Insider Tips for the 220 Triathlon WoBurner

16th July 2018

Piers Vallance, 2017 WoBurner winner

The Woburner is an ideal event for anyone moving up to middle distance triathlons. I’ve competed in many triathlons across the world but this was my first 70.3. The event date lies towards the end of season so the water should be warm and you have the best months of the summer to train for it. The rolling bike course means you won’t break any records here, but the run section will definitely produce some quicker times.


With a picturesque backdrop in a man-made decorative lake, the swim is pretty special. The water is calm and well-marked with regular buoys. Depending on rainfall the lake is quite shallow in parts, in these areas sediment can be disturbed and visibility will reduce. Given the time of year, the sun may be low and this will complicate sighting above the water. To overcome this, practice regular sighting in training to reduce neck ache in the race.


It’s not a mountain at 500ft but Woburn Abbey sits on top of a hill. During the bike course you will do this climb three times with many other shorter climbs in between. This makes the bike course fairly unrelenting with not many areas to relax and settle into a rhythm.

I’ve ridden these roads on both a TT and a Road Bike, and they each have their own advantage. On race day last year I opted for the TT bike but on the rolling section down Long Lane I was overtaken by a road cyclist who was just out for his weekend ride!


The run takes place in the Deer Park and is relatively flat until the final uphill kicker to the finish line. If you have run a half marathon before I’d add 8-10% to your individual half marathon time to get an idea of what to aim for in the race.

Training Sessions


Open water

3 x 750m practice in your wetsuit and gain confidence in swimming beyond the race distance

Pool swim

6 x 300m @ race pace with 1-2 mins rest between each 300, to increase your speed

Endurance Brick


2-3 hours over an undulating route (aerobic pace)


3-4 miles after the bike to simulate running on tired legs

Race Conditioning Brick


10 mins warm up

3 x 20 minutes at race pace


Straight off the bike – 15 minutes at half marathon race pace

5-10 min warm down


10 mins warm up @ a steady pace

6 x 1000m @ half marathon pace with 2 minutes recovery

10 minutes warm down

Put your training into practice this September and secure your place in the 220 Triathlon WoBurner now!