldn't train the week before I was amazed I completed as much as i did in Mallorca.

A summary of Mallorca is

Days - 6
Training sessions - 11 Miles travelled - 177.86 Kcal burnt - 11805 Time exercising - 14 hours 32 minutes

And I had a bloody amazing time and would recommend the trip to anyone.

When we arrived in Mallorca I joked that I hoped we wouldn't have to climb some of the hills we saw on the coach. I even posted the picture to Twitter.

It transpires that we did climb some of the hills in the photo. Oh how wrong I was.

Week 5

Week 5 started okay with me completing a 2km endurance swim in 37:30 on Tuesday followed by a 5km run on Wednesday but I have so far missed three activities this week. I have missed Tuesdays bike and both the bike and the swim from today. The coaches advised us to treat this week as a rest week anyway so I don't feel so guilty about missing todays training.

I am planning on completing all my activities over the weekend but the weather in Doncaster  may not mean this is possible. There is snow forecast for Saturday. I hope I can manage my 40 mile bike ride and 9 mile run.

Thanks for reading,