My First Year of Trying to Qualify for the British Age Group

This was my journey to qualify for the British Age Group

October 2017 Losing motivation in my training so think maybe I need a remote coach. Realise that I will be 50 next year and on age group so decide to aim at qualifying for the Worlds or Europeans at Standard Distance. Discover, I am a year late (!!) as will be qualifying for the following year but decide to go for it anyway.

November 2017 Identify and meet two potential coaches. Decide that Nick lives closer so I could meet him if I need to and he sounds a bit more technical so I pick him. Start getting to grips with how the app Training Peaks works, how Watt Bikes work and a new watch as I smashed mine.

Winter 2018 Spent doing long slow sets. Each week is a puzzle how to fit it all in - 9 sessions a week - 3 of each sport. Often think I am too knackered to do the set but it is so slow I get through it. Buy some tri bars, and also some race wheels on Ebay (very stressful!)

Spring 2018 Visit Nick and look at my running style. I’m heel striking not landing on my midfoot. We put a programme to change it in place. I try to change too fast and injure my Achilles. Programme with a physio. No running for two months, 45 calf raises every morning and night. Also crab walks for my glutes. Holiday to the US where it is almost impossible to do any training at all but do discover a great Pilates class at work. Also am very brave and do some arctic early season open water swims which no club members come along to!

May 2018 – Worlds Qualifier, Grafham Water Raining at registration on the Saturday and cold. Sunday manages to stay dry but Grafham Water looks huge and is only 12.5 C and I don’t know if I’ll finish the run as have only been running again for a week and only 3k. Very nervous but take the plunge and make it through all the run. Great to finish but don’t make it within the 115% cut off so no score.

Training gradually becomes more focused on speed.

June 2018 – Worlds Qualifier, Deva (Chester) Lovely sunny day, great atmosphere at registration and on the run. Much nicer race and the competition don’t seem so hot so I manage to get 113% and have a score which may still get me to Lausanne but not yet confirmed.

July 2018 – Worlds Qualifier, Leeds Castle Another lovely day and fun to have Vicky Foad there. Crowded rough swim in a small moat. Struggle to stay motivated on the bike. Competition is unbelievable. Don’t improve on my Deva results.

Purchase tri shoes for the bike and master flying mounts - well kind of.

August 2018 – Europeans Qualifier, Arundel Another lovely day (in contract to race recce with lashing rain the week before). Get up at 3.15 to drive down there. Very early start and foggy swim, hilly bike ride and run. Think I have missed qualification by one place but it turns out someone else did not enter correctly so I have a coveted Q4 – I’m going to the Europeans!

Sept 2018 – Europeans Qualifier, St Neots Decide that I have entered so I’ll do it and this is what Nick has been aiming at all year. The weeks sharpening for this event are hell! Hit all the times I was looking for (some of the distances were short though). If I needed to I would have got a Q4 again and also work out that I have improved between 5 and 8 minutes on the field over the year.

So.. .nearly a year of early starts, continuous packing of kit, washing, mastering new equipment and electronics, also financial outlay - haven't added it up! What are the results? Qualification for the Europeans in Weert, probable qualification for the Worlds in Lausanne, 8 minutes off my time, more muscles and slightly less fat, 5 standard distance tris completed with no major hiccups. Has it been fun? I'm not sure. Am I hooked on structure training? Probably.


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