Hopefully there has been a good end to your season and now for most who have finished racing , it’s time to chill, take time out and reflect on the season you have had. And dare I say plan for next year which is not that far away. Scary how time passes so quickly. So , reflect on your races (or training if you have not raced ) and think what worked well and areas where you could change/ improve on.
Within a small group of coaches we call this ‘ get out of shape’ time of 3-4 weeks of down time to maybe do those jobs you have put off – painting the living room and so on.
Take your partner /family out for a meal and thank them for supporting you – then ask for next year too!!
Get in touch to have a chat about plans for next year and let’s enjoy a journey together as some have done with me this last year. Go on celebrate your achievements in style and it is absolutely okay ‘get out of shape’ for a few weeks. It will do your body and head a lot of good- down time to relax. Catch you again soon.
Watching the cycling classics and the distance they race is incredible. The fuel/ type of nutrition and frequency they have to take on board is so important. This transfers over to long distance distance triathlon.
Test out your nutrition during your training and check out what the organisers are providing on race day. Some types of nutrition can have an impact on your stomach. Many leading nutrition companies have intro packs so worth while going down that route to begin with.
All good preparation- the bike is the most important for long distance riding and pacing yourself from the start and that means the swim as well as the bike.
The weather is changing as well we all know and this again can have a huge impact. Check where you are racing / what is available that you have enough nutrition with you as the local shop may not stock what you need.
Moving up a distance: my son Tom Bishop has finally moved away from the Triathlon World Series and is competing in long distance triathlon. He is now having to think very differently about fuelling differently. It’s like a new lease of life for him and very exciting. Lots of rookie mistakes ‘even for a pro’ in his first season but now beginning to reap the rewards.
2024 is just around the corner and already there are many races advertised and which look tempting, especially looking out the window at yet another deluge of rain .Think carefully before you tick the enter box. Ask your self how realistic is the challenge / have you the backing of your family/ have you the time to put in the training/ can you afford it and so on. The list is long but worth while while considering the cost of a race and also the logistics around getting there especially if the race is in a lovely warm country. The way the climate is changing may effect the actual race day and that applies to the United Kingdom too. Do check the refund part of your travel plans as a just in case scenario!
So now you have entered consider what you need to do – sort out a loose timetable to train/ clear a space for the turbo if you are using one during winter/ check your bike and again the list goes on. Maybe buddy up with a friend especially for the long bike rides. Be aware it’s not a racing ride as that does happen in groups – racing to the village signpost – yep it fun and allowed. Maybe you need a coach or even a club – cycling / running /swimming. Or maybe you are happy to train alone.
Equipment – check out the things you will need and look at the kit from last year. Does it still fit and was it stored okay? Might sound daft but I have known folk pull out a rather mouldy wetsuit from the cupboard.
The main thing is take it steady as we are still only in early winter and most races are not happening until maybe April/ May of next year. If you are unsure about planning or just want to run a question by me then as always use the contact form and I will get back to you. Stay safe and enjoy your training.
Soon you will have to be writing 2024 and I bet some of you will be glad it is no longer 2023. Others will have had a fab season with great results.
What do you have in store for 2024. My message for now is to keep smiling/keep phoning messaging/ keep training/ keep doing silly things ( as long as they are safe). Whatever you are doing off season, the main thing for all is to keep moving and looks positively to next year – which is going to be megga exciting with the Olympics in Paris.
I read today on twitter “ When making plans think big/ when making progress think small’. This is a great quote that I think we could harness for our training – little steps towards greater things. The little steps maybe frustrating at times but the bigger picture is ‘wow’ I can get there.
On a personal note and I am sure most have been there at times there is an injury that keeps us away from part of our sport: swimming /cycling etc. So think outside the box- I have a arthritic shoulder and last year a new hip. Lots of S & C and Nordic walking has now provided me the opportunity to look at competing again in 2024 : aquabike . So my message is don’t give up look ‘ look outside that box’.
Whatever your plans keep in touch and hope the rest of 2023 goes well and catch up early in 2024.
So nearly through October and there are still many sports taking the stage -triathlon( in warm countries) speed skating/ cycle-cross/ skiing just to name a few . It’s the elite who are able to take part and recently I have been watching some different sports on Eurosport and its been an eye opener to watch and appreciate from an athlete viewpoint- the enormity of the strength and core stability that these sports require.
