Race report: London Triathlon Super Sprint

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

In an effort to rekindle my running mojo, I signed up for the London Triathlon* rather last minute.  To keep it a realistic goal after my running injury, I selected the shortest distance. The Super Sprint course is 400m swim, 10km bike, and 2.5km run.  For a short moment, I considered bumping up to the sprint distance (750m, 20km bike, 5km run) to challenge my PR from 2012.  But I decided to keep it safe/play it smart by sticking to the shortest distance to avoid re-injury.

My entry wave was at 3:10pm on Saturday afternoon.  About 95% of the women in my group (I chose women-only vs mixed start) were first timers.  The London Triathlon is a great race if you are tri-curious.

Entries and fees:  The race doesn't sell out (it is held over two days with lots of entries available) and entries are available close to the event.  There are different fees depending on the distance you sign up for.  It ranges from £40+.  Remember that triathlons tend to be more expensive due to the amount of logistics required to set up swimming, cycling, and running courses.  Personally, I think the London Tri is very reasonable considering the scale of the event (the race takes up half of the ExCel Centre).

Course and bogs: The course starts and ends at the ExCel Centre.  The swim is in the Royal Docks and the longer bike course goes to Big Ben (the super sprint course is only 10km).  All bike segments are on closed roads, which is great.  The run is along the Royal Docks on paths of varying width.  Different distances compete at the same time, so you will have different abilities on the course with you.  I did shout to a few people who were walking three abreast to keep to the left as no one could get by.

This year, it was almost so warm we didn't have to wear wet suits.  I really like my Aptonia wet suit from Decathlon.*  It fit me perfectly, which is hard for a woman as our body shapes are so diverse.  The zipper is a bit tricky to zip up as it is designed to unzip bottom to shoulders, but I think that might make it faster to remove.

Location: Unfortunately, there isn't anything glamorous about the ExCel Centre in East London.  However, the location is super convenient for anyone in London and especially for me as I live about five miles from the start line.  Inside the ExCel, there is a small amount of vendors if you need to pick up gels or a few pieces of run kit, including official merchandise.

Atmosphere: There are not many cheer points along the route.  Many friends and family were cheering at the swim and at the finish line.  The transition area is really big, so it is hard for your fans to see you as you switch disciplines.  Otherwise, you are on your own out on the course

Race bling and goody bag:  No goody bag but you receive a medal just after you cross the finish line.  You also get to pick up the official race t-shirt (which I really like) and the Tenzing team was there to hand you a can as you walked out of the finish area.

Tips if you want to take part next time:  If you are coming back from injury, triathlons are great as the cross-training allows 2/3 of the training to be low impact.  That is one of the big reasons why I signed up. Also, make sure you try open water swimming at least five times before the race.  This gives you a chance to get over the fear of not seeing the bottom, learn how your wet suit fills up, and get used to having to swim continuously.  Finally, do some brick sessions (two disciplines back to back) to get your muscles used to working differently and to try out different outfit combinations.  My kneesuit with sports bra underneath worked perfectly!  You can also use bricks to think about water food and drinks you will need during the race.

Feeling inspired and want to give London Triathlon 2020 a "tri"?  Register your interest now.

*Thanks to London Triathlon for the complimentary race entry and Decathlon for the wet suit.  All opinions are honest and my own.

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