Around this time of year, with all the big races upon us, it is very easy to start taking yourself a bit too seriously. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious and working hard to reach the goals you set when you were putting together your annual plan during the off season. But if your mindset is taking the fun out of your training and racing perhaps you need to take a step back and remind yourself that the sport of triathlon can still be good fun.
I had to do this myself last week. After two very average training weeks in a row, with little energy and about as much motivation, I dropped my training plan for a couple of days over the weekend and did exactly what I wanted to do instead. It may sound odd to most but I love hill climbing on my bike. I also wanted to ride out the front gate and back again and not deal with public transport at the beginning and end of my ride. So I jumped on my bike and rode over to Highgate West Hill and Swains Lane for some hill repeats. It’s a great little hill for some hard efforts but I recommend you get there early to avoid too much traffic. Swains Lane is the more quiet option but it’s nasty. Dark, damp, a little slippery and considerably steeper.
As much as I hate cycling in the rain I love running and swimming in it. So with the rain falling pretty constantly all day last Sunday I made the most of it. I ran in the rain, not concerned about my pace or how far I had to run, but enjoying the peace and quiet of Victoria Park that you only get when it’s raining. After a tasty lunch to refuel and a post-lunch kip I headed for the Lido hoping the rain would scare most people off…and it did. I pulled on my wetsuit for something different and just switched off my mind and swam. With the rain falling and a lane almost to myself it was a great swim and I could feel the motivation returning just like that.
Seeing and hearing about your performances is also very motivating. I am still blown away by some of the results from both the Blenheim Triathlon and the Fritton Lake Triathlon.
The boys did a great job in Wimbleball over the weekend at the UK 70.3 event. Gabriel Sayer had a fantastic race and finished 12th in his category. Coach Scott finished 22nd in his category with one of the fastest swims of the day in the age group field. Andrew Finn put together a great race finishing just outside of 6hrs in his first attempt at the distance. Dan King (aka Richard on the day) completed the swim in a very respectable 31mins 53s. Joe Dale (aka Dan on the day) also had a great race with the exception of breaking his chain on the bike leg. He flew on the run posting the 22nd fastest time of the day and clocking 1hr 27min for the half-marathon! Coach Karl told me he had an average race. Looked like he had a power nap in T1! By his own admission he felt good on the bike but had a nightmare run due to issues with nutrition. Yes even coaches make mistakes!
The performances of British athletes at the elite level is also inspirational. Alistair Brownlee finished first and Helen Jenkins second in Kitzbuhel over the weekend in great races. If you are interested in seeing the race highlights click here. I suspect the European Championships this weekend will be dominated by the British triathletes.
This weekend we are back at Hackney Marshes for the Park Run 5km. Remember to register before Friday. Saturday is our threshold session at the Lido and Sunday will be an aerobic fitness session. You will need fins and pull buoys for both sessions. I can’t stress how important effective sighting is to having a great swim in an open water event. Have a look at this link from Swim Smooth for some great technique tips about sighting. We’ll see if you can put them into practise at the weekend and in your next race (bring on Hillingdon!).
See you at the track or Lido. Tim (LFTC Coach).