Open water swimming

From 0 to 70.3: The Beginning

by Alex Richardson

Alex is part of the Business Development team at Let’s Do This, responsible for all things events and race organisers. Outside work, he’s something of a newbie to endurance sports, but is learning from the (self-proclaimed) experts at Let’s Do This.

You can imagine the response I received when I announced to my girlfriend that I planned to whisk her away to the hills of Italy next year, over her birthday… to watch me race in the IronMan 70.3. Yes. Sheer, unbridled joy.

With the excitement of being made “chief spectator”, she was of course delighted to be involved (admittedly some promises have since been made about visiting cultural heritage sites).

What this means, most pertinently given this is a blog, is that I’ll be posting regularly over the next 9 months as I embark on a journey from 0 to 70.3 (miles, for those not in the know), in preparation for an event that stands in complete contrast to any natural physical abilities I have. To be clear, I’m a sprinter — and more specifically, the type of sprinter who had to cling on for the last 130m of the 200m. So the training I’ll be doing is far from my norm, and far from what I’ve done before.

As part of my preparations for this training regime, I wanted to start by speaking with someone who knows what they’re talking about. Thankfully, Let’s Do This comes equipped with an in-house ex-pro triathlete. He is, admittedly, more ex than pro*, but starting from where I am, he’s perfectly well qualified.

When I first asked Olly for advice, he suggested I give him an indication for where my split times might sit today. I won’t share those numbers, but his response said a lot: “Oh… right…”.

Apparently, when you’re starting from zero, the first step is volume. So as of today, I’m aiming to build out a base level of fitness. I’ll go into the details in my next post, but the basic gist is to use weekdays to swim and run steadily in equal measure, and then to use weekends to build miles on the bike.

Now, Olly was quick to warn me that stepping up my training too quickly could result in injury. So I’m starting light, and trying to steadily raise the distances I cover by 10% or so each week. Once I’m at a good base level (I’m guessing around Christmas time), I’ll transition into a more race-specific program, before getting active on the triathlon scene.

That’s the top line. If you’re bored already, don’t read the next post. If you’re keen to keep track of this mission, my next post will look at the specific sessions I’ll be using to up my base-line fitness, and how much they hurt.

*I will consider taking back this remark when he makes an appearance at a team spinning class

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