Week two of my twelve weeks training leading up to the World Championships in Mexico in September this week and I’m loving it.
The last few weeks has seen me “training to train” meaning I have been training for a good base aerobic fitness so we can really crack into some good specific training for the big event in September.
Whilst I see the point of training to train, it seems far more exciting to finally be training for the race. What’s also exciting is I have hired a coach this time around. Only a few weeks in I am a big fan. As you may know by now I like to be learning. All the time. And even though I am a good trainer, and really know how to push my clients and get them results, I wanted to just be the athlete through this process and focus on what Im doing in training – take a back seat so to speak, and get pushed to my limits by someone more experienced in this game than me. I have only been doing triathlon for about 3 years and have gone pretty well so far on my own steam. I have experimented with training and tried different approaches and formats in training to see how I respond in races and which gets the best results. I have loved the adventure so far and have learnt loads about what my body can do, how I can tweak things, how I cannot. But this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!.
Who knows if I will ever get to go again. I may only have this one opportunity to wear my name on my arse! I just didn’t want to experiment and give it a crack. I want to push my limits, get as fit and strong as I can be and show up to Cozumel on September 18 knowing I have done everything I can do to be a contender. To me this just means doing the BEST I can on the day. Leaving nothing behind in training, or on the course on the day.
So as we roll in to day six of week two I have done my bootcamp with stair set and high intensity runs then after a quick breakfast headed out for a 60km ride at Olympic park. Every step I take (or stroke or pedal) gets me closer to Cozumel wearing green and gold, closer to realising a dream I have had for a few years. Closer to realising what I can truly do. Closer to a big hug from my proud husband at the finish line. Closer to smiling up at my mum and wishing she was there with me.
I feel very grateful at the moment. Pretty knackered but grateful and looking forward to an early night. This is my time and I am grateful to my husband and family for supporting me in this dream. Next time it hurts, when I am dripping in sweat and feel like I just want to fall off the bike, stop my legs from burning or just breathe in without the burn I am going to channel gratitude instead. Think how lucky I am to be feeling that burn and get on with it.
Everyone knows its good to rest. In theory. How often though do you really apply this to yourself. Working with mums I hear it all the time. They come to my sessions tired, underslept, just basically worn out and I ask them if they sleep when they put bubs down. No, I get dinner on, I do the washing, I take the time to catch up on housework, or worst of all I check emails and facebook. Arrggghhh!
Your body just performs better when it is rested. As you may know I am in training for Lake Taupo 70.3. It’s a half ironman in New Zealand on the 13th December. I wont lie to you, I’m tired. Its quite normal to have ups and downs in your training and there are a couple of points in a 12 week program where your mind and body just don’t feel like they want to play anymore. This was me last week. I struggled through training. Slow, slow, slow. Swim was slow, runs were off and the ride, well lets just say I didn’t come close to my targets.
It was very discouraging especially looking down the barrel of a huge training weekend. Then something happened. I woke up Saturday morning, the weather was dodgy for riding up and down hills like I had on my program. I ummed and ahhed over what to do and next thing you know I was running to the loo with a tummy bug. So you know what I did? I went to bed. And stayed there all day. Literally all day. That night I had Florence and the machine tix which I wasn’t missing for love nor money so off I toddled in the rain to drink Vodka, sing, dance and feed my girl crush. Florence is a joy to behold.
Next day, you guessed it, I was pretty seedy from the Vodkas so had to rethink the swim and run session on my program. Instead I cooked up a storm for a bbq I had that evening for my sis who was in town and some old friends.
Yes I felt guilty and no I haven’t made up all the sessions yet but I’m halfway there. And guess what? I have hit my numbers, and performed very well this week so can only assume the rest has worked wonders.
We all get bitten by the busy bug. It’s sad that the art of resting has become so overlooked and under appreciated. People feel they have to fill every waking minute with ‘something’. I urge you all to have a rest. If you are feeling a bit run down, have a rest. When the baby sleeps, lie down, kick your feet up, read, sleep whatever just take some time out. When you hubby gets home, sit down together and chill for half an hour. If you are training hard to lose the baby weight and starting to feel a bit tired, have a day off and relax. Yes, relax. Don’t skip training to do the housework, that sucks and you wont feel rested.
Listen to your body. When it tries to tell you something, there is usually a reason. If you don’t listen or think you know better, it will end up demanding you listen by making you sick so you have no choice. Anyway I’m off for an athletes nap (you are allowed to call them that if you trained hard in the morning!).
I have done it again. Registered for another 70.3 Ironman race in September on the beautiful Sunshine coast. Cairns and Huskisson were so fun I thought I might give it another crack for a couple of reasons following:
1. The big fat hairy bodacious goal.
Lets face it, a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km half marathon is not really something you can show up on the day and wing it. You need to train. You need to set your sights on finishing well and perhaps even work out a goal time. Then you need to get the work done. You need to put your head down, bum up so to speak and just get to it.
2. Gives training a purpose.
I like to train for the sake of training and am the sicko that organises a run with my mates on my birthday over breakfast, well maybe before..! Either way I love to train. But when it gets cold, after an illness, after cortisone injections in your heels and lots of time lying on your butt well lets just say one loses a bit of motivation and inspiration. Training for a race gives your training a purpose.
