Easy week

Having completed four weeks of swim focus training, last week was all about rest and recovery. For anyone that actually knows me they will also know that this means no such thing, I may do different things, but just as much!

With the winter weather truly setting in last week, all of this week’s training was done in the comfort of either the gym or at home. The training featured a lot of weight work as I don’t get to do this very much during the season so I like to do some dedicated sessions regularly throughout the off season to build some supporting muscle.

When you haven’t done heavy weights for a while it is guaranteed to make you ache for days!

The weights were broken up by some quality turbo sessions, the first being a guided audio set from www.audiofuel.co.uk which featured 60 Minutes of Chrissie Wellington shouting orders into my ears. Very effective workout though and certainly made the legs burn. The second major turbo session was using one of Sufferfest’s (http://www.thesufferfest.com/) videos, entitled “Angels”. These are ridiculously hard sessions and certain get a sweat going!

This week I start a five week block of bike focus, the aim is to bring the bike mileage up and increase leg strength in the run up to Christmas.

In addition I am having my first consultation with Insight Nutrition (http://www.insight-nutrition.com/). Those of you that know me will know that I have always had a bad relationship with food. If you have read the section entitled “The story so far” then you will understand where this has come from.

However it’s time for me to face my food demons and admit that I still have a very unhealthy relationship with food, eating really the bare minimum I need to be able to train. My goal is to better understand my personal calorie intake allowance and what I should be eating to obtain my maximum performance and beyond. Hopefully Insight can help me with this and make a real change. I am looking forward to it with some trepidation…. I will let you know how I get on.


The off season is just the same, just darker!

As referred to in my earlier blog, your off training improvement plan should stem from your goals for the coming season. If you have not yet completed your end of season review and “goals for 2013” you must do this soon. However it is also the time to break the training up a bit and throw something else into the mix.

This time last year injury caused me to miss out on most of the Cross Country season (apparently that’s a bad thing!) so this year I have pledged to take part in all of the fixtures (so far so good). However it is clear that cross country just simply is not my thing! However like I said, it does provide variety to the weekly training.

My main goal next year is to achieve automatic qualification in both sprint and standard distance races. This means my overall race times have to improve by 12 – 14%.

I decided to have some focussed weeks in each area, dedicating most time to a single sport for that period of time. For the last 4 week period I have been swimming five times a week as opposed to the usual three. This has allowed a good mix of long and steady sessions, sprint work with Team Luton Masters, plenty of drills and swim exercises too.

Then, following an “easy” week, if there ever is such a thing with me, I will begin a six week period of bike focus sessions. Due to the nature of the season most of the sessions will be either turbo or exercise bike sessions which means some seriously dull times ahead, hopefully getting out onto open roads at least once a week. I see the bike leg of the triathlon as the area where I can most reduce my overall race percentage therefore the winter will feature some serious bike mileage. As a club mate and friend of mine reminded me, “winter miles means summer smiles”.

The fantastic news this week was that I managed to secure a race sponsor for 2013. Inframon are a company that I have worked with professionally in the past and I approached them a few months ago to see if they would like to fund my races in return for advertising Inframon both as a company and for the services they provide. To find out more about Inframon please head over to the Sponsorship page of my website. I would however like to thank Inframon for supporting me and I look forward to a successful season with them.

2013 Starts NOW!

I guess as triathletes I think I’m not alone when I say that we don’t mind going for a wet and windy run but for some reason the passion that we have for the sport waivers slightly when it comes to heading out on the bike and wearing so many layers that any aerodynamic and weight improvements we have made are completely pointless.

 The passion struggles even more at this time of year when people mention the words “open water swim”. For me open water swimming between October and April is something of complete insanity. Reserved only for those with issues that should be addressed by professionals! So rest assured that I will be featuring heavily in the pool during these colder winter months.

It’s also at this time of year that I find that I have remind myself each morning the reason why on earth I am climbing out of a perfectly good, warm bed to get dressed in the dark, start the car up to defrost, grab a quick drink and then head out into the darkness to make my way to the pool or the gym.

Fortunately the answer is very simple. I want to be the best that  I can be and if that means early mornings, cold starts and endless hours of swimming, cycling, running and doing weights then so be it, it’s all worthwhile (although this is written at 5pm – ask me to write it at 5am before a swim and you may get another answer!)

The early off season is also a time to reflect on how the previous season went. This includes, assessing your previous season goals. Did you achieve those goals? If not, why not? Were they actually achievable in the first place? Rate your achievements and importantly the disappointments. Think about the areas you were happy with and the areas that need your focus. This focus will form the early part of your off season improvement plan.

 Last season was a massive disappointment for me which stemmed from pre-season injuries. This led to early season self-doubt and by the time I was “fully fit” physically and mentally the season was virtually over! I want to make sure 2013 is NOT a repeat.

So in short here are my disappointments from 2012;

  • Pre-Season Injury
  • Early season fitness and confidence
  • Failing to achieve automatic qualification for the World and Europeans championships
  • Allowing the fierce English channel to get the better of me

 And the achievements;

  • Overcoming serious Injury to race in late July, early August
  • Recording a new 5k PB
  • Being part of the Boxfit team that completed the Arch to Arc challenge in September.

This year I am keen to get a good off-season plan together, stick to the plan like glue and really make some big improvements in all three areas ready to have the best season of my triathlon career – bring on 2013!

But for now, the plan will continue to involve early, cold, dark mornings, endless hours sitting on a turbo trainer and wrapping up like an Egyptian mummy for my outdoor runs. All this as I strive for improvement.