Triathlon prep with Emma Oakes: training with a friend and finishing with a jet wash!

in Bolton Abbey in Ilkley in Otley is following Emma Oakes, an athlete training for the first Long Course Weekend Yorkshire (LCW) event in England. LCW is a fantastic three-day multi-discipline sports festival, taking place in Masham from 6-8 September 2024. It is expected to bring athletes from across the globe to compete in three incredible days of world class sport.

The unique LCW format means that athletes can take part in one of the individual disciplines or all three – they can also choose their challenge by selecting their preferred distances for the weekend. However, to secure the coveted 4th medal they must complete the longest distance in all three categories.

Friday comprises the 1.2 or 2.4 mile Raceskin Yorkshire Dales Swim in the stunning Grimwith Reservoir, followed by the cycle element on the Saturday – the 56 or 112 mile The Black Sheep Brewery Yorkshire Dales Sportive in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sunday provides participants with the choice of a Marathon, Half Marathon,10k or 5k taking in some spectacular countryside and ending in Masham with a red-carpet finish. Find out more and enter here.

Would you like the chance to win some high quality sports apparel and entry for you and friend to Long Course Weekend in Yorkshire? Then check out the Instagram posts for British Activewear brand Sundried (@sundried) and Long Course Weekend (@longcourseweekend), who have teamed up for this great giveaway closing on 10th May and discounts available until the end of May.

Emma’s Diary

After feeling a bit run down and finding it hard to get motivated over the past week, I’m now on an easy week. Some simple sessions and a day off here and there, just to rest the body and mind. When you go through the motions of training day in, day out, you can sometimes forget the reason WHY. Why am I doing this? What is all this for? I have lots of whys.

To show my kids the value of not giving up, working hard to achieve goals, putting in the effort to stay strong and healthy and that by taking the time to exercise and do something for me, I can be a better mum.

Everyone has their own reason Why and I think it is an important question to ask yourself when taking part in a big event, especially one like Long Course Weekend where you will be competing on consecutive days. Knowing your WHY will keep you focused and motivated to keep going when it gets tough. That’s what I’m reminding myself of at the moment. Re-focusing on the WHY.

The Long Course Weekend is such a unique event. Three different disciplines of various distances happening over one weekend. The organisation and atmosphere are immense and just being there amongst so many amazing athletes is so motivating and gives you such a buzz. For anyone who has done Long Course before, either in Wales or abroad, you will know what I mean, and there is a reason athletes keep coming back for more. There is so much support and camaraderie from the volunteer support crew and athletes, the whole weekend feels so special. I’m sure that the Yorkshire event will be just as amazing and I’m going to continue my training so I can make it down that red carpet when the time comes. Plus, the medals are a nice bit of bling to take home 😃.

During my strength sessions I’ve been working on Glass floor deadlifts (working on the lowering), 1 leg Romanian deadlifts with weight (balance and stability) and shoulder press. Throwing in some box jumps and leg press. I am always being pushed to go that bit harder/heavier during strength but only if my technique stays good and I don’t have any niggles. I like doing strength work as its different from the other training I do. It’s a chance to work on any imbalances I have and improve mobility, which will in turn hopefully improve my swim/bike and running.

I gave blood this week on my Wednesday night off. I know a lot of athletes don’t like giving blood, due to the decrease in VO2 and reduced performance which can last up to 4-6 weeks. For me, knowing that the effects are only temporary and as long as I don’t have an event on, I think it’s worth it. My blood goes to the neonatal unit which spurs me on to do it, knowing I’m helping some tiny babies makes it all meaningful.

With this in mind, I wasn’t too hard on myself if training felt tough this week. And I did have to remind myself that I’ve just lost a pint of blood out of my body and to take it a bit easier. My legs felt tired on my Saturday Turbo session. 2 x (5 x 3mins) followed by 10 min TT at FTP which I didn’t think I was going to get through with how my legs felt on the last couple of 3 min efforts, but I found some strength from somewhere and was overall pleased with my performance.

My shoulder has been giving me some jip this week. I think I slept funny one night and have had a really stiff neck since. I’ve been massaging it, rolling and stretching but I think I need a professional massage. My shoulders and upper back especially get a lot of abuse from swimming, riding and picking up kids. Not to mention sitting at a desk, cue straightening my shoulders as I write this 😬. When doing my swim set I made sure to have a long warm up and only push the pace once my shoulder felt able. This week we were doing drills with various intensity @60m.

I’ve been doing some local running routes as I’ve not had time to get further afield. The reservoir and my local 10k route are undulating but I’ve managed to make them work with the pacing in my session. I do prefer a varied route as it keeps things interesting and most of the events I have this year involve hills. Although we don’t have the course info yet for the LCW Yorkshire marathon, one thing you can guarantee is a hill or two.

I even had some company on one of my run interval sets. A friend, Adam came up from Birmingham for the weekend and to be honest I think he put me through my paces. 15 x 90s at zone 4-5 on an undulating trail course. We stuck to the zones pretty well considering the terrain, apart from the one big hill where I was left in his dust. It was nice having company on an interval set and made the time go quicker.

I had one treadmill session this week also. I was at home looking after my ill girl and while she slept I caught up on my training and hopped on the treadmill for the run. I haven’t done a treadmill workout where I have to stick to a certain pace and wow did it feel fast. I kept having to check to see if I was running at the correct pace.  

Only one outdoor ride in the last couple of weeks. An easy 2hr bike, keep it to low zone 2 HR on the hills was the brief. With some nice weather for once it was a perfect opportunity for a ride into the dales via Otley, Ilkley, Bolton Abbey and Barden, finishing back at Hesketh Farm Park where I met my husband, Adam and the kids. A very relaxed ride and even better when finished to get your bike hosed down from your biking friend who has a mini jet wash in the back of his van…..hello clean bike.

Training summary

Here is the rest of my training for the past 2 weeks:

Week 1

  • Mon – 1hr strength, 1hr turbo (microbursts)
  • Tue – 1hr club run (intervals plus hills)                                            
  • Wed – Day off (giving Blood)
  • Thurs – 1hr club swim (2100m, lots of drills)
  • Fri – 1hr easy run                                                                                   
  • Sat – 1hr 46min turbo (2x(5x3min) into 10min TT)
  • Sun – 1hr 10min run (3 x 10min zone 3-4)

Week 2

  • Mon – Day off looking after ill child
  • Tue – 1hr turbo (microbursts)/40mins run off bike, 1hr club run(400s)
  • Wed – 1hr 30min turbo (3 x15min sweetspot)
  • Thurs – 1hr club swim (2550m, race pace)
  • Fri – 1hr run (15 x 90s zone 4-5)
  • Sat – 2hr easy ride
  • Sun – Day off

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Related Accommodation

The accommodation below is nearby - and has been updated recently.

The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa

Bolton Bridge, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AJ, United Kingdom

Chevin End Guest House

West Chevin Road, Menston, Otley, LS29 6BE, United Kingdom

Innkeeper’s Lodge Ilkley

The Cow and Calf Vintage Inn, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, LS29 8BT, United Kingdom

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