First Triathlon of the 2017 Season

Nuffield Sprints.- Eaton Dorney Lake  21st May 2017

Key takeouts

  • Based at the 2012 Olympic rowing venue
  • A great race to participate as as season opener
  • Distance 750m Swim 20Km Bike and 5km run
  • Clean, clear and warm lake (18c)
  • Well marked swim course with buoys and finish markers
  • Cycle is fast but a little boring as its 5 laps around the lake
  • Crowds mostly around the transition areas
  • Head wind on 50% of bike, slows down you average speed.
  • Run is an out and back along the foot path
  • Run is dead flat and generally smooth surface
  • Sold out for 2 straight days means busy and popular event
  • Lots of first timers as well as elite and high level age group athletes
  • Well organised race but lacks a little atmosphere

IVBP8285Bike Transition DCIM100GOPROTT Bike Set upDCIM100GOPROSupporters at the start/finish DCIM100GOPROPerfect setting for the swim DCIM100GOPROFlat run course IMG_6053Bike check in MZGF5197Riding back to car after the finishIMG_6060Finishers medal to add to the collection


Planning Your Own Training Camp

When it’s cold outside and it’s the middle of winter the chance’s are you’re not massively inspired to be training. It’s likely to also be the off season so there’s also little to no racing to motivate you to train.

During this period It’s easy to fall off the training wagon and let your fitness regress. Resting is ok and recovery is important, but there is always the danger your fitness drops too low and may impact your ability to train and race fast in your future season.

The problem with loosing fitness over winter isn’t that you won’t ever get it back, it’s more that your might not have the time to get it back to cope with the level of training you want to do once the season finally begins.

A great solution for this and one I have been using for many years is to attend a pre season training camp (preferably but not essential) in a warm weather location.

Detaching yourself from your daily obligations and spending 1-2 weeks exclusively focusing on your fitness (without having bad weather as an excuse) creates a great platform to kick start your fitness and  begin to build a foundation for the coming season.

To make a training camp a success

  • Choose an objective
    • Pick an objective for the camp as this will dictate the area or country you go to and the facilities you need to have close by.
    • e.g If you want to increase your swim volume and train consistency then having a pool near by is more essential than being in a warm climate. However if you also want to build ocean swimming skills and confidence then you want to pick a location that is by the sea and has a warmer climate.
  • Book your trip
    • Locations with access to good facilities get booked quickly especially during the pre season month’s. So either book way in advance or join onto a training camp that is already established or organised in the area (normally you will pay a premium for this vs one self coached)
  • Plan your daily regime
    • Ask yourself how many hours are you currently training? and how much can your increase this by over a couple of weeks without burning yourself out. If you’re not training regularly then the focus should be on improving consistency rather than massively increasing the volume. But if you have been training constantly over winter then the focus of the camp could be in increasing your training volume
    • How many sessions are you planning to do in a day? When is the optimal time of day to have each training session? and are the training facilities available at these times? if you are doing multiple sessions in a day you should have access near by to food and your bedroom to aid your recovery between sessions.
  • Plan your individual sessions
    • Every session should have a focus, take advantage of the new environment and do sessions which you may not normally have the time for or normally have access to the facilities.
    • Having a purpose and objective for each session should build and contributes to your larger objective for the camp. It also ensures you get the most out of your time while you’re there.
  • Track your progress
    • Record your fitness levels at the start of the camp and monitor your performance throughout the camp. You will get more tired as the camp goes on so won’t necessarily see uplifts fitness until sometime after the camp has finished. Once the body has fully recovered.
  • Maintain the momentum
    • It’s great to have the time to focus on your fitness. If you don’t continue to build on this fitness once you return home then you will quickly lose the benefits of training your camp.

Below is an example of a recent pre season training camp at club La Santa in Lanzarote.

Club La Santa facilities include:

  • 3x 50m Swimming Pools
  • Sheltered sea water lagoon
  • Free Bike hire and miles of mountainous roads
  • Coastal running path and off-road trails
  • Athletic Track
  • Outdoor and Indoor Gym
  • Shops/ Restaurants/ Accommodation on site

Objective 1: To train swim,bike, run consistently over two weeks and gradually build steady state aerobic fitness. To establish a strong endurance foundation for the start of the 2017 triathlon season.

