Tuesday, 30 December 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: The start of triathlon training

I was recently interviewed by expert health and beauty website, Get The Gloss, about how I stay fit. This section of the site interviews women who lead full time, demanding jobs yet still find the time to exercise regularly and lead an active lifestyle.  

One of the questions I had to answer was what a typical training week is for me. If this has been brought to me six months ago, it would have been answered with ‘I carry out 3 to 4 runs a week’. Simple. Now though, with triathlon training in full swing it is actually a trickier question to answer, what with three disciplines to now train for.

It got me thinking that I haven’t really revealed in full detail the nature of my daily lifestyle now and how I have adapted to this change in exercise. When I tell people I am going to do a triathlon, the first thing people normally ask me is ‘how are you going to train for that!?’. They almost seem surprised to think that I can manage the training along with a job, seeing friends and spending time with family.

The truth is, no matter what you think, you can work exercise around your everyday tasks.  Excuses of ‘I’m just too busy’ just don’t suffice. There is always a way to lace up your trainers and squeeze in 30 minutes of cardio or weights.

For my triathlon, I have taken the approach to plan ahead each month and create a calendar to list my activity. This is to help me stay focussed and see each week and what needs doing. If I have also planned in advance social activities, I will make sure these are added to the calendar as marked rest days.
To kick the week off, I try to swim on Mondays. Due to being a cyclist, I head straight from work to a local pool around four miles away. Each week I alternate between technique and distance practise. At the moment the technique sessions are carried out to help improve my front crawl and consist of various exercises such as arm pulls (where I place a float between my knees and without kicking pull myself through the water using just my arms), round the world (where I won’t lift my other arm up until my hands meet out in front) and fast kicking using just my legs with my arms out in front holding a float.

For distance sessions, this is where I carry out 25 lengths of front crawl non-stop. This equals to 750m that is required for the sprint triathlon. I will gradually increase this to around 900m, which will help to build my strength so that when it comes to the big day, doing 750m will (hopefully) be a breeze.

Tuesday is a run day where I head to my running club for a casual social run. This is never intense; it’s merely an enjoyable session where I normally do 5/6 miles running various routes in London. It tends to be my time to have a natter with fellow club friends and stretch my legs. Thursday is then my weekly interval session where I head to an athletic track and carry out specific sessions designed to improve speed, endurance and core strength. These workouts hurt but I definitely see the benefits of them when it comes to races. Same as swimming, I also use my bike to get to all my training sessions and can complete around 10-12miles per day cycling around London, which is an added training benefit.

Come the weekend, I try to get in bigger sessions or races. If not, I will do two smaller sessions across both days. It’s really important I try to get out on the bike for a long ride or interval work but this has been an area I have lacked focus in since starting my triathlon training. It is my New Year target to resolve this and my January calendar has had more cycling specific sessions built into it.

As I live in London, I like to head to Regents Park on my bike as it has a huge outer circle that is great for cycling speed work. So many cyclists head here in London as it is easy to reach, a great place to train with others and ideal for intervals. The latter I like to do, carrying out a routine of one lap fast and hard then one lap gently. I do find I am very weak at this as after four laps I’m shattered! I have read that the cycle is a bit part of the triathlon to train consistently for and I'm well overdue a slapped wrist for not concentrating on this discipline more.

At the weekends, I also try to get a longer run in. I am currently training up to 10K. My triathlon only has a distance of 5K and I am also trying to secure a new 5K PB from my training (more can be read on this HERE) so keeping my legs comfortably ticking over 10K seems appropriate right now. I'm trying to fit in a couple of races at weekends too, such as cross country fixtures and also the Mornington Chasers Regents Park 10Ks which run through Winter. 

Over time, my training will develop into different sessions. Swimming distances will increase and by March time, I will be carrying out brick sessions. This is where I will be cycling and then running straight after, a training method crucial for multi sport races. By building up my training calendar bit by bit, I can gradually merge it into my work and social schedule so I don't feel like I am chucking myself in at the deep end. Steady integration is the way forward!

Lipstick Runner.