Monday 19 November 2012

Training for the Midlands Ultra Triathlon: Where to begin?

With the Lourensford half marathon and the Jailbreak triathlon still ahead of me, I may be jumping the gun (quite literally) by announcing that I am planning to do the Midlands Ultra Triathlon in March next year. However, to stand any chance of completing this event, I have no choice but to start training now already. I have thought long and hard about taking on this challenge. Preparing for 1.9km swimming, 88km cycling and 21km running is going to require a lot of time, dedication and perseverance. Completing the event is going to be the single biggest physical achievement I could ever dream of. It's quite simple: I found the challenge worth the sacrifice, and decided the go for it.

For unexperienced triathletes - like me - who are considering to prepare for a half Ironman (the distances mentioned above), a good reality check is to consult an online training schedule to see how many hours of swimming, cycling and running per week will be required in the 4 to 5 months prior to race day. There are many such schedules available for free, but I found the one provided by Trifuel particularly useful because it is extremely simple to follow and nicely colour-coded.

As I said in my previous post, getting enough sleep is probably the single most important "training rule" throughout the entire preparation period, and with that, I am going to sleep now : )

Till next post, I wish you all great motivation to set new goals, find the mental energy to practice improved time management and shop for healthy, wholesome food.

Friday 16 November 2012

Lourensford half marathon coming up in two weeks

In two weeks from now, I'm scheduled to do my very first half marathon: the Vital Run half marathon in and around the beautiful Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West. So far the training has been good and I am nicely "on schedule".

The past two weeks have been good and bad. Good because I spent a great week diving, kite surfing, swimming and running in Egypt with my brother. Bad because the week thereafter, I ate way too many biscuits and desserts during a 4-day workshop in London. Why was I able to stay away from all the amazing cakes at the dessert buffet in Egypt and did I stuff myself with rather tasteless biscuits in London? The answer, in my case, is stress and sleep. In Egypt, all we had to worry about is to get to the kite shop around 9am, and get the boat back at 3pm. In London, I had back-to-back meetings, dozens of e-mails to read and write, and a ton of small and big deadlines to stay on top off.

Now that I'm back in Cape Town with 2 weeks to go for the half marathon, my goal is to refind myself a bit, set daily realistic goals for work and training, and force myself to go to bed no later than 10.30pm so that I can break the cycle of fatigue, unproductive working hours, and overcompensation with carbs and late-night work.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Slanghoek Triathlon: Fun in the sun

Today was a perfect day!
The Slanghoek triathlon was brilliantly organised, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, the MTB and running routes were tons of fun and at times a bit technically challenging, and the views of the Slanghoek Valley were simply breathtaking. To complete this awesome experience, I beat my colleagues who did the relay, and ran a new personal best over the 7km run (34 minutes).

I also joined the Atlantic Triathlon Club this week, and I am looking forward to joining them for group rides and runs, although their weekday cycling sessions will require some serious changes to my usual bedtime, these start at 5.30am...

Monday 15 October 2012

94.5 Kfm Gun Run

The Cape Town Gun Run (sponsored by the radio station 94.5 Kfm) was another good opportunity to check my progress. Earlier this year in June I ran a 10km race in 52 minutes, and yesterday I set my goal at 51 minutes.

As you can see from the pictures below, the conditions were great. Clear sky, except for some morning fog, and a pleasant 22 degrees. The run went very well and I stayed ahead of my target pace for most of the time; finishing time: 50 minutes : ) I improved my personal best by 2 minutes in 4 months, and I am extremely happy about it, and even more motivated than I already was to run a 10km in under 48 minutes next time (in a couple of months).

The important thing to remember here is to set small, realistic goals and be patient. Equally important is it to listen to your body, which means first and foremost: try and get enough sleep every single day of the week, something I still struggle with; and secondly, give yourself a rest day if your joints or tendons are begging for one.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Slanghoek triathlon: a fun challenge among friends

Soon after the Robben Island triathlon, I spent one week in Belgium for work and to see my family. It was a busy time, socially and professionally. Now, after a week of indulging in croissants, Belgian chocolates, mussels and beers, I am getting back into my regular training schedule. And I have identified a new challenge to help me stay on track: the Slanghoek triathlon.

Three of my colleagues are joining me, but they are doing the relay version, i.e. one guy will swim 600m, another will do the 15km of MTB, and the last one will run 7km. I am challenging them to beat me. Should be fun, whatever the outcome of the challenge may be. Slanghoek also seems to be an incredibly beautiful venue, which contributes to the overall goal of finding balance between work and pleasure : )

Monday 24 September 2012

Tri Robben Island: An encouraging start

On Saturday 22 September, I had my first chance to check progress in my triathlon fitness levels.
The Tri-RobbenIsland was a small-scale, fun event. About 70 people took part in this first-ever triathlon on the World Heritage Site that Robben Island is. Apart from a very poorly marked and signed MTB route, that got the majority of cyclists confused and lost, everything went well and we all left the Island with a big smile on our face.

I forgot to check the time at the start of the swim, so I don't know how long I took to complete the 800m. I took it fairly easy, so my guess is around 18 minutes or so. Due to the mistakes we made on the MTB route, I only cycled for about 40 minutes, which means I probably did about 18km or even less. What I was most happy about, was the run. I did the 9km (not 8km as advertised) in just under 46 minutes, without any knee pain.

Two days or rest and a Thai massage later, I feel I'm ready to start training again for the next event: The Cape Town Gun Run on 14 October. I'll do the 10km, and hope to finish in 50 minutes if the course is nice and flat.

Scenic views and great weather during the First-ever Tri-RobbenIsland triathlon.

Sunday 19 August 2012

The start of something new and exciting

Yesterday the journey to balance began.
Like many of us, I struggle with finding a good balance between work and play. Between working hard and sleeping enough. Between eating healthy and enjoying good food.

My new weapon of choice to fight for a more balanced life is called triathlon.
This blog is meant to keep me on track, share impressions from my journey and inspire others to choose their own weapons.

My first test battle: the Robben Island triathlon on 9 September 2012.