The Next Challenge

Hi, I’m Norma and I recently signed up to do my first marathon and first half Ironman this year, so I was asked by ELT to provide a few posts to give an update on training and how I am getting on – perhaps to inspire anyone else thinking of doing a longer distance event!

The marathon is in Edinburgh at the end of May and the half Ironman (1900m swim, 85km bike, 21km run) is the Vitruvian at Rutland Water in early September.

First a bit about my background: I was never very good at sports in school and always underweight as a child growing up in Mexico. My friends and family gave me the nickname “Flaka” which means “skin to the bone”, and that’s how they still call me these days. I used to swim when I was younger but hadn’t really done that for years. I also had problems running due to my knees and had never owned a road bike.

In 2015/2016 I started seeing a physio about my knees who gave me quite a few exercises (stretching / rolling / strengthening) which made them much better so I could run about 10km. In 2016 I joined ELT and started going to the swim training once or twice a week, usually a forest run at the weekend (10km or so), and I bought a road bike for the first time and started to go on club rides on a Sunday.

Out on the long ride

In 2016/2017 I did a few sprint triathlons and a couple of half marathons. In September 2017 I did my first Olympic distance triathlon. So having gradually increased my distances I decided to sign up for a marathon and a half Ironman in 2018. I originally tried to get into the London marathon via the ballot but was not successful so entered Edinburgh instead. I chose the Vitruvian as it is a popular half Ironman for the ELT club so there will be quite a few people doing it. I also signed up my husband for both events so he is training with me also!

Over the next few months, I will give you an insight into my journey and experiences into stepping up into the half Ironman. In my next post, I will explain a bit about the training I have been doing.



An Interview with James

This is the first of a series of interviews with our club members, this time it’s with James.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Hi, I’m James, I’ve been part of the club for over 3 years, I’m married with 3 chickens and 2 dogs. I work in the city, and have always tried to stay active.


What motivated you to sign up for your first triathlon and how did it go?

When I moved to London, I got sucked into the city life, I wanted to join a sports club to keep active, but also meet likeminded people. I had swam, biked, and ran, as separate activities (ran to the office, cycled at the weekend etc). So triathlon seemed like sensible sport to get into to try and aim for something. I was also really bored of to the gym, and found the variety of training suited me well!

What’s your favourite discipline (swim, bike, run) to train for and why? Least favourite?

When I first started, my favourite disciplines were cycling and swimming. Although the swimming was very difficult, the club sessions were achievable, and much more interesting than going to the gym! Now (3 years on) I have found more love for running, and the club run on Saturday mornings really helped this. The Forest is a great place to run, and ELT put on different coached sessions every Saturday.

How do you balance training and what tips do you have for others?

When I first started, I just did the club swim sessions. I worked cycling and running around work. The club put on a number of sessions, but it is important you do what works for you. My tip would be try and do one swim session a week, and one other session, perhaps your least enjoyable discipline. Training in a group helps to make it more enjoyable!

What is the best triathlon experience you have had?

Every year the club enter the “Vitruvian” triathlon, which is a 1.9K swim, 85Km bike, and 21km run. This distance can be quite scary for some, so we organised relay teams where one person does one discipline. We had 7 relay teams enter the event, and many first timers. It was a fantastic way for people in the club to experience “part” of long distance race! We also camped over that weekend, so as well as the racing, there was a lot of beer flowing that evening!

What was your worst race and why?

I was lucky enough to represent Team GB as an age group competitor a couple of years ago, I competed in Challenge Walchsee which was a half iron distance race. The bike section was very hilly, and I misjudged my nutrition. I run out of energy on the bike, with 5 km to go and really struggled on the half marathon!

What is the next big race you’re training for?

This year I have decided to focus on the Olympic and Sprint distance races, The first big race this season is the Nottingham Sprint Qualifiers in May.

What are your goals for the year?

Try and keep up with the youngsters that keep joining the club!

What’s your favourite part of the triathlon lifestyle?

The people! We are all very social, we just like doing some kind of exercise first!

What advice would you offer first-timers based on your experience?

My advice would be to come down and get involved. We all started somewhere, and with the wrong equipment! It really is a complete mix of abilities and people, all brought together by some unique desire to do something active 

My First Duathlon – The Bedford Duathlon

Hi, my name is Isabelle and I joined ELT late Spring 2017. Each year the club creates a list of events that they wish to race called the Grand Prix. I dutifully entered the Bedford Duathlon, immediately forgetting what the distance was. Shock and horror, with about 4 weeks to go I realised I had not entered a sprint event but the standard distance event….

