So last year I didn’t do any triathlons at all - an oversight that I intend to cure this year!
I’ve decided to approach this as if it were my first triathlon season, and do everything that I think a triathlon newbie should do. That means looking at realistic-but-challenging goals, a training plan, equipment, and the whole psychology.
So to begin with . . . my current fitness level - what I have to build on.
Last year I did very little running (apart from a slow 10K at Easter), and only leisurly swimming. I did, however, manage to fit in quite a reasonable amount of cycling (up to three 20-mile round trips in most weeks from April to December), so I thought my fitness must be reasonable. So after a Christmas bout of Gastro Enteritis (Oh lovely!), I started some easy running while visiting relatives in hilly Wales.
And boy was this a shock!
I couldn’t believe how hard the running was (even at a nice slow pace), and how sore I was after - especially my calf muscles and achilles tendons. So for running, I’m treating myself as being back at square one. I have about 15 weeks to change this and get fit enough for my first 10K, which I want to run in around 43 minutes.
For running training in the past, I’ve used How to Train by Hal Higdon. This is a great book for all abilities, and I’ll be dusting off my copy to get me through the next three weeks - the period in which I’ll be running 5-6 days a week just to get my body used to the fact that running is one of the things its got to do.
After that though, with a base level of fitness in place, it’ll be time to up the pressure - fewer runs, but more intense. In 2005 I trained with the North Shields Polytechnic club - they have two weekly sessions (Tue & Thursday nights), concentrating on one-mile reps. This really builds fitness and running stamina, while at the same time allowing time to fit in the swimming and cycle training.
The only problem with the NS Poly is the ability groupings - with a current PB of ~43 minutes for 10k, I’m faster than most of their ’slow’ group, but right at the back of the ‘fast’ group. So figuring out which to run with is a real problem. Running with faster people pulls me along, and forces me to work harder, but always coming last is very demoralising!