New kit, old boys and tourist traps

The training picks up for Bronwen as Vachery nears. Cue too small Speedos, dawdling tourists and new shoes


“Are you training for a triathlon?” asked the portly fifty-something man standing next to me in the lido as I struggled with my swim cap. “Yes,” I nodded, trying hard not to look down at his unnecessarily small Speedos, which were on the verge of being engulfed by his generous belly.


“Well, rather you than me,” he chuckled, “I think the only bit I could manage would be the ‘try’!” I laughed politely at his terrible joke as he launched himself into the water, thinking that he wasn’t actually too far from the truth. I don’t feel in any way ready for the triathlon (now just over two weeks away), but at least I can say I’ve been trying a little harder with my training.

That particular day I’d cycled down to Tooting to use the 91m, fresh-water lido where most of my swim training for last year’s sprint tri took place. It’s a great pool because it’s so big you can get into a bit of a rhythm with each length, and the 20 mile round trip from my flat means I got a bit of a cycle in too. And unlike my local lido it’s not heated, so it was a perfect excuse to try out my swanky new wetsuit (which I was very happy with, as it happens).

Speaking of new kit, I also bought myself some new trainers this week. Having realised that my last pair were a 2007 vintage (which explains the smell), I thought it was about time they got replaced. Off I went to a local specialist running store and got my running style analysed. I was told I had a neutral style so had the luxury of having a few pairs to choose from – my only limiting factor being my child-sized feet (I’m a 3.5). I went with the bounciest pair and took them out for a test run that evening.

Hunger pangs and pretty shoes

I ran for about seven miles before hunger pangs brought me home, but I felt as though I could have comfortably kept going for a while longer. All in all I was happy with my purchase – they’re a lot prettier than my last pair too, which is nice.

They got their second test run yesterday during a lunchtime run with some colleagues. I wrote in my last blog about my difficulties with getting up at the crack of dawn to fit training in before work. Although my body clock has started to adjust, I’d still rather do my training at more civilised times of day whenever possible. So when an email went round the office suggesting a run through central London, I was keen.

Four of us went out – two boys and two girls – and the route took us from the office in Waterloo, along some back streets to the Tate Modern, over the Millennium Bridge then along the embankment to Westminster Bridge and back over the river. It was only about 3.5 miles in total, but with the added bonus of having to dodge a dawdling tourist every 10 metres, it was enough to get the heart pumping. And it doesn’t hurt to get a chance to admire the London skyline while you’re running either.

So, as the countdown to Vachery begins in earnest, I think back to my new lido friend and his thoughts on trying. I definitely could have done more training over the last few months, but all I can do now is cram as much as possible into the next two weeks, and try my hardest on the day…


The Vachery Triathlon takes place on 21 July in Surrey, with more info at You can follow Bronwen’s progress here and on twitter at @bronwen_morgan