• Couch To Triathlon (9) - Duathlon Training Begins

    12-week Duathlon Training Plan Triathlon Training

    I have now started my 12-week training plan for the Bowood House Duathlon which I will be doing in October. Between now and the event, I have also signed up for a 10k which is in August and a half marathon which is in September, so I've got plenty to keep me ticking over! I find that having goals and events to train for keeps me motivated. 

    The training plan features lots of brick workouts, which is when you go from one sport to another, i.e. run then bike. This gets your body used to multisport training so that when you get to the event there are no surprises!

    12-week duathlon free training plan beginner advanced run bike

    It's a fairly simple training plan but with events like this it's just important to get the miles in to get your body accustomed to the effort. I think my biggest challenge will be the long rides. I really struggle cycling on the roads as motorists in the local area and not friendly towards cyclists and there are lots of hazards meaning it's difficult to get up to any kind of speed. 

    The video below was recorded by Sundried's Dan who shows the sort of hazards I mean. The video shows the places where I cycle and why I struggle so much!

    However, I'm hoping that after a few longer training rides it will become easier as I get more used to it. I also have the London To Southend Bike Ride this weekend which is 50 miles so that will be a really good test of where I'm at with my cycling! I'll keep you posted!

    Running Beach Barefoot Training Duathlon Triathlon

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (10) - Triathlon Decided!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (7) - Feeling Inspired

    Sundried Southend Triathlon Open Water Swim Essex

    Last weekend Sundried hosted the inaugural Southend Triathlon at which I was swim director! It was my job to stay on the beach and count all the athletes as they safely exited the water. It was an incredible day and the atmosphere was amazing. It was my first time experiencing a triathlon and it really was very special. I've taken part in numerous 10ks and half marathons, which always have a great buzz, but this something entirely different and we had nearly 3000 spectators out to watch and cheer people on! It has really inspired and motivated me to up my game with my training for my triathlon and I am looking to enter one sooner than I thought!

    After editing the content for all the events that Sundried will be sponsoring this year, I came across the Louth Triathlon in Lincolnshire. It is a beginner-friendly event with a 400m pool swim and easy bike and run course. I must say I'm really tempted to enter! It takes place on Sunday the 3rd of September which is only 2 months way. Will I be ready by then?

    I think that my fitness is certainly up to finishing a triathlon at this point, especially a shortened course featuring a pool swim, but I still need to have swimming lessons! I haven't even attempted the front crawl since I was 10 years old. Eek! I also need to step up my cycle training, but I am being left frustrated as it's so hard to get up any speed in Southend due to pedestrians walking out in front of me on the cycle path and angry motorists interrupting any cycling I do on the roads. I shall power on though. 

    My running is going amazingly though, and with my new Garmin Forerunner 735XT watch I did a lactate threshold test and have also determined my VO2 max (which is pretty good if I do say so myself!) I'm hoping to achieve a new 5k PB soon, although now that I'm finding running easier I need to make sure I don't sprint off too quick and burn out after a mile!

    I'm hoping to make up my mind about entering the Louth Triathlon soon, with the only thing being it would come before the duathlon I have entered, which was supposed to be a toe-dip into the world of multi-sport competing and give me an idea of how it feels. However, at this point I do feel like I don't really need to ease myself in too much and that I'd manage it okay. That's another feeling of confidence that came from watching all the competitors at the Sundried Southend Triathlon, as we had racers from all walks of life from professional triathletes to people who had never done one before and turned up on a mountain bike!

    I'm guilty of having 'yolo' moments so chances are I will end up entering the triathlon in September, in which case things are about to get intense! Stay tuned for more, it may be time to get the swimsuit out of retirement!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (8) - Training Adventures

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (6) - Slow and Steady Wins The Race

    Running Outdoors Sunset Freedom Happy Training 10k

    I've really ramped up my training the past couple of weeks, especially the running. I ran my first 10k in over a year and it felt absolutely fantastic! Only a few weeks ago, the thought of running 5k without stopping felt like a challenge, but my fitness is still good and now that my legs and feet have become readjusted to running I am progressing fast.

    Usually when I run I get agonising pain in my feet, ankles, calves, knees, and hips. This is due to my tilted hips, knock knees, and flat feet. When I stand naturally, my feet turn outwards and my knees turn inwards, which means I am definitely not built for running. But the 10k I ran last weekend was a miracle - no pain! As I started running, I felt bouncy and light on my feet, which is unusual for me. I completed my first mile in 9:45 and felt great. I found myself thinking, "how long is this going to last" and wondered how soon the pain would come. But I finished mile two and still no pain! I was really enjoying it!

