The Belfast Titanic Triathlon is a great olympic/standard distance with the event in the heart of Belfast on a flat course.  The organisation is great with good support along the swim and run route.  The last couple of years, the weather hasn’t been great on race day, especially last year (2015) when there was strong wind and rain, however the weather for this years event was perfect.  A calm day, with sunshine and clouds, you couldn’t wish for better.

I have been working quite a bit on my swim and this was the first opportunity to test myself in race conditions bi-lateral breathing.  Thankfully it went perfectly, being able to breath on both sides, especially in open water, helps the navigation as you can always see other competitors on each side.  I breath every three strokes and sight every nine, however on the day I probably didn’t sight as often due the fact that other competitors were around me, basically I assumed they were going in the right direction!  I felt very good during the swim and got out of 1500 metre swim in just under 29 minutes.

Transitions have always been my weakness, time seems to be my main enemy in transition even when I think I am going quickly.  For the bike transition I took the gamble to put my shoes in the clips already attached with elastic bands at the back of the shoe to hold it in place.  I had tried this previously at a standard triathlon race and it had gone horribly wrong!  My lesson was ensuring the elastic bands were long enough and didn’t snap immediately when getting on the bike.  It worked perfectly with the shoes staying in position, with transition being a minute faster than last years transition.

The bike course is a relatively flat and quick course, with a head wind for periods.  I managed to average 20mph through the course, however it was frustrating when guys on aero bikes or with aero wheels were coming gradually past me putting in the same amount of effort.  This did leave me asking the question “Will I need to spend the money on a set of aero wheels?”

I finished the bike in 1hr 12mins which I was happy with until looking at the results later and realising everyone around me was about 3-6 minutes faster, again prompting the aero debate, surely to be revisited in a new blog post.

Run transition worked perfectly and about 1 minute quicker than previous years.  As I rolled up to dismount point I simply took my feet out of the shoes and jumped of the bike, no running in cleats and wasting time at transition.  I replaced the laces of my running shoes with elastic laces which are brilliant, no need to tie laces, just slip on and start running.

The run felt comfortable and smooth with fours laps of the same course, finishing the run in just over 40 minutes, averaging each lap between 10mins 11sec and 10mins 23seconds.  I was slightly surprised how comfortable the run felt which bodes well for the 70.3 Ironman in two weeks time.

Overall a good day with a PB of 2hrs 26mins, over 3 minutes quicker than my previous PB and 3 and a half minutes quicker than my best time on the same course.

However still a few niggles:

  • How do I get my transitions even quicker?
  • How do I get faster on the bike, is it just more speed training, aero wheels, trip-bars or a combination of everything?