The power of your mind

Swimming Since I started triathlon my swimming has improved a lot, but I have always thought of it as my weakest discipline. I have worked on technique, have had coaching in a workshop situation to improve my stroke, and I have steadily improved. I have progressed from the slowest lane in the tri club swim sessions to the 2nd fastest lane. Recently the swim lanes have changed and a lot of swimmers have moved in to the 2nd fastest lane. I have been reluctant to move up to the fast lane, as I didn’t want to get dropped and hold people up, I tried going in the other week but was struggling to keep up on the warm up.

Some coaching feedback from a while back!

Some coaching feedback from a while back!

Life in the fast lane This Monday I went in the fast lane, I didn’t really want to and still in my head I think I am a poor swimmer but I thought I’d give it a go. We were doing fast 100’s and when I stopped my Garmin at the end of the first 100m I was shocked to see I’d swum the fastest time for 100m I think I’ve ever swum, now part of this is down to having faster swimmers to draft, and also stopping short of the end of the lane (there were so many of us in there!) But I started stopping my Garmin a second after I’d stopped to account for the last meter of the lane, and I still managed to hold on to a consistently faster pace than usual, about 8-10s faster than my usual 100m pace.

Mind power It is really important to see ourselves in a positive light. When negative thoughts come in to your head you need the skills to replace them with positive or affirming beliefs. This is not only important for training and racing, but also an essential life skill, it can improve the quality of your life dramatically (love the rain!) I am very aware that I still view myself as a poor swimmer, and there are many other areas in my life that I do this, BUT I am aware of it, and there are things that I can do to ensure I don’t fall into the trap of overly criticising myself. Next time that voice comes into my head telling me I am crap at swimming I now have the evidence to show that I am not, and that I can push myself more than I thought. As you train and race, make sure that you store these moments so that you can call on them when you need some positive energy in your life, remember you are unique and have many strengths that other people see and admire, be proud of yourself, and love the rain!

Base training

This video was posted on my clubs cycling forum, and it brings up some really good points

I think one of the points that it brings up, about knowing why you are doing a workout is really important. If you have a good reason to do a session then it will be beneficial, for your mind as well as your body. If you are just doing it just to get the miles in then it may be the wrong reason.

You need to know what your goal is and work towards that. 

It is important to have a focus for each session, and when I plan workouts for my athletes I always  describe the focus of the session. This works in 2 ways, firstly you go in to your session with a focussed plan, and you are also programming your mind to believe in what you are doing, so that when it comes to race day you will know that you have done what it takes to prepare your mind and body, remembering this will make you a better athlete.

A snapshot of one of my coached athletes plans

A snapshot of one of my coached athletes plans

It is a good idea to visualise your race whilst you are training too, think about how you will feel when you are racing. All of this will help prepare you for the big day.

There is no doubt that High intensity sessions will increase your fitness, but you must also do race appropriate workouts too, and in the study that is quoted the participants did high intensity (that means all out efforts) for 30 seconds until exhaustion, or worked at 80% until exhaustion.

I am believer in balance and variability. If you do the same sessions week in week out then you will not improve as much as you will if you progress, and work in different intensities, the more time you have to train, the more you can mix it up. You also need to know when to back off. Ask yourself, what benefit am I getting from this session? Sometimes its better to recover and try again another day.

What is an endurance ride?

Or, riding in Zone 2

An endurance ride or run means different things to different people, and it’s something that a lot of people get wrong, so I thought I’d try and clear up a few misunderstandings and misconceptions.

When I describe an endurance ride I ask someone to ride in Zone 2 for an extended period of time. The way that training works is that your body adapts to the training load that you place on it, so it is important to increase the distance that you ride, and make sure that you plan this well. If you increase your long rides/runs too early you will be at risk of burnout and reach your peak fitness too early. If you don’t increase your long rides/runs enough then your endurance will be compromised.

It is also important to make sure you pace the ride correctly, some mistakes that people make are:

  • Riding too hard on hills, and then recovering on the flats and downs.
  • Not riding consistently on the flats and downs.

If you are using a power meter it is easy to see if you are in the right zone, and I have found I ride more consistently when I use my power meter. If you are using heart rate then you can see from your heart rate graph how consistent you are. If your heart rate graph looks like the one below, then you may not be getting the benefit of an endurance ride.

Heart rate dips and peaks a lot.

Heart rate dips and peaks a lot.

Shown below is a more consistently paced ride where the heart rate remains fairly steady

Heart rate does not dip and peak as much.

Heart rate does not dip and peak as much.

People’s heart rates don’t tend to dip as much when they are running, but it is still important to be aware of your effort level and keep a constant pace. Don’t forget, triathlons are steady state events and you need to be able to swim, bike and run at a steady pace for an extended amount of time.

Its that time of year again….atchoo

Illness and injury can happen at any time, so it is useful to know what to do if you can’t train.

If you have an injury then you need to get professional help as soon as possible. Don’t think it will go away, admit to yourself that there is an issue and start managing it. If you don’t intervene early then it could turn into something worse. You may need to do rehabilitation, make sure that you listen to advice and act accordingly.

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It is now the season for colds and flu, if you do succumb to “the lurgy” then make sure you hydrate well and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid dairy produce if you can, as dairy can increase mucous. This tweak of your diet will help your immune system get back on track.

 

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As far as training goes:

“A neck check is a way to determine your level of activity during a respiratory illness,” says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York. “If your symptoms are above the neck, including a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, and tearing eyes, then it’s OK to exercise,” he says. “If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, body aches, fever, and fatigue, then it’s time to hang up the running shoes until these symptoms subside.”

