I usually don’t race mid year. I learnt early on in triathlon that it was just too gruelling on my mental capacity to train for an event going into the busiest period for my business. It is also the time of year where I seem to be “needed” the most and subsequently, the time where I most find myself putting “me” behind everything and everyone else.
This past month has been particularly busy and a real reminder that I need to ensure I fuel myself while also looking after others around me. It’s like that old saying we’ve all heard during the in flight safety demonstration:
“Please place the mask over your own mouth, before assisting others.”
If you want to succeed, you must have a plan. To make a plan, you need to fill your cup appropriately.
As a triathlete, you plan to race as best you can, including transitions and nutrition. All these things are necessary and combine to ensure you make your goal time on race day.
Last week, I made a rookie mistake and went for a long 130km ride in the heat and forgot nutrition except for some electrolyte in my water. Yes – and I’ve been training for 8 years! My coach is always adamant that we need to practice race day nutrition when we can so when he rang me to say great effort on the bike, I forgot (quite purposely) to tell him of my nutrition misdemeanour. Needless to say that it took my body a few days to recover and training was not quality during those days. Take the hit, learn from it and just be happy I didn’t do it on race day.
I’m a big believer in plans. They don’t have to be complicated or complex — a simple plan is fine. Just write down what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. My only rule is that when I make plans, I must write it down using pen and paper. It might seem a little old fashioned, but I swear by it.
I have to be disciplined to run my own business, be a present Mum and compete in triathlons.
Ironman training is tough, but it is even tougher when you parent solo. I am not a professional athlete; I don’t make money from this, (in fact, I pay “a lot” of money for the experience), so I have to work. The time that I have left has to be organised and structured. I can’t wait for an opportunity to train to arise or steal a spare moment – they rarely exist in my life.
But I am determined to make my time. I can’t just say “yes” to everything Coach Mat says. I need to give it time and thought – if I want to be better – the training needs to be compliant. For it to be compliant it must work for me. I need to trust in the process and the partnership. Trust in myself.
While I believe you must plan, you (and your trusted team) must also be adaptable. Not everything in life goes to plan. My coach and I set my triathlon goals together. We have been training together for 8 years now. He knows my life (sometimes better than I do!) and sets my training plan accordingly. A huge amount of trust needs to exist for our relationship to work. He is a part of my team. There is no easy way to achieve success, and we need to adapt my program at times but not forget it exists. It has to be approached as if it were a process for a client.
There’s no room for ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘I don’t feel like it’. I just have to get the work done. I think it’s that attitude — that mindset — that’s underpinned all my success so far. I really encourage you — whatever your goals are — just get the work done. By doing so, you’ll be taking steps toward success.
And even when things don’t quite go to plan (like when you forget to fuel for a 130km ride in unseasonably hot weather!) – provided you take the learning and the time to rest and reflect following the experience – you’ll always grow and succeed.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
Meanwhile in Lycra
My last race in Shepparton marked the official end of the triathlon season. Even though my body was screaming “No!” all the way to the swim start, I managed to find myself racing well and I made an appearance on the podium (3rd place). I also raced (slightly) faster than in Geelong which, given the not so ideal conditions was an achievement I am happy with. To have teammates out on course achieving great things kept me going all day. I especially loved having one of my best friends Carolyn there – her first race back after injury – sending me all her energy each time we passed each other in the run.
I should be in a recovery phase and preparing for next season with my coach. It is now almost a certainty that World Championships will not be on the agenda this year (Utah, USA) due to international travel still being an issue. As disappointing as it is, the circumstances are out of my control and I need to set new goals.
I am someone who likes to take the opportunities that present themselves, and I (mostly) listen to my coach’s advice. Given the unknown of the pandemic, and also because Mat says, I’m off to race in Cairns next month. On top of that, he has also declared that I should be racing a full ironman in December and that my training program will reflect this with a huge riding/bike build beginning.
I am (already) trying not to be consumed by the fatigue from my previous two races and increased training load and the fear of what is to come with another full Ironman.
I would love to hear your opinion on this – should I race another Ironman?!
Back to life with heels on and dry hair
I am by all accounts an empath and absorb the energy of those around me. I was reminded of the depth of my own care when I received a text early last week after I reached out to provide an ear and a shoulder to a friend going through a tough (really tough) experience.
“…some people have the special ability to look straight into your soul and that my friend is an absolute gift…thank you”
The emotional drain of heavy training can be overwhelming for me. My coping mechanisms for these periods are to surround myself with “my people”. They help balance me out.
I am truly blessed to have several true friends who I know I can always rely on, not just for the hugs but to engage in the hard conversations with, who I trust implicitly. Two amazing ladies have had my back this month as I recover from fatigue and keep pushing myself on the work and personal development front. TRUST. It is a strong word that I rely on in so many facets of my life.
So, who do you go to when you want the truth – no matter what that is?