How on earth do you prepare for a 70 mile triathlon when you’ve never done a half marathon or any open water swimming?
In terms of structured training I’m going to base my training around the ‘time poor’ TriRadar training plan. I think that I’ll actually have more time available than they suggest, but given that this training will be kicking off in the winter, not to mention the variables of family life, I would rather use this as my baseline than the ‘time rich’ plan… I can always add extra training time as and when it comes available. More importantly the TriRadar plan is a 26 week plan, and the Wimbleball Ironman 70.3 is on the 26th June 2016, which is bang at the end of week 25! So, as I’m going to start gearing up the swimming and running this year, I’m aiming to be starting the TriRadar plan properly from the 1st January 2016 – perfect timing.
The reason for the structured training is to make sure that I’m getting used to those changeovers from swim to bike, and then bike to run, or ‘bricks’ as they’re known to triathletes. I know from entering a couple of local mini-triathlons, involving a 400m swim and a 5km run either side of a 20km bike ride, that these transitions take an enormous toll on your body if you’re not prepared for them. My cycling has always been pretty good, but it took ages to get up to race pace after the swim as I was knackered and my body was thinking ‘swim’ – and don’t mention the run, even though the tail end of the 20km bike ride meant that I’d just about caught my breath.
While structured training will prepare me for the actual event, right now (in September 2016) I can start working on my base fitness. I reckon that I’m in pretty good shape for a 50 year old dad and can hold my head up amongst most of my peers, as long as they’re on a bike. Over the summer I raced my first round of cyclocross races, which was fairly informal and the weather was good, and I had intended to race this winter’s series… that’s proper racing, with a British Cycling licence, and I hope that the weather is horrible involving lots of mud and plenty of time off the bike running. With cyclocross as my focus for the remainder of the year, my reckoning is that getting some cross-country running in to help with that, some early morning ‘commutes’ on my bike around the local lanes and trails to keep my legs spinning, and lunchtime swims to start building up my front crawl technique over bigger distances will all add up to make sure that my base fitness is in a good place for the start of 2016.