Triathlon Training: Swimming and Bike Riding

With my first sprint triathlon coming up this Sunday I’ve been trying to expand my training from the usual pavement pounding runs, to include swimming and bike riding. The swimming’s been going ok and I’ve managed to get in the pool quite a bit over the last few weeks.

Practising my bi-lateral breathing swimming

Practising my bi-lateral breathing swimming

When you’re tri training AND you have a young family, it’s hard to fit in all this running, swimming and biking! I’ve learnt that there’s never a perfect time to go to the pool or go out for a bike ride and if i’m going to do anything at all, then I have to fit it in when I can. So last Friday I got straight off the train from London and jumped in to the swimming pool right next to the station, before going home. Then yesterday, instead of sitting at my desk in my lunch beak, I Googled the nearest pool and nipped out for what turned out to be a really refreshing lunchtime swim. Only 25 minutes of swimming but enough to to swim 20 lengths of the pool and be bullied by the guys in the ‘fast’ lane!

Having read a bit about swimming recently I had a few things I was concentrating on in the pool:

– Bi-lateral breathing, that is, alternating the side on which I take my breaths
– Reaching as far forward as I can with each stroke and really pulling myself through the water
– Trying to do each length in as few a strokes as possible

Then last night I took my bike round to my good friend Tim’s house as he is a bike genie! My gears weren’t working and I am a novice when it comes to bikes, so he fixed it – something about a front derailleur! He kindly explained to me everything he was doing but I have to admit, I’ve now completely forgotten what he said!

Tim fixing my front derailleur!

With a newly fixed bike I then had no excuses to ride to work, so set off with trepidation. It’s 8.5 miles from my doorstep to my desk which, in itself isn’t too bad, however this involves a long section on the A31 which is an accident hotspot and a very busy road – those lorries show no mercy to cyclists!

Next Training

Wednesday night running club with Purbeck Runners – some hill repeats or a speed session I expect

Cross Training For Running (and Triathlon!) – Swimming

Tried to go for a run last night, but my legs and ankle hurt from a combination of The Beast last Sunday and a pretty intense hills session on Wed evening. So I turned around and did some decorating instead!

I spend most of today in London, on trains, the tube and meetings. I had my swimming stuff in the back of the car and with a pool a stones throw away from the train station, I went for a swim! With my first (sprint) triathlon in nine days and counting, I thought I’d better get some swim practice in.

Pool Session
A warm up of six 25m lengths of slow breaststroke. Then four lengths of easy front crawl, followed by 16 lengths at 90% effort. 16 lengths (400m) is what I’ll need to do for the swim section of the tri. I then carried on and did four lengths at 100%, pedal to the metal all out crawl. Halfway through this, I looked to the lane on my right to see a girl of around ten in her swimming club overtaking me! All finished off with four lengths of slow breaststroke to cool down.

All the while I was doing crawl, I was focussing on my technique. First of all imagining there was a line in front of me, dividing my body in two, and trying to touch this invisible line as my fingers entered the water. The other thing I practiced was bilateral breathing – that is alternating the side I took a breath from rather than alway breathing on the same side.

Next Training
Littledown 5 on Sunday and aiming for under 31 minutes…