TIPS/ HOW TO PREPARE

Walking/Jogging

  1. You’ll need a good pair of shoes, reflective vest, sunscreen and a waterproof jacket – Yes! At the same time.
  2. Leave your house when the credits of an hour-long tv show starts and aim to be back by the time it is finished. In the same way as we can all organise ourselves to sit down on time to watch our favourite tv shows, then aim to be out the door when the music starts and back for the credits It will help you to keep a discipline.
  3. Swing your arms when you walk, it increases your heartbeat and warms up the muscles and pumps the lymph around your body. And consider investing in a set of those Nordic poles, especially if you had lymph nodes removed. Probably best not to use them in an urban setting without looking like a complete eeejit but beaches, parks and country roads are fine.
  4. At the start, just aim to walk in one direction for say 30 minutes and then just turn around and come back – the distance doesn’t matter at first.
  5. If you feel you are ready to start running then aim for a 30 minute session when you jog for a minute every 10 minutes. So in a 30 minute walk, you are only jogging for 3 mins in total. Then increase that to 2 minute jogging sessions, 5 minutes jogging sessions etc., and the gap between the jogging gets shorter and shorter.
  6. Arrange to meet someone else to go for a walk and make it the same day and time if you can. Easier to organise yourself around it.
  7. Concentrate on your breathing, or on anything at all that takes your mind off the fact that you have 55 minutes left. Try humming a song with a good rhythm. Kylie Minogue “Can’t Get You Outta My Head, Nah Nah Nah” is a good one.
  8. Instead of meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, meet them for a walk. Keep runners at your desk/in the car/close to the front door (not upstairs in that lovely box they came in, under the bed).
  9. Invest in one of those shopping carts on wheels, à la Paris. You can get them now in all sorts of modern patterns and colours. So you don’t have to take the car to get the bag of spuds in the shops or to collect the kids from school.
  10. Always, always, always take the stairs if you have a choice.

Cycling

  1. Make sure you have a helmet, lights and some reflective gear to wear.
  2. Layer your clothes. Once you get going, you won’t be cold.
  3. Bring the bike (your own or borrowed) along to a bike shop and ask them to raise/lower the saddle or handlebars to your height and explain to you why right height is important.
  4. Buy saddle bags for your bike, then you’ll be more likely to use the bike more often. Any of the Dutch websites will give you ideas and there are some very good Irish websites which make waterproof and reflective bags.
  5. A racer will always be easier to cycle than a mountain bike because it is lighter but don’t worry too much about that. Wheels on a mountain bike are wider and easier to balance. There are great deals on second hand bikes on various websites, and the BikeToWork Scheme is great if you are an employee.
  6. Go cycling for an hour, don’t worry about the distance when you set off, you can always go out with car and measure it later.
  7. Don’t pull too closely into the ditches or pavements when you cycle. Drivers subconsciously leave the same about of distance between them and you, as you have left between you and the ditch/pavement.

Swimming

  1. If you learnt to swim like most Irish people of a certain age, i.e. on a cold Irish beach in a week in July – have a few lessons with a trainer. It will make the world of difference. Get a group together and make it a social event.
  2. You can do breaststroke/ doggy paddle – just get into that water.
  3. If you live by the coast, a wetsuit is a great piece of kit because you’ll get into the water an awful lot more often and stay warmer for longer. A shortie (short sleeved arms and knee length legs) is fine for swimming in summer/autumn in Ireland and easier to pull on and off. There is a whole industry online in second hand wetsuits, charity shops are always a good bet.
  4. Invest in a decent pair of goggles that won’t fog up and won’t leak. Swimsuit is optional, but goggles – they’re essential!
  5. Choose a song that suits your rhythm and sing it while you sing, it will keep your mind off the task in hand.
  6. If you are swimming in the sea, be sensible and go with someone else.
  7. On the day of the Triathlon, get into the water about 10 mins before the off and swim around for a few minutes to get warm and comfortable, put your face in the water a few times. Or there is the other way to get warm in a wetsuit…