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London Academy update from Paul Jackson

One of our London Triathlon Academy members on his training so far, his first race of the season and Bill Black's top training tips

Here’s Paul Jackson, one of our London Triathlon Academy members, on his training so far, his first race of the season and Bill Black’s top training tips…

My first race of the season has been and gone. The Eton Super Sprints a year ago was my first-ever triathlon and this year it has allowed me to see how training is progressing. Unfortunately, the combination of changing jobs, moving house, planning a wedding and an irritating injury over the winter has limited pre-season training. But, initial results were pleasing and I finished a full minute faster than last year. This could easily have been another minute faster had my wetsuit zip not got stuck at T1 – I guess this is what early season races are all about!

Bill Black’s training sessions have been fantastic and really inspired me to get properly stuck into the training plans he provides on a monthly basis. Hearing him talk about all aspects of a race, from when to arrive at the start through to how best to drink on the bike, is giving me an insight into the meticulous preparation he puts into each race for his athletes.

Plus the occasional mention of stars such as Stuart Hayes and descriptions of a particular tricky turn on a bike course makes me realise how valuable Bill’s advice is.

In his sessions we’ve covered all aspects of training and racing, including a number of swimming drills consisting of such oddities as “rounds of golf”, deep water starts and lots of practice of the rough and tumble of the starts – four people swimming flat out side by side in a 2m-wide lane, were excellent practice for real races. This really helped at Eton where the swim start was one of the more violent starts I’d experienced with my goggles being kicked loose in the first 30 seconds. But it did allow me to put another of Bill’s swimming drills into practice – rolling onto your back while you re-adjust them.

No matter how much music I listen to, what I put on the TV or any other ways that I try to distract myself, I find turbo sessions the most excruciatingly mind-numbingly dull session around. That was until Bill introduced me to how these sessions should be conducted – cycling with one foot, spinning at 120rpm, ‘pyramids’ and ‘builds’ all inter-woven have turned the sessions into something that could almost be described as fun! Still, I much prefer it out on the road.

The next race is Blenheim where we will be competing on Saturday as an academy team and individually on the Sunday. This is followed by my most intimidating race of the season – the UK 70.3 at Wimbleball. It’ll be my first half Ironman and, given the notorious nature of the course, if I finish in one piece I’ll be one very happy triathlete!

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