Chattanooga IronMan 70.3

Location: ★★★★★
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: ££££
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★★

Location: ★★★★★
Chattanooga is a gorgeous, fun, and friendly city in the state of Tennessee. Throughout the race I was taken away by how beautiful the place is.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The IronMan village was set up with everything you could wish for, and there were hundreds of volunteers making the whole process really fun. The athletes guide had all the information you needed, and the athletes talk went through all the things you need to know load and clear. Overall, the day of the races was super smooth. So why not five stars? well the only two downfalls in this race was the number of toilets at the start area (queues were huge) and the athletes t-shirts running out so they had to ship them to people instead. Its been three months and I still have not received mine 😦

Cost: ££££
IronMan events are expensive. With an entry fee of £245-£290 depending on when you enter, plus flights, hotels, bike hire/ sending bike over it all adds up. Then there is the purchasing of photographs afterwards (and IronMan merchandise).

Course: ★★★★☆
Swim ★★★☆☆
Swimming in the Tennessee river was so much fun, due to the strong current the swim was altered on race day to a 1mile down stream swim. So this was a fast section!
Bike ★★★★★
I was most nervous about the bike ride due to all the hills. But it was amazing! The rolling hills meant that you just had to play it right. Race fast down the hills to help throw you over the next. The views on this part of the race were spectacular.
Run ★★★★☆
Two loops around Chattanooga including running over some gorgeous bridges. The run was mainly flat with a slight uphill at the start and slightly down hill at the end. The aid stations were superb and around every two miles. At one part of the race you ran through a mist as the hoses were turned on to keep us athletes cool.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is so so so great, Amazing quality and superbly thought out.
Other perks include:
1. Photographers
2. IronMan bag
3. IronMan swim cap
4. Racing chip
5. Finishers cap
6. T-shirt and bottle
7. Finishers Massage
8. Finishers meal

Morale: ★★★★★
This city was pumped for the race with hundreds of people cheering, supporting and providing killer vibes. I was feeling so stoked all race long because of the spirit and energy Chattanooga delivered!

Want to race this next year? Book ASAP at: Chattanooga IronMan 70.3

‘The Long Half Marathon’ Relish Bath Running Festival

Location: ★★★★☆
Organisation: ★★★★★
Cost: ££
Course: ★★★★☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★★

A 16.1 mile trail run around Bath

Location: ★★★★☆
As suggested in the title, this race was around beautiful Bath. With exceptional views of the city and surrounding country side.

Organisation: ★★★★★
Five out of Five for organisation, this race had volunteers left right and centre. There were so many aid stations with fruit, cake, biscuits, sweets, water and electrolytes that I didn’t need to use any of the fuel I had on me. You constantly could see two sign posts ahead for directions so it was almost impossible to get lost.

Cost: ££
The entry fee was £31 (so cheap for the fuel you where provided). Also the photographs taken on the day were free to download and only £1 per picture if you wanted the watermark removed. Finally, parking was free on site making for a rather cheap race!

Course: ★★★★☆
My goodness, this was a hilly race. At the athletes speech it was announced ‘no PBs will be made today’ and a quarter of the way in it was obvious why. The course went through forests and fields, climbed roads and rocks, and boarded canals. As a results the views were insane. There were technical areas such as running up and down stairs, and scrambling a mile long steep climb. But, ultimately this was the funnest race I ever completed.

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is made to slot together with three other Relish run races. Making it a bizarre shape and picture, however its super high quality.

Other perks include:
1. Photographer
2. Aid Stations

Morale: ★★★★★
The morale was high from both competitors and volunteers. With a large number of volunteers cheering you on throughout the race, and then a big crowd to welcome you at the finish line !

A huge thank you to Relish Running for organising a super fun 16.1 mile trail running race! If you want to take part next year visit: Relish running races

Caterham Half Marathon

Location: ★★★☆☆
Organisation: ★★★★☆
Cost: £
Course: ★★★☆☆
Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★☆☆
Caterham Half Marathon took place at the Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey, UK. The area is very beautiful with the race predominantly being on country lanes.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The event was super well organised with loads of aid stations, volunteers, supporters and spaces to park. However the only downfall was …. Very few toilets! The queue for the toilets upon arrival was huge !

