London Duathlon super sprint training plan

I love training schedules. I love seeing what I need to do each day and then feeling smug as I tick it off and even smugger when I tick off lots of days in a row. Then I feel like a slacker when, after a few weeks, I look at my schedule and there are lots of ticks missing.

Today I realised the London Duathlon isn’t, in fact, months away, but only six weeks away. SIX WEEKS? AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH.

Yeah. Six weeks. Oh dear.

So, I got me a schedule. Here it is.


It’s an eight week schedule so I’ve crossed off the first two weeks and have told myself that I’ll diligently follow it for the next six weeks. That Monday tick was from today (Tuesday) and I’ll do Tuesday’s bike and strength training tomorrow (Wednesday), then the rest of the week will be as set, except all the Sunday things will be on Fridays as Sundays are traditionally reserved for hangovers. And in a couple of weeks when there are Friday things and Sundays can’t become Fridays, Friday will become Thursday and Saturday will become Friday and Sunday will become Saturday.

Or something like that.

Wish me luck!

I seem to have accidentally entered the London Duathlon 2013


I’ve entered the London Duathlon. I don’t know how that happened. Actually, I do know how it happened, it happened because Limelight Sports emailed me and said ‘would you like to take part in the London Duathlon?’ and I replied, ‘I’ve never done a duathlon before so, yes, I’d love to’. With hindsight, never having done a duathlon before isn’t the best reason in the world. I’ve  never plunged my head into a bubbling cauldron of crocodile sick and that’s not something I’m planning to do in the near or distant future either. Still, I got all motivated and inspired by the idea and, anyway, the super sprint is only 5k run / 11k bike / 5k run (other distances are available), and even I can do that.

But then, I realised, I haven’t got a suitable vehicle for such an undertaking. Although, at least I have got a bike (three of them in fact or, if you count all the bikes in the household, seven, or even eight if you also include the one with the engine although I’m not sure that’d be allowed on the course), unlike Rachel and Helen who are also going to be taking part.

I could borrow Shaun’s racer (or road bike or whatever they’re called these days) but, despite us being the same height and me having longer legs, it’s too high for me. Shaun likes to perch atop of it as if on a skinny shire horse, whereas I prefer to be nearer the ground, Shetland Pony style. When I tell him this, he starts banging on about efficiency in the legs or something, which is where I switch off and go back to playing Candy Crush (level 143 at the mo, in case you’re interested).

So, I need a bike. I had my eye on this one at Wiggle but Shaun compared the measurements and it’s near enough the same as his so I wouldn’t be comfortable on it. This one at Halfords (yeah, High Street, I know, but Shaun says although it’s Halfords, people won’t laugh because it’s a good bike) was £400ish cheaper the other day but now it’s gone up and I don’t know if it’s going to go down in price again soon.  I will keep looking.

And when I get my bike, I’m going to need to do some training on it, i.e. practise going faster than 10mph and not braking so hard I’m only doing 5mph on the downhill bits.

If you’re a duathlon noob like me, here are some tips from RG Active:

1. Do your homework – ensure you spend some time researching the event. Look at the transport and parking for race day, building in plenty of time to get the race and not be rushing at the last minute. Try to speak to athletes that have completed the race previously and get their feedback.


2. Get the basics – the basic equipment is essential. You will need a bike, a bike helmet, a pair of running shoes and some sports clothing to take part in. Spend some time making sure that your equipment is in good working order and get your bike serviced to prevent any unwanted mechanical issues. If your running shoes are more than one year old and you have used them regularly – it is time for a new pair. Good working equipment can often prevent injuries.


3. Build using BRICK’s – What is a BRICK session? Basically a training session where you complete both running and cycling elements at least once back-to-back to give you that real race simulation session. A BRICK session can take any form, it could be a very long bike followed by a short run, or short bike followed by a long run, it could be a run/bike/run session, or even a multiple BRICK where you swap sports up to five or six times. There is no right and wrong.


4. Train Transitions – the transition phase between cycling and running is the area that causes most anxiety for beginners. To help with this, spend time thinking through what ‘your’ method will be for transition – think about bike set up, the need to change footwear (if you wish) and how to lay this out for a smooth change over. Practice this time and time again.


5. Get outdoors – Your race is outside, on roads and will most likely include hills, therefore it is important to train in this environment on a regular basis. Cycling outdoors is very different to training on an indoor bike; the hills, the road surface, the wind and the heat can all play a big part in how you ride your bike, it also means you are training on the same equipment that you will be racing on. Indoor training is helpful, and on certain training sessions where you really want to control the environment it is more advantageous, but nothing beats being outdoors.


6. Be an early bird – on the race day it is important to get to the event early, this gives you an opportunity to register, set up your transition area and watch how the race operates without the stress of feeling rushed.

I need a tip on how to find my bike in the transition area. I’m sure I’m going to forget where it is. Any duathletes out there got some tips for me?

The long way round to buy broccoli



Although ‘cycling to the farm shop’ sounds beautifully bucolic, what it actually means is ‘cycling a mile down a busy road being overtaken by cars, vans, lorries and buses who don’t leave much more than an inch gap’. Still, I’d rather give my money to Andy in the farm shop than the owners of Tesco, so I took the long way round this morning to buy some broccoli via the post office.

Cycling: 4.31 miles
Post Offices visited: 1
Farm shops visited: 1
Broccolis bought: 1
Onions bought: 1
Bunches of asparagus bought: 1

Juneathon Day 13

gooseI’m currently writing an article about leaving your desk and getting outside so, as I’m not one to be a hypocrite (ha!), I thought I’d better leave my desk and get outside myself and not just the outside bit that covers the quarter of a mile between my house and the gym.