Triathlon is no different and it is not just for the elite of our sport- it is for everyone. So this is the time of year whilst we thinking next season’s racing we can prioritise S & C work ( strength and conditioning). The thing many think they have no time to fit in especially with 4 hour bike ride. How about a 3 3/4 ride with 15 mons S & C ? More effective and beneficial too.
There are numerous YouTube videos , but be selective in what you choose to do and make it individual to your needs for improved core stability. Doing the work now will pay off not just this year but for the future especially if you make it part of your weekly schedule. A couple of sessions a week are sufficient – change the programme after 6 weeks to address areas of the body you have omitted in the first series of plans. It’s easy to get into repeating the same exercises and missing out on say some weaker elements of your body. Have fun and get in touch is you want to come on board with me for your training and racing.
A question that many , many coaches are asked and agonise over. So I may be old school by saying no gadgets – but there DO have their uses. So I can honestly say that I am not completely old school I suppose. One of the main things for me is for my athletes to know how their body works; not in depth through studying human biology etc; but just by listening to their heart / working out how many hours sleep they have each night. The list can be endless. Several of my athletes has been using no gadgets over the last few months on occasions and this last weekend one of my athletes – Brian Sherras – from Vermont recorded a fantastic pb for a half marathon of 1 hr 34 mins ( he is in the 60+ age group). He had planned to take a watch for curiosity , but he actually forgot to take it with him. He messaged me to say I was right. Great to hear that feedback.
The one time coaches do feel that athletes do not need to use a watch all the time is in the pool especially if it is a technique session. Why does an athlete need to time 25m finger drag drill. I have asked this and the reply has been to know the distance they have swum— it’s on the board!! I have run swim sessions when I have collected watches before they swim – with choice comments and then again with some positive comments at the end of the session when they have surprised themselves with times. After all you do not use a watch during the swim of a triathlon – you understand your pace for the distance. So a watch could be useful in the pool and again swimming without a watch and listening to your breathing can also be extremely positive. Try it during the winter and let me know how you feel it.
Hope this message finds you okay? For those of you who are not able to watch the Giro there is a great series to watch on Netflix- The Least Expected Day- about the inside of the Movistar Team 2019. I will be watching cycling and the stars differently when it all begins again. For now we are all extending out winter base training because this realistically is all we can do. One HIT session each week or tapping into the occasional training session on one of the media platforms is great but think if its right for you. You can set yourself a challenge – mine is to master rollers and start Yoga. Fallen off the rollers a few times and argue whether the let go of the wall( lovely greasy mark now!!). But managed 30 mins last week. They were my two ‘ thinking outside the box’ ideas and to be honest feel quite proud that I have done it. So my challenge to you guys is to look at something that will challenge you and will also benefit your training and eventually racing. Whatever you choose enjoy it and if you want to run anything passed me look forward to hearing from you and keep those messages coming in. We may not be racing for many months yet but we still want to remain fit / active /healthy and happy. Take care and training wisely.
I had the pleasure of being a Technical Official at the Long Course Outlaw Race a couple of weeks ago. The British summer was playing out the usual game in trying to confuse everyone. So this particular weekend it was rain as we have never seen it before. Driving there through roads that were already covered with surface water. So to cut a long story short – during the swim the race organiser and chief TO agreed that it was too dangerous for the bike to happen. Telling the athletes as they got out of the swim was not ideal but it had to be done. I would say that most athletes were understanding and those who were not soon understood that it was the best decision. So no bike , but it was decided that the marathon would still happen with a break before so all could sort out physically and mentally what they would be doing. Out of 1200 athletes 1100 stayed to run the marathon. If this happens think how would you approach the marathon. Quite a number clearly went off too quickly and paid the price in the latter part of the race. The point I wish to make is how to adjust/deal with decisions that are out of your hands. With climate change happening this is occurring more and more. In the Tour de France two stages in the last week were changed because of the weather. So maybe it is worth looking carefully at the weather charts for you race and think of what you would change should part of the race be altered or cancelled.
In the meantime I hope the season is going well for all of you and please don’t hesitate to get in touch for advise or comment on what I have posted.
Be back soon – Hilary