Preparing for Race Day – Triathlon


My race is this Saturday. I cant believe the time is upon me now. I have done all I can and I thought I’d share my thoughts on training and preparation.

I now have everything I need for the race.

The wetsuit.

Its rented for 2 weeks through the British Triathlon Association approved dealers. It costs 49£ but ordering was easy – all you have to do is enter your height and weight and gender. And voila it arrives in the post. I will have to return it within the 2 week period. On Tuesday I got to try it out in the swimming pool. I felt more buoyant than I normally feel in the water which can only be a good thing.

The Trisuit.

I bought an Aldi trisuit on Ebay for £12 which isn’t bad considering how expensive these things can get. It has an integrated bra that is is supportive. The padding on the crotch area is a godsend. It was strange wearing this at first because you don’t wear underwear. Its commando and in fact, I ignored this advice and had major chaffing as a result. It is much more comfortable to go commando in these this things. Everything feels so tight and snug.

The googles

I bought these google about 5 months ago when I was learning. I picked them up from the reception of the leisure center I swim at for £9.99 They will do the job.

The trainers.

At the start of my running journey, I was using trainers bought from Costco 4 years ago for £16. I went to a shop called Up and Running here in Leeds which does gait analysis to help you choose the right sort of shoes. They shortlisted several pairs which I got to try and take for a spin around the block. Of the 3 that I tried these Mizuno Wave riders were outstanding. I felt bouncy like a gazelle and I gotta say I get the thing for trainers now. I have found that I wear them a lot and look for any excuse to go on extended walks. It makes me think that sometimes it is getting adequate kit that makes you want to exercise more. They cost me £125 but its a worthwhile life investment for me.

The Race belt.

This nifty little piece of kit is for attaching your race number. I doubt I will need any gels for the race so its only role will be the race number. I have read that its best to wear the belt under the wetsuit for the swim section so when I go to transition I dont have to think about it. I bought it on Ebay for £2.75 incl. P&P. I have practiced running and cycling with it on and its felt ok. Though what it will feel like with an actual race number is another thing.

The Bike.

I have been training on my son’s mountain bike which weighs a tonne! Great for building those cycling muscles and power. My husband has a road bike which is far lighter and faster. I found that when I cycled on his road it was very minimal effort to achieve the same distance in a shorter time. So I took the decision to continue training on the harder bike as that should make it far easier to use the road bike on race day. I have practised enough on the road bike already.

My son’s mountain bike that I have been training with. Its very heavy!
My husband’s road bike that I will be whizzing around on for the race 🙂

I did have to buy a female saddle though. The first 3 training rides I did left me very very sore because I didn’t even realise you needed cycling shorts. After a bit of research, I bought some cycling shorts with a chamois (crotch padding that takes getting used to as it feels like a big sanitary towel). They made it a bit more comfortable. Then I bought the female saddle and that was the ticket to pain free biking.  It cost £30 – money well spent to save my lady bits :-).

Gel cushion female saddle has wider sit bone space and hollow so everything isn’t overly squished IYSWIM.

On a tangent, I really enjoy the cycling and would love to get into it however it seems like a really expensive hobby. I went looking at bikes and the ones I liked cost more than my first car. So yeah, I am pinning that one.

The Helmet

During the race you are automatically disqualified if you handle your bike without a helmet. I have been practising good form by following the same principle in my training. This is my son’s helmet.


The Medical Stuff

Once I started training, I made sure to get a physical check up from my GP. I told her what I was embarking on and sought advice regarding my asthma. On top of my Terbutaline, she advised me to add a steroid inhaler for daily use. She also advised me to use my terbutaline before I start an activity and this has made a huge difference. It is a simple thing to do which gave me greater gains in all the disciplines.

The Race Number


I have decided this is an auspicious number.

For my transition area, I will need a towel to dry my feet between swimming and cycling. And that’s about it. I paid £35 to enter the triathlon. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

There have been some unexpected side effects though……

Unexpected side effects of my impulsive action.

Signing up for the triathlon was an impulse act. I had never seen, viewed or watched a triathlon race before but I saw an email late on a Tuesday night when I was just feeling so high about the fact that I had learnt how to swim. That hubris led me along this thought process

Hey what this? A triathlon – Swim…. I can do that now so there is no reason why I cant consider this. I can ride a bike -well it has been decades but they say you never forget how to ride a bike and we have bikes. Running is just like walking and I can put one foot in front of the other. Why not? Do it? Yes lets do this. It will be fun!

And boom I signed up before I could overanalyse and defer for another year. Its so easy to do that you know, wait until everything is just right and I have prepped myself with the swimming and cycling and running. But the truth is, there is never a right time.

I have got so much more from this process, the journey itself rather than the actual event itself. Let me try to elaborate:

  1. Running group friends. I love these ladies so much we have become a mutual support network. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays come rain and sunshine we love our little group.
  2. I love running and when I have to have recovery days I miss it.
  3. Mental strength – just the time away from it all focusing on the breath while swimming, or focusing on cadence while cycling. It allows me to destress.
  4. Seeing the beauty of early morning wildlife along the canal.
  5. Increased libido – need I say more.
  6. More toned body.
  7. More energy than I had before – turns out the more you work your body the more energy it gives you – a virtuous cycle.
  8. A better sense of self and what I want to be.
  9. My husband has been losing weight.
  10. He joins me on my Sunday early morning rides and our partnership is all the better for this time alone.
  11. Learning about nutrition by doing Coursera courses in order to understand how to better fuel my body.
  12. Learning the physiology and biochemistry of muscle and exercise through Coursera. Amazing what knowledge can do.
  13. Adopt lifelong habits that will help me age healthily.
  14. Our family is eating healthier than before.
  15. I have discovered wholemeal pizzas, wholemeal buns and found that its easier to avoid foods that dont give me sustained energy.
  16. I have lost dimensions on my body and this is a particularly annoying one as my clothes were sewn to fit me perfectly. (I suppose I’ll have to sew new ones:-).

