Recap Crystal Palace triathlon

Posted on May 17, 2016 7:32 am

On Sunday I competed in my first sprint triathlon at Crystal Palace. Whoop! 

As some of you will know, I started training for a sprint triathlon late last year having not ridden a bike in 10 years and having questionable self taught swim technique. I knew that training for a triathlon would push me to learn new skills and show myself what I was made of. I’m not a particularly fast runner so wasn’t expecting any great performances – just to get around.  

Then, members of my running club’s triathlon arm signed up for Crystal Palace triathlon and, despite knowing that there was a crazy hill you had to climb 9 times, I signed up too. 

Fast forward four months and Sunday was D Day. This is how I did:

Swim 750m:

My aim was to do the swim in 25minutes or so. I also wanted to swim as much of it in front crawl as possible – I train three times a week just working on my front crawl and the breaststroke forms my warm up and cool down. 

However, the oddest thing happened when I did the super sprint last month – I switched almost immediately to swimming breaststroke. I think this was out of anxiety/nerves and lack of warm up. 

This time I had a plan: swim the first 100-150m in breaststroke as a warm up and then switch to front crawl. Well, that didn’t happen. I swam most of it in breaststroke and about 100m in front crawl. This needs to change if I’m going to get faster! Having said that, I did pass a few people who started ahead of me and swam front crawl… 

I finished the swim in 24:31 and beat my expectations. Happy days. Now I want to switch to front crawl and bring my time down to around 20 minutes. 

Bike 20km:

Well, what can I say about the bike leg?

It was so tough and it took me forever to do it – 1:18:23. Partly, because I need to learn to count- I somehow managed to do 10 laps instead of 9. Not counting my last lap, my bike leg was 1:10:25. So only 10minutes off my expected time.

Knowing that my time was way off expectations due to an error has cheered me up. 

Before realising my mistake I had mixed feelings about my performance. I was really disappointed with my time – one of the slowest on the course. I was thinking maybe I am/was expecting too much from myself – a newbie cyclist on a tough course. Had I taken on more that I could deal with? Perhaps cycling and triathlon aren’t for me? Had I trained enough? 

However, I was also happy to have managed to climb that short v sharp hill 9 times and coped well with the technical elements fine – sharp turns and steep downhill sections. The fast downhill portions were scary and exhilarating! I still need to learn how to ride out of the saddle up a hill and reach down to my bottle while I ride. 

What I do know is that I want to improve and have the motivation to put in the time. Just like I did with my running, I need to shake up my training with a variety of drills and include hill reps. Watch this space! 

Run 5km:

The run went fine – I was tired and had a pinching sensation in my right Achilles which slowed me down at first but that soon went. I was hoping for under 30 minutes on the run – that is 90 seconds or so slower than my normal 5km time. I actually did 32:47. I think with some more regular brick sessions I can get that under 30 minutes. 

One too many bike laps

What next?

I’m going to take a few weeks off from triathlon training to help recharge my batteries and put a more detailed training plan together. I also need to find some more triathlon races to enter this season.

I will be running and strength training as I’ve two half marathons (Luxembourg and St Abans) coming up in the next month. I’ve also got Les Stables tri camp end of June, and Berlin marathon in September to train for. 

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