A Triathlon Tourist: The New Way To Do Fitness And How To Train Up

16 June 2013

Writer Naomi Attwood begins her diary about tackling the Triathlon challenge...

Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

Last year at the Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

Summer’s in the air and holidays, bikinis and maybe even a solitary ray of sunshine are on the collective mind. Summer is also the time for sportiness – if you yourself are a sporty person, you would already know this, you’ve probably got some exciting events penciled in your diary and a rigorous training schedule entailing 6am starts underway already.

If you’re not really a sporty person (e.g. myself) you wouldn’t necessarily have associated summer with racing other people in a field or park, (I mean, the Olympics only come round every four years) and, very sensibly, you’re more concerned with planning your next glass of rose wine in a pub garden somewhere.

Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

A runner (not me) at the Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

However, two years after starting to run regularly, I’ve decided to undergo a new challenge – a triathlon. Triathlons are a rapidly growing sport, with established events doubling in size year on year and many new events springing up. As so many girls are getting in on the act, spurred on by the Olympic champs - the Shock Absorber Women Only Triathlon is catering specifically for ladies that might want a slightly less intimidating but no less official sporty fixture to attend.

As I’ve completed four half marathons, I know I can exercise hard for two hours *cough* without stopping. ‘How hard can it be?’ I thought. I’ve signed up for a competition on July 14th, and with that I saddled up my pathetically cheap mountain bike, borrowed a wetsuit and set off for a training day with specialist triathlon trainers, RG Active at Dorney Lake. 

The day was hard, physically and even worse psychologically, as the reality quickly dawned – swimming in a lake is hard enough, (it’s chilly, despite the wetsuit protection) but if you’ve haven’t put your face in the water since your last school swimming lesson 15 years ago – then you’re actually embarrassing yourself when everyone else knows how to do front crawl.

Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

The hardcore wetsuit run at the Shock Absorber Women's Only Triathlon

Cycling hard on a track without stopping is hardly rocket science is it – but the rules and rituals in a triathlon are strict and tricky to fathom, particularly as you ‘transition’ which means, basically getting changed out of a wetsuit and into cyling gear, including socks, shoes and a cycling helmet whilst running along – now that’s going to take some practice.

Lastly, the run; about 5km in my case – which sounded like a piece of cake originally - now takes on a new dimension considering how tired and jaded I’ll be after activities one and two. Yikes! Maybe it’s about time I took a look at that detailed training schedule the nice trainer Dermott at RG Active made me...

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