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Last minute tips needed

I've been persuaded to do the London Tri in August (sprint distance) and have been training quite steadily since march. Quite an achievment for me as I used to love my curry and beer! I'm pretty comfortable with the cycle and running now and am in the best shape I've been for years (he says!) but am a little anxious that I've not been doing enough swimming, not been anywhere near water for 3 weeks.

I'm booked into an open water training session this weekend so hopefully that while quash some nerves, but doeas any one have any last minute training schedule tips to boost my technique/endurance?




  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    See the pool not as a friend, but as a lover... [;)]

    Seriously at the moment I'm spending every last minute down there trying to build enough endurance up.
  • mikemike Posts: 4
    mate there is no easy way to get good at swimming so once you ve done london take some swimming lessons throughout the winter and learn to swim before you plough up and down the pool.

    With your immediate problem, if you r doing the sprint dont worry, but if your doin g olympic a good stratergy is to condition your body (as oppose to training). This will involve swimming 1500m at the fastest pace you can have a good rest and then do it again.

    practice transitions out of the pool in you r open water session they can make minutes of difference.

    this will acustome youre body to the rigours of the race and will make minutes of difference as well as a massive psycological one.
  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Thanks for the info, I guess I'm just a tad anxious that I've not swum the 750 non stop yet - 500 is as much as I've done in one go but that was in a pool.

    The transition tips sound good for the weekend too thanks.

    I'll lbe in the pool tonight guaranteed!
  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    chughes...the thing I found about transistions is relax..

    ...on my first (and so far only) I came out of the pool feeling good and was in such a rush ran straight down the wrong lane for me bike coming back off the bike I tried to hurry and nearly took a load of spectators out as a dismounted and lost control of the bike...

    I probably lost more time trying to be "Quick" than if I had just taken it a bit easier

  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    loonytoon.....thanks I'll bear that in mind!

    What's the start of the swim actually like - is it really as bad as it looks in the photo's ? Looks like a free for all!
  • MeadoMeado Posts: 17
    Chughes - i'm in the same psoition as you mate. London is going to be my first Triathlon. The bike and run don't worry me too much. It' sjust the open water swim that worries me. I'm douing an open water course down at the Regatta Centre on saturday. I have been putting in the hours at the pool but i fear this is nothing compared to what open water will be like!

    Anybody got any last minute advice!!??
  • CenzoCenzo Posts: 91
    The swim start can be interesting, but you have the option of keeping yourself toward the outside & rear of the pack. This is the best way if you're not a strong swimmer, getting swum over isn't fun & will tarnish the experience.

    just take it steady & give yourself a bit of room, plus starting towrd the rear will give you a bit of confidence when you start to cruise past the people who started in the wrong place!
  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Meado - Just had a text off a mate who's done a few tri's and says to take it easy at the start, find your own space if you can and don't worry too much about being at the back (that's where I intend going!), try not to panic (hmmmm) and most of all enjoy it.

    Sound advice I reckon - specially the being at the back part.

    I too am doing the open water session on Saturday.
  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Cenzo - sounds like we have a common theme here, didn't think about the outside bit - like it.

    getting swum over however doesn't sound too appealing though.
  • MeadoMeado Posts: 17
    Cenzo - i think i'll be right at the back! It looks like a scrum at the start of the swim! I think i'll just take it nice and easy. I'm sure that i'll be able to make up the time on the bike and run. I think i'll just have to trya nd stay calm.

    Chughes - hope it goes ok on saturday. We'll have to report in here and see what we've learnt! cheers for the advice as well!
  • CenzoCenzo Posts: 91
    I'm speaking from experience, I still remember my first ever Tri & I got swum over in a big way, it's deeply unpleasant, ended up getting out of the water in a right state & didnt recover at all. relax, cruise & stay in space & you'll be fine :-)

    Great advice also on transitions, so what if someone can get their wetsuit off in 2 seconds & you take 30, you may well be 28 seconds quicker on the bike. Again relax & don't panic, at most importantly enjoy & embrace the whole experience.

    I hope you get the bug
  • MeadoMeado Posts: 17
    I've heard so many worrying things about the swim from other people, but i think your advice is fatastic. Thank You!

    I'm doing the olympic distance for London. What sort of time should i be aiming for completing the 1500m swim in?
  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Cenzo, I think I've got the bug already. I never used to do any exercise apart from cycle to and from work every day until a mate persuaded, no forced me intp this. And do be honest I'm thoroughly enjoying the training and massive change in my fitness not to mention the stone in weight I've lost since March.

    I'm the sort of person who needs a goal and this is the perfect goal for me. Great fun too!
  • CenzoCenzo Posts: 91
    Thanks, I hope it all helps,

    Time really does depend on what you're capable of in training.

    Open water swimming is different, but unless you are a technique perfect god of a swimmer then the wetsuit is a great help. The added buoyancy will help you relax & lengthen the strokes & you'll swim a little quicker in the suit.

    i cannot stress enough, do not worry about time, I know some fantastic swimmers who are not great in open water & & others (like me) who's technique holds them back in the pool, but put me in a suit & I'm 10-15% better.

    So, first Tri? Olympic open water? worlds busiest race?

    Please just have your swim aim as "I want to get out of the water in a good state, having felt i've put effort in on the swim, but ready to bike & run"

  • MeadoMeado Posts: 17
    I think my aim will be just get out the water in one piece!

    In the pool my times for a 1500m swim are around 38-40 minutes. I keep thinking that this is much too slow.

