Home Chat General Chat

Southwell Sprint - should I be concerned?

Just entered my first ever triathlon. I'm traditionally a runner - not really built for it at 5ft8 and 12stone (82Kg) [**currently 86Kg having balloned to 94Kg during my "injury layoff] - best half marathon of 1hr18min and 10K at sub 36min... more recently done the London marathon - not at my best - and faded badly to compelte in 3hr 19min.

For years I had knee pain and problems but chose to ignore them. For years I've considered a triathlonbut never had a decent bike. Anyway - 18 months ago I woke up one morning and couldn't bend or straighten my leg... ended up at the hospital after 2 days and turned out my knee was completely shot. The condition of the joint what they would expect to see in a 70 year old (only the left knee) - I'm just 35...

I had all the ususal treatment and consultant appointments but decided to buy a bike and cut the running completely. It didnt help - but it did give me a £600 road bike with which to seriosuly switch to triathlon in the long term! After 12 months of physio and one thing and another they decided to do a lateral release and shave some bone and a few other things - that happened in May.

I'm now back in training... only able to run short distances - have done 3 miles a couple of times but I'm slow... VERY, VERY Slow - 23min 40secs. My 12.5mile/20K bike times are in the region of 38 min (avg speed of between 18 and 19mph) and I'm looking at 400m swm in 8 minutes.

Now, I've entered the Southwell Sprint Tri and I notice they reckon the bike course is "tough" - but the times are scaring me!!! My swim is about as good as I can hope for being as I havent swum for 6 years... My run is understandably poor at present... but my bike... I thought I was doing well on the bike but I'm looking at the bike (and run) times and I'm thinking that I'm gonna get very, very, VERY disheartened... I'm not used to being humiliated and coming way down in any competitive field... I know this is something different and I'm hardly fit at present... but... blah, blah, blah...

The question is - Are those times accurate and is the DISTANCE accurately measured?!!


Results from same event in May this year - http://www.pacesetterevents.com/results/2006/southwell06results.pdf


  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    Hi John

    Not sure I'm the best person to comment cos your times look blindingly fast to me!

    However, I have done Southwell 3 times, the last time a couple of years ago. Unless they state on the website that the distances are accurately measured they may vary a bit (I've done '5k' runs in tri which have varied from 2.5 miles to 3.4 miles) - but on the day you'll all be competing over the same course ...

    You'll find all kinds of people at Southwell - from the highly competitive to the just get round - and all kinds of kit, bikes etc. It's a good race. The bike has a series of hills start and finish, but a nice fast flat section in the middle.

    Enjoy - and good luck!
  • Thanks for that information Pat... I'm just comparing the times from May with times of other events that claim to be that distance and comparing them with my own "training" times and trying to work out what gives?

    Either the people that did it in May were "top notch" athletes, the course is FAST and nowhere near as tough as the race info intimates, or the distances aren't exactly accurate!

    But, yes, as you say - all competitiors participate on the same course so in temrs of the actual event, they're all that matter... but comparing the times/distances with other events/training leaves a lot to be desired.

    Thanks for your encouragement and input,

  • pacrfishpacrfish Posts: 266
    From memory, I think both the bike and the run were a bit short when I did it last time (just over 11 miles comes to mind for the bike). But it was also a 'compact' site, with the pool right next to transition and no long runs to and from T1 and T2, so that helps too. I think it's a faster course than Derby the week before.

    You do get some very good people competing too, so times may be fast.
  • Good people competing - yeah... swim times barely over 6 minutes!!!!

    The memory recall is also very useful (although I do acknowedge that all things from memory are prone to contain errors, so I take it on board at my own peril!!!) and puts things into a better perspective.

    I'm hoping this will be my first of many, but we'll see how it goes - I do like the idea of hitting this one at my current levle of fitness/training and then being able to do it again in May to gauge how far I've come - assuming of course the knee hasn't broken down by then!

    Thanks again, your recollections from experience have been a comfort!

  • John

    With a swim time of 8 iminutes you will be in the upper half of the field. With average trainning bike speds of 18-19mph you will be ok on the bike, and your run will just have to cope.

    I didn't move into Tri for 6 years because i thought i would not do well enough: Do it now.

    Next year you will be much better. I have suffered with running problems over the last few years but this year my prioity has been on Tri and therefore less running but loads of swimming and cycling, my run times have hardly suffered, and i have not picked up new injuries.

    You won't come in the top fiive percent like you are used to with runnig but don't let that put you off, now you have more people to work hard to beat!

  • DOtriHarder - thank you for your assessment, advice and opinion... I guess I spent the last 10 years or more much like you - wanting to try tri but always finding excuses not to do it for fear of being "not good enough" in the two disciplines I didn't compete in.

    I've 3 physios and (I think) 5 different orthopaedic consultants over the last 18 months and all but one physio and two consultants have said "stop running". One of the arguments I used with a particualrly over-zealous physio for not stopping running was when countering his argument that I had to think of my quality of life - i told him that ONLY running GAVE me the quality of life. I told him that swimming, cycling etc - none of them kept me as fit or kept the wieght off like running did. Well, since taking up the bike seriosuly since the op in May, I have to say that I was wrong... in just 2 months I've already shed 7.7kg and that's on the back of perhaps just 6 miles per week of running and 70-100 miles of cycling. So I think Triathlon might just be the way to go!

    It's a new challenge - adding the extra disciplines - but the fact that there are 2 disciplines that are less taxing on my knee but still phyiscally/aerobically demanding - I might just take to it!

