I haven’t posted for a long time. This is not because I have been idle and inactive. Far from it.

My focus for this year is the Challenge Weymouth long distance triathlon – Ironman distance – which is in September. The distances involved are 3.8 kilometres swimming in the sea followed without a break to180 kilometres cycling and then direct to 42.2 kilometres running. This is a big challenge for me and I’m not sure if I will manage to complete it. However I have been training with this event in mind since October 2014.

Long winter run on Thorncombe Beacon

Long winter run on the Dorset Coast Path. the picture is on Thorncombe Beacon

Audax ride on my winter bike

Audax ride on my winter bike

There have been some interim events, including the Grizzly in March and most notably the North Dorset Villages Marathon in May which served to remind me just how hard running 42.2 kilometres is. And that’s without having done the swimming and the bike ride.

North Dorset Villages Marathon

North Dorset Villages Marathon

I have gradually built up the distances in all 3 disciplines, so some weeks I manage to do in excess of 4 kilometres swimming, 180km on the bike and 42.2 kilometres running – in a week. That’s quite tiring. As well as this I am trying to be more focussed and actually do ‘training’ instead of just going out for a bike ride (swim or run) and work with the Garmin to do hill reps or sprints to increase the intensity of the session and hopefully improve fitness. It also makes it ‘hurt’ a bit and I think I need to get used to that.

As I approach 60 (shortly after the Ironman) I find that the running, particularly, is getting harder. Running is strenuous and trying to run as fast as possible requires a lot of energy. Earlier in the year I noticed that energy was becoming elusive. Following the marathon in May I had some tests which revealed that I have Hypothyroidism. Treatment started a few weeks ago and I have seen a significant improvement in my power output since then. I also seem to be moving bit faster!


I am so lucky to live in West Dorset where running is always scenic with plenty of variety from the coast to inland trails over historic hill forts and through woods.

Scenic running on Abbotsbury Castle

Scenic running on Abbotsbury Castle

Training is always a pleasure. My own rules are that if it’s not fun I don’t do it. I draw the line at indoor running and cycling and do not train indoors  using rollers or a treadmill. I am fortunate to be able to get outdoors in the daylight all the year round.  I swim indoors and am a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold water, so despite having the sea at the bottom of our road I am still doing most of my swimming in the pool.

The sea at the bottom of the road even in June is not always very welcoming

The sea at the bottom of the road even in June is not always very welcoming

In addition to the swim, bike and run my training also include some strength and conditioning sessions in the gym and weekly (sometimes 2 or 3 times) Iyengar yoga sessions.

Bat hanging

Bat hanging in Iyengar Yoga class at Bridport Leisure Centre

My new best friends are knee length compression socks which I put on after training and a foam roller which I roll around on massaging the sore bits (its painful). So far I have managed to avoid any injuries which have actually stopped me.  That’s not to say that bits of me don’t hurt from time to time.

I have been keeping going with some Audax riding and most notably completed 2 years of AAARTY last month. I will keep this going for the foreseeable future. . Finding hills to ride in West Dorset is never difficult.

Blue bells on Bulbarrow the highest road in Dorset

Blue bells on Bulbarrow the highest road in Dorset on May 215 AAARTY ride.

I mentioned interim targets. There are a couple looming. Firstly the Bristol Harbourside Standard Triathlon and then the Purbeck 10k.

So I write this as I am ‘tapering’ for the standard triathlon at the weekend.  It feels like skiving. I know I am getting the tapering right when I feel fat and sluggish. Maybe I’ll just walk down to the beach and check out just how cold the sea still is!

It’s cold!

It’s cold!


7 thoughts on “Focus

  1. Stuart Ritchie

    Good luck with the event Barbara, I have no doubt that you will meet the challenge. I fully understand your objection to training indoors as half the fun is experiencing nature and enjoying the countryside. I would, however, advocate the use of indoor training equipment such as turbo trainers, rollers or the treadmill when the weather is poor as there are times when we expose ourselves to the risk of catching colds etc and this can end up knocking us off our feet for a week or two. I’m off to the States next week to ride the Race Across America. I’m hoping the weather will be favourable with a tail wind to boot!

    1. Barbara

      Thanks Stuart

      Wow. Have a fantastic time and I hope it foes really well. Good Luck with the weather, your bike, your body and your head. You will need co-operation from them all.

  2. Cathy Warne

    Great read…well done you, sounds like you are doing well with your motivation to train. I’m doing the Weymouth Challenge half and its a big deal for me too! I’ll continue following your blog and look forward to updates

  3. Barbara

    Thank you for your interest in my blog. I think its good to have goals to train towards . Good luck with your training I hope it is going well. I find all 3 sports are challenging. My main problem at the moment is getting into the cold sea. I am hoping to get down to Weymouth at 7pm on Wednesdays in the next few weeks to do the Aquathons organised by Bustinskin which will be good race training for me and good fun too.

    1. Cathy Warne

      I have thought about those, but I’m really struggling with getting in the sea. The cold I can probably deal with – it’s the jellies that are stressing me out!
      I was interested to read you have issues with your thyroid – I have been diagnosed with Hypoparathyroidism and no one seems to be able to tell me how or if this affects the stresses I’m putting on my body.
      If you have time, I have blogged about my ‘training’
      I hope I’ll catch up with you at some point. If you see someone in a ‘cat-in-the-hat’ cycling top, feel free to say hi!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.