So I had this crazy idea the other day, maybe its part of getting older and proving I still "have what it takes", maybe its just a bucket list cross off to say I did it, but I want to try a Tri.....
So what has led to this madness?
Roughly 8 years ago, after having 5 children and having little to no time for exercise I got into running. When I first began I could barely run 100m without stopping for breath, but over months I built myself up to being able to run 5 - 6km consistantly 3 -4 times a week. I built on that further by then completing a half marathon another 6 months later, with no injury to speak of.
I ran around 35 - 40 km a week and loved it, it was the thing that kept me sane amongst an absolute hectic working week, working up to 80+ hours a week (Oh thats right you may not know my previous life before massage was in fashion and publishing, but thats a whole other story) , running a household with 5 kids (three of those teenage boys) which often blew out to 10 kids with all the drop ins we had and supporting my husband as he transitioned careers.....lets just say our house was often like a mad hatters tea party, that you needed to escape from every so often.
When I ran all the stress and intensity just melted away, it was just me and the trees and trails and national park, the birds, the streams, and the peace....(I lived in the Hills in Perth). There was nothing that quite compared. When I ran, I was more patient, less stressed and slept well.....
Then I moved to Broome......hot , humid, suffocating wet season, wind smashing you, mosquitos, no beautiful tall trees and national parks, just long roads of red dirt...... I struggled to overcome the intensity of the weather, and began to struggle with a mystery illness that hit me every week, usually after running. It caused all kinds of unfortunate symptoms including tightening of the chest, heart palpitations and agonising muscle soreness, to me it felt like I was having a heart attack. After "an episode" I would crash, sleeping for up to 16 hours, and wake feeling like I had been hit by a truck, my body ached, my joints were sore and I was puffy.....my running stopped.
Over 12 months of tests, puzzled doctors and referrals, I was diagnosed with Insulin resistance which in extreme temps was made worse as my blood sugars spiked and caused all the symptoms mentioned above.
Desperate to find another passion I turned to cycling, which was much easier on the body and just as much an escape as running, but not quite the cardio output of running....I was happy to be out on the road once again, I happily rode for a few years, completing the Gibb Challenge 2 years in a row with my husband as a dualist team, but the running bug kept niggling me, everytime I returned to Perth, or down to Esperance I would run and fall in love with it all over again....
So this year being the coldest dry season I have experienced, the issues with blood sugar under control (mainly diet controlled : low carbohydrates, high in good fats, no refined sugars) and I have decided to re-condition myself into running again....but running on its own I have found so much harder this time to get back into. Perhaps being older, the tissue being out of condition and still a little struggle with the lungs opening up like they did when I ran in Perth, I decided to add in other training. Rather than forcing just the running and ending up with injury as a result, I began with run and cycle sessions on a Sunday, then a straight run on a Wednesday morning.
In my newsfeed (good old Facebook), posts kept popping up about the triathlons : friends were doing them, inspired by clients who were training for them and then the Broome Triathlon popped up on a few occasions. I thought, "Well I am running and cycling already why not add in a swim. That way my training would be balanced."
I have chosen the enticer distance, as I didn't want to pick anything too big for the first one. I have a few friends and ex clients who have done Triathlons, and my ex-boss from Perth is Tri-coach and physiotherapist, Neil Drouet.
Neil has studied physiotherapy and sport science. He has worked with many athletes and endurance sport enthusiasts. I worked in his business in Perth Evolved Physiotherapy which housed one of only two AlterG machines (google it), amazing recovery treadmills for athletes. He has helped clients plan their season, manage training and load in order to achieve the best outcomes with the least amount of injury. So he was an obvious choice to speak to about how to train for a Tri.
Neils take on the enticer triathlon is that is it actually more challenging in some ways than a longer distance.
"The enticer is hard, its not based on endurance, basically you just want to get to the end without spewing," he joked. He gave me a 4 part plan when it came to training.
"With enticer the aerobic tops out early in the piece, so the focus should be on building strength and having more efficiency in your movement. Drills will be your best training for running : butt kicks, high knees, things like that naturally pull you onto your toes."
Get benefit from EVERY training.
Trying to complete 1 - 2 of each per week at a quality level rather than pushing to complete more at less than optimal performance.
"Invest in a wind trainer so you can ride regardless of outside conditions or time of day, the wind trainer would bring heart rate up to 85-90% which would help with the aerobic side of the event. With running try Interval training sessions with a walk - 1min / run - 30 sec. "
Practice you BRick sessions (going from bike to run) . Indoors you can use a spin bike and treadmill going from ride to run and repeat, practicing that on / off transition. With riding don't go full out, ride at a lower cadence saving the energy for the run.
For outdoors find a good oval / track somewhere its safe to leave your bike. Cycling a few laps, then run 1, then repeat.
"Massage is important to keep on top of any niggly issues and stop them turning into anything big, and MFR and stretching for the same reason."
So I have max 4 sessions a week I can commit to so Neils suggestion for me was 2 swim sessions which were skills based : look at joining a swim squad with a good coach and 2 BRick sessions which included 1 x 60 min intense transitions between bike and run : breaking that up to be 35 minute ride, 25 minute run.
If you are planning on completing your first triathlon this year, comment below : any struggles, challenges in training?