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The blog of London website maker Ben Barnett

Required training for Cotswold 113 has dawned on me 😰

14 Jan 2019

Status: overwhelm

Last night, a Sunday, I lay awake in mild panic having just read one of the training plans from TrainerRoad. A friend who is a seasoned triathlete has since advised that TrainerRoad is for ‘hardcore training’. It is certainly that, asking for 5 days with at least 7 sizeable activities per week for a SIX MONTH training plan.

I‘ve recently bought a Tacx Flow Smart Turbo Trainer. Its pretty entry level for this kind of world but seems to do all the things the various apps need (built in bluetooth/power meter/cadence, etc). We are currently without wifi however as the house is being redecorated – wifi being a pre-requisite for most training apps.

I promised myself I would get up at 5.30am and try TrainerRoad out before work – despite being warned of its hardcoreness, it handles being offline better than its competitors. I set up everything as much as I could and dug my cycling clothing out.

The alarm went off, and on the second snooze (8 minutes each), I got up. I jumped on and started a 25 minute fitness (RAMP) test to measure my FTP (whatever that is).

I feel mildly reassured in having caught myself just at the point of thinking “what the crap am I doing, I have a baby” or “there’s too much to do, I’ll never manage it”. I’ve found before that starting something before the self doubt really kicks can help psyhcologically.

Despite only using the turbo trainer once, I’ve been reading heavily in to how I‘m going to train for this massive step up in endurance. Thankfully, somewhat smugly, I‘ve continued the running since the London Triathlon last August and made some big gains. Since the London Triathlon, I‘ve done a half marathon and a tough but excellent 10-miler over Epsom Downs racecourse that is the Tadworth Ten.

On the downside, my last bike ride was October last year, and the cycle part of a middle distance triathlon is huge. However good my running is, if I’m ruined after the swim & bike, I’m not going anywhere.

The main thing that dawned on me is just how time poor both my wife and I are. Our son is 16 months old and provides more joy for us than we could ever have imagined. His age requires a different set of parenting skills than when training for last year. He‘s now at nursery and we both commute to work, so drop-off logistics clash with cycling to work – something I gained a lot from without really taking time out of the day.

Overall, I‘ve kept the running up and most of the weight off despite Christmas, so I am very much at a better starting point than last year. These apps are very often macho ALL CAPS AND ALL SUFFERING; not the gentle welcome some of us need before nervously embarking on relatively monumental training. Perhaps there’s room for another app.


Note to future self: currently weighing up whether to use Zwift, TrainerRoad, Sufferfest, or a combination, or none. Also wondering how to change my tyre to actually get out and hit the road. Perhaps the turbo trainer is enough until the light comes back in March?