Cost: £
This event cost £22 to enter and with all the aid stations and volunteers provided, it was worth the money. The photographers pictures however was much more expensive, costing £8 per picture downloaded !

Course: ★★★☆☆
The Half marathon consisted of two loops. The run was mainly along quiet country lanes however cars were still on the roads which was difficult at first when the runners were all grouped together, but became less of a problem once we had spread out. The course undulated with only one ‘real’ hill (which you completed twice). The hill was around 1/4 mile long and had an immediate downhill run afterward wooooooo!

Medal/extras: ★★★★☆
The medal is of a little Caterham Car and is a lovely quality. Additional perks included:
1. Photographers
2. Time chipped race
3. Waterbottle at finish line

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers were friendly and helpful (and there were lots of them). There was a nice sized crowd at the finish line also. Big shout out to the lady on the microphone for the entire event, she really knew how to motivate the runners and the crowd!

Thank you Caterham Half Marathon for a super fun event! If you want to do this race next year, visit:

https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/caterham-half-marathon

Ullswater Triathlon

Location: ★★★★★
Organisation: ★★★★☆
Cost: ££
Course: ★★★★☆
Swim: ★★★★★
Bike: ★★★☆☆
Run: ★★★☆☆
Medal / extras: ★★★★☆
Morale: ★★★★☆

Location: ★★★★★
The Ullswater Triathlon took place at Pooley Bridge, Ullwater in the Lake District. The event started at 14:30 allowing time for people to travel.

Organisation: ★★★★☆
The event was very well organised with a huge carpark for people to get set up for the day, lots of toilets, access to water and volunteers to help answer questions. Registration was easy to complete and navigate online with everything ready to collect on arrival.

Cost: ££
Race entry was £50, and it felt well worth that price. Additionally official photographs were £3.50 per picture which seemed reasonable enough!

Dreamy Ullswater

Course:★★★★☆
Swim: ★★★★★
The swim was two laps in Ullswater lake, and all swimmers had to wear a wetsuit. Swim caps distinguishing the sprint triathletes from the standard, and the race started in the the water with a crowd counting down. Inflatable buoys were clear to see and overall this swim was easy to navigate.

Volunteers helped swimmers make there way out the lake (gradual hill) and with hay underfoot, the 50 meter run from the lake to T1 was a breeze.

Cycle: ★★★☆☆
After transition you run with your bike 100m slightly up hill to the mount line. The cycle was one hilly lap around the glorious area. And when I say hilly, I mean hilly! The course was well signposted, with volunteers helping to manage traffic and motivate you. Only downfall for the cycle would be no aid stations. After my water bottles falling off in the first mile due to a technical fault, I was gutted to have no access to water or fuel until I returned to transition.

Run: ★★★☆☆
The run course was four laps around the campsite at Pooley Bridge, this made for an interesting run as many of the spectators where ‘accidental’. By this I mean that people were sat enjoying their day outside their tent and we were running passed. To be fair many of the campers were cheering us on but at times it felt like we were disturbing their holiday. This flat course did made for a quick run time, and thankfully there was one aid station we passed every lap which has water, coke and some sweeties!

Medal / extras: ★★★★☆
The medal was really good quality and well designed! Additional perks included:
1. Photographers
2. Time chip with times printed at finish line
3. Swim cap

Morale: ★★★★☆
All the volunteers and organisers were super nice and friendly! My partner forgot his swim goggles and one of the volunteers gave him a free pair to wear and keep (now thats a nice volunteer!). The only party of the race were the morale was lower had to be at the campsite run just because fo the location and people enjoying their holiday.

