1. Optimised my kit
Working with a slim budget and making some tough decisions (ignoring the n+1 rule). The simple fact is the gains you can buy are diminished by a lack of focus on training; that said:
- acquiring a decent pair of goggles that don’t steam up after 20 seconds in the water has been a bit trial and error but the Predator Ultras from Zogg seem to fit and work well for me; whereas none of this lot work for me!
- getting a bike fit has delivered real benefit. I’m more comfortable along all of the contact points between me and my bike and most important of all I’m faster!
- quick release laces. That is all.
2. Developed my nutrition regime
Hmmm, trial and error. Thing is, this one ebbs and flows throughout the year, and potentially as I get older it needs updating. So right about now, as we head into winter training, spending more time in the gym my body responds well to feeding for strength: high protein, high carbs. As I come out the other side (February-ish) I want to transition to a leaner frame ready for my first triathlon which will be end of April so timing carb in-take is important. But, even an increase in good fats (nuts, cottage cheese, full fat rather then semi-skimmed milk…) can be useful as I transition to aerobic exercise.
More generally, having acquired a more holistic approach to food the cumulative effect of cutting out sugar, reducing alcohol, swapping out coffee for green tea and staying hydrated, eating carbs during the day when they can be used up, means I have a healthy base with which wont undercut my gains in training.
3. Gained some race experience
Nothing is the same as actually racing. The race starts 24 hours before you enter the water when fueling and hydrating with the race in mind, through to the routine adopted from when the alarm goes off and getting up on the morning of the race to starting the swim. The race. And then the aftermath.
All the little things done ‘as standard’ plus the things ‘tweaked’ just because it feels right for this particular race are learnt and adapted continually and each time I try something new that works (or not) it builds confidence for the next race.
4. Understand my fueling strategy
- 2 x 600ML water bottles full of stimulants and electrolytes
- 2 x protein bars (200g each) strapped to my bike
- 2 x isotonic gels
- 1 x pack of jelly babies
I think I may have put weight on during that race! Also, the saying goes “don’t try anything on race day that you haven’t trained with”. Bang on – and take spares.
5. Defined my objective
I’m training to make sure my body stays in shape and I have good reason to avoid (most of) the naughty stuff! Competing is the pay off. I do find it funny when people say ‘triathlon, you’re nuts man’! Well, no actually the race itself isn’t the hard bit. You want to try a 15k training run in the middle of January, or a 1 hour turbo trainer session in my garage! I’ve found a good enough reason to be this crazy.
(A good turbo trainer intro here here by the way)
6. At some point you need to press ‘Go’
Yep. Grow a pair! It’s a competition, a race after all. And it’s an individual sport so you have to drive yourself to train, drive yourself to eat clean and drive yourself to beat your time last year or catch that lad who just overtook you – now it’s time for Ironman! Coming from a team sport background it’s liberating to have this amount of control over the direction and outcome of my chosen competition.
Was it a particular moment you can remember or a combination of things for you?