When I started the winter, it was with the knowledge that unlike other years, I was not progressing from a great seasons racing, I was in fact starting on the project ‘regain fitness’. I lost over two months training and racing during last summer due to the head injury, and I knew there was a lot of work to be done.
I also faced a traumatic time in the day job, and a change of job which meant an added commute all contributing factors when it came to winter training.
What I was thankful for though, was the new employer was every bit as supportive of my GB triathlon pursuits as I needed them to be. When they called me to offer me the job just before Christmas I said ‘erm, there’s something I didn’t get the chance to tell you, I actually compete for great Britain in triathlon and will need some time off in April, do you still want to offer me the job?’ Thankfully they said yes!
The strength training was initially the key focus. I had to get back the strength that I had lost. Strength = power = speed. The reps were higher, the weights heavier than before. Coach meant business. One thing I am good at is doing what I am told regards training as best as I possibly can.
Track speed sessions
Many athletes say that winter is about the long slow miles, base training. Maybe so, but when I asked Jodie Swallow that a few years back, she said that she continued speed work all year round. So do I, and I have done since I started working with my track coach Keith Molloy.
It’s all in the mind
Yes, it most certainly is! When I started my new job in January, it was a promotion. Most people would be happy about that. Well, I was, but it also forced me to redress an imbalance that I had had for a long time: training. I used my training as a way of focussing my anger and frustrations from the general every day melee and thought about the next training session quite a lot of the time. In the new job that was not as prominent, and I began to feel guilty that I was not thinking about training, I was actually concentrating on working!
Putting things in boxes
This is how I dealt with it. When I am working, I focus on that 100%. When I am training, I focus on that 100%, and I make sure there is a slot in the day when I am actually doing neither! I know that each day there will be a slot for each, and that is ok. In fact, I waste less energy this way, which should make me more effective.
I have put the head injury and the losses I incurred as a result behind me. I cannot change it, I cannot affect it, it is done. I have moved forward. I still get asked about helmet safety from time to time, and in fact have been asked to talk to a local Scout group about the importance of bike helmets. I am pleased that the message is still trickling out, the cases are still rolling in and I am still adding them to my campaign. I also thank the Bicycle helmet initiative trust for their continued support with getting this important message out.
The season ahead
The season looms, the first race is only two weeks away, it doesn’t seem like two minutes that I was complaining that the winter was upon us! I will continue to look forward with focus, drive and determination knowing that I continue to give it 100%. That is all you can ask of yourself, and I have a fabulous team of sponsors all of which make all this possible.