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We have entered race week and training has been all about the technical aspects of the triathlon.

  • Transitions
  • Swim Technique
  • Kit Choice
  • Racing Naked

By doing all this other nonsense it helps to take your mind off of the fact that you are not doing any proper training (which you shouldn’t be) and keeps your idle hands out of the drinks cabinet (where they shouldn’t be).


I’ve practised transitions and made up my lists. Piled up my kit this way and that and acted out several scenarios.

Discoveries have included:

  • If you are going to have a transition snack or drink, make that the first thing you start doing.
  • Don’t bother changing your trisuit – it will dry off very quickly also pulling on a dry cycle shirt over wet skin is harder than you might think!
  • If you need to use a touchscreen device (to start/pause your race timer or check for weather forecast for example) do that before you cover your hands in sun cream lotion.
  • Even though your gloves are fingerless, put your sun screen on before you put your gloves on.
  • Running out of stash space? Don’t worry: just ram a couple of gels up inside your tri-suit leg!
  • Your nose will probably need blowing after the swim: have a tissue handy but only after you’ve dried your hands.
  • If you’ve got room in your transition box, use it! Extra stuff that has found its way in includes a spare pair of socks, shorts, shirt, talc, bike oil, more tissues, pack of jaffa cakes, towel, multi tool (in addition to the one that is on your bike), spare race number and pins (in addition to your race number belt).
  • Same appplies to the saddle box on the bike: in addition to bike tool, patches, glue, spare innertube, pump AND co2, extra stuff includes spare contact lenses, plasters, tape, cash, credit card, headache pills, hayfever pills, rennies, a couple of safety pins – you will have your own list – but all this fitted in the same saddle box as my bike stuff so my question is: “why not?”
  • The extra effort required to carry round two rennies will not mean the difference between success and failure!
  • Turn your transition box upside down in case it rains.
  • Turn your running shoes upside down in case it rains.
  • You can put your shoes on the bike ready but practice with them in your box too. Your feet may like the comfort after the swim of getting straight into them (after you take your wetsuit off of course!).
  • Don’t rush – the difference between a final time of 13hrs 17 mins and 13 hrs 19 mins is completely immaterial – especially if you increase the risk of not even finishing.
  • Sit down – it’s easier!

Swim Technique

I thought everything was fine and then they told us the water might be over 24c – ie too hot for wetsuits!

So I’ve been back at Box End hoping that my two weeks of open water training with wetsuit has not ruined my non-wetsuit chances! They haven’t but I found they had made me quite lazy with my kick (although I only kick twice once per stroke and not all the time), so after a bit of a panic I’ve realised this wake-up call has been a good thing!

Straight line swimming is going well too. I have found it is easier to find a balanced, even stroke that keeps me straight, than finding a good way of working out where I’m going!

Kit choice

This has been basically about nutrition as part of the whole thing has been to try and keep costs down and not buy extra kit. I have had to make several choices about kit that I have already. For example,  the trisuit has been getting some bad press when it comes to race day toilet requirements, but you used to be able to go to the loo by using your leg hole when you were 6 – why not now!

Also, although I got a new pair of running shoes for my birthday in May, I have decided to stick with my old running shoes. There is just something about them and the new ones helped me extend the lives of the old ones so that present wasn’t wasted. I will take spare shorts and shirt but that is really in case of an accident on the bike or something completely unforseeable like… moths in transition!

I have also bought a CO2 canister and widget. I won’t need it but I won’t be able to get any decent pressure into a new innertube with my pump, so better safe etc!

Racing Naked

I’ve never owned a gadget to help me keep track of swimming, the clock on the pool wall has always seemed to do quite a good job, so my race swim will also be without gadgets. That said I’ve always had my phone on the bike using the Runkeeper app to help me with pace. I am fairly sure I will be OK but it would be annoying if I missed the 8 hour cut off for the bike just because I was having a chat at the last feed station. If something goes wrong with the gadgetry I need to know roughly where I stand.

So I’ve been out a few times on shortish trips just trying to judge effort, time and speed without being told by the voice on my phone.

It’s not very accurate but, to be honest, it doesn’t need to be. As long as I have the confidence to know that I can feel the effort, see the cog that my chain is on and tell whether I am cycling faster or slower than 24km per hour then that is good enough for me.

Also, for running I have been out with the 10 minute milers at Dunstable Road Runners to get the feel of that rythm. I am not too bothered what speed I do the run at, but I don’t want to do it too quickly!

So that is me done.

This time next week I will be a non-ferous 226 Triathlete