Sprint triathlon training week 5 day 1 – STC swim

After yesterday’s rest day, it was back in the pool this evening for the Southampton Tri Club swim. I’d gorged on a Indian meal deal before the session laden with 1250+ calories not that I’ll be using that as an excuse… I won’t!! I promise!!

This evening’s session consisted of:

200m swim
100m pull
25m kick, 25m pull

Main set:
4 x 50m (target 1:20 including rest)
4 x 100m (2:10)
2 x 200m (4:05)
50m recovery
1 x 400m (100m pull, 100m swim, 100m pull, 100m swim)
50m recovery

Cool down:

My Garmin stats were:


So, for the session until the 2nd 200m, I was on pace. I was overtaken on the 2nd 200m and the 400m so that’d explain some of the extra time taken.

However, the reality is that I’m improving each week and there are some sessions that are tough. This was one of them. As Tamsyn said at the end of the session ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger‘. This week it was touch and go but I survived!!

Yes, it’s a little depressing to turn at the far end of the pool and look ahead to see the person ahead of you coming to the end of their length (particularly when I started 5 seconds behind them) and this happened to me on several sets this evening but I just got on with it. I could have given up, dropped 50m or a whole set. These options crossed my mind. Instead, I carried on and ‘zipped up my man suit’ and got on with it. I wasn’t racing the other swimmers in my lane after all.

Being at the back in the lane and clinging on to the end of the group is probably the toughest position mentally but it pushes me and the STC sessions have been priceless for that. Every length makes me stronger even if, at the time, it doesn’t feel like it. That’s why I love the STC sessions, and really look forward to them each week, no matter how tough they are!

The really positive news is that after swimming a mile, my pace in the pool is much quicker than it was a year ago (even when I was swimming fresh then) so that really is encouraging.

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 6 – STC swim and weekly summary

Last training day of the week and the decision was between a parkrun or STC swim. The latter was the chosen activity as I’d missed it for a few weeks.

The session was coached by Kathy and was very good. However, I can’t really tell you how I did quantitatively as when I went to turn on my Garmin, it gave a long beep and wouldn’t come to life. It appears that trying to charge it from a PC that’s not turned on isn’t the cleverest way! Darn!

Having said that, it was nice to not have to worry about starting and stopping the watch after every set. Would have oved to have had a SwimTag to fall back on. Never mind.

The session consisted of several soon-forgotten sets. I know we started with a warm up of 300m of which some was with a pull-buoy. We did some single arm sets, some rotation drills and some kick drills (awful as ever!)

The other set I recall was a 400m effort. This wasn’t done at race pace but a comfortably fast pace. I stroke counted for 4 or 5 of the lengths (between 22 and 24). Fortunately, Julian was wearing his Garmin so at the end of the set, as I had been in his tail, I asked what he’d done it in. 7:43. BOOM!

Another great swim session with Southampton Tri Club. Taking part in their regular sessions has really transformed by swim performances from having been on a plateau. I know that I have a long way to go but I’m confident that with STC swim sessions 2-3 times a week, I’ll improve my efficiency and speed over the coming months.

Another good week of training which consisted of:

MondaySTC swim

Tuesday23km ride and LRR Mile event

WednesdaySTC long swim session

Thursdaycycle to and from Run Camp

Fridaylong run

Saturday – STC SWIM (this post)

Sunday – rest day

Meanwhile, things are definitely improving weight-wise:


and that’s largely due to tight calorie tracking with MyFitnessPal. I was 12st 12.9lbs last Saturday and 12st 9.1lbs today; a loss of over 3lbs without really trying:


I’m not eating anything different but just counting every calorie and doing all I can to stick to my daily target.


Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 5 – Long run (it’s all relative)

A short one today…

This morning, I headed into Southampton for a quick meeting at Southampton City Council with Head of Events, Craig Lintott.

Craig and I have been in regular contact over the last couple of years by email discussing Southampton parkrun, Southampton Juniors parkrun, Lordshill Mile series and the two main Lordshill Road Runners road races so it was good to meet him in person. Craig has been instrumental in helping get these events approved so really can’t thank him enough for his support.

As a fellow parkrunner with 58 parkruns completed, I’m sure we’ll see each other fairly regularly in the future.

As the meeting finished earlier than expected, I drove home and decided to head out for a run and covered 11.82km (7.33 miles) at a LSR pace of a little over 6 mins per km. Scarily, I believe this is one of my longest runs for a while!

Once home, my right Achilles was quite tender so, for once, I stretched it and it made a big difference.

