In some ways triathlon is a very simple sport - you turn up and try and swim for a bit, cycle for a bit, then run for a bit. However if you think "I could do that, where do I sign up?" you are then suddenly faced with a multitude of choices in race distance - Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman. (Olympic distance is the one they do in the Olympics and Iron Man is that film with Robert Downey Jr, boom boom.)
So I've fired a load
of words at you without saying what these distances are. That's because they
can actually vary from race to race - often it feels like they've decided to
change the distance mid race so the finishing line gets further and further
away as you head towards it.
For example, this year I took part in two Sprint races (it's a service I
provide to make the slow competitors look like they are actually sprinting)
which involved a 500m swim, a 26km cycle and a 5km run. However there is
another local Sprint distance race that is actually 400m swim, a 20km cycle and
a 4km run. Olympic distance races generally tend to be 1.5km swim, 40km cycle
and 10km run. However an Olympic distance race I took part in this year had a
1km swim, with the remainder of the race sticking to the standard distances.
And the year before that, when I took part in my very first triathlon, it was
actually an 800m swim, a 30km cycle and a 7.5km run, so not actually any of the
traditional distances. I know, pretty freaking crazy.
Anyway, the reason I've explained all that is to come back to my lack of
commitment to running. For that first triathlon I put in a bit of running
training but probably nothing more than 5km at a time. I just assumed that the adrenaline
on the day would get me through it and I rely on my cycling prowess to save me
from embarrassment. Luckily it did. So therefore I adopted the same attitude
with my two sprint triathlons this year, thinking if I had been able to muddle
through a 7.5km run at the end of a triathlon then 5km would be no problem.
I just about got away with it, although my running time, on average, was
significantly slower on both occasions than my first race. Unfortunately this wasn't the case with the Olympic distance which was just plain awful. I finished, just about, but that is where I made
the decision to work on my running for the coming season. To be continued...