Training with Chrissie Wellington: lessons learnt at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon
Katy Campbell, right, and friend Nicola after completing Bristol's Olympic-distance triathlon
Training > Beginners

Training with Chrissie Wellington: lessons learnt at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon (2/3)

Competition winner Katy Campbell gets plenty of feedback from her coaches after her final warm-up race before Alpe d’Huez

Our competition winner Katy Campbell continues her report on the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon, with feedback from her coaches Chrissie Wellington and Matt Edwards...

My start wave was the first to go, at 8am. All the early-starters seemed to be crammed into a tiny area of transition. Setting up took the whole 15mins I’d allowed for it, as I needed to decide what I really didn’t need as it wouldn’t all fit!

All too soon I needed to go and carry out Matt’s instructions for a warm-up. A nice jog and a few lunges took me away from any distractions and allowed me to focus.

From the coaches

It’s really important to warm up, especially given the early start. You’re here to race, so get your mind and body ready. It will help you feel strong, and you will go faster!

If you can’t do a swim warm-up the next best thing is a gentle jog and some very light stretching. This also helps focus the mind and distract you from everyone else’s bikes! 

Katy says…

One final loo stop and it was time to lube up and struggle into my wetsuit. Deep breaths and we headed over to the swim start in plenty of time for the briefing. My friend Nicola is very cool and calm which helped me greatly!  

We stood quietly and waited, listening to everyone else swapping their nervous anecdotes. At this point, I actually felt fine. A humorous race briefing lightened the mood further and it was time to get in the water. Lovely to spot my husband with our friend Zoe right there at the start too!

The water was chilly but nothing compared to the Devon sea at the moment, so I hopped straight in and found a place near the front but on the far side. I’m not a bad swimmer, but equally not very experienced so it was a compromise between placing and staying out of the mayhem. Nicola and I wished each other luck, and we were off. 

And suddenly, I started to feel panicky! Fortunately, I’ve been in that situation before so talked to myself sternly, forced myself to relax and stay calm. The first lap was a battle of my will versus my nerves, but by halfway I’d started to settle, mostly by focusing on counting breaths and sighting the big red buoys on every fifth.

I didn’t have my best swim, never really finding much flow or rhythm. Although saying that I was really pleased to dip under 30mins, so it can’t have been that bad!

From the coaches

The swim: Katy had a great swim, and her time and technique is indicative of the progress she has made. We are incredibly happy with her performance, and her ability to manage her nerves and the feelings of panic.

She should take confidence from this mental strength. The next step will be to ensure she has more open-water practice, to give her the chance to get used to the start and the group environment.

Chrissie Wellington and Katy Campbell at a lake

Katy says…

Out of the water and the first thing I heard was Chrissie bellowing her support! Closely followed by my Dad’s booming tones from the other side of the water.  

From the coaches

Having friends and family to support you is a great boost, and can really elevate your performance. If necessary bribe your friends with post-race beers to come cheer on the sidelines! It’s also important not to have to worry about your supporters, and to remember that they are able to look after themselves. 

Katy says…

This all made me laugh as I wobbled my way around to transition, fighting with my wetsuit whilst trying not to stub my toes on the uneven paving slabs.

My calves were starting to cramp but I struggled out of the neoprene without too much trouble, sat down to put my bike shoes on to avoid falling over, and was soon on my way. 

Katy Campbell on the bike at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon

From the coaches

We will incorporate more transition training into Katy’s programme to ensure she has fully honed the necessary skills.

While it is OK to sit down, it does mean you break your rhythm and we would much prefer Katy to perform her transition routine standing up. 

Katy says…

The bike course at Bristol is four laps of a closed main road, very slightly uphill on the way out and very slightly downhill on the way back. While this is a little bit on the dull side, it does mean you get to see your supporters multiple times, and spotting your friends is quite fun!

My family had made banners and are always ridiculously loud. Chrissie kept popping up all over the place too, giving me a huge boost each time, and keeping my mind on the job.  

I had my bottle of sports drink as instructed, with a gel after 30km. I can get a bit negative about my cycling, so I didn’t let myself look at my average speed until the third lap. I wasn’t entirely happy with what I saw, so perhaps this was a good tactic! 

I tried to channel it as motivation for the final lap, thought about Laura and actually shouted at myself a couple of times! Even though I didn’t have a brilliant bike time, I did feel much more comfortable on the bike than I have done previously, and much more able to commit. I still think there’s more to come though!

Katy Campbell on the bike at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon

From the coaches

We are really happy with Katy’s bike performance, and are urging her not to focus solely on pace or times – the outcomes – but more on effort level and technique – the process. Kona is a prime example, my times there were vastly different, which wasn’t necessarily due to fitness but all the other variables. 

We want her effort to be consistent throughout, and ensure it feels ‘comfortably hard’. The important thing is reading your body so you know how it feels on that day and what “tempo/race pace” is sustainable. Katy also has a tendency to compartmentalise triathlon into the three constituent disciplines. 

Lots of athletes do this – “Well, my swim was ok, I enjoyed the bike, and the less said about the run the better!” It is ONE SPORT, and we are looking at overall performance. Yes, you could have an amazing bike time but if you run like a donkey, or even DNF, then all that effort will be wasted. 

We encourage Katy to view her performance in its entirety. However, the fact that she is still determined to do better will be a good motivator going forward, as long as she also reflects positively on the progress she is making!

Continue reading Katy's account of how she got on at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon (3/3)


Daily deals from top retailers

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Back to the top