    Mile 3, then 4 came and went. I was flying! I was averaging just under 10 minutes per mile which is a good pace for me. I ran a route that I have never run before which definitely helped as it kept the run interesting. There was a bit of an uphill incline which slowed me down, but mile 5 and 6 came and went and still I felt on top of the world. I haven't had a run that great in years! I was so pleased. You can see my time splits below.

    Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch Running Stats Display

    Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon Watch Running Stats Display

    I know that these times are pretty slow compared to proper runners, who think that an 8-minute mile is slow. But for me, this was a great run. My all-time 10k PB is 59:59 so I'd like to beat that sometime soon. I ran 7 miles a few days later and that was really slow, averaging 11-minute miles. My feet and legs hurt a lot during that run so it wasn't quite as fantastic, but it was still a great achievement to run that distance after only getting back into running a few weeks ago.

    Everyone tells me that it's not about how fast you go, it's just good to get the miles in, but my Garmin watch says otherwise. I was really quite shocked at the difference in stats between the 10k and the 7-miler. For the 10k, I was pushing quite hard and my heart rate exceeded 170bpm for the majority of the run. For the 7-miler a few days later, I was really plodding along and my heart rate was closer to 120-130bpm. My Garmin watch calculated that I burnt 777 calories for the 10k, compared to only 450 for the 7-miler, despite the fact that I ran further and for longer during the latter run. This really goes to show that a slow ploddy run might not necessarily be good for your training. 

    I've decided to start incorporating more hills and sprints into my training, rather than plodding along at 120bpm for 7 slow miles. This will hopefully improve my cardiovascular fitness and also get my legs used to moving faster. I will also try running more shorter distances to try and improve my speed, I want to get my 5k time back under 30 minutes - my all-time 5k PB is 27:33 and it took me 30:33 to run it last week.

    For the cycling, I decided to do an indoor session on a spin bike to try and improve my speed. When I cycle outside I'm a little wary of being on the road and also of pedestrians jumping out in front of me (and I also have issues with dogs running in front of my bike) so I never really exceed 15mph. I wanted to try a faster blast indoors to really make the most of the training session. I've now got a bike rack so I can take my bike to a countryside location and get some better quality miles in so that's exciting!

    I'm really excited about the progress I've made so far - I feel like it's all much easier than it was last time round, and I feel like I stand a good chance of beating my running PBs so stay tuned to see if I manage it!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (7) - Feeling Inspired

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (4) - The Running Bug

    Garmin Forerunner Triathlon Watch Running Swimming Cycling

    So training is well under way now for my first triathlon and I am feeling more motivated than ever! I've been really getting back into running and have reignited the flame for it. I use the Garmin Forerunner 735XT Triathlon watch to track my runs and it can become a little addictive if you're not careful! What I love about it is that it has wrist-based heart rate tracking so I can check my working heart rate and my resting heart rate. It also counts my steps and it's easy to analyse the data online with the Garmin Connect App. I can also use it to track my cycling and swimming (although I haven't done any swimming yet!)

    I've really managed to get to grips with the road bike now which is great, no more toppling off every time I need to stop! I've been for a few moderate rides, around 10 miles, and I have set myself a goal to complete a 40km ride within a few months. It's just so nerve-wracking cycling on the roads with angry drivers all around! I know that this is something all cyclists experience though, and now that I cycle it has humbled me as a motorist.

    I have also now signed up for a 10k race in August and a duathlon in October! I have completed several local 10ks before so I've gone for one which is slightly further afield for me, the Bearbrook 10k near Aylesbury. I have visited this part of the country before and fell in love with it as it's so green and idyllic so I'm hoping this is a great run! The duathlon will be my first and should be excellent preparation for the triathlon as it'll give me a chance to practice the transition from cycling to running without having to worry about the swimming just yet. I have entered the Bowood House Super Sprint Duathlon, which is a 2.5km run - 10km bike - 2.5km run. I chose to enter a Super Sprint as it is the most beginner-friendly option, but there are Sprint options too which are slightly longer. I have plenty of time to train for this race so I should be well prepared on the day.

    Garmin British Triathlon Running Green Park

    I have started looking at options for which triathlon to enter when the time comes; I want to avoid open water for my first one as this is an added peril and there is the hassle of getting in and out of a wet suit, so I'm looking at courses with pool-based swims.

    I am really looking forward to the races I've entered, and continuing with my training as it's going so well! My fitness and endurance have improved so much already which is really motivating. I'm also hoping to lose some weight during the process of all this training as I am slightly uncomfortable with where I am at the moment. So watch this space as I update you with any PBs I get!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (5) - Motorists Are Scary

    Posted by Alexandra Parren