Thank you Ullswater Triathlon! I had a blast. If you want to do this race next year, visit:

First ever IronMan 70.3

Mile 12, a very happy Aimee

Review of Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Swim

The swim element in Chattanooga goes upstream for 0.2 miles before turn down for the final one mile. With this knowledge in mind I knew it was going to be a ‘quick’ course, but with an incredibly strong current the course adjusted, and suddenly the ‘swim’ element became a breeze; on race day us ‘age-groupers’ swam one mile downstream due to the conditions of the river.

I trained for the swim in a pool 3x a week and then sea swimming with against and with the current twice a week.

Wearing my dhb wetsuit

The Cycle

Known for its ‘hilly’ course that parallels Lookout Mountain, I trained hard for the cycle element however, it wasn’t anywhere near as ‘bad’ as I thought it would be. The 56 miles has rolling hills, meaning if you worked hard going down hill, you would be able to throw your self a third of the way up the hill in front. I would easily say that the race cycle was my favourite ride I have ever done and was far less tiresome than my training sessions! This was helped by amazing aid stations and views.

I trained twice a week on an indoor bike working on repeat long ‘hard sessions’ with short recovery time. And I would cycle twice a week outdoors, one long cycle on the weekend (3-4 hours) and a short and fast cycle in the work week (1-1.5 hours).

First mile on the bike, unaware of how beautiful the views would get.

The Run

The first 5k my legs and mind was switched off, and I panicked. I thought that the race was over for me, and I’d be walking the 13.1 miles. It was hot, humid and I was over four hours in at this point. However, once I hit the first aid station, drank some water, put ice down my tri-suit and munched on an orange, everything changed. I fell in love with running as I always do. Each mile became faster, stronger and more enjoyable. To the point where at mile 12 I was running a 8.44 mim/mile pace with a huge smile on my face. The course undulated for sure but nothing the legs couldn’t take.

As a runner, I enjoyed training for this race. I would do 3 short bike training runs a week on the treadmill (around 15-20 minutes each). I would do one long run a week (1-2 hours outdoors) and a hilly run once a week (around 1 hour and 6 hill climbs).

Mile 7, finding my feet …

Overall, I overtrained and under preformed at this race. Unsure of what the challenge ahead looked like I held back on all three disciplines. However, please do not read this as a negative for I had the most brilliant day; taking my time and taking it all in!

When will you do your first? Will it be Chattanooga?

Unexpected life changes when training

When you sign up for marathons and triathlons you expecte the long training sessions, muscle aches and the need to make time for life. But here are somethings you might not have considered;

Dreaming about lunch …
  1. Food glorious food
    Eating when training becomes all kinds of complicated, with you thinking about the quality and quantity of your food, whilst trying to squeeze it in to a time that will work with your training schedule. Plus you are ALWAYS hungry! Your life revolves around training, but your training revolves around your meals.
Swim day = Wash hair day

2. Washing your hair
This applies more to the triathletes out there. Washing your hair becomes anther aspect of your life you need to organise. Before you know it, you’ll be scheduling washing your hair with your swim sessions.

So many activities, so much washing

3. Laundry
Regardless to the sport, if you are exercising a lot your laundry pile builds up very quickly. You are forever washing swimsuits, trisuits, running clothes, towels and cycle gear.

Relaxing but tiring

4. Tiredness
Training, planning, working, and trying to squeeze a social life in; you will be exhausted in no time. You are tired, your muscles are tired and your brain is tired. Rest and relax on the weekends? No way, that’s when you do your big runs and cycles duh!

Bathroom selfie

5. Planning your pit stops
Another thing you have to consider when training often is when to go the bathroom. Unless your happy to do a Paula Radcliffe you need to make sure you go before you go. Moreover on this topic, if you exercise before your morning coffee has kicked in (if you know what I mean) then you will get hit by all kinds of stomach cramps.

Its all worth it

Despite all these additional considerations and changes, every training runner and triathlete will agree; it is all worth it!

What Are You Waiting For?

It’s not next week, this summer or someday. It is right now. Running is an easy sport to start, because all you need is a little bit of time and some running shoes.

What are you waiting for?
The weather to be nice? To find a friend to run with? A good place to run? To be a little fitter? Less busy? Less tired?

