My first attempt at a Triathlon yesterday went ok but I was taught a few good lessons along the way. In case you didn’t know, I accepted a challenge to do a Triathlon indoors, Olympic distance nonetheless, by my friend Graeme Lundberg who is doing a far greater series of challenges this year to raise money for Love Oliver, a children’s cancer charity and our race was part fun and part to support his efforts.
I’m not the greatest swimmer and got a few tips from a very good swimmer on how to perfect the front crawl. My initial efforts weren’t great and my intention was to get a few training sessions in during the week however, this was hampered as I caught the cold and a bit of a cough. I decided to rest up and hopefully would be fine for the big day. I also decided that I had no option but to go for it with the breaststroke.
I managed the 75 lengths of the pool much better than I thought given that I haven’t swam in months and wasn’t as far behind Graeme as I had anticipated. Of course, our efforts weren’t helped by a few older ladies who got into the pool and decided to swim in our paths and so we probably ended up swimming further as we had swim around them. When we started, we were the only ones in the pool and so it was very frustrating when these people with no sense of awareness joined us and gave us a look as if we were disturbing them! I can’t imagine that Michael Phelps has this problem.
Onto the bike and this was a case of keep things ticking over and save energy for the bike. Sadly, I soon discovered that I hadn’t fully recovered from the cold/cough and felt my chest tightening after 15km. With another 25km to do, this was going to be a struggle. Graeme kept a strong pace and finished the cycle 6km ahead of me. I gritted my teeth, picked a good song on my iPod and fought back. I started out fine on the treadmill but then the tightness in my chest returned as soon as I got in to a reasonable running pace so was limited to walking from then on. Graeme ran really well and finished the 6.2 miles by the time I had got to 2miles.
On the whole, I can’t argue against the outcome as Graeme performed very well and I would probably have still lost had I been 100%. The lessons I learned though are that you should never exercise if you’re not feeling 100% and in the case of the cold, only exercise if it’s limited to the head and definitely not if it’s in the chest. Believe it or not, I actually tell this to my clients on a regular basis so maybe I should’ve listened to my own advice! Additionally, if you are going to do these kind of events then it’s important to train properly! My break over the summer was probably too long, didn’t train fully for GSR and hadn’t really trained much for this event. Sure, I would’ve done a few more training sessions if I didn’t have the cold but I’m not sure that I would’ve been fully prepared for what we did yesterday.
There’s a saying amongst runners that you’re only as good as your last race. This is to avoid any complacency and enjoying a great performance for too long. To be good you need to train hard, to be better, you need to train harder. I enjoyed the experience of the Tri and the challenge to your fitness it gives you. As I sit and plan my future races for the year and thinking ahead for next year, I will definitely add in some bike and swim training to become even fitter and look at a couple of shorter distance Tri’s next year. Of course, there will be the rematch with Graeme to fit in as well!