With only the weekend remaining, I’m heading for the STC swim tomorrow morning (as I’m volunteering at Southampton parkrun next Saturday) and then enjoying a rest day on Sunday.

Will summarise my training week in a post at some point over the weekend.

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 4 – Run Camp and cycling

This morning was the third Run Camp in the set and I’d set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual for one main reason; I planned to cycle to and from Southampton Sports Centre. The reasons for this were simple:

  • Cycling there and back would allow me to incorporate an additional fitness activity in to my day
  • It would most likely be quicker getting home in the rush hour traffic by bike than driving

Yesterday evening, I’d checked the route and distance (approximately 7.5km each way) and made sure my lights were working. My route both ways would take me along the Avenue, the thought of which was a little daunting at first.

After breakfast, I got dressed (I decided to wear a tri suit to give me some saddle padding and a cycling jacket) and headed out to get my bike. Once all set, I hit the road. It was pretty quiet at 6am as expected and I made it to the track in about 24 minutes. It was quite an uphill journey until I reached the Avenue where it was nice and flat. As it’s dual carriageway on the Avenue, drivers were able to give me ample room. As I got to the roundabout where I needed to turn right, I made sure I was well positioned in the road to make it clear exactly where I was going. Easy!!

As I arrived, I could hear a car behind me. It had to be a fellow Run Camper and it was, Steve Le Bas. I cycled down the hill to the track and met up with Jules who’d arrived early.

Once off the bike, I prepared to run. As I did so, the other Run Campers turned up and we set off for a warmup.

The plan for the session was a pyramid. However, as Ant explained it, it was clear that it was an inverse pyramid or, as it became known, a ‘valley’! It consisted of:

  • 4 minute run with 2 minute rest
  • 3 minute run with 90 seconds rest
  • 2 minute run with 1 minute rest
  • 1 minute run with 30 seconds rest
  • 2 minute run with 1 minute rest
  • 3 minute run with 90 seconds rest
  • 4 minute run with 2 minutes rest

My effort paces were:

4 minutes: 910m (4:25 mins/km)

3 minutes: 710m (4:17 mins/km)

2 minutes: 480m (4:15 mins/km)

1 minute: 270m (3:43 mins/km)

2 minutes: 430m (4:41 mins/km)

3 minutes: ???

4 minutes: ???

As you’ll see, things were going well until the 2nd 2 minute interval. You might ask what happened there…. Well, I went off like a rocket on the 1 minute interval and for the first 30 seconds was actually just behind Steve and ahead of Jules. However, after 30 seconds at the pace I was running, it wasn’t long until my body decided I’d tried to hard and I slowed down considerably. Having said that, I still managed a decent pace…

But…. the overcooking of my 1 minute effort meant that I struggled in the 2 minute interval and got about 1 minute into it and then both legs cramped up. I felt in a lot of pain and it reminded me of the Valley Leisure Tri in 2013. I really didn’t want to be hobbling off of the track so slowed down and once the interval was over, I stretched by quads as much as I could. There wasn’t time for me to get back to the start line so I started my 3 minute effort at about the 100m line. I didn’t push that effort at all and just cruised around.

Once I finished, I asked Ant what stretch would ease the pain and took his advice. The pain eased again and we moved onto a very short S&C set. Part of the set was plank with side rotation which caused my quads to spasm again. Ouch!

With Run Camp over for another week, it was time to get back on the bike and head home. The first challenge was getting up the hill. This would have been easier had my legs not gone into spasm again leading me to almost fall off infront of a dog walker and her canine friend. Street cred lost in a second! Having decided to get off (fall off), I walked up the hill and then got onto the bike once I reached the top.

The ride home was largely uneventful apart from losing my back light as I hit one of the many potholes. I only realised as I heard it smash into a zillion pieces behind and to the side of me! Another Amazon order placed shortly after I got home for replacements.


Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 3 – STC swim

Hardly seems worth posting about this morning’s STC swim session as it’s a little like Groundhog Day.

As usual, I had the same battle with myself about whether to get out of bed or have 2 hours more sleep. Swimming own and I’m glad it did. As soon as I get in the pool, it seems worth it.

This morning, we started with 3 in the lane; Sonia, Jan and myself. Shortly into the session, Jon dropped down from lane 2 to join us.

We started with the usual 400m warmup before launching into various sets of 25m, 50m, 75m, 100m, 125m, 200m in all sorts of orders. Some were sprints, some were at a set pace. Most we without aids but some included pull buoy. As usual, as soon as I left the pool, the order of the sets escaped my mind. I recall we did lots of 3 sets of this, that or the other :-S

One bit I do recall vividly is leading us out for 4 x 25m sprint. Something I definitely wasn’t too keen on at first:


All in all, we covered a little over 3km. I definitely felt shaky at the end of it.