Objective 2: To swim consistently and build aerobic endurance in the pool focusing on stroke efficiency.

Training sessions: 


A running injury meant it didn’t go exactly to plan but the lack of running was compensated with some additional swims and more focus on recovery.

Some images from the camp:

Olympic Pool at Club La Santa

Riding the Lava Fields 

Exiting Tianjo 

Defending back into La Santa

Drink Stop at the National Park

Ocean Swimming Training in the Atlantic

End of a swimming training session in the sun

Climbing out of La santa through the town of Soo

Training Camp’s don’t have to be abroad as long as you don’t rely on escaping bad weather like me. But the more detached you can be from your every day life the more focused you can be on the camp.


Too Fast and Too Long

When your setting a time objective for an upcoming endurance race or setting a target for an event in the season there are two questions you need to ask you self

  1. Can you ride/run/swim as fast as you need to go to achieve this time in the event?
  2. Can your ride/run/swim for as long as you need during this event?

Too many people turn up at a race and either expect their body to suddenly be able to:

  • Race at a speed faster than they have never raced at or
  • Expect their body’s to endure a longer duration than they have ever endured before.
  • Worse they ask their body to do both.

In order to be successful in achieving your target time you need to prepare your body accordingly.

  • Set sessions where you build up to race speed and then extend the amount of time you can handle racing at this speed
  • Set sessions that are slower than your race pace but are longer in duration (not necessary in distance) this could be broken up over a day and split into chunks.

This way when you turn up on race day your body know’s it can go as fast as it needs to go and is at least prepared to go for as long as you need to go.

Cycling: Focus Sessions


Climbing is an integral part of cycling, unless you live somewhere dead flat then the gradient is what forces you out of a comfortable aerobic effort into a threshold or anaerobic zone. The ability to familiarise the body with this change in effort and learn how to manage the pace and exertion is paramount if you want to continue after the climb with out it taking too much energy out of you.


Cadence is important for improving  efficiency and for the body to learn how to generate high levels of torques without to much strain. The ability to manage your cadence will also help you manage changes in gradient and terrain and keep good momentum throughout the race.

Long steady rides

Long steady rides are the bread and butter of cycling. They are the foundation of your fitness and not only help you develop the endurance to complete long races, they also build endurance base that will enable you to recovery quicker and support a high volume of training. These generally are kept at a steady effort/HR throughout but over time increase in volume or duration.

Working at just below the effort that you begin to accumulate lactate, over time increases the point at which lactate accumulates. this means you can hold a higher intensity for a longer period before you begin to fatigue.

Cold Weather Winter Training

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment.

This could never be more true. Today was the first time this year I jumped onto the bike and felt the wind chill my extremities and longed for a swift warm up to get my blood pumping and my internal radiator started.

When your feeling low on motivation because the sky is grey and the ground is wet or its dark outside and theirs a frost in the air its time to review what equipment and clothing you have to support you in your training and protect you from the elements. Weather your Running,Walking, Cycling here are some suggestions below to keep you safe and warm in the winter months.

  • Breathable Beanie/Skull Cap
  •  Wind Breaker /Rain Jacket
  • Gillet
  • Thermal Gloves
  • Multiple Layers are better than one thick one
  • Leggings/Leg Warmers
  • Head Torch/Bike Lights/ Torch
  • Buff (like a scarf)
  • Multiple Socks or Thick Socks
  • Toes or Shoe covers (waterproof)
  • Clear Eye wear
  • Ear Warmers
  • Waterproof trainers
  • Fluorescent Jacket/Gillet/Vest
  • Bright Rucksack cover
  • Reflectors
  • Mobile Phone

This is not exhaustive, but if your wandering why you never want to get out and train in the winter and you aren’t owning some of the above. It may be time to recheck your equipment and update to relevant climate. Be safe.

Comment below any other ideas on winter must have equipment.