DTM are proud to sponsor Iain Murray as he prepares to compete for the GB Age Group Team at the European Champisonships in Pontevedra. Here is his latest update on how training is going….
5th June 2011
After my success in the Harlech Triathlon, I was able to afford myself a beer or two and a day’s rest. It was then back into training and preparing myself for the Shropshire Triathlon.
This would be my next event and was only 3 weeks away. The event is over the Olympic (or Standard) distance and consists of a 1500m swim, 40Km bike and a 10km run. This is the same distance that I will be covering in the European Championships in Pontevedra, Spain. The Shropshire Triathlon would be good preparation and enable me to assess how my training has been going and to see if there are any areas that need to be improved prior to race day.
The first two weeks of training after Harlech required an increase in intensity and effort. These weeks would consist of 3 swim, bike and run sessions along with a core / strength session. Sometimes a bike and run session would be combined so as to help me get used to running hard after a tough bike set and also mimicking the situation I would find myself in on race day.
The knee injury, which had caused me concern prior to Harlech, appeared to be fine and everything seemed to be coming together. The week before the Shropshire Triathlon saw the training ease off slightly and my thoughts began to turn to race day. I raced this event last year, so I knew the course and what to expect.
Race day fast approached and before I knew it I, and all the other triathletes, were gathering in transition to rack our bikes and carryout our final checks, along with a certain amount of faffing, pacing up and down and general timewasting and fidgeting!! Before long we were called forward in our respective groups for the start of the swim. As we waited for the siren to sound tension began to rise, the siren sounded and the 70 plus people in my wave set off. This can be the best or worst part of the race depending on your swimming ability. If you are a strong, fast swimmer you have the ability to get away from the mass of bodies and so avoid the “washing machine” effect of arms and legs thrashing around as people fight for space, hoping to a avoid a stray arm or leg and the possibility of one or other making contact with you and at best only dislodging your goggles. Fortunately I managed to avoid all this fun and moved towards the front of the pack and got into a good rhythm and pace. The rest of the swim passed without incident and I soon found myself at the end of the 1500m and exiting the water.
A quick change in transition, and grabbing my bike, I exited for the 40km bike leg. The bike leg is mainly flat with a few climbs, one of which is at the beginning of the ride. This means the leg muscles are soon warmed up and ready to take on the rest of the challenge ahead. It is important on the bike that you maintain a steady but fast pace allowing enough energy to see you all the way around the bike course and then to complete the 10km run. I felt that I had settled into a good pace and managed to keep this up, although thankfully the last couple of kilometres into Ellesmere were downhill and so allowed a little respite. Soon enough I was back in transition racking my bike, putting on my running shoes and setting out on the final section.
Because all triathletes start the race in their age group category; and I went off in the second wave, I was unsure how I was doing. However I knew I had overtaken more people than had overtaken me and so set out on the run hoping to keep this up. The run course is quite tough as it involves a few steep climbs and winding country lanes which don’t allow you to see too far ahead and thus you wonder where the turnaround points are which can seem like forever. So with fleet of foot, I bounded out of transition for the final time!! My main objective was to keep a steady rhythm and pace, but this can be easily forgotten in the heat of the race when other competitors are passing you. However sense prevailed and I kept to a pace I was happy with and hoped to have enough energy to increase my pace over the final 2km. After many twists, turns and climbs I was heading towards the finishing line. Hearing the commentator and the crowds cheering at the finishing line, I pushed on to the end and crossed the line absolutely shattered. I had given the race everything, I was pleased with the effort and determination I had put in and this was proven by my time of 2hours 3 minutes 15seconds, giving me an overall position of 9th and 4th in my age group.
The time was 7 minutes faster than I achieved in last year’s race and just under 5 minutes quicker than my personal best; so not a bad day!
With the European Championships a little over two weeks away, I am happy to say that my fitness levels are good and hopefully I will stay injury free. I will be trying to improve my transition technique as seconds can be saved in this area and fine tune any other areas.
Next report will be after the main event, so here’s to a good race!!