Not the best start to 2015

One thing that is important to remember as an athlete is that preparation is key. As in most things in life if you don’t prepare, you prepare to fail.

Sounds simple doesn’t it!? What that doesn’t tell you is that you should always have a plan B! The simple fact is that even the most perfect plans can hit “bumps” and you need to be able to be flexible and plan around any issues that may crop up. This can happen regardless of how much you have planned.

I write this slightly reflective blog entry because the start of 2015 has not gone to plan. At all!

The tail end of 2014 saw me struggle with a number of these “bumps” which began with struggling to recover from a cold type thing which I managed to pick up on holiday in early November. Following a course of anti-biotics I was soon under the surgeon’s knife to have two wisdom teeth removed, which of course meant further enforced rest and yet another dose of anti-biotics.

Next up I made a classic school boy error. Aware of how much training and fitness I had lost I rushed back into training and overtrained in order to try and claw back some time. The result, a ruptured hamstring! This meant I was unable to compete in any of the remaining cross country fixtures and had to step back from any speed work and delay my marathon training.

So, in fairness. I am writing this blog feeling slightly sorry for myself. I have managed to resume training but it has been far from what I had planned for. I have also managed to get myself round a couple of races, although needless to say I have not been happy with my performance and times. However, I need to ensure that I continue to build fitness and not rush it! See, I’m always learning!

So the first race I decided to do was again done as a “long run”.  I took up a place in the “Fred Hughes 10” which is a notoriously tough 10 miler based out of St. Albans. As promised, it was tough but I set off at a decent pace and attacked the hilly course, this lasted until about 7.5 miles and the wheels started to come off ever so slightly, the pace dropped as I completed the course in a time of 1:08 which is a long way off my 10 mile PB. However, this is not a course to attempt a PB!

Fred Hughes 10 2015, St Albans #racephoto #sussexsportphotography

Next up was another toughy! As the men’s captain at Stopsley striders I wanted to represent my team at the Southern Cross country championships. Remember that I had done only 1 cross country race out of 6 so to take on the Brighton 9 mile course was a big ask. That said, I did it. I got round and managed to be the final scorer for the team, although again I was less than impressed with my performance on the day. It was a great event though and even better, I was able to finally contribute to the team.

South of England XC Championships 2015#racephoto #sussexsportphotography South of England XC Championships 2015#racephoto #sussexsportphotography

So in summary, January has been pretty rough. Focussed around the start of Marathon training with swimming and cycling making up the time between. Hopefully the coming month will see consistent pain free runs and some serious mileage being racked up. I also hope to increase the swimming as the days finally start to get lighter.



2015 already!

Just like that its 2015 already. It’s time now to think about the upcoming season and what I want to achieve this year.

I have thought about how the past year has gone, what has gone well, what hasn’t and I have had to be honest with myself. I don’t think I have time around my family and my work to train for anything longer than Olympic distance triathlons, I found this out this year when I raced Challenge Weymouth, although I finished high in the field and in a good time, I didn’t feel like I was race ready. With this in mind and with the success of competing for GB in Austria this year I have decided once again to qualify and represent GB in either sprint or Olympic distance races overseas.

However, I don’t really need to worry about triathlon races until May, that’s when the first qualifiers are. I have a huge 5 months of “off-season” to fill before then.

I am returning to a strategy that worked really well for me a number of seasons ago when I first qualified for GB. I will be running an off season Marathon. I didn’t want to get involved in the bun-fight that is the London marathon so once again I have opted to re-visit my favourite city and run the Paris marathon in early April. This will be the 4th time I have run the iconic Paris race and this time I will be shooting for the magic Sub 3 hour mark. It’s going to be a really tough ask but with a good training plan and good preparation I stand a chance.

My first goal of 2015 will be to get a PB or even better a Sub 3 hour Marathon in Paris in early April.

Off course the off-season will also focus on getting good winter miles in on the bike and working hard with the PSC squad to improve my swimming.

Once the marathon is done and the sub 3 hour mark is broken (that’s called being an optimist) I will drop the distance and focus on some serious speed in readiness for the ITU world championship qualifiers. In 2015 they are being held in Chicago. With the championships being in late September it means that qualifying is early in May to sort the team out and make plans etc.

For the sprint distance there are 3 qualifiers in May, two of which I have entered as they are easy to travel too. The last one is there if I need it but I am hoping I will not need to race this one.

For the standard distance qualification races again there are 3 races and are in early June, again I am planning on racing two of the three races to give myself a good chance to qualify.

So you could say that May and June are going to be really busy! Hopefully this will lead to my second 2015 goal:

Qualify for the GB ITU world championships in Chicago 2015 (either distance)

If those goals aren’t enough there’s also the ETU European championships to think about, the qualifiers for these races (again in both sprint and Olympic distances) run throughout the season in order to qualify for the 2016 European championships. I have identified the races that will be my priority and this will form the remainder of the season from June through to late September. Therefore the final goal for 2015 is:

Qualify for the GB ETU euro championships in 2016 (location TBC) (either distance)

So that’s it really, that’s 2015! Of course if I do qualify for the World championships in Chicago then I will be heading there for late September.

There will be numerous other races in preparation for the bike events throughout the year, I plan to continue swimming with PSC so you should (there’s that optimism again) see some more swim medals next year. I also want to ensure I do more single sport races as I feel I didn’t do enough over the past year, certainly run races, but they will not venture much beyond 10km in order to be relevant to my triathlon goals.

So that’s the plan. Fingers crossed there will be no injuries or illnesses that get in the way of these goals. Looking forward to once again working with Inframon and my new sponsor Insight nutrition to really bring out the best in me. Bring on 2015!