I could go on but I think you get the picture. I am so grateful that I allowed myself to do this and honoured my commitment to it. I am so grateful that I didn’t wait a year to experience these things out of a desire for everything to be just right. I have developed a firm knowledge that runs deep within me that I can do anything I want to. I have learnt that I can honour my body and mind by what I feed them. Seriously, when I am doubting myself while running or swimming my body responds accordingly. When I tell myself that I CAN do this, I WILL do this, my body responds accordingly. I have had to train myself to not be self-deprecating and fall back on putting myself down. Developing a positive inner dialogue with myself has been an amazing gift of this whole process. I cant tell you how nice it is to stop being my own worst critic. To stop holding myself back.

If you have read this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate the time you took to click on this post and read it. I hope you somewhat enjoyed it too. And I’d like to leave you with this…If you’ve ever thought of signing up for any endevour do it! The journey is worth so much more than the destination. I’d love to know if you have dreams/ambitions of doing something that you have put off. What was it? Share down below.

Thanks for stopping by.





22 thoughts on “Preparing for Race Day – Triathlon

  1. I am in awe! I think at 70 I am perhaps a little late to start such an energetic venture, but I have recently started golf lessons. Ostensibly to encourage my husband out of his comfy chair, but in reality I am really enjoying it. I thoroughly agree with your philosophy, and to borrow the strap line from a large sports equipment company: Just Do It.


  2. And I thank you for sharing your thoughts, you are truly inspirational. This journey of yours has touched your life but also ours! Good luck with the race and what may come after it! I can’t wait! ☺


  3. Hila, good luck with the triathlon on Sunday. With your ‘can do’ attitude you’ll do yourself and your family proud.


  4. I’m feeling inspired Hila, genuinely. At 62 my only exercise is walking my dogs and I need to do more. I’m going to book some personal training sessions to get me started today! I’ll let you know how I get on. Just watched your vlog (can’t comment fit some reason ). It was a lovely happy start to the day. Love the striped dress and the peplum tops. Going to make one. Looks like your becoming a role model!


  5. It’s amazing how doing this positive thing has affected not only you, but your family, and now your extended family (us!)! You go Hila – we’re all here for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I did indeed read every last word and thoroughly enjoyed it…super interesting and informative too. What an amazing undertaking. I’m so proud of you!
    I’ve been doing moderate weight training with my husband and sone for a while. For the first time, I’ve been consistent and have noticed more strength. Frustratingly I have a slight ankle tendon strain from too much steep hill walking on holiday but I’m still training my upper body. I have a long way to go but you’ve certainly enthused me.

    Lots of luck for Saturday Hila xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, nobody can say you haven’t properly prepared yourself.
    All the very best to you on Saturday – I’m sure you’ll do brilliantly, you certainly deserve to.
    (Just to lower the tone a bit – I found it amusing that the lady saddle looks very masculine – if you get my drift.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hila I am soooooo proud of you and so inspired by you too. I said to you before that I had no idea that triathlons came in different sizes and difficulty and when I heard that you were doing one I was really intrigued to find out more. I haven’t signed up for one but your advice is very good, so I really ought to! What on earth am I waiting for?!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Eek! Good luck! I’m so impressed you’ve signed up for this, especially after only recently learning to swim. Not quite as epic as what you’re about to do, but I’ve signed up for the McCain’s 10k again and went out for my first run of the year. I managed 5k without stopping which was so much better than I thought I could do. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good luck with your first triathlon! I started running 5 years ago and experience a lot of the benefits you list too! I do a 10 k race about 4 times a year and I love the atmosphere. A couple of weeks ago I ran my first half marathon,I signed up for it on a whim and had a great time. Enjoy your day and be proud of your accomplishment.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your bit about the shoes making you feel more bouncy and easier to run kind of hit me. I’ve been struggling to find shoes that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time (it has only gotten worse since I’ve put on more weight, which in turn makes me want to move less, and so on…) maybe I should just go visit that store that sells the inserts that I’ve been hearing about on the radio. I’ve bought the expensive shoes, but they still don’t wear well for long periods. And they kill me halfway through my walks. 😦

    Anyway, sending the very best of luck to you! You are going to kick butt and take names, I just know it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very good luck today!! I too have started a new exercise routine, on the spur of the moment. I’m nearly 45 and have been overweight all my life, but have a good friend who runs and has been encouraging me to do more exercise. So, Tuesday she took me to a running shop to have my gait analysed and get some trainers, and Thursday I started Couchto5K. Right now, it hurts! But, I’m encouraged by the fact that I just did it, and I’ve got her to help keep me going. Next run on Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good Luck Hila! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts as you are getting ready for your first Triathalon! I am close behind you in that I am running/ biking/running my Duathalon on Sunday! I agree that it feels amazing to do things you couldn’t do before you started training! What type saddle do you have? What brand shoes? Best regards – Karen

    Liked by 2 people

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