How to train for Tri for Bestival

With the festival nearing, Steven starts to contemplate the physical and mental exertion needed to complete his Tri for Bestival


The best way for me to rationalise the physical and mental exertion involved in completing Tri for Bestival is to think of it as nothing more than a middle-distance race (with an extra 40 km on top).


In my training calendar I’ve labeled it as the A race and worked backwards through the year, positioning two other middle distance events Swashbuckler (June 2nd) and Cowman (July 14th). With both of those completed, I can now allow myself to gradually peak in time for the actual event in September.

I’m a member of Tri London and generally aim to swim in the pool with them at least twice per week. On Wednesdays we do tough bike intervals around Regents Park and at lunchtimes I run around it a couple of times. Occasionally I’ll throw in a brick session to imitate races.

With the basics in training covered, the interesting part comes in getting used to the differences that the challenge involves. I’ve had to schedule specific weekend sessions adapted to deal to them.

This isn’t quite a normal triathlon

To build up the confidence to face the concerns mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the sea. Like most city slickers; I’m not very accustomed to waves, currents and the taste of salt water. My first experience down in Brighton was met with the reality of how slowly 1.5km of swimming can pass.

To make things worse; my sea swim in the challenge comes after a 120 mile bike ride from London, so one of my scheduled rides to Brighton is followed by a sixty minute swim in the sea.

Additionally, running after a swim in a triathlon is usually limited to a short distance into T1. My run after emerging onto the shores of the Isle of Wight however will be a half marathon – largely uphill. Swims in Hampstead Heath ponds followed by runs up the hills are what’s needed to train for that.

The final big push in the training will come in the form on what Joe Friel calls a “Big Day”. I’ll bike for three hours, swim for 1 hour and then run for 1 hour, each leg separated by a 1.5 hour rest. If that doesn’t prep me for the challenge, nothing will.


Of course there’s never enough training in the diary for a triathlete. The truth is, however, I’ve got to leave time aside to actually continue organising the logistics of the day.