Mapping out the season

Recovery and reflection

Last year I wrote a post about the end of the season, and how it is an important time for reflection and enjoying break from structured training. You can read it here. This is a great time of year for putting things in place that will help you to achieve your goals. But before you sign up for things, have a think about what your goals are, and make sure that whatever you are doing will lead towards that goal.

This is also a time when you can assess what is going on in your life, if you have a bit more time due to reduced training. All too often we take on extra responsibilites thinking we will cope with them and that we can cram more into an already busy life, but being honest with yourself and looking at things rationally you may find that there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all. Simplifying your life is hard, as in our culture we are expected to be busy all of the time, but taking time to reflect actually helps you to become more efficient and to do a better job of things.

The seasons naturally help us, with less daylight hours there is less time to be outdoors and we can give our bodies and minds a break from the pressures of race season, and to decide what it is we truly want. When you know that then you are one step on your way to achieving it.

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Spending time with family

 

Goal setting

Deciding  on a goal and committing to it is a scary prospect, so make sure it fits in with your values and beliefs then you will have a greater chance of achieving it. Have a good think about your goal or goals and also reflect on what is important to you as an individual. It may be that your goal is incompatible with your life at the moment so you have to wait and give it time, or you may be able to commit, but with a flexible approach.

I will give you an example. Next year I am racing in Kona, this is only one of my priorities. My other priorities are; investing time into my coaching business, spending quality time with my family, supporting Patrick after he has his operation, getting The Training Barn up and running, and visiting other family members. These are some of the most important ones, and they all need to be balanced. There will be times when things are not balanced, as life does not run on a straight trajectory from A-B, but having something in mind and checking in with it every now and then, can help to focus our minds on what is important to us. At the moment Patrick doesn’t have a date for his operation, and he doesn’t know how it will affect him afterwards, so he can’t plan too much into the future. I don’t know how it will affect me either, so we need to keep communicating about this. There may be times when my priorities have to shift and I am prepared for that.

So to apply this to yourself have a good look at what you have going on in your life and anticipate any problems, times when you may need to adjust, or to let go of things in order to achieve your goals. In training we prepare for an event by adapting our bodies to the challenges of race day and we can apply this to prepare our minds in the same way.

 

Summer seasons round up

Its been a busy few months with racing, we’re coming up to the end of the season but there is still one big race to go! With this in mind my coached athletes have been out racing and training, working really hard to get themselves race ready for Ironman Wales. Ellie and Justin both took part in the Ocean Lava Wales triathlon, where Ellie picked up 2nd female and Justin had a good race, he came through strong on the run in a total time of 5:44 (results are here)

Justin also competed in the Cotswold Classic last month and improved his times in all 3 disciplines, using a better nutrition strategy has helped him this year to get off the bike strong. (results are here), also in August, Ellie completed a 5km swim around Skokholm Island which should stand her in good stead for  the Ironman swim!

So all that is left is Ironman Wales, I wish everyone luck and hope that they enjoy the day, you have done the work, now its time to enjoy race day, and show us what you can do…

Have you got a big goal for next year?

Are you looking to improve your performance?

Do you want to train effectively and efficiently?

then get in touch, I’m now taking on athletes for next season.

LTR coaching will help you to get to the start line feeling prepared and ready.

Contact me today to find out how I can help you to achieve your goals.

www.ltrcoaching.co.uk

info@ltrcoaching.co.uk

 

Races coming up!

Things are hotting up

Its that time of year now when the first triathlons are getting underway. It may be that your goal feels like a long way off, but things start to build momentum now, and before you know it, you will be on the starting line of your main event. This is why its important to race other events, so that you can put into practice all the things you need to remember on race day. One of my mantras is “through my race I learn”, and every time I compete there is something to take away, there are always some positives and some things that could be done better. It helps to have a plan, but also to make sure that you stick to it as far as possible. Last weekend I was guilty of having a plan but neglecting to implement parts of it on race day (windproof, nutrition etc)

Doesn't matter how good your plan is if you forget to stick to it!

