Triathlon Training – Part 2

With less than a week until my first triathlon, I have been reflecting on my training – which to be honest, I have not taken as seriously as I have my marathon training in the past. That is to say, I have taken a much more relaxed and spontaneous approach than when training for a marathon – not following a strict schedule or plan as I usually would.

I think this is in part due to being sensible, knowing that I want to avoid injury or burnout at all costs – my priority is health, not fitness/performance – but I also have a lot of people around me who “care”. By care, I mean they like to remind me that at almost 39 years old – no spring chicken – what I’m doing could be considered extreme and potentially harmful. I do take on board what they are saying, but with a pinch of salt, as their advice usually comes between puffs of tobacco or bites of cake.

My diet has also not been great. Basically, I started carb-loading the week before the London Marathon, and continued to eat anything and everything I wanted for several weeks after the event. I generally keep meat, caffeine and alcohol to a minimum – although not while camping!

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Training break 😎

A post shared by Dean "Deano" Saunders (@norocketscientist1980) on

Pasta, rice, potatoes, bread and sweets (mostly ice-cream, popcorn, biscuits and chocolate) are the reason I will not be at my ideal racing weight for my debut. As I’ve said, health is my number one priority and I’m nowhere near worrying about my weight generally…but I’m just acknowledging those extra unnecessary kilos add extra minutes.

Anyway, knowing that I could run 5 or 10 km easily enough, even after a 40 km bike ride, I chose to focus on the other two disciplines: swimming and cycling.

All of my training has been done, wherever possible, at my MAF (maximum aerobic function) heart rate – no speed work at all. I will write a post on this at a later date, but the basics are:

  1. Take 180 and subtract your age e.g. 180 – 38 = 142 bpm (beats per minute)
  2. Add 5 if you’re fit and making improvements, so for me 147 bpm

I wear a heart rate monitor (wrist or chest strap preferably) and whenever I’m doing cardio activities I aim to hover at this heart rate, slowing down if I go above 147 bpm.

Open Water Swimming

My experience here, apart from the odd dip on holiday, is severely limited. You can read about my first Open Water Swimming session here. As disappointing as my performance in that first session was, I booked a second session for 6pm on Wednesday 5th June – forgetting that I had band practice that evening at 7pm! I apologised to the band and told them I will do my best to get there as close to 7pm as I can. I need another open water swim before the race or there’s a danger I will panic and ruin my debut!

The next week and a half is super busy, with my first two triathlons (9th and 16th June) and my last gig with the band (15th June).


Below are my dates, distances and times:

06/05/19 – My first time in the pool for any serious swimming, since 2013 when I trained for and completed a 5 km swim for the Marie Curie charity (this would not have been a pretty site – I used whatever stroke I could just to get through it, and wouldn’t have completed it had I not dabbled in the total immersion swimming technique after seeing Tim Ferriss do a Ted Talk on it).

12/05/19 – 1500m – 45 mins – 3 x 500m, with a breather after each 500m.

18/05/19 – 1500m – 35 mins – 2 x 750m with a short breather half way.

28/05/19 – 1500m – 34 mins – no stopping.

01/06/19 – 1500m – 37 mins – This was my first swim in the 50 m pool, and my watch didn’t seem to be working correctly at first. It settled down though, eventually, and I got into a decent rhythm. My main reason for stopping so often was my goggles kept steaming up – this is something I need to google a solution for!

From what I’ve read, 40 mins is a standard time for the Olympic swim – so in the pool this is no problem, but in open water it might be a different story.


I got rid of my mountain bike and bought a second hand road bike for £90. I don’t like the thin wheels, the gears took some getting used to and every time I go out I’m sure that I’ll get a puncture. It hasn’t happened yet though – touch wood.

I was actually quite nervous about being on the road on a bike. There are just far too many bad drivers out there, and the pot holes in the roads don’t make life easy. But it has been quite warm, bright and dry and it is actually quite an enjoyable activity – minus the achy undercarriage after 30 minutes. My shoulders and back also get a bit tense, so this is probably due to a combination of the bike not being set up properly for me, and poor posture.

From what I’ve read, for the Olympic distance I should be able to cover the 40 km in 1 hr 20 mins, but my best times in training have been around the 1 hr 30 mins mark.

Below are my dates, distances and times:

06/05/19 – 33 miles – 2 hrs 39 mins

11/05/19 – 21.76 miles – 1 hr 32 mins (cycled in to work, but had left the car there the previous day, so drove home)

13/05/19 – 13.4 miles – 40 mins

18/05/19 – 16.5 miles – 1 hr 04 mins

19/05/19 – 12.5 miles – 52 mins

22/05/19 – 44 miles (22 miles to and from work, taking 1 hr 30 mins and 1 hr 33 mins. So doing my bit for the planet as well!)

26/05/19 – 30 miles – 1 hr 55 mins

02/06/19 – 24 miles – 1 hr 29 mins – my first ride with Decathlon’s cheapest cycling shoes and clips! The outside of my right knee is aching a bit more than usual so I may need to adjust these.


I can’t believe how much I sweat on a stationary bike! I just try and stay to 90 rpm at level 15, and these are the distances it says I’ve covered. I got a turbo over the winter, but couldn’t get it to pick up my sensors (zero data = zero motivation) so what you see is the only cycling I have done.

Below are my dates, distances and times:

02/05/19 – 9.73 miles – 30 mins

08/05/19 – 9.73 miles – 30 mins

16/05/19 – 5 miles – 15 mins

21/05/19 – 13.58 miles – 40 mins


I have spent so little time running since London, as I’m continuing to have some issues with a tendon in my right leg. Focusing on swimming and cycling has enabled me to rest my leg a bit, but really I need a good lay off for a while. Just stretching and very low mileage.

The Olympic distance 10 km run is supposed to take an average first timer about 60 minutes, which is well within my reach normally. It may be that the 10 minutes I lose on the bike I make up for on the run, meaning that a sub 3 hour finish is still feasible.

Below are my dates, distances and times:

16/05/19 – 4.0 miles – 31:47 mins *brick session

19/05/19 – 3.1 miles – 25:20 mins

22/05/19 – 1.2 miles – 13:29 mins

29/05/19 – 6.2 miles – 58:13 mins

02/06/19 – 3.6 miles – 37:48 mins *brick session


All treadmill running is done with a 1% incline.

Below are my dates, distances and times:

08/05/19 – 3.62 miles – 30:02 mins *brick session

13/05/19 – 3.85 miles – 30:01 mins

21/05/19 – 3.03 miles – 25:49 mins *brick session


I don’t do these regularly yet…but these are the exercises I want to start including 2 or 3 times a week (and the reps I want to hit). This has come straight from the Primal Blueprint book. Will keep you posted on my progress with these.

Push ups (50)

Pull ups (12)

Squats (50)

Planks (2 minutes)


So as you can see, I haven’t completely slacked off. I’ve done a far share of miles in each discipline, at no great speed, but just to ensure that I can complete my first two triathlons.

I am really excited about Sunday, and not just about the brand new experience of triathlon. Included in the price of entry to the race, are 4 free tickets for the theme park! My kids don’t know yet, so it will be a great surprise for them. Let’s hope I’m in a reasonable state to enjoy the day after the race!

Camping in Maldon with my family over the bank holiday weekend.

One thought on “Triathlon Training – Part 2

  1. My head’s still spinning from all the figures so am having puffs of tobacco to clear my head and fill my lungs.Anyway-don’t overdo it-said with care and love.x

    Sent from my iPad



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