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Trade your Gym Membership for The Great Outdoors

09 January

Trade your Gym Membership for The Great Outdoors

gym membership

What are your gym and fitness goals for 2011? Now that the weather is thawing and the days are getting longer, the gym membership remains an essential part of my training but I am looking forward to getting back working out in the fresh air (or as fresh as it gets in London). I always like to train for a specific goal or event; it motivates me to get back in to some good routines and feels as if there is some point to the money spent on your gym membership.

Triathlons seem to be ever the height of fashion, and my big date this summer is the London Triathlon (30th and 31st July) – the world’s largest triathlon set against the iconic backdrop of Billingsgate, Tower Bridge and Westminster. Jenson Button completed the Olympic distance last year in 2:14:15; if he keeps that pace up this year sadly I don’t think I’ll be seeing him.

I will be making the most of my gym membership, alongside participating in a couple of shorter sprint tris down at Dorney Lake in Eton – a superb venue which is playing host to the rowing during the 2012 Olympics. If you are new to triathlons this is a great place to start and Human Race hosts brilliantly organised triathlons and duathlons there throughout the year. They also offer a number of group coaching sessions hosted by elite triathletes which are well worth considering if you need some extra attention on a certain area of your race. I have taken part in one of the swimming clinics and it built up my confidence enough that I could get my knocking knees in to the water for my very first race.

I want (read: need) to focus more on my open water swimming this year – endlessly swimming up and down in your local pool does not compare to what you will be up against in race conditions. Triathletes are a very competitive bunch. You will be kicked, swum over, and I think it is near impossible to complete the 1500m without a few lungfuls of muddy water. With this in mind I have also signed up for The Great British Swim in London’s Victoria docks (there are five events across the country: Suffolk, Windemere, London, Strathclyde and Salford Quays). Weil’s disease, anyone?

There are still places left in these events but they fill up quickly, so if you’re interested you need to put your money where you mouth is now (literally, as triathlons are not cheap events. The London Triathlon costs £82 and triathlons at Dorney Lake start at £50). It’s a great challenge and I believe a brilliant way to keep up your all round fitness. After all, what are we all spending time and money on our gym memberships for anyway? I now at least have a couple of medals hanging in the kitchen to show for it.

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Andrew Kitching