I've really been enjoying my training the past few weeks, although the heatwave has made it pretty tough! I've been getting up early to run before work in the hopes it'll be a little cooler but I've really been struggling with the humidity and haven't been able to push myself very hard before I overheat. Still, it's good to keep it ticking over and if I were to give up then my progress would only go backwards, so at this point, a bad run is still better than no run at all!
I've been trying to get creative with my cycling training as cycling round my town is an absolute nightmare. I love going on adventures anyway and discovering new places so I searched for a good cycle trail to follow. I came across The Cuckoo Trail which starts in Heathfield in East Sussex and takes you all the way down to Eastbourne (well, it finishes a few miles shy of Eastbourne but we continued along the National Cycle Network all the way to the seafront.) It was a 30-mile round trip with lunch on Eastbourne seafront in the middle to refuel which was great! It's the farthest I've ever cycled and was actually the first time I've made proper use of my road bike by using the lower handles to get my head down and sprint. I was only able to do this because the trail is secluded so there's no traffic and very few pedestrians to get in your way. It was a slight decline all the way to Eastbourne so we absolutely flew on the way there and struggled quite a bit on the way back! But I was really pleased to be able to cycle uninterrupted and not worry about dogs running in front of me or cars pulling out on me like I have here at home.
The Cuckoo Trail follows a now disused Victorian railway so it's a stunning route which passes through ghost stations (pictured) which I absolutely loved. What was not so great was that the council have built various housing estates along the old line so you have to interrupt your ride by getting off and walking down a narrow path between houses before you can get back onto the trail. We also randomly popped out into a carpark at one point with no idea which way to go next! But we followed some other people who were also following the trail and managed to find our way. I'd definitely recommend this trail for anyone looking for a fun new cycling adventure, and even though the photo makes it look off-road, it's actually all paved so it's more than suitable for a road bike.
My next big cycling challenge will be the London to Southend Bike Ride which is in 3 weeks time and is a 45-55 mile route so not too much farther than I have already cycled. I'm really looking forward to it! I'm also interested in entering the Prudential RideLondon 100 which is a 100-mile cycle from London to Surrey and back again. The route is on closed roads and takes you from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London into the beautiful Surrey countryside which is an absolute dream route. The route is inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games and finishes on the famous Mall where the London Marathon finishes. Definitely something to work towards as I'd love to take part!
I have also finally enquired about swimming lessons. I can get lessons at my local pool with unlimited public swims included (so no excuse not to train in between lessons) all for a fairly decent price (it works out at £5.75 per lesson.) I won't be starting that just yet as I'm going to wait until I've completed training and the race for the duathlon, so I'll be starting the swimming lessons in October.
My 12-week training plan for the duathlon kicks off in a couple of weeks and I'm pretty excited! I love having a solid goal to work towards; training sessions always have more meaning when you know what you're working towards and have something to aim for. I'll be sharing my training plan in a blog post later on so keep an eye out!