Triathlon Training Day – Lake Disaster!!

A few months before I was due to take part in the Fritton Lake Triathlon, I found out about a “Triathlon Training Day” the same company were hosting.

With a month until the big day I signed up and went along.

Although the day itself ended badly. I can honestly say without going to this training day, I would not have completed my first triathlon.

I received an email to say what to bring along to the day;

  • Wetsuit & googles (this was an open water swim training day, however they do pool based ones also)
  • Swimming costume/Tri-suit or whatever you plan to wear on the bike/run sections
  • Towel
  • Bike and helmet
  • Running shoes
  • Warm Clothes – This is a must!!

In the morning we were taken down to the lake, and the instructor talked us through the best way to put a wetsuit on. He must have laughed at us all hoping around, but eventually we were all suited up.

Having never wore a wetsuit before I was surprised at how tight it feels to start with. You do get used to it and like anything new over time it gets more comfortable.

Another shock I had was how cold the lake is, I stupidly thought wetsuits kept you dry. However after walking into the lake I soon felt the cold water going into the back of the wetsuit via the zip.

To start with the cold water really takes your breath away, however it isn’t that cold once you start swimming.

There was a nice 50 m section set up for us to swim around to get used to the lake. Everyone started to swim front crawl and fast! Panic really set in….I could only swim breast stroke and it felt like I wasn’t making a progress!!! I really got stressed and my breathing was very laboured.

In the end I couldn’t join the others and swim around the lake, I was too distressed. I just watched.

Eventually and finally we all got out. Learned the best way to remove our wetsuits and got dry.

After lunch we moved onto learning how best to do the first transition (Swim to Bike or T1).

We were shown how to set up our bike and helmet, how to remove our bikes from the rack and run with them. We were also shown how best to mount and dismount.

After this we covered the second transition (bike to run or T2). We did what is called BRICK training. We cycled a 3k loop and then went onto a 1k run, the plan was to do this 3 times.

I couldn’t even run 100m, my breathing was still bad from the lake. It was so embarrassing…after not being able to swim, I now wasn’t even able to run. Trying not to burst into tears in front of everyone, I walked and cycled some of the 3 sets.

I must confess I got home that night and decided I wouldn’t be able to do the Fritton Triathlon and was ready to give it all up.

However some amazing friends really helped me, I really can’t thank them enough for listening to me worry, moan, mope and be a baby. They made me realise it was just a bad day and talked me into going back to the lake and try again.

I am so glad they did as lake swimming is a joy. You just need to relax and know that it seems like you are not moving but that is because you are not hitting a wall every 25m like in the pool.

I would say if you are new to Triathlons or are wanting to try one, go along to a training day. I learned so many handy tips that I still use and pass on to others to this day.

**Will cover more about transition hints and tips in another post**

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