It has been a while since I have put together a blog and with only a month to go until the World 70.3 Championships I thought it was about time I wrote a brief update about what I have been up to.
Since Barcelona, I have done two races; Ironman 70.3 Elsinore, European Championships and Ironman 70.3 Jonkoping. The plan for these races was to build on my performances in the previous two races and try a few different things out. I had some areas that I wanted to work on and the races certainly provided an excellent opportunity to do this. I finished 7th in Elsinore by having a strong run, after a disappointing swim and bike. I came away feeling pleased with the performance on the whole, but the following week was struggling with a lot of fatigue and a sore hip. I managed this for the few weeks leading into Jonkoping and felt confident I was coming back into some form. In Jonkoping I finished 6th and I felt terrible the whole way through. I felt like I was pushing hard throughout, but was just lacking any change of pace or good form. I came away feeling pretty disappointed and was left with lots of questions and frustrations around the performance. It was a race that I would like to forget, but instead, have spent a lot of time going over to try and work out where I made mistakes and how I need to race to get the best out of myself. In both races, I tried some different strategies to previous races and learnt what does and doesn’t work for me. I also challenged myself on courses that were less suited to my strengths and raced athletes I had not raced before. It was good to get these different experiences and understand how to deal with the ups and downs that racing can throw up.
After the two races I decided I needed to return to some consistent training and get a good block of work in before World 70.3s in Chattanooga. I set out on the block of training with good intent, but after an easy week I was aware that the hip and hamstring niggle had not gone away. This was a frustrating time because on the one hand I really wanted to push on, but on the other hand I knew I needed to get my body right first. Luckily, I have people around me who know how to get me to see a more logical perspective. I spent a lot of time seeing Helen and also adjusted my training plan with Andy to slowly build the intensity in my training and keep an eye on how my body was responding. Whilst I am not the most patient person, I am pretty good at sticking to a plan and making sure I do everything I can to get to where I want to be. Helen’s treatment, and an adjusted S&C and mobility programme, has seemed to have done the trick and over the past week and a half I really feel like I am getting some spring back in my legs, hitting some better times in the pool and slowly putting some power back through the pedals. I’m not quite there yet, but the adaptations are happening and the belief is building again. What was a very short time, seemed to last for ages, but training is not always going to be as smooth as I would like it to be!
What have I learnt?
- Form is not forever. It is unrealistic to be in great shape all the time. The body needs time to adapt and rest and whilst I would love to continue a steady upward trajectory of improvements, I need to allow myself to accept the times I need to back off and rebuild
- Listen to the people around you. They can help you be less emotional about the situation and help you put a plan in place to get back on track.
- Work to your strengths. The last two races have taught me to go back to my own processes and stick to a race plan that works for my strengths.
- Think bigger picture. I am a thinker and this can mean I can overthink sessions and races. By focusing on the bigger picture it is easier to let sessions just happen and get the work done, whether it is going well or not. ‘Chop wood, carry water!’
- Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. This quote is so true. With uncertainty and disappointment, doubt crept in. Keep the faith and accept that things will go wrong. Just keep moving forward and learning.
So What’s Next?
All aboard the ‘CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO’ for the final month of training for the World 70.3 Championships. This was the main aim for this season and I am excited to have the opportunity to race in my first World Champs. It is going to be an unbelievable experience and I am working hard to be in good shape and race with belief and a smile.
Thank you to everyone for all the support this year. Check out my recent interview with Tri247 and OA Podcast. It has been a fantastic year and I am so grateful for all the people who enable me to do what I do. Racing around the world, training day in and day out… it really is the lifestyle of dreams.