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Newbie training...: Rodger Bowen
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Monday 20th May 2013


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Having introduced our 'newbie' triathlete Rodger Bowen, the first part of his preparations for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palace Triathlon and Virgin Active London Triathlon events involved attending the Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day, which proved to be a crash course in open water swimming, bike technology, running technique and much more...


Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

In spite of my wanting to stay in bed forever and ever; Saturday night ran unrelentingly into Sunday morning. It was triathlon training day in Richmond and I had to be there bright and early for 8:30. Having failed to freeze time with the power of thought alone I begrudgingly rolled myself out of bed and into my fetching skin-tight bike paraphernalia. With bleary eyes I shoved what I hoped was the right kit into my backpack and set off.

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

I arrived nice and early and was greeted at the registration tent by Will. Free gym towel in hand I moved on to the next tent and picked up a rental wetsuit for the season. It was actually pretty handy being able to compare sizes instead of guessing online. It's well worth noting IMG don't offer wetsuit hire on the triathlon race days and the open water is probably going to be freezing so it might be a good idea to get in quick before they all go. Finally, I dropped in at the Maxifuel tent and scored some more free samples. So far so good!

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

Since I'd arrived quite early I wandered around while newcomers went through registration. I chatted to a couple of people who all seemed excited and enthusiastic about the day ahead. At 9:00 our 120-strong group congregated around the IMG team and we had a quick who's who and introduction before getting split into groups.

First up for group B was a bike seminar. We all packed into the bike tent; cushioned seats for the hasty, hay bales for the latecomers (me). Dermot took us through everything we needed to know for the bike section. We covered bike categories, frame materials, clip in shoes, aero bars, helmets, puncture repair, safety, BTF bike rules, clothing, nutrition and a whole host of other things. After a Q&A we left the tent and had a bike transition demonstration followed by a practice run for everyone who'd brought their bikes on the day.

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

Next up was run training with Martin and Christine. We had a short jog to a local playing field and the group was asked to run single file in a circle. Martin made a few observations and then arranged us all into rows and had us run in drills. He took us through five simple steps designed to improve our running technique. To summarise; step one was clenching our quads while running in order to keep our backs straight, step two was to lean forward gently to gain proper running posture, step three involved us taking small and frequent strides instead of bounding leaps, step four was raising our heels correctly and step five focused on controlling our arms. By the end everyone seemed to have improved their technique so Martin clearly knew his stuff! We finished off the session with a full set of stretching exercises, some of which I hadn't come across before. All in all the run session proved to be a really good course correction for those of us who'd been doing it wrong all these years.

After lunch we gathered into a classroom for our race-day seminar. We had brief talk from the guys at Scope on the work they do with disabled people and event fundraising. Following on from that Greg took us through everything we needed to know to get us to that open water start line, from transport options to all the things we needed to bring on the day. He also mentioned that anyone doing the Olympic Plus distance can expect to be in the Royal Victoria Dock at 6:20 in the morning; this is clearly not a sport for the faint hearted! We had a quick run-down on the distances and advice for the swim/bike/run sections before Greg handed over to Maxifuel who gave us a quick talk on training nutrition.

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

Finally the swim was upon us. It had been in my mind all day and I couldn't decide whether I was excited or dreading getting into that water. It was getting on and the sun had disappeared behind the clouds so John took us into one of the boat shelters for a talk about wetsuits and sighting/breathing technique. He then demonstrated how to put on a wetsuit correctly which is trickier than it sounds. Marsha took over and lead us down to the water. With shrieks, screams and expletives from every corner we all got in and bobbed around the pontoon. We did a few drills and Marsha gave us some advice on how to keep in a straight line and maintain composure for the swim. I have to say it was pretty valuable experiencing open water before the race day; it's worlds away from the luxury of a swimming pool and anyone starting up should take any opportunity to do so.

Virgin Active London Triathlon Training Day

Alas the training day was over. It had been excellent from start to finish and we all left a little more ready for what was ahead of us at Blenheim and London. The IMG team were fantastic the whole way through and I'm looking forward to seeing them again over the coming weeks for some more events. All that was left was to say good luck and good bye to my fellow triathletes, hop back on the bike and head home.

Great day!

General entries to the Virgin Active London Triathlon are now closed...howver, thanks to Tri247, you CAN still enter! Click below for details on the exclusive Tri247 Mixed Olympic Distance Wave on Saturday 27th July.

Tri247 London Triathlon Wave


You can see all of Rodger's 'newbie' series, charting his progress from zero via Blenheim to the London Triathlon on these links:


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