Doesn’t matter how good your plan is if you forget to stick to it!

After an event it is a good idea to reflect and look back at things objectively so that (hopefully) you can do better next time. This is what I have tried to do in my race report for Slateman, which you can read here. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes!

Never try, never fail…

Training for a big event is a journey, and along the way we learn a lot about ourselves. This year I have got myself a coach, having coached myself for the past few years I felt I needed a bit of a push so that I had the best chance of achieving my goals. It has been interesting, and I have definitely been pushed harder than ever before, it has also made me aware that I don’t like to fail. I like to see progress and do sessions right. However although its great when we do those “hero workouts” and we feel like we have hit all the targets, that is only part of the story.

When training for a big event you will get tired and there will be days when you don’t hit the times, or goals that you want from that session, it doesn’t mean it was wasted. There are times when you need to recover, and times when you need to accept that you are tired and you didn’t do such a great job on that session, its ok. Part of training for something big is finding out where your limits are and pushing the boundaries, and if we do it in training it gets easier in races.

There is a great article by Siri Lindley about pushing her boundaries here. I’m not advocating no recovery or digging yourself into an overtrained hole, but being aware of the fact that you are not going to smash it every day, we are human and have stuff going on in our lives that affects our training, and as a coach I always make sure I look at the whole picture, to ensure that athletes feel positive about their training.

So sometimes we will fail in training and in races, its inevitable. There are many ways that we protect ourselves from failure, some examples are shown in this article. You may identify with some of these examples, and if you do, well done for recognising it. Recognising that you have a fear is the most important step, once you know about a fear you can do something about it. Another article here deals with strategies for coping with fear of failure, and gives advice for dealing with fears. If you can implement some of these ideas in to your life and training then you will reap the rewards!

Pembrokeshire Coast Path final stage

Day 18  Moylegrove to Poppit Sands

5.6 miles. Elevation gain 1227ft.

Strava data

The final stage seemed like a bit of a short run. The plan was, to all go up North (my mum, Patrick, the boys, and myself) and have Sunday lunch afterwards. We arrived at Moylegrove to heavy rain, but it soon cleared, and I checked out the oystercatchers in the bay. The terrain on this section was hard going, as it has been raining practically non stop, the path was very wet and slippery. My pace was the slowest so far on the first 3 miles, (there are also a lot of short but steep up and downs)

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After 3 miles it started to get a bit easier underfoot with some more rock rather than field on the path, and the terrain levelled out to a lovely path where I could see Cardigan bay ahead.

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A flat bit!!

After turning the corner, the path turned to road for the last 15 minutes. As I was running down the hill to Poppit Sands I saw a familiar figure, in a hat, running uphill, it was Carwyn Phillips, who organises The Preseli Beast we stopped for a chat,  and I have just discovered that he has run the path in just over 4 days!!

I arrived at the car park and got a picture of the coast path sign, then met my family, and a friend on the beach who told me that the end was in St Dogmaels (ARGHH!) and sure enough as I returned to the car park to get changed I saw the sign one and a third miles to St Dogmaels. I decided not to run there as everyone was on the beach and I was getting changed. I may do the run the other way round some day, then I can complete the whole path!

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My driver.

It is great to have this path on our doorstep, and I really enjoyed running it. My mum and I had fun driving around Pembrokeshire, and she enjoyed running parts of the path too. I know there are some other people running it at the moment I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

 

New Year, New you? Not likely!

January 2016

Cue, promises and resolutions to be made, and broken. It seems that wherever you look there is something or someone promising you a new start, and to cure all of your problems. The reality is that change generally happens slowly. If you have ever tried to follow a detox plan or give something up, it often ends in failure.

