Triathlon training with Emma Oakes: first event of the season in Roundhay

in Harrogate in Leeds

We catch up with Emma Oakes, who is 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 will see athletes from across the globe coming together to compete in three incredible days of world class sport.

The challenge

The beauty of the LCW format means that athletes can take part in one of the individual disciplines or all three – they can also mix and match distances for the weekend. It’s a chance to make the event your own. However, if it’s the coveted 4th medal you’re aiming for you must complete the longest distance in all three categories.

The event kicks off on the Friday with a 1.2 or 2.4 mile Yorkshire Dales Swim in the stunning Grimwith Reservoir. The cycle element is on the Saturday with the 56 or 112 mile Yorkshire Dales Sportive in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sunday offers the choice of a Marathon, Half Marathon,10k or 5k all taking in some spectacular countryside and ending in Masham with a red-carpet finish. Find out more and enter here.

If you’d rather be helping than participating then why not consider being part of the volunteer team? Find out more and apply online here Volunteers are needed to help with route marshalling, manning aid stations, pre and post event set up and more. You would also get a medal and of course entry to the post event party!

Long Course Weekend is offering you the chance to win two places in this epic event plus a voucher for some fabulous Sundried sportswear. To enter check out the Instagram posts for Sundried (@sundried) and Long Course Weekend (@longcourseweekend), who have teamed up for this great giveaway closing on 10th May.

Emma’s blog

So, after a few weeks of feeling the strain, I now feel like I’m coming out of the low and am more motivated and eager to keep going with the training. The lighter evenings are a big help and even though the weather has been bad, a bit of sunshine can go a long way to giving that extra bit of energy. Ava is going through something now and is waking up in the night which is disrupting my sleep so I’m making sure I’m going to bed early enough and prioritising rest and nutrition. The downside of having a training watch is that it tells you your training status. Mine is ‘Strained’ at the moment meaning my training load is ok but my fitness is decreasing, apparently because of the lack of sleep. Don’t think the watch takes into account being a parent. I don’t feel like my fitness is decreasing and I think in this situation I just need to go by feel, metrics can only tell you so much.

I done my first event of the season this week. It was supposed to be Skipton Sprint Tri, but it was postponed due to the amount of rain we have been having so I opted for the Run Roundhay 10K instead. I got to Roundhay early with the kids and Mark and got my bearings for the route. With 15 minutes to go I had a very light run to warm up which got rid of any pre-race nerves. I got to the start line, and we were off. I haven’t done a running event in ages and had no idea of pace, so I just went by feel. I thought I may be going too fast and worried that I was going to run out of steam, but I just focused on breathing and technique. It was slippy in places and as it was a nice day there were lots of people and dogs to dodge around the lake, but I made it round and eventually was on the last hill. I knew after this it was just the final straight to finish and I could see another female in front but when she turned and saw me she upped the pace just enough that with all the will in the world I couldn’t make up the distance. I crossed the line in 3rd place and was very happy with my result. I wasn’t expecting to place so that was a bonus.

Image name image006 1 the 1 image from the post Triathlon training with Emma Oakes: first event of the season in Roundhay in Yorkshire.com.

I feel like my running, which I would say is my weakest discipline out of the three, is going well at the moment. We had our last hill reps session on Montpellier hill in Harrogate with Harrogate Tri Club as we’re going back to Track sessions for the summer. I felt good and kept a steady 53/54s pace for each of the 12 reps. I wasn’t blowing at the top and felt in control of each rep.

My swim sessions have been nice and varied. We were working on breathing drills last week, breathing every 3,5,7,9 strokes. I don’t like doing these as my lung capacity could do with improvement especially breathing every 9 but they are a good drill to do. I have found that doing tumble turns in a pool has helped my breathing in swimming, but I could still do with a bit more air when pushing the pace. Other sessions have included endurance (4 x 200m @65%, 8 x 100m @75%, 8 x 50m @80%) and working on little rest (10 x 90m on 1.50mins x2). The last session, working to a time is a good session as you must work out pacing, so you get adequate rest but don’t overcook it and are not able to keep pace later. We did a pretty good job of keeping a similar pace throughout and felt like it was a solid session.

I have had my first spin out on my TT bike in 5 years. Wow it felt weird, and I felt so unstable and nervous. I had an hour easy bike, so I put the kids to bed and headed out with the last of the light. I took it nice and steady, getting used to the feel of the bike and by the time I was on the way back I felt much better and more confident. I’m trying to get out on the bike as much as possible and if I can make a turbo session work on the road and the weather is nice I’m getting outside. I know it’s harder to gauge power when you don’t have a power meter, but I think the real-world experience and training in the elements outweighs hitting every watts target on Zwift.

The weekends have been super busy and more so now the weather is getting better, as the kids want to be out more, and this is the only time me and Mark can get in longer sessions. We have to plan our time around spending time together as a family, entertaining kids, and training. Sometimes we must adapt, like taking your youngest on a buggy run off the bike (trying to do 5 x 5 mins with 1 min rest) as she just wants mummy. Then sometimes it works, and Sunday was one of those days. Mark did his 1hr training in the morning and cycled to Valley Gardens in Harrogate where he met me and the kids. After some play time the family dropped me off at Harrogate Hydro for a spin class a friend was being assessed for and needed volunteers. Then as I had no car, I ran home which gave me a 6.5 mile run. I got home with 15 mins to spare before I took the kids for their swimming lessons. The run home was great, and it was a good chance to practice my nutrition for Long Course Weekend marathon.

I don’t talk much about the gear I use but my Fenix 7s watch came into its own on this day. I had no route planned to get home, so while I was spinning, Mark created a route for me and sent me the Garmin link, I saved it on my Garmin app and then sent it to my watch.  So simple. My old 5s didn’t have maps and I’m loving having this feature on my new watch. For a small watch face the map is so easy to navigate from.

I hope you are enjoying your training and getting some sunshine.

Training plan:

Week 1

  • Mon – 1hr Strength, 1hr 30 Turbo (Big gear)
  • Tue – 1hr Club run (hill reps)
  • Wed – 45 min run (easy)
  • Thurs – 1hr Club swim (2400m 3x420m/breathing drills)
  • Fri – Day off
  • Sat – very easy 20min run/30mins easy bike
  • Sun – 10K race day

Week 2

  • Mon – 1hr Strength (squats, leg press, rows/flys)
  • Tue – 1hr swim (2900m endurance)
  • Wed – 1hr 15min easy bike (TT practice)
  • Thurs – 1hr Club swim (2500m 10 x 90m on 1.50)
  • Fri – Day off
  • Sat – 2hrs 20 bike (8x10mins set)/30 min run (5x5mins)
  • Sun – 45 min spin/1hr 15 steady run (road/trail)

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