    I am beginning to worry that i've bitten off more than i can chew.
  • CenzoCenzo Posts: 91

    If you've put the time in, you'll be fine. 38-40mins for a pool isn't bad at all. I'm not going to lie to you & tell you it's great, but believe me you wont be at the back, dont worry.

    Just getting on here & actually asking people for advice tells me you will treating thr Tri will every bit of respect it deserves, there will be others who don't. Some of them may be out of the water in 25mins but walking later.

    A few nerves are good, but have confidence in yourself.


    I'm not racing London as it's my gf's first Tri, there in support mode, I'll be shouting at you guys all day!
  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    i managed 37 mins on my 1st oly swim, I wasnt last out on my wave by any means but I then went on to bike and run past oh so many "faster" swimmers .. I think I swim like a rotting log but i then flew like a possessed witch on a stick - all came good with a very respectable finish time
  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    I wish, i wish, i wish we had more open water swim facilities, defintely not over joyed at the prospect of London being my first major open swim. I do intend to pace myself and then declare a moral victory as I stomp people in the bike phase. The moral victory here is important as everyone I over take will be returning the favour come the run!!. [:D]
  • PatsPats Posts: 2
    Hi I did the London tri 2 years ago, my first ever open water swim, what you should do is get there really early or the day before depending on when your start time is, and hop in the water if you can for a practise. I also did the official training session at the venue beforehand and quickly got into a panic, the shock of the cold and first time in a wetsuit, I couldn't breathe. Well could really but it was a big shock. So get in there, splash about, stay for as long as you can then get out and fuss over your gear, try and relax etc. Anyway I did 37mins I think and was by no means last out, so don't worry, you will be fine, the swim will be over before you know it.
  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    chughes - what time is you session on saturday?

    mines at 13:30

  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    loonytoon - I'm on the 3pm session with the so called mate who talked me into it ;-)

    It'll be a case of go pick up me new wetsuit and straight in at the deepend so to speak.

    Looking forward to it though, do you know if we are able to practice the whole distance ??
  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    chughes - I ended up in the 3pm slot as well was delayed by over an hour getting to london!!!

    What did you think? I thought it was well worth the money and hassel of getting to london

  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Loonytoon - definately well worth battling with the traffic and I only live about 5 miles away! We managed to be late by about 10mins, missed the general chat, and the 1st warm up swim to the blue buoy then it was - right out to the orange buoy and back please !!

    It was great fun, I quite enjoyed the simulated sprint start to be honest - just went for it and only managed get one kick to the chest. Confidence is up but still need to practice sighting, my problem is I seem to drift to the right quite a lot.

    I'm off to the Serpentine in Hyde Park on Wednesday night for some more practice, still need the distance though I think, although the wet suits make it soooo much easier. It was really the first time I didn't use my legs much at all.

    Looking forward to it now, and after a 45k bike ride today it should all be a doddle - ahem!!!
  • loonytoonloonytoon Posts: 673
    chughes...we are agreed a afternoon well spent..

  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Does anyone have any idea about what to eat/drink during the cycle/run. I've seen lots of energy bars/gels but does anyone recommend a particlar type/brand? Also, I take it the timing of when you eat/drink is crucial to the whole race to not run out of steam.
  • guv001guv001 Posts: 227
    Some sports drinks make me sick but I've just trialled Power bars Berry flavoured sports drink and it was excellent no sickness and tated fine too. You may just have to trial a few and then choose which one you like most companies due small sachets so you can test the flavours etc. Ref eating I don't as the events I do /want to do are usually too short for that.
  • CenzoCenzo Posts: 91

    Now's the time to start playing around with feeding strategy, especially if it's your 1st Oly. You've 3 weeks to work it out.

    Obviously make sure you're well fuelled, rested & hydrated before the race, here's what I normally do for an Olympic.

    Before race, 1litre psp (or similar energy drink) finish drinking at least 45mins before the start.

    5 mins before start, knock back an energy gel, this should take about 20mins to get into your bloodstream so you'll be reaping the benefits toward the end of the swim & start of bike.

    On bike (dependant of heat) but normally 2 x 500mls of Eleoctrolyte drink, also take on a gel after 20-30mins.

    T2 or start of run hit another gel for a strong finish.

    During the run I only ever take on water in an Oly, my gel policy is probably overkill anyway but I'd rather have too much than not enough energy.

    In all honesty I think you'll find that solids aren't required in an Oly, they take too long to eat & digest & you'll be working too hard to chew!

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    as Guv suggests try some out and see what suits ... best to do this in training so you get used not only to the product but the eating / drinking on the move. most will rely on water / carb drinks only for a sprint distance and not bother with actually eating during races. for olys and above then then it becomes more relevant to look at carb bars and other foods to supplement your fluid intake. IF you know which races you are doing try to find out which sponsors are involved so you can test their drinks nefore your race. last thing yhou want is to find the drinks supplied make you retch.

  • RewRew Posts: 62
    If you can get it try taut (drink) it's not made with addatives and is not sickly sweet like some others. S.I.S is another good'un.

    You must plan what your going to drink soon as you do not want to be doing this too close to race time. Trying something new on the day could give you stomach cramps and really ruin your big day that you've trained like a nutter to finish as fast as possible!!!
  • chugheschughes Posts: 12
    Cool, thanks! I'll certainly be trialing a few before the big day now.

    On another note, I want to get out of the London traffic on my bike - are there any decent cycling routes that offer flat uninterrupted distances? I'm looking for no traffic lights or junctions, that sort of thing so I can cycle non stop as a practice for the the 20k ride.

    Once again thanks.
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