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Northampton Triathlon?

BenBen Posts: 11
Hi everyone.

I'm gonna do this event, the sprint not the oly distance.

it's my first and just wondered if anyone has done it in the past?

It's on the 8/9th sept iirc

760m ow swim, 25km bike and 6 km run.

Should be ok for a first timer eh?

I'm just wondering what sort of time the rear guard come in at, obviously it's going to vary race to race but in general I mean?, these events aren't just full of experienced athletes are they?...are there many like me who enter[:D]

I know it shouldn't matter but I don't want to come last, it may smash my enthusiasm LOL.

Cheers for any response[:)]


  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    I did my first a few weeks ago at Dorney lake, 750m / 20km / 5km and my time was 1hr 36min, wasn't quite last but they were packing up as I finished (it was an evening race) there were 2 other people that came in after me....

    Didn't care though, loved the it all, and I'm looking forward to my next race on Wednesday, if you come in last you can only improve ;-)
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    that seems a decent time mate, what were your splits if you don't mind me asking?

    how long had you trained for it?
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    also mate, did you invest in a wet suit and tri suit for your first or not?

    Cheers for the response[:)]
  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    Yep, all the gear no idea....


    So had a wetsuit for the race, it was one I "borrowed" and forgot to return for the London Tri last year (injured so didn't race) and if you don't return the wetsuit they just bill you for it.... handy.

    Have a single piece trisuit (and race belt) not a good look, but it works, also handily has pockets in the back for gel packs.

    Splits were 16min / 52:03min / 28:08min I think the transition times are in with the cycle (or my swim was a lot better than I thought) racing again on Wednesday, can't wait.
  • oscaroscar Posts: 4
    Havent done this one previously as its my first year too, but from local knowledge its set in fantastic surroundings so should be a good day especially as the sprint is an afternoon event so no early morning start.

    At the beginning of the season I was a bit hung up about times and how many would finish behind me. The beauty of starting in waves is that its difficult to tell who finishes where until the results are published. I soon found that the stragglers at the back (me included) get as much as a cheer as the ones at the front as all the events I've entered so far have been extremely novice friendly and inspired me to continue in this sport.

    Good luck and dont worry about positioning at this stage, completing it is the ultimate achievement. I guarentee you wont be able to wipe the smile off your face for days afterwards!

  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    oscar wrote:
    I guarentee you wont be able to wipe the smile off your face for days afterwards!

    With you on that one, I was smiling for days.... (although walking oddly!)
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    brilliant, cheers guys, still got about 7 weeks to get my swim times down a bit.

    I was just a bit worried that I'd be the only novice in the race...still gonna do it though [8D]
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    This is what bothers me LOL


    This event is acting as a world champ qualifier...

    will all those folk be up front and then the less experienced (me) at the back.

    Surely the top guys and gals don't want people getting in their way.

    or is this event not for a novice???


    I would say that the most stressful thing about the triathlon is the swim, especially the start and rounding buoys. As a woman, I think we are more polite than the boyZ who tend to push and shove more. I've been swum over by blokes and it's very tedious. So! In my opinion, if you get your first swim right, the rest will flow nicely and you will have a great race.

    I think you should consider where to position yourself for the swim - if you're a strong swimmer and expect a very good time, then the front/near and well lined up is okay, but expect a hard push and a great tidal wave of arms and legs thrashing as people start and get going. This gradually evens out as swimmers find their space and rhythm. Until you reach a turn point where everyone converges and the thrashing returns for a few seconds as you stream around the buoy (if it's an acute turn then there is more turmoil than a right angle turn to a long straight swim, for example).

    However, if you expect a slower time and are worried about being swum over/punched (worse case) and/or pushed aside in the melee of the start, go at the side (look for the shortest line to the first buoy if you can, while being on the margin) while I would not suggest going at the very back since you might want to keep abreast of the pack if you can.

    Others might suggest the back, but I (as a medium average to slow swimmer with lots of open swims under my belt) think I've done better staying near the front/centre and to one side. Your wetsuit will help you maintain good buoyancy in the water so you will hopefully feel secure. Ensure good goggle fit, especially if you wear lenses and practice with a hat in your local pool.

    Don't forget to look for the buoys as you swim (hopefully you're practising looking up during the stroke), and don't just follow the person in front as they might go off at a tangent. BUT, do draft a swimmer who is slightly ahead of you - without bashing their toes of course - and that will help.

    Breathe, smooth, think dolphin (yeah right) blah blah blah and hopefully enjoy when you get into it. Up your kick as you get towards the finish to warm your legs up for the transition and bike....

    Then, let people help you to emerge as you can feel very wobbly after all the effort and as you come out, goggles up, back zipper down, arms out as you trot/wobble to your bike (you made a mental note where it was didn't you - from the angle you will be coming at it from the swim transition).... legs out (I usually fall over at this point as my suit is old and I think I put on weight so I can't get it off!!) etc. etc. ... and you're off!!

    You might breathe hard as you leave on the bike, but you've just finished your swim successfully and you're on the second leg..... go for it!

    Lastly, you jump off the bike and totter into the transition area having bashed your legs on the bike leg.... oooerrrr...... feels very odd. I remember my first race - I was breathing like a train as I left and never really recovered during that first 5K run! I felt as if I was stumbling through concrete. This was because I hadn't practised riding my bike, jumping off and going into a run...... if you've done this then good on you and it will make a difference! Whatever you feel like though, relax and congratulate yourself - only 5K left (flat at Grendon Lakes, which is good) and you'll finish a happy man!

