Getting Started: Training for the London Triathlon

Triathlon training

I always find the start of triathlon training to be a bit overwhelming. With a focus on three sports, I often don’t know where to start. And rather than start, I just sort of procrastinate and do nothing. I get paralysed by anxiety and carry on doing my normal routine.

This year, I’ve signed up to do the Olympic distance London Triathlon. I did this race last year and finished in 3:07:17. My goal this year is to do it in less than 3 hours.

I’m clearly not worried about the running part of the triathlon. That’s my favourite part! I’m so happy triathlons end with running! While the bike is my weakest area, I know I can manage the distance. It’s the swim that I always find the most daunting.

To motivate myself, I decided to buy some new swimsuits from Wiggle. They arrived and they were lovely… except they were SO small. Like seriously child-sized. So I had to send them back. Disappointed, I avoided the pool for a few more weeks.

Triathlon Training

Contemplating a lake swim during last year’s trip to Canada

Today, I finally got back in the pool after a good four-month absence. I hate the process of swimming. I don’t like being wet and I find the pool area of the gym to be gross. Drying my hair is a pain. Frequent dips in chlorinated water turns blonde hair green, and I’m worried about getting warts (I forgot my flip flops today which was an utter tragedy!)

Anyway, I did it and it was fine. I swam 1.25km (50 lengths) and it was perfectly fine. No cause for alarm. Except for the annoying girl doing backstroke who kept hitting me in the face when she passed in the other lane. Grr.

The one saving grace of tonight’s swim was that I finally got a chance to try the Swim setting on my new Fitbit Versa. It was alarmingly accurate on the length count. It counted exactly 50, claiming I covered the distance in 30 minutes and 51 seconds. That’s not tremendously fast, but considering I haven’t stepped foot in a pool in months, I was pleasantly surprised.

Fitbit Versa Swim Setting

Tonight, I also did a weird little backwards mini triathlon. I cycled home from work (2.8km), I ran to the gym (1.1km), swam 50 lengths (1.25km), ran home (1.1km). Then I ate everything.

So it officially begins. I need to start putting a little more thought and effort into my weekly training plan so I’m ready for the big day. I’m really not looking forward to wrestling with my wet suit for open water swimming practice but for some reason, I actually find swimming in The Thames at Royal Victoria Docks less gross than the pool.

I am very much a triathlon newbie so I can’t really provide any real advice on the sport. Hopefully you’ll just enjoy hearing about my process as I attempt this race for the second time. If you’re looking for help, Wiggle has a good beginner guide here.

Anyone else have a triathlon planned this summer?

Any tips for falling in love with swimming?


  1. Tina June 23, 2018 / 4:28 am

    How to love swimming: come visit Canada a lot and swim in lakes 😉 I totally share your feelings about public pools. There is ALWAYS a band aid 🙁 But I do love how swimming is a total body workout! Hello, killer triceps.

    • thoughtsandpavement June 25, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      Hah. Yeah… Canadian lake swimming is on a whole different level. I’m about to kick off my open water swim training in the Thames! Wish me luck!!

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