Panic training for Euro triathlon champs (#toolittletoolate?)
There are a multitude of reasons as to why I have left it until now to start training for the European Age Group Sprint Championships in Dusseldorf this June.
One reason is that I have been too busy doing other sports, such as skiing, hill running and longer-distance cycling. I love to ski and hill run in the winter, far more than I like to cycle and swim.
I have also booked a cycling holiday to the Dolomites later in the year and I have been focusing on getting some cycling miles and hills in my legs.
I needed to get a little fit for a recent cycling trip to Mallorca and I have another week’s cycling holiday to warmer climes lined up soon. I prefer to enjoy my cycling holidays than turn up very unfit.
Then there’s been the cramps in my feet and legs, which has meant I have not been able to swim much until recently. Five months on, HRT, plus regular massage and acupuncture sessions, has worked a bit of magic on the cramping muscles. I can now manage 750m without being crippled by feet cramps, which is a lot of progress.
I have also had a bit of calf and Achilles niggle, so I’ve been resting my legs from running and especially sprints, in recent weeks.
In addition, I have been in a bit of denial about the champs. Having competed in the World Champs before, I know the hard work involved in getting fit enough and I think I just haven’t wanted to face it. Back then I had the benefit of a coach but this time I do not.
So, all in all, I had suddenly realised this week that I have just eight weeks until the race and I needed to get my finger out.
While attending a confidence in triathlon session led by Glasgow Tri Club head coach Vicky Begg, who is also doing a masters in sports psychology, I realised that what was stopping me from training for the Euro champs was me.
I just needed to be firm with myself, make a plan and become more focused. No one else can make me do this and it has to come from me. It might be a bit too late in the day to create a solid foundation for a brilliant sprint triathlon race but I can certainly do something to help myself feel more confident about the event.
I actually hoped to get out and do a more focused session earlier this week but I came back from Mallorca with a chesty cough. I suffer with asthma so I can’t risk the cough becoming a more permanent chest infection. That forced me to stop and, frustratingly, wait a few more days to start my triathlon focused training.
But today I finally did it. I did a bike-run mini session, known as a Brick. (Is that short for Bricking it?! Or building the “bricks” of a race?)
It wasn’t far and it wasn’t fast but it did feel like I’d started something. I plan to do at least two Brick sessions each week and add in a couple of swims.
Once I’d got out on my bike, it didn’t feel so bad. I did an out-and-back bike ride of about 22km. I thought I must be very strong after my Mallorcan cycle trip but then I realised, as I turned back into a headwind, I’d been enjoying the benefit of a tailwind.
The return cycle was hard work. But still I dutifully pulled on my trainers and headed back out of the house for a short run. I settled into an even pace and felt quite good considering I had not run for more than a fortnight. The Achilles is niggling a little but nothing too bad.
So that was #Brick1. There will be many more to come and that might be the key both mentally and physically to a better European Champs race.