The weather
If you find it is the weather stopping you from training, and you are just waiting for it to be a little hotter, colder, breezy or less windy then I am going to be straight with you, you will never run. It isn’t going to be perfect running weather ever. Wanting a little bit of advice on this? Read The Weather and Training and to help change your mind set listen to the king himself, David Goggins;

Running partner
Having someone to run with is very special. They can push you to run faster, further and more frequently. But sometimes we can use the lack of a running buddy as a great excuse, “I was going to go for a run but X wasn’t free”. The awesome thing about running is that you can do it alone, stick in some head phones and after the first few minutes you will not feel lonely, you will feel awesome! If you are wanting a running community then Park runs are for you. You can walk, jog, run or sprint a parkrun, it is a 5k in your local area with amazing people! Additionally, Instagram can provide a great community; share on your story with #running, or tag your post with #runner and feel the love flow in with likes and comments. Moreover, you will likely find a pat on the back from friends and family when they see you. Finally, if you do not feel safe running alone then I suggest two solutions
1. Run at the gym or
2. Saturday PARK RUN!

Location
You can run your streets, in the gym, a local park, or make a day of it and travel somewhere new to explore. The superb thing about running is that you really can do it anywhere!

Fitness
The funniest reason I hear why people do not run is because they are not ‘fit’ enough, or they say “once I loose a bit of weight then I will run”. I find this so baffling because some of the benefits of running is to get fitter and loose weight. If you think you are not ‘in shape’ then that should be your excuse to start, not delay. When ever you start something new you will find it hard, it will not come naturally and it will not be pretty. This fact includes running, once you accept this and move beyond your running anxiety you can get out there and get going.

Too Busy
There are 24 hours in the day, if you can not find 30 minutes to run then maybe you should look at how you are spending your day. There is always time to run, you don’t ‘find it’ you ‘make it’. Suggestions to make time:
1. Get up earlier
2. Go to bed a little later
3. Take away some T.V time
4. Run during your lunch break

Too tired
If you are too tired to run you might want to look at your calorie intake, are you eating enough to fuel a run? If you are tired from life then running might be your medicine. A run, even just for 30 minutes, has an energy-boosting effect, giving you a natural high and improves your sleep. What are you waiting for?

Final note; If you want to run, become a runner or just start running a little bit, you and your mind are the only things in your way. This knowledge is so empowering, the opportunity to change your health, fitness, wellbeing and life is in your hands!

Runner To Triathlete

My Journey | Why? | Pros & Cons Of Change | My Suggestion To You

Petersfield, UK

My Journey from a stationary student to a triathlete in training has taken a fair bit of time, with a few injuries along the way. But I am so thankful I started when I did and I look forward to the future. Read through my timeline below, and see where on it you think you are.

Why?

Running is my first love and I am still madly in love with it. But I found that when I was training for races, I would get injured easily. This was partly due to not doing any other form of training besides running. Triathlons have forced me to work on different disciplines. I can hit a hard cycle session and do a big swim the next day without worrying, and I enjoy the challenges each part provides. So why change? for me it was about adding more to my plate whilst minimizing injury 

Post a three mile swim, UK

Pros & Cons Of Change

✓ Tri’s are impactful than just running
✓ Tri’s have more cross training
✓ Tri’s and Running have amazing communities (that’s you guys)
✓ Tris and running have lots of events
✓ Tri training has a lot of variation
✓ Tri training is time-consuming (I like this so this goes in my pros list)

✗ In tri-training you’ll learn new disciplines which can be challenging
✗ Tri’s requires you to buy equipment e.g. a bike & swim goggles
✗ Tri training is time-consuming (if you do not have a lot of time this could be a con)

Queen Elizabeth Country Park, UK

My Suggestion To You

I am not advising that you ditch running and pick up tri’s instead, but I am advocating that you add more to your training plan then just running alone. I personally think cycling and swimming compliment running a lot, especially endurance running. So my suggestion is this, why not add a spin class and swim session to your weekly plan? 

Thank you for reading. As always feel free to DM me on Instagram @aimeesennett for more information.

