Winter miles. . . summer smiles!

Having had a good block of training over winter, including some warmer training, I thought it was a good time to reflect before starting to get more race specific as the season approaches. This is the first year I have had the benefit of consistent training across all 3 disciplines – having seen how much it paid off for my cycling last year, it is great to be able to see improvements across the board under Will’s guidance this year. Some of the things I have learnt so far this year:

  • Swimming can be fun (relatively!)
    • Never before have I done so much swimming, and never before have I particularly liked spending hours in swimming pools, which always seem to be over heated, over crowded and not very easy to swim in!
    • I hadn’t appreciated how much of a difference having proper structured sets would make – rather than popping into the pool, doing some half hearted drills and then forcing myself to swim for as long as possible, having a structured set with proper drills and interval swims has made it more interesting swimming and easier to see progress as times come down
    • Swimming with other people for the right sets helps massively. Whilst I am very happy swimming by myself on some of the longer sets or when I have something specific to do, having some company can make all the difference both from a motivational point of view and a training perspective. I have joined some very speedy swimmers recently on a Friday morning, which for me is great as I am pushing myself even more.
    • Mixing up where you swim where possible helps – the Friday sessions are at Hampton pools, which are brilliant. Being outside in the fresh (sometimes too fresh!) air is amazing, and a much better start to the day.
  • Winter sunshine is very appreciated
    • Barney and I headed off to Lanzarote at the beginning of February for our own training camp, with Tracy (his current cycle coach and the lady who made my cycling so much better last year!)
    • Leaving behind cold, rainy England it was great to emerge in 20 degrees sunshine
    • Our first recce on the bikes was probably the closest I have ever come to being blown off my bike! Lanzarote lived up to its reputation of being very windy, but it died down for the rest of the week and the cycling was incredible!
    • Different scenery on the run was also great – running along some of the coastal trails and hill hunting was a lot of fun
  • Focussing on nutrition has made a bigger difference than I could have imagined
    • Since seeing a nutritionist back in November I have been mainly following a gluten, wheat, dairy, egg and yeast free diet (with some exceptions!)
    • Having always been slightly sceptical about intolerences/fussy eaters etc I did not want to be one of those people having to ask for the special milk, or the awkward one who has to say yes when friends ask about food intolerences. However – although it can be a bit embarrassing, following this diet most of the time has made me feel generally a lot better, no more weird stomach issues when exercising (unless I’ve had a cheat day!), and not getting as tired.
    • I have a ridiculously sweet tooth, so one of my main challenges has been finding all the alternatives – which has been nowhere near as difficult as I thought it might. My staple has been Deliciously Ella – i have had great success with her cheesecake, and Barney surprised me with her chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day – it tasted even better than it looks!
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I can’t wait to start racing – now that Barney has started his road races I get that jealousy of him heading off to races – although it is great to be able to support him with his races and get all excited when he inevitably smashes it and wins!

Fingers crossed that the ankle sprain i picked up over the weekend (getting excited running with the springer spaniel!) heals quickly so I can get back to running!

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Hope you have all had a great winter!