July 22, 2019
Let me take you back 6 weeks ago.
I was busy with work, a bit tired of life, fed up, and completely unmotivated when it came to running, in fact in the middle of last month I wrote a slightly “Woe is me” post entitled “Turns out it wasn’t just my mojo I’d lost” about how I was feeling.
I sometimes get like this though…and I knew I needed a new challenge…and low and behold the London Triathlon quite literally popped into my life when I noticed a friend and fellow fitness blogger had just announced she was doing it.
This morning at 6.30 am CrossFit (I’ll say that again 6.30AM Crossfit) while paired up with a superfit lady I often see in the box I told her I was training for a Triathlon, she said she was doing one too in October and was worried she didn’t have enough time to train for it.
That’s when I realised that 5 weeks to prepare for a sprint triathlon is not actually that normal.
So rather than just give you a blow by blow account of what I’ve been up to the last 5 weeks, you can pretty much gather that from my Instagram, I thought I’d share some broader principles for getting race ready in a short period of time.
Principle 1 = Know your self
I did my first Triathlon back in 2006…I trained for 6 months, learning to swim front crawl, remembering how to ride a bike, and trying to pretend the final discipline didn’t exist.
Last year I did the Paris Olympic distance Triathlon…this time with around 6 weeks to train, but I had been marathon training so was in pretty good shape.
The point is…I know I can cover the distances because I have done so before. Doesn’t mean it won’t be tough…but I have a track record so to speak.
Principle 2 = Be realistic
I knew I could probably manage the Olympic Distance, but with just 5 weeks to train I think I would have been pushing it a bit. It’s also a pretty busy time in my business, and my daughters just broken up from school…so I had to be realistic and do something manageable.
So I decided to do the Sprint Distance. 750 meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run.
My goal is to finish it, and to enjoy it…I don’t need to prove anything to anyone…or completely wipe myself out.
Principle 3 = Have a plan
I created my plan the moment I knew I had a place. There was no time to waste. My plan was intensive. It would require discipline, and creativity to fit in all of the sessions.
My plan was…
- To do CrossFit 2-3 times a week with a focus on conditioning classes to bring my cardio fitness up quickly
- To swim once a week increasing distance weekly
- To cycle everywhere and anywhere I could get to
- To get back to Track
- To do a couple of run races
I have managed to keep to the plan around 80%…there were some extras like a few open water swimming sessions and some things I have omitted…for example I haven’t done any parkruns or races (due to childcare logistics)
A plan is just a guideline…it doesn’t need to be followed religiously in my view.
BTW…you can download one of these monthly planners for FREE from here, they are great for keeping you on track.
Principle 4 – Control the controllables
You can’t tell what will happen in the lead up to a race like this, but there are some things which are within your control…so where possible create good habits which you can uphold for this time period.
- No alcohol
- Plenty of sleep
- Good nutrition
- Keep hydrated
- Don’t coast on any sessions
In fact, I ended up getting a few CrossFit PBs as a result of that final one.
Principle 5 – Ask for help
I knew I would need support with a few things if I was going to be able to pull this off. Childcare. Kit. Training Buddies. Advice.
I find it hard to ask for help, I am so used to doing everything by myself. But when you are short on time and resources, sometimes its the only way.
A massive thank you to Rose’s Dad, my babysitter Marta, PT Mollie for accompanying me to open water swimming for the first time, Decathlon for helping me with kit (wetsuit, turbo trainer, bike carrier), and also to the team at Limelight Sport who manage the London Triathlon…it really has been a team effort.
And then finally,
Principle 6 = Public Accountability
This really works for me. It always has done. Having an outlet to share my journey keeps me motivated. I love sharing my progress, talking about the hard bits and of course the occasional wins.
If I post on social media I’m going to do a session in the morning, 9 times out of 10 I do it…that works for me, work out what works for you and do it…even if you think “who cares?” chances are lots of people do.
You never know who you might be inspiring.
I am just 5 days away now and I’m feeling ready.
I did CrossFit conditioning this morning, will probably go for a sports massage tomorrow, then I have one final swim session to do on Thursday to test out some new goggles I have.
Then its all about resting so that I am as fresh as I can be, come race day.
I have really enjoyed the challenge over the last few weeks and have surprised myself at how well I’ve kept to my plans. I wouldn’t suggest cramming like this to anyone else…I think having spent the last 10 years doing various endurance challenges I know my body well enough to know what it can do.
I am looking forward to the race on Saturday…but more importantly than that I am super excited to see where this new line of enquiry (ie Triathlon & open water swimming in particular) takes me.
Watch out for me on social media on Saturday for some live updates.
My place for the London Triathlon was kindly gifted as part of an ongoing collaboration, whereby I share my training and my race event review and help further explore how we get more women into the sport of Tri.
Want to join a supportive community of women just like you training for a full range of endurance events? Check out the too Fat to Run community app? We have swimmers, bikers AND runners…and a growing Tribe of CrossFitters too.
Check it out here