Sometimes, my Garmin gets a signal while I’m still in the house. That day was not today though. I got goosebumps waiting for it to get a satellite, so I thought sod ya then, I’m going without you and I set off Garminless but it soon caught me up and I did about 1.5 miles in the cold and the drizzle.

I’ll be cycling later when I go to see my university’s production of Witches of Eastwick.

Running: 1.5 miles
Cycling later: 6 miles
Goosebumps: lots

The crown and windmill

No, it’s not the name of a pub.

Today, I:

got up at 6:30am and did 45 minutes of body pump;
cycled 10 miles into the wind to Wye;
stopped at the cafe to have roasted vegetable and mozzarella panini and chips, and hot chocolate;
walked up the Wye Crown; then


cycled back 10 miles, with the wind behind us and Willesborough Windmill in the distance.


Now I am tired.


Home body pump

The good thing about doing body pump at home is you can skip the bits you don’t like. In my case, that’s the lying down bits, the abs bits and the stretching bits (and, no, that’s not all of it, shut up).

The bad thing about doing body pump at home is you have the instructor on the screen doing the same cheesy facial expressions and using the same cheesy phrases each time you use it.

Still, home body pump is almost as good as doing it in a real live class and I must have put some effort in, as my arms, legs and abs are now aching.


I also accidentally went for a ten mile bike ride. After cycling the long way round to the farm shop (2.5 miles), as it was such a beautiful (albeit windy) day, I decided to carry on.

p.s. I’ve seen some slacking going on the last couple of days, so can I remind you all: SLACKING IS NOT AN OPTION.

Thank you.

Janathon Day 14: Almost cheated

I cycled to the station in the snow. I cycled back from the station in the rain. Would this count as Janathon, I wondered. A little voice in my head nagged at me, no it bloody doesn’t count, you know the rules. Janathon exercise is extra exercise, not something you’d do anyway. So, I listened to the little voice and when I got in, I did 15 minutes of weights in the conservatory with the lights off, in case next door saw me exercising in the cow socks and penguin pajama bottoms I’d got changed into.

Cycling in the snow: 3 miles
Cycling in the rain: 3 miles
Weights DVD: 15 minutes
Pairs of cow socks: 1
Pairs of penguin pajama bottoms: 1

Janathon Day 13: Donkeys and potato shaped animals

I asked Twitter if they wanted sheep, cows or donkeys. A few people asked for sheep but Ben asked for donkeys and so I thought if he can be arsed to run 255 miles (not a typo) so far for Janathon, then the least I could do is be arsed to go and take a photo of a donkey or two for him.


The donkeys were photo’d after we’d been to the farm shop where I bought a potato shaped like a rabbit (I originally thought it was shaped like a pig but have since changed my mind and decided it was a rabbit).


And a potato shaped like a hippo.


I didn’t buy them just because they were animal shaped, honest*.

I saw some sheep too. 


I didn’t see any cows though, so it’s just as well no one asked for any.

This bike ride was done in my new Adrenaline Women’s Iso-Viz Jacket. As you can see from the photo, it has nice long sleeves (so many jackets have sleeves that are too short for my gangly arms)


and it’s slightly longer at the back, making it perfect for cycling.


It also has taped seams to make it extra waterproof. The only thing I don’t like about it is that there are no side pockets. It has a back pocket and a chest pocket and that’s it.

So, we’re nearly at the halfway mark for Janathon – keep up the good work!

Cycling: 7.05 miles
Donkeys: 2
Sheep: Lots
Cows: 0
Rabbit shaped potatoes: 1
Hippo shaped potatoes: 1
Hi-viz jackets: 1

*I so did.

The Great Barrow Challenge


I’ve been trying to think of a challenge to do this year. Shaun and I have considered cycling from Cornwall to Kent (getting the train down to Cornwall, then cycling back) or climbing some more mountains with one of our Three Peaks Challenge mates but we didn’t come to any decision yet.

Then I got an email telling me about The Great Barrow Challenge. I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS.

It’s a four day challenge taking place over 19 September to 22 September and you can choose between:

Or a combination of the above (eg run one day, cycle one day)

Then you choose your distance:

Walk – 6,10,15 or the full 26.2 miles per day
Run – 6,10,15 or the full 26.2 miles per day
Cycle – 30, 60 or the full 120 miles per day

The best thing about this is you can adapt it to whatever you fancy, i.e. you can walk on two days, run the next day and cycle the next day. Or you can do a marathon a day for four days, it’s up to you. Personally, I think I’d like to run the 6 mile route one day and cycle the 30 mile route on each of the other two days and maybe walk a marathon on another day, aarrgghh, too many decisions!)

This is so cool, I really want to do this – anyone else up for it?

I’ve got a new hoody and well nice it is too

As I feel a bit of a dick sometimes, riding my bike with my parka on when it’s not quite parka weather (although, seeing as it doesn’t take much for me to get cold, that’s only about two days a year), I bought a lightweight outdoorsy type jacket from Sports Direct. I liked it in the shop but when I went to wear it a few days later, decided I hated it and it was far too anoraky for me.

So, when Go Outdoors emailed me and said would I like to choose something from their website, I thought yay, I can get a new fleece or something instead of my minging anoraky thing.

My first choice wasn’t available for home delivery but then I saw a black softshell hoody with a pink zip.


Pretty hoody.

This turned up a couple of days after ordering it and today – as it certainly wasn’t parka weather – wore my new hoody on my cycle up to the gym for my spin class.

I am well pleased with my hoody. It’s beautifully light, fits well, looks cool and is comfy. My only criticism of it is that the arms are slightly too short for me – they don’t quite reach my wrists. Apart from that though, I think I’m going to be wearing this hoody a lot when I’m out on my bike.

1 2 3 4 5