Tomorrow (Thursday) it’s Run Camp and I plan to cycle there and back (roughly 8km each way).

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 2

Today my main physical activity was going to be the first Lordshill Mile Series event of the year. However, as I’ve not been on the bike much, I decided to go out for a lunchtime ride.

I plotted out a 26km route through West End, Fair Oak and Eastleigh and headed out at lunchtime. Fortunately, the weather was dry although it was pretty windy.

I enjoyed the ride although I had to miss out a 2-3km section as the road was closed.

Not much else to report other than I enjoyed being on the bike. Didn’t have any issues with other vehicles as all were very considerate.


Lordshill Mile Series 2014 #1

Having recovered from my lunchtime ride, it was time to prepare for the mile event.

This meant loading the car with all the signs, finish funnel, finish banner, laptop and gadgets. I’d previously set up the new event and waves via the magic-mile website, charged the equipment and got all the equipment together.

On arrival, there was time to set up the finish funnel, build the table and then prepare the gadgets before the first wave set off.

Race Director Chris had decided to set off the slower wave first and that wave included me. We walked across to the start area and I took a few moments to warm up. Probably not adequate preparation but it was too late by that stage.

Kirsty and I were both wearing our LRR 10 Mile race T-shirts and chatted as we wandered over.

There were 24 of us in the first wave and, once ready, we were set off. Although the wave was meant for the slower runners, Lawrence Chen and a couple of faster runners led the pack. I was in about 4th place and slower than my PB pace from the start. My PB is 6:32.

I don’t recall quite where it happened but Clare Satterly overtook me. With about 400m to go, Clare pulled out and Kirsty Ware-Lane made her move and went passed me. With 300m to go, I was in 6th. At that point, John Macinnes overtook me and gave some words of encouragement as he went by.

With metres to go, I gave it my all and went for the line.


I finished in 6:48 by my Garmin and 6:50 as my official time. That is 16-18 seconds slower than my PB. A little disappointing although I knew I’d given it my all.



As I stumbled down the finish funnel, I took my position token before continuing my stumble to the laptop to prepare to process the first wave of results.

Many of the runners had developed a ‘mile cough’ sounding a very unhealthy bunch.

The results of the first wave are available at http://www.magic-mile.co.uk/results.php?eventWaveID=17

Once the results were processed, it was time to reset all the gadgets ready for the 2nd wave.

Before long, they’d crossed the line and it was time to process their results and pack up.

Several of us went to the Cowherds for a drink which was a nice ending to the event.

As I got home, Facebook was buzzing with photos and results of the event. I also received a few requests to ask where their results were so manually entered several into the system.

Paul Hammond also asked whether the club name could be added to the results so I updated the database query to include that.

We have very few non-LRR members attending the event although this evening’s was attended by the most other club runners (great to see Ali, Alison, Diana, Paul and Big Dave representing some of the other local clubs). It would be great to see a bigger turnout from the other clubs. The Mile a Series really is great (it’s ‘my baby’ so I’m a little biased).

Overall, another great mile event. Many thanks to Irene for organising the volunteers, Chris as Race Director and to all those that volunteered and took part.

Sprint triathlon training week 4 day 1

Week 4 of my training started with an STC swim session. I had considered a lunchtime run but decided against it as:

- the weather was awful
- I didn’t want to use it as an excuse for a bad swim

The pool was a little quieter than usual with a couple of the faster men absent but replaced by a couple more I didn’t recognise. Also in the lane were Katherine and Suzanne.

We started off with our usual warmup consisting of:

200m front crawl
100m pull
100m front crawl
2 x 25m kick + 25m pull

Coach Steve then announced that we’d be concentrating on pacing efforts.

First up 100m at 400m race pace. I completed this in 1:52.

Next up we did 200m pull. I did this in 3:45 which is 1:52/100m. I matched the pace required!

We then stepped up to 400m which I did in 7:58 (1:59/100m). This was off pace but mainly due to being lapped by 3 other swimmers.

This is where the session gets a little fuzzy. I believe we did a 50m recovery followed by 4 sets of 75m. The first 50m of each set were front crawl at a fast pace with the next 25m backstroke.

Our next part of the session was to focus on an aerodynamic and propulsive push off from the wall. We did 3 x 75m with a one minute break between each set.

We cooled down for 100m and the session was over.

I was pretty happy with what I’d achieved in the session. It was good to get a sub-8 minute 400m set in the middle of the session and that bodes well for future sprint triathlons.