The Wightlink Challenge – event preparation

In a few weeks we are due to participate in the Wightlink Challange, a triathlon type event consisting of mountain biking, kayaking and trail running as a team of 3.  Sounds tough?  Well it is, but it’s much easier with the right preparation.

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So how do you train for such an event?

Most events like this are based on endurance, involving the body’s ability to work for long periods.  Training for any event is obviously specific to the distance and type of activity.  In this case initially we need the basics – to be able to complete an 18 mile ride, a 2 mile kayak and an 8 mile run.  Typically you would train these separately on different days.

That’s the easy bit.   Sometimes this is all someone has time for as they may need a number of months to build up to those distances.  It just takes some time.

How to improve performance..

Here’s the fun part.  Simply doing those disciplines and distance over and over is limited (and tiring).  Once the endurance is there it’s often more effective to improve efficiency, strength and speed.

Take the run.  Instead of running regular 8 miles it pays dividends to run 4 x 1 mile at a quicker pace.  This improves strength and speed training the body to run quicker.  4 miles is plenty at this intensity and definitely time well spent.

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A typical training schedule..

Monday –  Easy 20 mile ride

Tuesday – 4 x 1 mile runs

Wednesday – off

Thursday – Rowing machine and circuit training

Friday – Combined 3 mile run and 10 mile ride (90% tough pace)

Saturday – easy 8 mile run

Sunday – eat and sleep!

Looking at this schedule simplifies things and hopefully illustrates where the smart training is as well as the race distance.  This could be applied to most events and sports.  The event intensity and duration is important but often gains are (once again) made through doing less with emphasis on quality.

Having seen how hard we are working here’s the plea for sponsorship – anything you can is great!




BourneFit team complete Wightlink Challenge

After months of preparation D-day had arrived, myself, Andy and Luke had to actually complete the Wight Challenge.  Taking place on the Isle of Wight, the challenge which has run for a number of years involves an offroad 19 mile cycle, 2 mile kayak and 8 mile run.  Here is how it all went..

It was a fairly early start to get to Lymington for the 9:30 ferry along with our ‘support team’ consisting of family members who had mainly come to laugh at us.  A second breakfast on the ferry and a drive to the venue and we ready to be briefed.

The atmosphere was pretty relaxed, teams of 3 preparing in a field, the temperature and sunshine definitely helped.  After about 20 minutes of packing a bag full of tools, food and spares (which I had to carry lads, thanks for that!) we headed for the start line for the bike ride.  Teams went off at 30 second intervals, we were 6th start.

We managed to catch a few of the teams in front as we went.  The first 10 miles involved some pretty rocky climbs and some scenery that was worth the trip over.  Finally we negotiated the coastal terrain for a blast along the road back to camp, catching the last of the leading teams, so we knew it was a decent ride 1:27ish.

A dowsing of flapjacks, sweets and water, then we were into the kayaks.  At this time there was no sign of our ‘supporters’, turned out they chocked off in the car for lunch at a cafe! By the time had completed the kayak they had returned and cheered us off into the run.

This was the toughy, 2 hours on the clock and into an 8 mile run.  Again this was hilly as expected.  Getting the pace right here was crucial we were 2nd on the bike stage, but lacking on the kayak as novices there, we needed to lay a good time down (it’s not a race it’s a challenge was the motto of the day – true, but it’s nice to do well, we had come a long way!).

As we went the pace was strong and we lost a little time navigating the route, even having to climb a vertical cliff to get back on course.  As we gritted our teeth into the last 2 miles we offered encouragement to some competitors climbing the first hill beginning the run.  Good luck with that one.

We finished well, 3rd fastest on the day (definitely lost a few minutes up that cliff!).  A good reason to head back again in May! It was a great atmosphere, a tough course and a worthy effort.  Once again thank you to all have sponsored or supported us, we have raised over £1000 for Wessex Heartbeat.

..Cream Crackered!

If you are interested in forming or being part of a team in next years May or September Wight Challenge, please get in touch.  Information can be found at