On 26th July 2015, I’ll be competing in my first long-distance race and, just to add to the workload of training, I’ll be writing monthly blog updates for 220 online… Of course I’m already feeling pangs of anxiety, as it dawns on me what a ridiculous distance I will have to cover, and just how much training I will need to fit in.
So why do it? Insanity, arrogance or simply just because it is there? I don’t know really – however, I have to say I had that LOL moment when I read Helen Webster’s recent editorial in 220 Triathlon. As she says, if you mention to anyone that you compete in triathlon, then sooner or later conversation heads to toward the inevitable question: “so have you done an Ironman yet?” Not only that, but somehow it gnaws away in your mind that one day the challenge will need to be met.
So after four seasons of triathlons I made the decision to go long next season and will be competing in next year’s Outlaw. This blog could easily be regarded as the diary of a madman, but I thought it may be interesting to discuss some of the issues that ordinary age-groupers face when looking at the season ahead.
The first major problem for many of us is the diary. From what I’ve experienced of the sport there seem to be a lot of busy, sociable people involved in triathlon: essentially a group of adventurous nutters never short of ideas for the next weekend. So working out which events we have time to fit into next year’s calendar is a bit of a headache to say the least.
An added problem is that some events are just so popular that they sell out in 24 hours. I wanted a long-distance event for 2015, so where and when were the initial considerations. My experience of triathlon so far is that I am less stressed in the zone before a race if the event is relatively local. I love competing abroad, but if you take travelling and transporting gear out of the equation, then life is far less complicated.
I looked long and hard at the Ironman and Challenge events in the UK, as both these promoters have awesome reputations. But in the end I plumped for the Nottingham Outlaw. It is organised by One Step Beyond promotions and I have enjoyed dozens of their well-managed events in the past. Also, I live in Nottingham so I can spend the next nine months doing a full course recce!
So, nine months to go and plenty to consider for the new challenge. No changes to my regular training yet. Fours swims, four runs and on the bike six days out of seven is roughly where I exist at present. I need a few events to keep me motivated through the winter months, so I tried the Evil Sheriff Cross duathlon in Sherwood Forest last week (as this month’s picture testifies). What a tricky event – I’ve never experienced so much mud and that mountain bike work clearly utilises a different set of leg muscles to road bike work!
My training music track of the month for motivation and finding that extra energy is ‘The Pretender’ by The Foo Fighters. Whether you are stuck at home on the turbo trainer or having fun at a spin class it takes some beating, but it sounded cooler than ever when blasting out at the end of the Evil Sheriff Off Road Duathlon!
More next month…