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

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

For this latest instalment in our ‘Train with Chrissie’ series, competition winner Katy Campbell recounts how she got on at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon.

This was Katy's final warm-up before her target race of Alpe d’Huez Long Course Triathlon at the end of July – and our coaches Chrissie Wellington and Matt Edwards share their feedback.

Katy says…

After a week of endless list-making, random dreams involving disastrous transitions, and perpetual nerves, it was something of a relief to wake up on the morning of Bristol Tri! After a simple pasta dinner I bagged myself a nice early night, meaning I was fast asleep by 10pm. 

Uncharacteristically and unexpectedly I slept well, thanks to our friend’s very comfy spare bed, and safe in the knowledge that my kit bag and bike had been packed, checked and double-checked the day before.

The 5.40am wake-up call therefore wasn’t as painful as it might have been! I felt prepared and knew my plan for the day pretty much inside out.

From the coaches

Control the controllables. Lists promote organisation and confidence. We are trying to get Katy into the habit of writing lists of equipment and tasks in the week before the event. The equipment list she sent us four days before flagged up some missing items. 

She could have been lost without her timing chip, which didn’t feature! Packing bags the day before is vital for peace of mind and ensuring you have everything in order, hence saving last-minute panics. We went over her race prep and plan beforehand, hence eliminating any stress and worry. 

As with Malta, we wanted Katy to make her own decisions so that we could observe her choices and the repercussions of these. It’s often more useful to learn by doing, rather than being told what is right or wrong.

At the end of the day this is Katy’s journey, and we want to empower her to find the best way of maximising her own enjoyment and potential.

Katy Campbell running at the Malta Half Marathon

Katy Campbell on her way to a PB at the Malta Half Marathon

Pre-race nerves

We would be worried if Katy were not nervous. The key is knowing how to manage and channel these nerves, using breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and visualisation.

Having friends around can help take your mind off things. I never expect to sleep well before a race, so the fact that Katy got a decent night’s kip is a bonus! Don’t stress if you can’t sleep though, just try to bag quality sleep in the week before.

Tips for a good night’s sleep

- Leave the bedroom for sleeping only

- Nice, soft lighting

- Have a nice warm bath before bed

- A bit of reading (maybe not 220!)

- Turn off your phone! Checking the internet right before you sleep is a sure way to stimulate your brain with new information, which can keep you awake

- Don’t train too hard right before bed

- Try to eat at least 90mins before going to bed

- Drink some warm milk

- Cut out caffeine (especially after midday)

- Don’t drink loads right before bed

- Limit alcohol

- Buy yourself some awesome sheets and duvet

Katy Campbell reading a book

Pre-race meal

Katy learnt from her Malta experience, when she went out to eat at a restaurant and couldn’t guarantee the menu or the quality of the food. This time she stick to what she knew. Simple and easy.

She also brought her own food with her from home. Much better than relying on shop-bought food or other people’s cupboards.

Katy says…

First stop on race day – breakfast of course! Ready Brek made with soya milk, plus peanut butter and banana. I’m not Ready Brek’s biggest fan, but Chrissie recommends it as an easily-digestible option.

I have to say, it’s almost palatable with the addition of the other items! I also set to work sipping my bottle of diluted sports drink; it’s good for me to get those electrolytes in nice and early.

From the coaches

Breakfast should be easy to make and digest. Katy has been practicing using Ready Brek before longer sessions.

Aim for around 500-600 calories with simple carbs, and add some fat and protein for palatability and energy. Eat 2 or 2.5 hours before race start. Sip on water or electrolyte drink but don’t over-hydrate.

Chrissie Wellington and Katy Campbell chatting

Katy says…

Tri-suit on, teeth cleaned, it was 6.20am and time to head to registration, which was only five minutes’ walk away.  My husband carried the bags of course, very important that I take it easy!

From the coaches

Katy left plenty of time to set up and get ready. This meant that she had wriggle room if anything went wrong, such as a last-minute puncture.

If the weather is very cold take clothes to keep warm, especially if there is a lot of time sitting around before the start.

Katy says…

Registered and numbered with permanent marker, we found my friend Nicola who was also racing and headed over to transition. I tried not to get psyched out by all the professional looking people with their extremely fancy bikes.

Funny how this still happens, even as the owner of a very nice bike!! Do other people think I look scary? It seems unlikely.

From the coaches

Katy still has a tendency to compare herself to others. This is quite normal particularly if someone is quite new to triathlon, but it often doesn’t help and can dent your own confidence and focus.

Focus on you, your race, and your prep. It is too late to be yearning for someone else’s bike, and the prettiest ones don’t always go the fastest!

Continue reading Katy's account of how she got on at Bristol Harbourside Triathlon (2/3)


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