April 30th 2023!!! The day I headed to London Olympia to take part in the latest UK Hyrox event. My last one was in Glasgow in February and despite taking nearly 6 minutes off my time I missed a podium place by 10 seconds. My training buddy had made the difficult decision to pull out due to feeling unwell. She still accompanied me for the day and I was grateful for the company and support. This time I had stepped up to the pro division as I had hoped to qualify for the world champs in Manchester in May. The world champs are all raced at the pro weights so I thought London would be a good test. London Olympia is a beautiful venue, first opened in 1886. The balcony above the main arena made it great for spectating and reduced some of the excess traffic around the arena. It was still the usual mix of pumping tunes, sweaty bodies, lycra, fake tan and tattoos. Purely from a physio point of view its a great venue for checking out different physiques and techniques.
It hadn’t been a great lead up to the event as I hurt my knee whilst training in January then ran on it which really aggravated it. My running has been pretty non existent this year as I’ve struggled with motivation and inspiration. I’ve put on a bit of weight which makes running harder and so its sometimes hard to see a way up out of the doldrums. The 2 weeks leading up to the event I had been away for a week in the van. I somehow hurt my back sleeping in the van so this meant more time on light training. I was set to pull out of the event but decided to just give it a go. On a good day I’m reasonably strong and on a bad day I’m still reasonably strong so what could possibly go wrong!??
I checked out the competition and had a rough idea of a sort of time I would like to achieve. The pro division was broken down into 3 waves an hour apart. The ladies who do pro are not to be messed with. Most of them are from a CrossFit/lifting background and there’s muscles on show left right and center. Its quite an intimidating group. It was great to have my buddy at the start waving me off and as we set off I felt relatively calm. Hyrox involves running 1km followed by a series of 8 different challenging activities with a 1km run sandwiched in-between each one. Depending on the size of the venue you may have to run 2 or 3 laps (or more). Olympia was 3 and a bit for each lap and its up to the athlete to make sure they do the right amount. Somehow on the first 1km I missed the ‘In’ at the end of the 3rd lap so arrived late into the ski erg. I was cross with myself for such a stupid mistake. The ski erg is just a case of smashing out the 1km so I tend to count 17 strokes for each 100 meters.
The next two stations are the sled push and pull. At the gym I train at our sled glides effortlessly across the flooring, at Hyrox the sleds cross the carpet like they are on Velcro. It requires every bit of grit and determination you’ve got to move those pesky sled!!! After these two the legs are like lead and I was feeling my age!!
On to the burpee broad jumps. Being over 6ft isn’t a good quality for burpees and I certainly wasn’t burpee fit!! It took me forever to do the 80 meters and I wobbled round the next 1km run. I knew I was going to be slow but I was still moving!! The 1km row was disappointing but by this time my heart really wasnt in it. Then onto the farmers carry which is the easiest of all the stations. I didn’t put the 2 X 24kg Kettlebells down so was quite chuffed with my effort there.
Station 7 the lunges with a 20 kg bag!! Ouch. I just tried to get my head down and tick them off 10 at a time. The burn comes in around half way and doesn’t stop!!! Heading out into the last 1km after this station is like running in lead boots!! The final station is the wall balls; 100 with a 6kg ball. At this point I was just praying I would finish. The wall ball judge helped count me through each 5-10 reps and I moved slower than a sloth on holiday. Finally 97…98….99…100 and a short stagger over the finish line. I dipped in at 1 hour 29. 41st out of 78 and 5th in my age group (out 0f 9).
So am I disappointed? Yes but I was way off race fit and was just glad I made it through without any injuries. As I am sitting writing this my whole body hurts and I have the most awful DOMS in my glutes and quads. These are clearly areas I need to work on but right now I can just about sit on the toilet (with a bit of help from the side of the bath!!). Ive been checking my results and I have to say its rather comical reading. I was firs out of all the pro ladies (77) and 75th in the burpees!! I was 6th overall in the ski erg, even with a slight kerfuffle of starting out on my 4th lap. There’s definitely so much room for improvement. My focus now is to improve my running fitness and build some heavy weighted sessions into my plan. The next event is with my training buddy as we tackle women’s doubles. We are aiming for a podium finish this time so we’ve got a good 5 months of solid training ahead of us. Will I take on another pro event?? Watch this space.
If you fancy something different to train for and need a bit of focus for your gym work outs then Hyrox is a brilliant event to tackle. The stations are the same at every event and you are only racing yourself. There’s so many athletes out in the arena at once that you are never alone. Hyrox put out regular training sessions you can follow for free and many gyms now are tailoring some of their group sessions towards Hyrox activities. Its great fun and the whole day is exhilarating, exhausting, inspiring and rewarding. Go on, why not give it a go.