Getting out of bed at 5am when its 7 degrees outside is more achievable. Moving those tired and protesting legs on the bike after a long run yesterday becomes more do-able. It changes your mind set on the swim on the mercy dash from your strip off to the pool through the through the bitter winter air. Knowing what you have to get done and doing it makes the work much more enjoyable.
3. You get to tick some serious shit off your list.
If you are a list maker, and best of all a item ticker, this kind of training is for you. Get a program done, lay it all out and just follow said program. Easy peasy. Then best of all you can tick them off as you go, feels kind of great and leads to the next point.
4.Great fun for number crunchers.
Count the hours, count the kilometres, track your progress, spend as much or as little time as you like perusing your stats on Garmin connect or other similar tracking programs in awe of well, your awesomeness!
5.The coffee after
I will admit I have been guilty of letting my mind wander off dreaming about and lusting for the post ride coffee on a couple of long hard rides early in the morning. I like my coffee but there is something extra special about it after a long hard ride. You can pay out on Mamils as much as you like, but I get it.
6. The athlete nap*.
If you are lucky enough to have a supportive husband and understanding kids like I do, you get to have the well-earned athletes nap on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon after your long ride or run. I think this is what makes it a fairly selfish sport and less family friendly than some sports because not only am I gone half the morning (or all of it) but then soon after finally getting home I pass out upstairs and leave them all to it again.
A nap without the work is a nanna nap and arguably suitable grounds for divorce. 😉
*Athlete naps are so called if you have trained hard in the morning and earnt that rest.
7. Don’t drink as much.
After Cairns 70.3 I took a break from triathlon and spent time catching up with work, friends and family and getting pretty piss fit. Everything was cause for celebration and a glass of something. Great fun, but have put on a bit of weight which is not comfortable on my runs (or my rides!).
Now in week two of training and by the end of the day I find I just don’t crave that glass of wine like I did. If I’m honest all I really want to do is hit the sack by about 8/8.30 so a glass of anything is not really on the agenda.
Also knowing I have to get up at 5 I really don’t want to risk feeling seedy from a drink. I’m feeling better and like I have lost a bit of weight, which will be more ideal for race day. So I would call this a win-win for now.
If you have never done a triathlon before I recommend to, its good fun and a very inclusive and supportive sport. For all the reasons above is also great for training and personal achievements.
Traditional sit-ups or crunches place large amounts of stress on the lower spine and neck. As a new mum you generally already hold tension in these areas from all the bending, lifting, changing, feeding, driving, washing, typing, cooking, cleaning you do each day in your new role as mum.
Sore lower backs are common for new mums from a weak core after birth. If you have a sore back situps and crunches will not help. You need to focus on gently building up overall core strength to strengthen and connect the pelvic region, hips and spine which all work together for good back health, posture, fitness and wellbeing.
Six pack – schmix pack! Sure working your rectus abdominus muscle hard in conjunction with a lean diet is what contributes to a ‘six pack’, but as above you really don’t strengthen your deep functional muscles or core from sit-ups which are far more important for functional movement for mums.
Havoc on the Pelvic floor – too much pressure bearing down for situps or crunches without suitable core support can have an adverse effect on your already tired and recovering pelvic floor. Better to avoid the risk and work on your core.
Instead of hitting the mat to do sit-ups and crunches, try a few core stabilizing movements to get better use of your too precious time to exercise. These exercises are easier on your back and more effectively strengthen your abdomen as well as your whole core and back support system.
Plank pose, or holding a high pushup position, works your core. Hold your shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line for as long as you can then rest.
Side plank working your obliques- similar to a plank pose hold a straight line between shoulders hips and feet whilst open to the side supporting yourself with one arm. Swap sides.
Lying leg extension is the bomb for new mums. Lying on your back with knees bent, gently outstretch one leg to just above the floor then slowly return to starting position. Alternate legs.
Demonstrations on the above are on the video link attached or the Bounce Back abs toolkit cheat sheet.
If I say Tabata what do you think of? A sauce, a type of sausage or some kind of home renovating product?
Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that ultimately improves endurance. It teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid. When you train in a high-intensity zone, your threshold becomes higher. It also keeps your metabolism running on high gear. One of the greatest benefits of this kind of high intensity training is that your body keeps burning fat for up to 24 hours after your workout. Now who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Some more great benefits of Tabata: It’s easy to plan, easy to do, and you don’t need much space or any fancy equipment. Just your body and a clock will do the trick.
Tabata works in four-minute intervals of 20 seconds work 10 seconds rest, it’s that easy. Why 16 minutes you may ask, well that’s because it’s usually done with just 4 exercises in rotation.
There are no limits to what you can use and you can tailor it to target the body area you are working on as well as general fitness improvement. Just pick four exercises, do a quick warm up and go for it. (Although as your trainer I encourage an up and down element to your choices for that little extra oomph!)
Static sprint/lying leg extensions/high knees or step shuffle/plank
Watch the clock – 20 seconds work on 1st exercise, rest for 10 seconds while setting up for the next exercise.
Be ready to go right on ten. Keep rotating through the set for 8 rounds of each.
Have a good stretch after the session.
Tabata is not recommended for beginners and best used if you have a moderate level of fitness. I’m sure like most of my clients you will love the challenge and be thrilled that it only takes 16 minutes. But go hard. Make it the full 20 seconds of work and no longer than 10 rest. If you include 1-2 tabata sessions into your weekly routine you will certainly start to see and feel results in a few weeks.