Swim, bike, run

After my poor swim at Windsor, I vowed to do more swim training. Really, anything would be better than the next-to-nothing I’ve done in recent months years.

So on Saturday my bike and I got dropped off at the open-water swim venue at the Copthorne Hotel in Reading, where I met my friend Alice and her fiance Paul for a swim.

Here’s Alice. Isn’t she dinky?

Alice and I met by happy chance in 2004, when she became my neighbour. Neither of us lived in that little cul-de-sac for long but it was long enough to realise that we have tons in common and we have remained firm friends ever since. We’re both ex-swimmers who have turned to triathlon. We both used to be nervous on our bikes but have got over it now. We’re pretty much evenly matched in all three disciplines, making us ideal training partners (when we can co-ordinate our diaries!)

Alice is tapering for her first Ironman distance triathlon at the moment (an Ironman race is a long-distance triathlon organised by the WTC’s Ironman brand: like any full/long-distance triathlon it’s a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run). Alice and Paul are racing Ironman Austria this coming weekend. Good luck, guys!

The Tri20 swim centre at Copthore is really beautiful with great facilities – loads of parking (at the hotel), toilets, showers, changing, a bike rack, hot drinks and a nice big 750m loop marked out in the lovely peaceful lake. There’s even a shop on site selling tri gear and kit. Entry is a standard £5 (discount for a book of 10 tickets) and I’d say that the photos on the website don’t do it justice.

On Saturday the lake was toasty-warm and I badly wanted to ditch the neoprene and go for a lovely non-wetsuit swim, but that would somewhat defeat the object.

Alice joined me for two loops of the lake (although she was in front of me the whole time – what has happened to my swim speed? It wasn’t all that in the first place! How depressing..) and then I got out and hopped on my bike for the 16-mile ride home.

Back at home, I quickly changed shoes and nipped out for a speedy two-mile run – not far, but far enough to count as a brick session and certainly some decent training for my next triathlon (which is a sprint-distance, with a 3.1 mile run).

Swim, bike, run – that’s triathlon training.

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