CYCLE TRAINING, what is that?

Plan
Intro | gym thoughts | Plans

Often it is easy to see the cycle machines as nothing more than a warm up, but what if you could make the bike your training equipment to increase endurance, build strength and power? Why not read this post and utilize the three training plans I have written up.

People watching in the gym is always fascinating, you have the picture perfect girls usually sporting a ‘gym shark’ two piece (the outfits do look great), the weight lads/ ladies pumping iron, the middle aged cardio kings/ queens and the people who spend more time on their phone than ‘working out’. I usually take no notice of who is around me but yesterday, during the active rest periods of my cycle training I enjoyed scanning the room and those who occupied it. 

The cycle machines are where my attention was drawn back to, maybe because it was directly in front of me, or possibly due to the high turnover. People typically spent 15-20 minutes pedalling away and then would move on to something new. The bike is a great piece to warm up on, but these people didn’t seem to be using it for that purpose. It appeared instead that they were bored, or lost on what to really do on the bike. Some pedalling full speed for the duration of their short time on the bike, other pedalling slow whilst scrolling fast on their phones. 

So If you find the bike is boring or are unsure of how to ‘train’ using it then worry no more. Below are three cycling plans I use. They are powerful and effective cycle session leaving you dripping with sweat and wishing you had a bigger water bottle. Aimed at beginners these cycle session might seem ‘long’ at first, but once you get started and have a good soundtrack motivating you, it will be over in no time.

Warm up and cool down are always the same;

Now pick one of these three ‘main sets’
(complete between the warm up and cool down)

1.

2.

3. You could do a 20 minute, moderate resistance and pace cycle as your ‘main set’.

Spin classes are also great to give you a sense of what you can achieve on this amazing piece of equipment. 

As always direct message me on instagram if you have any questions, concerns or would like more insight @aimeesennett

Routine Mon-Fri

Training for an IronMan 70.3, working 9-5, and reading 6 books a week is time-consuming. This is where the Power of routine really helps.

PLAN: My Routine | Creating your own

My Routine

5:30am
MON, WED & FRI
I wake up at 5:30am, get changed into my running gear, drink a glass of water and make the bed.

———————————————-

6:00am
MON, WED & FRI
An easy 5k to start the day, looking at a 8:30-8:45 minute mile pace. I then make my breakfast smoothie & put it in the fridge.

———————————————-


7:00am
MON, WED & FRI
Time to jump in the pool for a one mile swim.Front crawl no rest time.

TUE & THU
Time to wake up and stretch

———————————————-

8:00am
MON-FRI
Get ready as quickly as possible. Shower, dry my hair, put the laundry in, get changed, make a coffee to go, grab my lunch and work bags, jump in the car.

———————————————-

9am-5pm
MON-FRI
Work time, and I always listen to an audio book in the car.

The evening is not as uniform as the morning so here it is day by day:

MON PM
Pilates, reading & meditation

TUE PM
Spin & pilates

WED PM
Weight training & meditation

THU PM
Cycle training, yoga & sometimes gymnastics

FRI PM
Weight training, yoga & reading (a lot of reading)

CREATING YOUR OWN ROUTINE

  1. It has to be realistic, if your not a morning person maybe think twice before deciding 5:00am is your time to wake up, because unless you are determined and ready to change ‘cold turkey’, you will sleep in and feel guilty about it all day.
  2. Write down all the things you want to add in, Training sessions?, Piano lessons? Homework time? Meditation? You name it and make time for it.
  3. Be flexible, I have not ever executed my week 100% correctly and I am not sure if I ever will but I achieve around 90% and I am happy with this. I usually have to move a training session into Tue or Thu sleep in as I didn’t get home from work early enough or was too tired the night before.
  4. Accountability, a tick chart, instagram story, or entry to your diary. Any way you can make a note of what it is you are doing so you can make yourself accountable for the days you missed and the ones you didn’t.

And the tip I always say and will never stop saying is …

5. Book an event! Nothing motivates working out like a looming race day deadline.