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2019 was a fantastic season – my first full season with a triathlon coach, new approaches to training, a European silver medal, completing my first triathlon and some great improvements in my bike and run fitness.
Despite the eagerness to get straight into goal setting and training hard for 2020, the winter season started with a couple of weeks break from structured training. 9-months of almost continuous focus on preparing for upcoming races and hours a week swim/bike/run/gym training amongst full-time work had started to take its toll by September. So, having made sure I got through the last race of season with a good enough performance to qualify for this years World Championships, my body and mind needed a break. No plan and no training commitments for a couple of weeks, just doing what I liked when I felt like it, letting a few niggles recover properly and training for pure enjoyment with my friends and club mates.
The break left me feeling fresh, rested and raring to head into another solid block of hard training – physically ready but more importantly mentally focussed on even more ambitious goals for the upcoming year.
Since November I’ve been back in full swing, training around 10-12 hours a week, working with both my coaches in the gym and on my disciplines to have me a solid set of foundations in place ahead of my first race at the European Sprint Championships in 3-weeks time.
My key sessions have been structured interval training at a high intensity on the WattBike, shortly followed by frequent but low intensity running. As my first events are duathlons, and with swimming still being relatively new to me, my primary swim focus has been to get in the pool on a regular basis and continue to build confidence in the water. I’ve made the most of being able to focus on strength in the gym too, enjoying lifting heavier weights, and my pull-ups have come on loads! (I love my S&C sessions).
Over the past few weeks my training focus has shifted to more race specific training. Intensity has increased across all disciplines with the dreaded ‘run straight off the bike’ sessions making a reappearance, to prepare me for that horrible jelly-leg feeling on race day.
With regular testing on the bike and in the pool over the winter, I’ve had regular reassurance that my training sessions are having the desired effect. I’ve also taken part in the local cross-country league with Knutsford Tri Club mates, a match a month, and that’s kept my competition mindset feeling fresh but also given me a means to test how my run fitness is improving too!
In addition to training, I’ve made a conscious effort to improve the duration and quality of my sleep over the winter – difficult with early alarm clocks to get in the pool or on the bike before work, but definitely a work in-progress and something I can already notice having a big influence on my recovery, performance and mental wellbeing.
So, with just 3-weeks to go I’m certainly feeling like I’m fitter now than I was ahead of the first race of 2019, and that’s a great place to be. I know I’ve followed the training plan, taken on board advice and feedback from my coaches and put in the time and effort asked of me. It’s hard to feel really race ready so early on in the year, when the British winter restricts the amount of quality time you can spend on your actual bike – but of what’s in my control, I’ve done all I can and I can’t wait to put on my GB colours again and go see what I can do!
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