    Hope this wasn't too boring to read...... I'll be there and I'm no elite athlete, so don't worry and have a great time!

  • BenBen Posts: 11
    Wow...thanks TH, good read that and just what I was hoping for...do you really get punched LOL on purpose?

    I have practised biking around 15 miles then running...a very weird feeling tbh and I expect a slow run time, much slower than I'd normally run this distance[:D]

  • toadtoad Posts: 104
    Ben , that was a real good pep talk from tomahwak , wish i had that advice before i did my first super sprint tri in blenheim ..... one thing that might be useful for you to think about .... when you park your bike in transition before the race ... ask an official where the entry to transition is for the swim ....then walk the route you will take from there to your bike , so you know exactly where your bike is .... I started my swim at the back of the pack and found at the end of the swim I was 27th out of 130 ..... excited at how well i had done I forgot where my bike was and spent 7 minutes looking for it .....dont worry whether you have come first or last ... the feeling at the end is just as good despite your position.
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    yes, it was really good of Tomahawk....good of you too mate, good advise there.

    I'm a bit nervous about the transitions tbh so that's something to be aware of, thanks[:)]

    Am I best to cycle in my running shoes?, then I won't have to change footwear at the 2nd transition
    Glad to be helpful!

    What do you usually cycle in? If you wear cleets then use your cycling shoes (rigid and foot hard attached therefore works on both up and downward parts of each revolution) and change into runners after.... and you will benefit from (as the estate agents say) elastic laces on your running shoes.

    Really! Test first to ensure fit is correct and foot not falling out. Vaseline the back of the shoe where it rubs the heel and, if you can, wear no socks as they increase transition time of course! Pull the tongue of the runner hard out and into the lace where it will await your sweaty foot at transition time!

    If you don't have cleets then what would you normally wear for cycling? If no particular shoe, and you have toe clips to push your feet into, then running shoes are the next best thing, though they won't give you that extra rigidity that's helpful. The least you need is toe clips for whatever shoe. What is your bike - racer or hybrid?

    Find bike: Stick a colourful thing on a wire above your bike (eg small pom pom) - I don't think anyone will stop you - ? or put a colourful hand towel / fabric on the bar just beside your bike and, as Toad said, test the transition at a trot before the race to ensure you count out where you are! Failing the above, put a bright thingy of any sort on your bike - luminous green or orange etc. etc. is good!

    If you're worried about transition one, test your wetsuit in the pool at a quiet time then clamber out and rip it off as quickly as possible! I fell over two weeks ago and wasted a whole minute trying to extract my legs from the ridiculous thing! Aaargh.

    Grendon Lake is good to swim in - the early morning light may be in your eyes as you approach the finish but look for the tree line and the general light smudge / splashing that is the exit point and breathe to your right rather than left on the last leg (it is Grendon isn't it, Northampton?). Then the cycle goes straight up a hill at the start then wiggles about the country roads. One word of advice - I tend to take quite a few risks on the outside of people as we can't draft and this is fine BUT you must ensure you can swerve in if you are overtaking, especially on the tight country roads. And just be aware of taking a tight corner too fast in a great bout of enthusiasm, .....!

    Got to do some work now!

  • BenBen Posts: 11
    Thankyou very much Tomahawk...it is grendon yes

    Is a swim cap compulsary?

    What is meant by 'drafting'?

    I have no proper cycle shoes, just toe clips, I may invest in the future.


    Excellant tip re highlighting my bike...a racer btw but I've been traing on a MTB[&:]

    I'm having internet probs and have to keep posts short for some reason[:D]

    Swim cap is compulsory and is given to you when you register - for health/safety and identification reasons it's necessary. HOT TIP - practice in the pool with a hat and your chosen goggles over the top of it so that you are used to the way they sit on your head....

    Drafting - in alot of elite / pro races drafting on the bike is allowed.... and you can draft anyone, anywhere if you get behind them and hide within their body shape, meaning that you get into their slipstream, and don't use extra energy forcing your way through the air or water (as you know, you create, for example, apparent wind when you cylcle - so the following cyclist gets off lightly if they tail right behind the leader and so on). So - draft the frontward swimmer and you will do less and get along possibly more efficiently......

    Bike shoes - Forget investments unless you have money to throw about... stick with your runners OR solid bike shoes if you have them. I'm sure you have done, but practice on your racer before the race..... good luck!
  • BenBen Posts: 11
    many thanks once again[:)]

    is breast stroke used at all in the swim or does everyone do front crawl?
    Of course you can breast stroke.... it's slower, however (unless you are an olympic breast stroker?!)... Front crawl is the most efficient stroke therefore the fastest, and so the majority of people will opt for this.

    If you aren't comfortable with front crawl go with what you are best at. You can time a 750m swim in the pool comparing breast stroke and front crawl times to decide on your preferred stroke for the day.

    If you are unsure then you could try mixing the strokes, especially round the buoys where the swimmers join - see the big-cow Milton Keynes triathlon video from the 2006 event (on their website - put the big-cow name into your search engine) to get a small feel for the swim.

    If you are keen to make triathlon your sport (and you'll obviously know after Grendon) then you should work on your front crawl and move away from breast stroke - either join a swimming club (masters / tri club) for training and motivation or hire yourself a swimming coach who can help you every now and again one-to-one and give you drills to do in the pool.

    Having said all that - breast stroke is a worthy swimming style and the advantage is that you can see where you are going most of the time, it's just not as fast generally.

    Mix and match strokes, test both and make a decision you're comfortable with, and that's it! But do watch the clip on that website to get an idea...... hope this helps in some way...
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