Long Course Weekend training: Grassington, Buckden and Arncliffe

in Grassington

Yorkshire.com is following Emma Oakes, one of the athletes training for Long Course Weekend (LCW) an epic three-day multi-discipline event, taking place from 6-8 September 2024 in Yorkshire. 

The Challenge

Long Course Weekend (LCW) is the original, international multisport festival where athletes come to swim, cycle, and run over three days, in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Athletes can participate in one of the individual disciplines or take part in all three – mixing and matching the distances that suits them best and bringing the event to the widest audience possible.

LCW has recently been moved from the Nidderdale Show ground in Pateley Bridge, to Masham. The event runs over three days. The first day comprises the 1.2 or 2.4 mile Yorkshire Dales Swim in the stunning Grimwith Reservoir, followed by the cycle element on the second day – the 56 or 112 mile Yorkshire Dales Sportive in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. The final day offers participants 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.


Respire Black Sheep Brewery’s carbon-neutral beer is the official beer sponsor of Long Course Weekend Yorkshire. Brewed with fresh dales water in Masham, North Yorkshire, Respire is completely carbon neutral. Any Yorkshire businesses keen to know more about sponsorship opportunities can get in touch with Oliver Duckett on 01437 765 777 or contact him via info@lcwyorkshire.com.

Emma’s training diary

So, as all of you will know if you’re booked in for Long Course Weekend Yorkshire, there has been a change in venue. A bit crazy as plans have been made and you don’t normally get a major change like this in the run up to an event, but I think it’s going to make this weekend better. Pateley Bridge is a lovely town, but it is small and there are big, big hills to get out either way, so I was speculating as to where the run might go. Masham is open, with more forgiving hills surrounding it, much better for the run.

The bike route and swim are remaining the same which is good, and it means we’re nicely warmed up for Trapping Hill at Lofthouse. Plus, I personally think the route from Pateley to Masham is the best part, over moorland, quaint little villages and rolling hills. If we get some good weather, this is going to a beautiful finish to the Sportive. If you are considering entering but haven’t quite committed yet, just do it. I hadn’t planned on doing full long course distances yet this year. My plan was to build up to middle distance after only getting back into triathlon last year after having kids. But with Long Course coming to Yorkshire and knowing what an amazing event it is, I couldn’t say no. The lure of that 4th medal and something to push me out of my comfort zone, I thought, why not. There is still 5 months to go before the event, plenty of training time.

Last time I wrote I was just starting to do some testing to see where my fitness was at, benchmark testing. This week has been cycling and running testing. Wow I hate testing. I know why we do it, but it still brings up the same anxiety as the start of a race. The anticipation of how I will perform and if I have improved. Despite this I cracked on and got the sessions done. The first was a 5 min test on the bike to test my anaerobic capacity and the second, later in the week was the standard 20 min FTP test. Anyone who has used Zwift will know about this as it is used to test aerobic capacity and set your Watts. With both I had to really concentrate towards the end to make sure my watts didn’t drop as the legs were burning and my HR got higher. The run test was similar to the swimming one where I had to progress through 5 x 1ml efforts with  a1 minute rest between. As I’ve never done this before I started in zone 2 and worked up each mile with the last one going hard. I’m still not very good at pacing my running and tend to run a bit fast to start so, I had to keep an eye on my watch to make sure I wasn’t pushing too hard too soon. I’m so glad it’s over now and I can get back to the regular training sessions.

In amongst the testing, I have managed to get out and I did lovely cycle from Grassington down the valley to Buckden, Hubberholme, Arncliffe and back. It was a drizzly day, but it was quiet, and I felt strong, which was a great feeling. I finished this session off with a 50 min run from Grassington to Burnsall suspension bridge and back. I opted for a trail run for this as it is a lovely route down by the river although a bit muddy and slippery. I have tried various trail shoes over the years, but my favourites are La Sportiva Mutants. They are comfy, offer that little bit of extra ankle support and they don’t wear out by the little toe that a lot of my other shoes have done. It’s so frustrating when the upper fabric of shoes wears out and there is still so much tread left. These are nearing their way out now after many miles in them, and I will need to invest in another pair before my first Ultra in October. 

I am getting back into the strength work with my PT. I have had to put a pause on these as I need my parents help with childcare and they have been unable to do it for the past few weeks. But I’m back on it now and I’ve had the usual muscle Doms to let me know I’ve not worked those muscles in a while. Note to self…. must stretch more!

My FTP has increased which is good, but it now means all my Zwift bike sessions are more challenging. Like the 1hr 20min session Anaerobic to Threshold where I was working at above FTP for short bursts to start then 4 x 5mins FTP with 2.30min rest. I don’t use ERG mode (which keeps your watts at the correct number), I like to keep it like real world riding, but it means I must concentrate to keep the watts up when the going gets tough.

Swimming has been positive with a varied speed session and this week we have been doing more drills with fins. Fins allow you to slow down your stroke and really concentrate on what your upper body is doing as you can keep the momentum from your legs. Plus, it helps with a good kick. I haven’t used toys in the pool much but have splashed out and got my own in preparation for my triathlon camp next week. I’m excited for the camp as it will be nice to do some training in warm weather, some long bike sessions, and sleep at night without being woken up. I am nervous how my kids will cope without me as they can be very clingy, but I hope nursery and visits from grandparents will keep them distracted until I can scoup them up and give them the biggest hugs. I think I am going to miss them more than they miss me.

Happy Training x

2 week training summary

Week 1

  • Mon – 50min Zwift bike, prep for test
  • Tue – 1hr benchmark 5min test
  • Wed – Rest Day
  • Thurs – 1 hr Strength/ 2400m club swim
  • Fri – 2hr bike into 50 min run
  • Sat – 1hr 15min, 20 min power benchmark
  • Sun – 1hr 15 run benchmark

Week 2

  • Mon – Strength 1hr
  • Tue – 1hr club run, flat and hill intervals
  • Wed – 1hr 20 zwift bike, Anaerobic – Threshold
  • Thurs – 2550m club swim, drills/12 x 120m
  • Fri – 1hr zwift bike, 110-120% above FTP/ 1hr bike Z2
  • Sat – Day off with sick child
  • Sun – 90min bike with hills

Image gallery

Related Accommodation

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

Riverside, Grassington

Grassington, BD23 5NH, United Kingdom

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2 Garrs Lane, Grassington, BD23 5AT, United Kingdom

The Devonshire Grassington

27 Main Street, Grassington, BD23 5AD, United Kingdom

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