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My thoughts and musings with regards to getting the best out of your training and racing - and enjoying it along the way!

Coaches are human too!

woodsey96by woodsey96Apr 2nd 2014
After the last few weeks of posting some more "technical" and thought provoking blogs, here is some of how I've been getting on over the last few months - coaching and training. We're all different in our approaches - but I want to put mine out there so that the athletes I coach, or might be looking to me for coaching, see that we all go through similar experiences.

The end of the 2013 season in a triathlon sense slipped away from me really - after going really well at the European Age Groups (5th in age, 2nd Brit), I narrowly missed out on qualification for the Worlds in London. Much as I performed very strongly for me and made some substantial gains, I was 27th on the lists - and noone was going to drop out! So I spent the rest of the summer learning to row and really enjoying a different sport with more than a little crossover benefit. My legs were stronger, and my threshold and pain capacity seemed to be increasing for biking and more importantly running. Those who know me will know that the run is my weakness and disproportionately weaker than the other 2! More than anything though, the rowing increased my appetite for coming back in 2014 stronger and better.

My main goals for 2014 - sub 17min 5k (current pb 18.05), sub 36min 10k (currently 38.07) and the aim of a medal at the Euros having achieved 4th and 5th in the last 2!

Running into the winter started incredibly strongly, what with more regular run training, better strength and stability (thanks to The Physio Clinic/Sports Performance Clinic!) and the ability to get down to the running track for proper speed sessions. My first 5k of the winter was part of a local monthly series and I wanted to use it to push myself - we all shy away from what we are weaker at/enjoy less. Through 2.5k I was cruising, for me running super strong and easy; unfortunately at 3k I put my foot on the edge of a dip in the concrete and turned my ankle - I went down like Luis Suarez in a heap. Needless to say I didn't finish, I could barely walk at that stage. Yet I was more annoyed that I'd missed out on a pb!

Between then (Oct) and February and a couple of false starts (including my achilles going from walking upstairs!) running took a back seat, so I stuck to rowing and riding, and trying to strengthen my lower limbs. Sitting on an erg can be the equivalent of sitting on a turbo or on a treadmill - but at least I had crewmates to train alongside and suffer the pain with! I was certainly fitter than I've been at this time of year - but was given a stark reminder about specific fitness in January when trying out for the Torq Swim team. Having not really been in the water too much, it wasn't really a surprise when I swam like the proverbial bag of spanners on the day. I was trying hard but not really going anywhere, stroke count was going up and up, and yet I was swimming slower. Funnily enough, I didn't make the team but I definitely learned my lesson!

The last 6 weeks have been far more positive. Running has been getting more consistent, more regular, stronger. I managed an hour long run for the first time in almost 6months - after some not inconsiderable training - so confidence is building back. I've been on the track and getting quicker again, so more to draw strength from. I'm spending more time in the water, so I'm ahead of last year in that regard. And the cycling which has been the one reasonable constant throughout the winter is going well; 2 weeks ago I was part of an attempt on the Sufferlandrian Knighthood - which went surprisingly well! (See here for info: http://www.thesufferfest.com/about-sufferfest/knights-of-sufferlandria/) and generally I'm feeling strong, setting strava bests here there and everywhere. So onwards!

On a coaching front things have only really been positive. More athletes are asking for coaching help, advice and plans - and passing on my services to others, and for that I can only be grateful. We have athletes covering all sorts, from doing their first tri/duathlon/run, to first 70.3, first IM and all the way up to some age groupers looking to medal at Worlds and Europeans. This weekend will see a proper website up and running with all our services and our partners. Next week I'm having a meeting with a company starting in Lisbon about partnering to run training camps there. And our partnership with Events Logic (www.eventslogicuk.com) will see us offering training days for varying levels at a lake in the Cotswolds. Finally with the Triathlon Shop moving to its new premises in the next couple of months, video swim analysis in their endless pool will be another tool for us to use! 2014 is set to be exciting - and the more people we can involve with it all, the better :)

My lessons to learn from this winter:
Specific training is key!
Variety is useful - it helps fuel the motivation - but don't forget lesson 1.
Don't over push; its easy when you're feeling good and strong, when adrenaline is flowing, but relax and don't over stretch things. It will happen! (Incidentally, that I feel was what led to me rolling my ankle)
Train (and work) Smart - more than ever now, I need to think about best use of time, not just trying to do MORE. Its the same thing I try and impress on athletes.

Hopefully my ramblings there make sense to you reading. We all go through highs and lows with sport, and hopefully if you can see that from your coach you'll be more inclined to communicate with them, understand them and trust them.

A big thanks to partners at the Triathlon Shop in Bristol (and good luck with the move) and also to the team at The Physio Clinic - Pete and Matt have kept me mobile (and sane!) over the last 6 months.
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