    As I said, hopefully this event will give me a benchmark with which to gauge my improvement. One thing that does have me puzzled though - unlike running events which are accurately measured - why is this seemingly not the case with triathlons??? Ok, I knwo that even with road races (running) the lay of the land/topography mthrows up an anomaly when comparing times between events, but all the same, it does seem quite misleading.
  • Well - just thought I'd update folk... well on my way now for my first triathlon.... When I started "serious training" for this about 4 weeks ago I hadn't been swimming for 5 years... last time I sawm was my last overseas holiday which coincided with "9/11". Anyway, forst foray into the pool saw me compelte 400m in 8min41s. I knew I could improve on that, thought the next session would take 30 seconds off it - getting back in the rhythm of breathing etc - wrong - 8min51s... but then I steadily - no, lets not be modest - rapidly improved (taking about 20 or so seconds off each visit) - and now - 6 sessions later today's time was 6 MIN 50 SECS. Well impressed - and I know I can take atleast another 15 seconds off of that time... I pretty much coasted it (honest!) I put 8 minutes down as my predicted time becuase after that first swim I thought I'd be struggling to get near 7min30s... I know think 6min30s will be closer to the actual time (congestion permitting!!!)

    The Bike has also continued to improve... The last couple of weeks have been hard with wond. It's also pretty hilly (up and downy) round here - When I first started going out on the bike in late June, 4 weeks after the op, I was alreayd quite strong and fit... averaging 15mph plus over 10miles. Today (I've done all 3 disciplines at race distance) I turned in 37min40s for 20K - more up then down (the click to 20K happened on a downhill leg towards home) - avg speed of 31.9Km/H or 19.99mph! Again - very pleased.

    And first thing this morning I did what would - pre-knee condition/op - have been my best discipline, now my poorest... pre-knee I'd have considered it unheard of to take longer than 18mins to do 5km. I have a 5km route from door to door - when I first did it 4 weeks ago it took me 24min58s - again, I've steadily brought it down and today I managed 22min38s with little or no pain and a bit left in the tank - I eased off when i relaise dI wasn't going to go sub 22min...

    So - I'm taking a couple of days off now - having a couple of days up in the Lakes doing some steady walking, me and the dog, then I'll get back for the weekend to give it 2 or 3 more sessions of each discipline next week (not necessarily race distance) and that'll be that!

    Target - between 1hr 05min and 1hr 10min!!!
  • John

    In answer to your last comment, time trials and running races are acurately measured courses, over defined distances 5km, 10km 13.1m 26.2m, which stop where the measuring stick says stop. Triathlon courses are required to start and finish at transitions, dead turns are not the best/safest option for making the course the correct length, and so it's difficult to make the bike route exactly 20km or 40km. I agree that it means every triathlon is different, but then every run course is different in terms of terrain and quality of field which means that they are not directly comparable. It is disconcerting, however, when an event organiser publisises 6km and then the run seems only to be 4.5km there is not really an excuse for lax measurement like that. Then again everyone has to swim/bike/run the same race on the day so we compare ourselves with the other competitors. One way i have found to rank my performance is to divide my time but that of the winner which gives me a multiplier, i can use this to compare my result across all my races whether Tri, bike or run.

    I have found that moving into Tri has meant i train more and am therefore fitter, but run less and am therefore injured less. My run speed is good but i don't have the speed over shorter distances that i had when running only. ( lack of dedicated speed/interval training).

  • Error whilst Doing a Replacement, Error in srv_convert.
  • Well done John, that is a very decent time. Really pleased you enjoyed it, in spite of the rain. Roll on next year!!
  • Well Done John,

    An excellent result for your first event, knew you'd be hooked.

    Your knee problem might have a different explanation but make sure that you concentrate on stretching your Hamstrings, Quads, and Illiotibial band. I have had loads of problems with knee and outer thigh muscular pain but by doing the excercises and more importantly making sure i do them correctly i have reached a place where i can clear the problem as it starts to rear it's head.

    Do Quad stretches lying on your front with the hips in contact with the ground.

    Do hamstring stretches lying on your back with both thighs vertical and then lift one ankle towards the vertical, hold and stretch.

    ITB stretches are on your side with a rolling pin under your lower thigh, support yourself by placing the upper leg in front of your body. Lift the lower ankle off the ground and roll slowly across the rolling pin towards your head. Hesitate at whatever point you feel excruciating pain until the pain subsides.[&:]

    Now it's just lots of base training for the winter aiming towards next spring.

    Oh and you can get cheap wetsuits at www.triuk.co.uk as secondhand, returned ex-hire ones. I bought on in August and it was great for my first open water event.

  • JasonBJasonB Posts: 303
    Got to say John, that was a really interesting diary for peeps to read, especially new comers.

    The one thing I noted that was when people compare run and bike times to there own, they are not entirely accurate. In tri as you mhave found out, bike times are started from the moment you leave the pool, and run times are started from the moment you dismount your bike. So not entirely accurate for normal run and bike times.

    Bloody good times you got.

  • Thanks for all the comments and kind words! Thanks especially for the heads up on TriUK - I've ordered a ex-hire suit for under £50!!!! Obviously, I'm dubious it'll "fit the bill" for that money, but even if it only serves as a training suit to get used to in, it's still gotta be a bargain... it's less than what my Orca trisuit cost!

    Jason - times & transitions... At Southwell, it worked slightly different to the way you explained - swim time included the swim through to mounting the bike... the cycle time didn't stop until you exited for the run... so the only "genuine" time was for the run... the way you have described it, the "genuine" time (the pure time) is for the swim.

    Thanks again for the responses. I'll perhaps start a new "diary thread" for my introduction to open water tri's!
Sign In or Register to comment.