Race Ready Running, Swimming and Biking

With just one week to go to what is now my first race of the season it’s time that I was getting into race-shape. I’m not quite there yet though but  the Cotswold Super Sprint Triathlon next weekend isn’t an A-priority race, just a bit of a practise race before I head off to Turkey for the European Triathlon Championships next month. However, it would still be nice to do well and if I can it would be a bit of a confidence booster as well. With that in mind I had quite a hard training day yesterday and will now start to ease back a little ready for the race.


Anna was off marshalling at the Red Kite Challenge again but I had the day to train so started with a run from Machynlleth at 7:30am. It turned out to be quite a good run, following the same route as my run last Sunday morning. Last week I did the loop twice and did it with 3x 6 minute efforts trying to aim for a pace of between 6:15 mins/mile and 6:30 mins/mile. I didn’t quite manage that thanks to a poor start that coincided with a hill climb and my avergare interval paces were:

  • Interval 1: 6:47 mins/mile
  • Interval 2: 6:09 mins/mile
  • Interval 3: 6:23 mins/mile

This week I upped the ante a little with a much longer run (70 minutes rather than 45 minutes) and 4x 6 minute intervals aiming for the same pace rather than 3. I think I did a little better this time though and my interval paces this time were:

  • Interval 1: 6:09 mins/mile
  • Interval 2: 6:10 mins/mile
  • Interval 3: 6:13 mins/mile
  • Interval 3: 6:30 mins/mile

My excuse on the last one was not only that I was now getting fairly tired but that it coincided with the climb up through Penrhosmawr Farm. Talking of which, I managed my best time up the climb here and also my best time up over the climb out of Forge. Not only were they my best times up over these climbs but I claimed the Course Records on Strava for them as well. I also ran my second best time according to Strava for 10 miles of 1:10:01 – So, a run to be pleased with.

I’m still not up to race pace though. Last year I was running 5:45 min/mile pace in races for the full 5km and I don’t think I could hit that pace for more than a few metres at the moment . I haven’t done any speedwork yet though so hopfully that will come over the next few, and who knows what will happen on race day anyway.


Next up was a 3,900m swim in the pool. After a warm up and some drills it was into 4x 750m Pull. Each one was actually 760m to tell the truth as the pool is 20m long, but as race distance is 750m these should be good for judging race pace. I started off quite slow but picked it up throughout the session, so here are my times:

  • 1st 750m: 11:41
  • 2nd 750m: 11:32
  • 3rd 750m: 11:25
  • 4th 750m: 10:59

It was nice to get the last one in at just under the 11 minute mark although I probably should have started out a little harder. Garmin Connect still shows the best swim metrics from my Foreunner 910XT so here’s the workout on Garmin Connect

It was then time for a well-earned bacon sandwich and coffee and to meet up with Andy (a windsurfer and mountain biker that I know through my Forces-of-Nature website). He had posted on there asking if anyone wanted to go for a MTB ride on Sunday and I had said I’d join him. We caught up over the coffee and sandwich and then got ready to ride.

MTB Ride

Sunday was the day of the Dyfi Enduro so Machynlleth was full of mountain bikers and we weren’t really sure where to ride. In the end we decided to set off after the riders competing in the event had left and head up to ClimachX for a loop of the trail there. We soon caught up with the tail-enders of the race though and were cheered on by supporters along the side of the road as we did so. I think they thought we were in the race and had missed the start and were now trying to catch up!

We rode along with them at a nice leisurely pace. I’m usually up closer to the front when competing in such events and it was a completely different atmosphere back here, much more sedate, more friendly and in some ways more fun. These guys were just out for a nice ride and a day in the hills, there wasn’t a competitive bone between them! We left them to it in Ceinws and headed off up the first climb of ClimachX. I hadn’t ridden with Andy before so wasn’t sure how fast he’d be. I think I started off a little too fast for him but we soon got into a nice rhythm and had a good ride around the trails.

We caught up with the racers again just before we headed off down the Builth Descent and then we caught the back end again after we’d climbed back to the top and rejoined the ClimachX Trail. I hadn’t been out on my mountain bike for ages so was a little rusty on the descents to start with but soon got back into it. The final descent felt strange though now that it has been felled. It feels quite bleak and barren and it’s hard to know where you are. It’s surprising how much you come to rely on the trees to remind you of what is coming next. I felt as though I was riding a completely new trail for the first time.

We had fun though and were soon riding back to Machynlleth after a good morning of training.

Back at home I cleaned my bike and did some housework before Anna and Morgan came back from a successful day marshalling in the hills and we had an easy dinner of pizza with Apple Raita as we couldn’t be bothered to cook. Jon turned up for a coffee and cake and we had a go on the slack-line as well. I think he was quite taken with it – although I don’t think cycling shorts and jersey are quite the accepted apparel for slack-lining!

Another busy day, just the way I like them, and now it’s time to wind things down a little so that I’m well rested ready for my race next weekend. Although, I’ve just looked through the list of entrants and there are some fast people entered, including some in my age-group that have always beaten me in the past, so it should be a good race. I just hope I’m ready for it.


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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