Rich Sage gives us the low-down on where his training is at so far.

Rich is part of our in-house dream team aiming to take on the Virgin Active London Triathlon this July with the support of Team Carbon – official bike supplier, Tenn Outdoors – official kit supplier, Saucony, Polar, Zone 3 and Limar. To find out more about Team Triathlon Plus click here.

I’ve always been really active and I played football for Thornbury Town FC in South Gloucestershire until I was 35. I’m now 38 and started swimming and cycling seriously a couple of years ago to keep my fitness up. I joined Team Triathlon Plus as a way of taking myself to the next level. It was a good decision: I am already reaping the benefits of the various training days that I have enjoyed with the team and my times are getting quicker in all three disciplines. Here is where my training is at so far:

Run

I’ve always had a very amateur approach to running and just thrown on the nearest pair of trainers, five minutes before I headed out the door. I’ve certainly never had anyone analyse my gait and work out what trainers would best suit my feet.

Thankfully, as part of team training Liam Dixon from Run Swindon gave us all a professional gait analysis. I am a neutral pronator, which means that my ankles, knees and hips are in perfect bio-mechanical alignment with one other when I run. This means that, thankfully, I don’t need much medial support in my trainer to stop my foot rolling around and so Liam gave me a light-weight racing shoe – The Saucony Virrata – to train in.

I have never felt better in a pair of trainers and more-or-less felt that I was running barefoot. I decided to put my running to the test in March and entered the Bath half marathon.  I have run all my life to stay in shape, but I’ve never run more than 10 miles in one go so this was a big test for me. Even though my training was pretty disrupted in the crucial weeks leading up to the big day, I still finished in 1.28 – not bad for a first timer! This was a massive confidence boost and I reckon with some proper training I could go much faster – I have entered the Chippenham half marathon in September, to give me something to aim for and see if I can do any better.

Swim

Over the last 2 years I’ve been swimming consistently about 3-4 times a week. I’ve been lucky enough to train with some really decent swimmers, and while it was tough keeping up with them at first I feel pretty comfortable now. That’s the problem though – my times haven’t got quicker for the last few months and I just couldn’t understand why. To be honest, I’d always been of the mindset that the more lengths you swim the faster you would eventually become – since that’s pretty much my formula out on the road for running. However, during a team training session with Rick Kiddle (ex-British triathlon champion) it all became clear to me: swimming is entirely technique based and unless you get this spot on, you limit how fast you can be. So, as per Kiddle’s instructions, I have incorporated lots of form-fixing drills into my sessions and I am already seeing improvements in my times. My legs still sink quite badly though – but luckily the Zone 3 wetsuit I’ve been given is a fantastic mix of flexibility and buoyancy so should stop me drowning in London!

Cycling

Although I’ve been cycling for years, I’ve tended to just train on my own. While I enjoy the solitude and freedom of training alone, it’s sometimes hard to stay motivated without training buddies. I therefore decided to join the local bike club to see if I could meet people that would push me out of my comfort zone. So in an effort to increase my speed, I went on a chain gang ride with Bath Cycling Club, who do a 40 mile loop on Saturday mornings. The ride started off fairly quick and we averaged 26 mph on the undulating route; I felt strong at the start of the ride but after 30 miles I was cooked and got dropped by the group. At least I learned a massive lesson; pace is key – even if you feel good at the start don’t push too hard or you will run out of energy before you get back home!

Overall, I feel that training is going well and I’m feeling in great shape. I’m so excited for the Virgin London Triathlon in July. It’s a flat course that has PB potential stamped all over it. If I can stay fit and healthy for the next couple of months, I reckon that this could be my best season yet.

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