The triathlon seasons are changing !

Hello, age groupers out there !

Has anyone else started thinking about how to keep motivated as the seasons change over the coming months ? Getting out of Denham lake this morning, after a chilly 2km swim, I was pleased that my ‘getting through the winter’ plan is taking shape. Why ? Well if the last week is anything to go by, it’s going to be difficult to leave that nice warm bed or comfy couch during shorter, colder and wetter days ahead.

I can have the best training schedule in the world but a plan to help me actually do it will be helpful !

The reward for my chilly lake swim this morning
Not quite the breakfast of Triathlon champions, but a reward for my swim

There are lots of articles about this topic and everyone has their ideas, but here’s my top 5 in the countdown to IM 70.3 New Zealand in January 2014.

1. Some warm kit

Does anyone else feel more motivated to work out when they have new workout gear ? Always helps me ! Getting ready for winter workouts is an ideal excuse to refresh the essentials (budget allowing of course). There are a few key items that I will add to my kit : trail shoes, long running and cycling pants. Everything else I my cupboard should see me through another English winter.

Last year I left some of my purchases too late and the range was limited. This year I am early so every colour and every size should be available. Everyone has their favourite store – and sweatshop are on the top of my list now that I am back in the UK.

What else do you have in your winter workout kit ? It would be great to hear the ideas.

2A good diet 

Oooo one of the biggest problems for me ! Sometimes my definition of a ‘good’ diet isn’t always appropriate (see perfect example in the photo above !). I ‘comfort’ eat you see, especially in the winter and nothing goes better with ‘comfort’ food than a big glass of red wine or two. Not always the best idea when there is an early run in the morning.

Diets are very personal and there isn’t a formula to fit everyone, just some sensible rules. I have a few great winter warmer and post workout recipe ideas on my Winter warmer pinterest board ( Take a look if you can – and share any new ones with me, variety is always a good thing !!

Along with the right food in the cupboard, I couldn’t live without is my slowcooker now. When all is going well with my diet, I use this a lot to cook in bulk on a Sunday, eat some of the contents that day and store the rest in the freezer for another couple of meals.

Along with the food, I have taken a look at vitamins and supplements – how do I keep the germs at bay this winter ? My daily dose of vitamin c and other multi-vitamins have been increased, and cod liver oil tablets have been added to the regime.

I have to keep reminding myself that the body only works as well as the quality of the fuel that goes into its engine – who wants their car to not start on a cold, wet, windy morning ?? Not me, that’s for sure.

3A big support network

I read a quote from Deena Kastor on Monday and it resonated with me :

A great quote that reminds me why I have a support network
A great quote that reminds me why I have a support network

My running club, my triathlon club and gym will be crucial to the winter plan and road to Auckland. Over the next few months we will undoubtedly help each other through the workouts and hopefully I can start to give something back to them too.

4. A few target events

Milestones events are in my diary to check my progress, how about you ? These will keep me honest along the way, keep me motivated and bring back that ‘race day’ feeling that can get a little lost during the long training sessions.

What are your plans ? Have you thought about taking part in a ‘tinsel’ or ‘turkey’ event ? Or even something straight after the New Year ? My first ever triathlon was a tinsel-Santa-Rudolf theme, how good this age group girl not get addicted to a sport that encouraged families to take part dressed in festive costumes !!

Festive Milestone events have broken up my training schedule in the past
Festive Milestone events have broken up my training schedule in the past

I remember wanting to race so badly leading up to my 70.3 this year, but was advised to hold off as long as possible – oh it was so frustrating ! Instead we selected a couple of key events that fitted in with the overall plan and by the time these came around I was itching to get out there and go for it – that worked 🙂 Doing it this way stopped me losing too many training days and gave me such confidence that everything was ticking along nicely. Since that ‘A’ race, I have just raced whenever and wherever possible, but again with a focus on getting quicker over the shorter distances. Sigh, another sign that Winter is on its way, its my last sprint triathlon of the year tomorrow and the swim is in a pool 😦

5. An equipment check up

After all those fun-filled miles over the summer, perhaps there’s a quick check up to be done on your trusted 2-wheeled friend ? I was in a local triathlon store this week and was surprised to see so many bikes in the workshop having post-season clean-ups and pre-winter check-ups. I am now in the lucky position of having a winter bike (my very first road bike has retired gracefully from race events) and it needed a little work to recover from a summer of miles and prepare for some pot holes and road debris ahead.

As a side note, the worst and the best thing about spending time in a lovely triathlon store at this time of the year ? Sale, sale and more sale items !! I managed to escape unscathed, the things needed in point 1 are yet to be reduced :), but if you are looking for a new bike this is the perfect time……….. Hmmmm now do I really need that ‘pub’ bike ??

What else is there beyond the top 5 ?

6. Setting up the turbo bike trainer – so that I can see the TV ! That was a fatal flaw last year.

7. New playlists – time for a little refresh, even if its only for the drive to and from the gym (oops I forgot for a moment that I don’t run with an ipod !).

8. Inspirational books – the new ones for me are ‘Swim bike run’ by the Brownlee brothers, ‘Ironwar’ by Matt Fitzgerald and the ever-present ‘A life without limits’ by Chrissie Wellington.

9. Booking non-workout / triathlon activities in the diary – yes, I forget there are other things out there sometimes and can be a little obsessive ! A quick reminder from my friends and family from the ‘outside world’ gives me a reality check every so often. I may fall asleep in the cinema, but I’m there and not talking about triathlons.

10. Have fun – I do this because it’s fun, I like it and it makes me happy…………. Remember this, I’m just saying !

So that’s the plan for the Road to Auckland ! This plan in itself won’t guarantee me a healthy arrival at the start line, ready to kick the course’s butt – there’s a lot more to it than a new pair of trail shoes or some home cooked nutritious food, but everything helps along the way

Bye for now, next stop is Bedford Sprint triathlon for me – race report to follow !

Catherine, Age Group girl

4 thoughts on “The triathlon seasons are changing !

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