Thursday, 20 November 2014

Blenheim Palace Triathlon: Venue Visit

As I am about to endure my first ever triathlon, I took it upon myself to organise a day trip to where it will be taking place - Blenheim Palace.

Now, I have never done a 'reccy' as some people call it (basically cast your beady eyeballs over something) but triathlon is unfamiliar territory to me, especially the outdoor swim so visiting its location and getting a good grasp of what surroundings, terrains and conditions I will be facing was essential to me.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire is the only place in Britain to be given the honour of being called a palace (the only other place is Buckingham Palace, which is a royal ground). Owned by the Duke of Marlborough, it's renowned ownership in the past has been the Churchill's (Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Second World War was born here). But, along with the history of this magnificent building, it is also home to a large annual triathlon event! June 2015 will see around 7000 triathletes enter through the gates and take part in either Super Sprint or Sprint distances.  The latter I am doing and I was really keen to head off for a long, relaxed walk around the grounds of Blenheim to check out the course and what I was going to eventually face. 
The swim is my most uncertain area. Having never swam in open water, checking out the lake was really important and working out where I was going to swim. Looking at the course map on the event website, it looks like I will be swimming up this part of the lake:
I really can't imagine myself actually swimming up this. But on race day, the atmosphere will be buzzing, I'd have practised in open water so will (hopefully) be feeling confident to get round the 750m lap.

I also made sure I snooped around the actual palace as well as the grounds. It was great to see the space which will become the transition area where all our bikes will be lined up. It's crazy to think this will be brimming with rows and rows of bikes!
Looking at the grounds, the pathways are quite undulating, so I reckon I am going to have to get solid training in for my running and cycling. I will need to ensure I am well practised on courses both flat and hilly. Building strength will help me get round when my legs are probably going to feel like wanting to collapse! Deep down I know cycling is my weakest of the three sports so I will be looking at my training plan and seeing where I can fit in beneficial training sessions. It's a good job I've got a duathlon in the diary for April too!

Overall, it was great to walk around the grounds of Blenheim and envisage the triathlon and how it will work. Now I have seen the lake, I know what I am in for and even being aware of the course and it's flat and slightly hilly areas is powerful knowledge for my training. I know what I need to work on and more importantly I know what I am going to face.

Have you ever checked out a venue prior to race day before? Have you found it useful to know what you are facing?

For more information on Blenheim Palace Triathlon, visit the website HERE

Lipstick Runner. 

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