Half Century Triathlete – starting out

So as opposed to standard mid life crisis around buying a sports car or a motorbike, I rather strangely decided to get into the world of Triathlon. This was inspired by watching the ITU World Series in Leeds during 2016 which started off in Roundhay Park where I regularly walk my dog.

                 

 

I’d been doing some serious bike training for 2 years, just started to do some TT racing and did an annual 10km race at the Leeds Abbey Dash but hadn’t swum since I was 18.

Some further investigation and I realised the majority of triathlon races have age groups, so rather than trying to compete with 65kg 20 year old racing snakes I could at least see how I was doing against people in my age group of 50-54.

So a beginner friendly sprint tri at Nidderdale in Sept 2016 was found and training started!  First step was to make sure I had a coach to ensure I didn’t get injured and meant I could focus on doing the training and not worrying about over or under training. I chose to train with Craig Stevenson from Vitfor.

My first swim session was on the 6th July and boy was that an eye opener.  My notes from that swim are “Managed 8 lengths, then rested (and realised I hadn’t started the watch! So did 4 more lengths, short pause and the final 4. Should gave swum longer. Info from the last 200m on Garmin, will be interesting to see how this changes and a shame I didn’t record the first 200m!! Avg Pace2:30 min/100m”

A few days later I hit my first target of being able to swim 400m without stopping for a breather.  A few weeks later I did a 400m test in 9m 4 secs avg pace of 2:25, and a 200m test a few days later in 04:11.5.

All the time I was also doing bike and runs and slowly ramping up the volume, the runs were no more than 30-45 mins in these initial stages. As I had been bike coaching with Craig the bike intensity was pretty high, but the volume reduced to allow swim and run training.

As with everything “new” that is done with proper structured training I made some quick gains. My notes from another 400m swim test at the end of July 2016 read “8:37 for the 400m test which is 27 secs faster than 11 days ago”.

I did another test mid August 2016 and was pleased to see more improvement. My notes read “new PB of 8:16. Went off too fast (25, 26, 27 secs for first 3 lengths), realised after lap 3 that breathing was hard work then stabilised to 30-32 sec laps for the rest. 62 laps total ”

Running steadily increased, with runs up to 1hr 15 mins now and some interval efforts, I continued to swim 2-3 times a week and as September approached I managed to convince someone to let me borrow his Specialized Shiv Tri bike. Below is the training log from Strava leading up to the Nidderdale Sprint Tri.

So the week before I went and rode and ran the course, and then race day dawned dry, sunny and not too warm, almost perfect for September in Yorkshire.

I was pleased with my times and enjoyed it overall. So much so that I decided to carry on next year and enter a series of Olympic distance events in 2017.

Lessons learnt include remembering where your bike is parked to avoid running up and down the wrong lane, as reflected in my T1 time.

My times are below:

and a few pics from my family who came along to cheer me on!

 

 

 

Greg Hilton

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