This year I would urge you to make changes that are sustainable and achievable. It may not be as dramatic as detoxing or giving things up, and may not sound as exciting, but when you look back at where you were and where you are now, you will find that exciting. Small changes over time add up to big changes in the long run, and being a little bit patient will get you results that you may not have imagined. Remember too that you don’t have to wait until a New Year to make changes, gradual adjustments happen all year round, so every day can be like a new years day with this philosophy.

Wherever You Go, There You Are…

You may have heard of this book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, about mindfulness. I love the title (which is a Confucius quote) because it speaks a truth about change, you will still be you however many changes you make. Make sure that any goals or changes ring true with you, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and if something isn’t working out for you then in the words of Elsa “let it go”. Maybe this will be the year of letting go for you, whatever it is, I wish you a Happy New Year.

 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path December

Day 14  Porthgain to Pwll Deri

11 miles. Elevation gain 1634ft.

Strava data

I had no lift today, as my mum was away, so Patrick came up with the idea of leaving my bike at the end of the run and then cycling back to the car. Having checked the forecast I thought I would give it a go, only 20mph winds for today rather than the 40-50 gusts that we have been used to.

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It was actually dry on the north coast when I got there, and I left my bike attached to some wooden railings at a viewpoint. The road was a single track dead end, so I figured it would be safe; however there is always a little bit of worry when leaving your bike chained up! I then drove to Porthgain and started the run. This is another unfamiliar part of the path, I spotted geese, and a sheep with its head stuck in the fence, which I tried unsuccessfully to free. I spoke to a couple of local dog walkers further down the track to let them know and if they knew the farmer to let him know. I really enjoyed the last bit of path from Abermawr to Pwll Deri, a bit like moorland, very rugged and lots of rocks. I arrived back at my bike, and bag which had drink and snack in and then cycled back to Porthgain into the headwind, feeling a bit tired after that one!

 

Day 15 Pwll Deri to Fishguard viewpoint

11.2 miles. Elevation gain 1444ft.

Strava data

This was a long one, the path is quite twisty with lots of little ups and downs. There was nowhere really that you could stride out and get into a rhythm, and I managed quite a spectacular fall, landing superman style in the mud, but no damage done, I stopped quite a few times for photos, and saw a load of seals relaxing on the beach.

I decided to meet my mum at the viewpoint outside Fishguard so I wouldn’t have to run up it at the start of the next section, however I wished I had asked her to meet me in Goodwick when I arrived there. Often seem to have that feeling! When I arrived back we stopped off for coffee in Fishguard and we discussed the next few sections. (There are only 3 more runs left and I was hoping to get it finished before the end of the year,) but after a few calculations realised that my mum would be away on the last run. She has done most of the driving to drop me off and pick me up at various points so she was quite keen to have a little celebration at the end of the challenge! So it looks like my last run will have to be after New Year, so we can celebrate together.

Day 16 Fishguard viewpoint to Newport.

11 miles. Elevation gain 1601ft.

Strava data

I mapped this run on Map my ride the night before and it came up as 9.8 miles so I was expecting a shorter run than last week, my mistake! It was 11 miles of slippery path with a couple of ankle deep bogs thrown in. Luckily it was pretty dry and not too windy, but by the end I was longing for a path with some friction. I finished running on the welcome gravel path from the Parrog up to Newport so I got my wish eventually. After meeting my mum in the car park we went for a coffee and toast at the newly opened VicNorth cafe, which was lovely.

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Day 17 Newport to Moylgrove

8 miles. Elevation gain 1375ft.

Strava data

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I ran this section on Christmas eve, the weather was windy and it was quite hard going. There were some really boggy sections again, and I caught the culprits trying to look cute around a gateway. There were about 8 ponies who had been churning up the path and making it difficult to run on!  When I mapped this run I had mapped it at 7 miles so when I got to 7 miles I was at an inlet and not sure if it was Moylgrove or not. I dithered a bit then carried on as I had thought the road would be more visible, luckily my senses were correct as I found Patrick and the boys at the next inlet a mile away. Next run is the last section which I have planned for January so we can all enjoy the occasion! Looking forward to it but also will be sad to have finished.