This is completely new territory, I have decided to do some adding up and try to figure out what might work as a bit of a plan for this Calfman race.

In my exceptionally limited experience so far the basic plan has been dream up a target time (based on nothing), rock up, try as hard as you can (whilst still keeping enough to make sure you finish), cross your fingers and hope for the best. To be fair this rather haphazard approach has served me well… But maybe it is time to be a bit more grown up about it?

Bronze, Silver and Gold? 

I think the proper way to do this is have three goals so that if you miss the real goal (Gold) then you can console yourself and have a reason to carry on. That sounds like a lot of cotton wool nonsense to me!

I think I shall stick with the idea that there is one purpose. Go do it. Anything less is basically a failure. Not carrying on to a finish would transform a failure into a disgrace. Therefore finish is a given even if you can’t achieve the real goal.

Looking Back

For the purposes of trying to ‘compete’ I will limit myself to my age group. After all, what is the point of the age group handicap system, if as an “old boy”, you don’t make use of it? Also my not so secret ambition to qualify for GB Age Group just underlines that that should be my focus.

So what happened last year time wise? I thought I would consider the top four men in 50 – 55:


I came 9th last year (maybe there is a goal to finish better than 9th in Age Group):

My Times3:04:1021:543:211:32:371:001:05:18

So essentially to have finished in the top three I would need to have been 33 minutes and 30 seconds faster. That sounds like a VERY ambition goal… Perhaps I need a Bronze / Silver / Gold approach to this after all…? 

Whilst I am definitely faster this year, I can’t see that I am going to be 30 minutes faster!! So what could I aim for realistically if I had a good race and all went to plan? 

  1. The Swim 950mLast year I could not swim front crawl and was keen to stay clear of the other swimmers (bless!). This year should be quicker as I am happy to get into the mix a bit more and all being well should comfortably cruise around a 950m lake. My current CSS in the pool is 2:02 / 100m. Allowing for it being a race (adrenaline + testosterone effects!!) and wearing a wetsuit (corrects my shocking body position) and if all went really well for me I could possible achieve 1:54 / 100m giving me a swim time of 18:03.
  2. T1. Last year I couldn’t find my bike and was hopelessly flustered. This year I would hope a bit more on the case. Depending where I am in the area, but would say 1minute should be OK if all goes well (and this is BEST case planning). 1 minute
  3. The Bike. I am supposed to be a little useful on my bike (it’s all relative to how crap I am at swimming and running…) . It is also my home race and I train on the cycle route all the time. I know it like the back of my hand, where to push what’s coming up, where to eat, pretty much should give me the best opportunity. If it all went well (traffic + weather) I might be able to improve a tad on last year, but last year was not too shabby already! Lets say I average 31 km/h this would give me a bike split of 1:27:05
  4. T2. Park the bike, dump the helmet, change my shoes. Not sure that I can really find anything more than last year. But I wouldn’t want to be any slower, so T2 stays at a punchy 1 min 😉 
  5. The Run. Bit like the bike course, I have spent many an evening doing hill reps with Olney Runners on the off road section. I train all the time in Emberton Park. I can visualise the course and know where I can push and where I can’t. But having thrashed my legs on the bike I won’t be in the happiest state. Having said that, and with an eye to my standalone time, as well as all the motivation that you have on race day… You would have to be targeting a sub  1 hour even with fucked legs! If I could average a 5:30 km/h pace (which standalone might be possible, but in a Tri ???) I could get a 57:45 run split. 

Where does that get me: 2:44:53 if all my stars aligned and had luck on my side. And I still wouldn’t manage a podium grrrr 🙁 

Re-think on Gold / Silver yada yada…

OK, I take it back… Others have walked this path before and I can see now why I need a range of stretching goals So this is the plan. Committed to public blog… how is that for accountability!!! 😉

  1. GOLD : Get a sub 2:30. That could possibly get me a podium finish (first one ever in anything sporty!!!). This has actually been a really useful exercise and what it has highlighted to me is that improving my running is going to be key to next season (and is my limiting factor this year). I think my swim will tighten up more, but actually better sighting (so I don’t swim further than needed) and finding racing lines could get me to a competitive enough time. My bike is improving and whilst I am putting training times in of about 28 km/h I could see this getting a bit faster and I need to get it to 30 km/h more comfortably. Feels doable. But what is properly holding me back is the run… It’s still a mess and pace improvement is not really coming through. It’s my limiting factor and therefore I will write more in a separate blog about what I plan to do about it. Basically I need to be able to average 7min / miles at the arse end of a triathlon. We will see, but currently feels like riding a unicorn is more likely than putting together a sub 2:30.
  2. SILVER : Get a sub 2:45. The details of how to put that together are above!! It’s a stretch, but it could happen… Maybe!!!
  3. BRONZE : Get a sub 3hr. This is essentially improve on last year. It wouldn’t be competitive, but at least it’s improvement!!

Having written all this… I had better bloody finish!! There is of course no guarantee of even that happening. And there are enough bad things that could happen to make a DNF possible.

Not long to wait now and see how this all goes. But in the mean time London Sprint next weekend 😊

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