Tom competed in his first triathlon sprint on 7 August at the Mazda London Triathlon. Alongside him were Matthew Wolfenden and Lyndon Ogbourne: team Emmerdale. Apparently they enjoyed it so much they’re considering the Olympic distance next year (although they haven’t actually said that yet)! Read Tom’s tips and his secret to becoming a triathlete.
Since I joined the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research TV Times running team, also known as the Banana Army, I have had such a blast - running the last two London Marathons. It hurt like hell and running does not come easy to me but I have enjoyed such a great sense of achievement that I am hungry for a new challenge.
Discipline 1 – Swimming – 750metres
It has taken a good couple of weeks to get up to the distance required for the race and I have had to glean as much advice as I can along the way. The first time I went to the pool I calculated the distance and it was going to be approx 50 lengths to reach the 750m target and I entered the water brimming with confidence.
Sporting a fierce pair of goggles and my new Speedos I went off like a rocket, powering through the water, imagining I was in an episode of Baywatch. But after the third length I collapsed on the side of the pool gasping for air. Each time I tried, the same thing kept happening. I thought, “perhaps I need some flippers and a breathing tank”.
“Relax, relax, relax!” seems to be the main pointer I’ve had to listen to. Now I’ve set up steady stroke rhythm and it’s working. All I have to do now is get used to transferring this into a weedy lake with a wetsuit on.
Discpline 2 – Cycling – 20k
I opened the door, climbed over the boxes, pushed past the barbeque and there in the back of the garage nestled amongst plant pots and paint cans was my trusty old mountain bike. I dusted her off blew up the tyres and set off to begin my cycle training. After a few miles on the old faithful I realised it perhaps wasn’t built for speed, or was that me? I’m not sure, anyway whilst freewheeling down the hill I realised I was going to need a new bike for this race.
As I walked into the shop I was spoilt for choice but as much I’d love the £3000 one in the window, a £600 introductory model would be easier to explain to the wife. I am really enjoyed getting into the biking; it’s probably my favourite discipline. Maybe it’s the lycra suit and padded shorts, in my mind I’m a cross between one of the X men and Chris Hoy!
Discipline 3 – Running – 5k
Technically this should be a doddle. What’s 5k after you have done a marathon? But seeing as this is a sprint and I have to run after having done a swim and a bike ride, I have an inkling it’s not going be easy. The other night I tried to run after I had cycled 10miles and I got about 200m before my calfs cramped up and no amount of stretching or massaging was going to persuade them to run any farther.
So now I have planned in some ‘brick sessions’ where you start to fuse the two disciplines together in training.
So we are only 4-weeks away and I feel far from ready, I am sure the nightmares of getting all muddled up during the transitions are only just round the corner. But with a couple of seasoned triathlete buddys just a phone call away and my 220 magazine subscription, I am sure I will get there. Having said all that I am loving every minute of it. Tonight I am going to don my wetsuit for the second time and hit the open water, I can’t wait. I only hope I don’t hyperventilate like last time.