Race Briefing

I kept a brave face when people reminded me that it consisted of 10k run/40k cycle/5k run. I do like a challenge me!! Over the winter I ramped up the running to about 20k a week, I used my indoor cycling solution and took any opportunity to cycle when the roads were not frozen over!

Was I ready on the day? The answer was: to a point! Adding to the fact that work had been hectic with financial year end and we were losing an hour sleep with the clocks going forward… So my lovely partner, a friend, and I arrived suitably last minute in a state of dazed panic. What do you mean I don’t have the time to go to the loo?

Dazed look at my support team!

Before I knew it, the race had begun!

My aim was to go steady throughout and finish! A few days before the race, I had downloaded an app compatible with my Garmin watch, so I could keep an eye on my pace and the distance ran/cycled. I have to be honest, I very quickly felt lonely on the track. As one of the slowest competitors, soon the elderlies and the birds were my only companions. I was overtaken repeatedly by super-fast athletes but still, I stayed in my zone and finished the 10k pretty much at target pace.

This is me in transition to cycle, not hindered by the presence of anyone else!

The transition to the bike was quite shocking; I couldn’t find my shoes, my helmet had been moved to another bike and I ran in my socks to the start line and got my feet wet before being on the saddle, yay! Once on the bike I just carried on a 25k/h pace or more when I could.

In hindsight I should have put more clothes on for the bike leg. There were parts of the circuit exposed to a strong icy wind which was unpleasant and made my feet like blocks of ice on the transition to running.

My furry support team!

In short, I am proud of myself for taking part in this. My time was 3 hours and 8 minutes, not too bad for a first shot. The first person in my age group managed in 2h16! So I will aim to be closer to this next time.

Lessons learnt: it is better if you can compete alongside athletes of similar abilities and I need to be better prepared for transitions. I am going to be 50 in May… next event the ELT Dragon Slayer.


Swimming 31st March

Swimming on the 31st March 2018 is cancelled due to the pool being closed.

Swimming will resume as normal on the 3rd April.

Novice Swim Training

Are you training for a triathlon this summer? Are you a novice swimmer and need to work on your swimming technique thereby improving your confidence in the water?

Every Thursday ELT will be running a novice swim session at 8pm at the College Pool in Walthamstow.

Source: British Triathlon

The session will be led by a British Triathlon Level 3 coach in which you will do a range of drills and a little bit of swimming with no planned target speed or distance.

You can relax in the knowledge that you can go at your own pace as you build confidence and ability.

If you wish to find out more, please get in contact!

ELT Chairman

ELT Winter Warmer Duathlon

Once again ELT hosted another fantastic event at the Lee Valley Velo park, this time the Winter Warmer Duathlon. We had over 65 competitors brave the fierce winds and the icy cold weather to complete a 2 lap run, 10 lap bike, and a final 1 lap run course.

Under the superb leadership of Peter Dyer the ELT Volunteers were highly organised and extremely efficient setting up the course. It was good to see a mixture of first time and experienced volunteers turn up to make sure all the competitors had a good event.
With a constant headwind on the back straight, each lap took its toll on our competitors requiring them to dig deep and get as aerodynamic as possible to avoid being overly punished by the conditions.

A big congratulations to all of our podium finishers, the full results will be found on the veloduathlon park soon.

Thank you to both participants and volunteers that turned up on the day, see you all in May for the Dragonslayer!

The Highwaymen’s Hoard

Last weekend ELT ran it’s very own Orienteering Fitness challenge dubbed the ‘Highwaymen’s Hoard’. We had a great turnout from competitors, helpers and our supporters. It was nice to see lots of new faces too!

We met at High Beech tea hut and tested our knowledge of the forest and map reading skills in search of locations specified by grid references. We participated either on our own or in teams and both on bike or by foot. The choice, along with the route, was ours.

In the end, experience of the forest showed as our winners David Longstaff and Isabelle Schelcher trailed away managing to find 9/10 locations within the time limit. James Swift and Ali Wardle paired up and also found 9/10 locations but couldn’t keep track of time and narrowly lost out through time penalties. It was a tie in third between Pete and Sam Bitten, Angela Rouse and Janet Bywater and Alex Ward. Well done to everyone who competed.

For those of you who missed out or are more fair weather athletes, we plan to try another in the summer!


ELT Vice Chair