Jenni Falconer’s Fitness Diary - October 2014

You’ll know by now how much I love keeping fit and the buzz I get from competitive runs, but I’ve never taken part in a triathlon or even entertained the possibility of one, until now…

There seems to be a real trend at the moment for pushing yourself that little bit further, for challenging yourself beyond your comfort zone, and as a result the triathlon seems to have become the event of choice for the cool kids on the fitness block. We plain and simple runners are so 2013.

I’ve always admired those that have the ability to mentally prepare for three disciplines, because let’s face it, it’s not just challenging physically, there’s a lot of mind over matter required to propel you through a triathlon.

So when I agreed to be a team captain in the Sprint at the London Triathlon, I thought it unlikely I’d ever manage more than the run, and that’s why I signed up some team-mates.

We were competing against two other teams, one headed up by Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and the other by Olympic cyclist Rob Hayles. Somehow I felt my team had drawn the short straw with me, the only non- Olympian, as their team captain…

When we all met up beforehand, it turned out that triathlons were new to all of us. Rob was going to take on the cycle despite his enthusiasm for the swim. Mark meanwhile admitted that he’s only ever really swum in pools and wasn’t exactly keen on the idea of 750m in the Thames, so decided on the run like me.

My team-mates were Jade and Paula. Jade had undergone brain surgery following a car accident 13 years ago and wanted to thank the Children’s Trust (the charity we were supporting) by taking part and completing the swim. Meanwhile Paula is a very fit police officer, who was keen to take on the cycle.

The race course wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I imagined. The swim took place outside the Excel Centre in London Docklands, the cycle was a fast course and everything wrapped up with a 5k run.

I found the whole set up fascinating. I’d never experienced transition before (there are rules and regulations and breaking them can lead to time penalties) but there were so many officials on hand to help out, it made it a far less stressful affair.

I’m so used to taking part in individual events that this relay felt incredibly special. I loved the moral support you give and receive.

The guys at the triathlon promised me that once I’d had my first taste of triathlons, I’d get the bug and I’d be back next year taking on the whole course. I laughed at the time, but having got a flavour of what’s in store, I have to say I’m very tempted.

Why not have a think about it, too? The worst that can happen is that you have a go. And the best? Well, you may just get the bug.

Jenni Falconer