I would still be cautious about exercising when ill, your immune system is taking a battering, and you may find that exercising makes you feel worse. If in doubt go out, but take it easy. You really need to use your own judgment on this, sometimes going out when you are not recovered can set you back more than resting and allowing your body to balance itself.

If you do miss training due to illness then these guidelines (from Don Fink) will help you to work out what to do

1 day missed

Just skip your workout. Missing one workout will not matter in the long run.

2-3 days missed

Skip the lost days and rejoin your normal training, but on the first day back do half of your scheduled workout. Resume normal training on the second day back.

4-6 days missed

Rejoin programme skip the missed days. Do 1/3 of your scheduled training on first 2 days back, and 2/3rds on next 2 days back. Resume full training on the fifth day back.

7 or more days missed

You may need to reconsider your goals depending on when this happens. Speak to your coach, if you have one, and modify your training plan.

As I said these are guidelines, and I think that it is more important for you to decide what the best course of action is. Only you really know how well you are recovered.

Merry Christmas everyone, my early present, a new motivational toy.

Skipping

Theres nothing like a new toy to get you going again. I bought a skipping rope before I went to Sri Lanka, thinking it would help with running technique, I had a couple of skips with it humming the rocky theme tune to myself, and found it was pretty hard work. It really shows up your technique too.

I thought I would show what happens to your heart rate when doing high intensity exercise. It takes quite a while for your heart rate to increase even when you are working really hard, this is why I use power on my bike.

Sometimes when you are going uphill, by the time your heart rate has kicked in you have already burned a match, its also really useful for gauging your rate of perceived exertion as you can instantly see what your power is, (how hard you are riding) before you start getting out of breath. It is good to use several methods of determining how hard you are working, so that you stay in touch with your body.

Yoga, surfing and sun

Sri Lanka

160ft sitting buddha

160ft sitting buddha

I have been back home for just over a week now from a holiday in Sri Lanka, which we booked for a late 60th birthday present for my mum. I left Patrick with the boys and jetted off to sunny Hikkaduwa for 2 weeks of yoga, a bit of surfing and some sightseeing.

Hikkaduwa is a beach resort with lots of surf schools, I was looking forward to surfing in the warm water in board shorts and a rash vest! Arriving on a holiday like that is always a bit strange, wondering what we could possibly do all day, and because it was such a long way away I wanted to see a bit of the country too. The travelling was pretty tiring, I think I’m still recovering from flights, jet lag etc.

Hikkaduwa beach

Hikkaduwa beach

We soon settled in to a rhythm, yoga was in the morning from 7:30 till 9:30, starting with 10-25 minutes meditation, then breakfast took us until about 10:30. We then wandered down to the beach and went in the sea for a surf/swim, some days we walked, and did a bit of shopping, and most days we went to the supermarket to find exciting foods!

A bit of body boarding in small waves.

A bit of body boarding in small waves.

 

We managed to see a great market, and on the last day we got the train to Kandy to see The Temple of the Tooth, an amazing buddhist temple.

So I have come back with a few yoga sequences up my sleeve, a massive amount of rest and recovery, some food inspiration, and inspiring quotes. I also made a resolve to meditate at least once a week, I have managed 2 days this week, which has been positive! And doing something totally unrelated to Triathlon for 2 weeks was a great mental break.

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Turning into a film maker

Trip to Resolven

I have been busy at the computer again this week, after an epic ride with 4 of the Pembrokeshire Velos  to receive my plaque for winning the 100 mile time trial. I met them at Kilgetty at 6:30am and rode 71 miles up to Resolven. I managed to hold on to their wheels for most of the way, but during the last hour I kept getting dropped! Considering I hadn’t been out for longer than an hour and a half since Ironman on the bike, I was pretty pleased. They had cycled from Pembroke Dock and ridden 83 miles in total. I was a bit annoyed that my garmin wouldn’t download to Strava afterwards as I’m sure I would have had a few QOM’s!!

The full trip, I was there too honest!

Strength and Conditioning

I have been putting together some videos for my coached athletes, which has taken up quite a bit of my time, I am aiming to show exercises that can be done easily at home without equipment. Hopefully they will find them useful!

Planning for next season

Little by little.

I’m starting to get itchy feet and have started to plan for next season. However I’m still very busy allowing myself to get unfit! But have managed to get my plan for next year down on paper. Colour coded of course! I have entered The Titan, middle distance triathlon, and I am planning on entering The Wales Triathlon. I have also entered The Wiggle Dragon ride media fondo,  which is the weekend before The Titan, maybe not great planning, but got a little bit carried away with the wiggle fever on Facebook. At least its all local stuff, so not too much travelling involved.

The year ahead

The year ahead

A bit of social riding

I thought it was time I went out with the dynamos again, but had to be home by 10.20, as Devon had rugby. I left at 8.30am so I could get a bit of an extra ride in before meeting at the Bloomfield at 9am. Unfortunately I forgot to start my garmin when I started out with the club, had a good chat with Kim before I had to head back home, and thought I would give a good blast up Coxhill to try and beat my time up there on Strava, how frustrating when I got home and realised that I had forgotten to start my garmin!

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Kicking back, and relaxing

Transition and the off season

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No data has been entered for 5 weeks!

Since ironman Wales I have been pretty busy, and I had a cold for about 2 weeks. Its taken a while but I have relaxed into the minimal activity that I have been doing! I have started planning next season, I’m feeling pretty relaxed about next year though. Meanwhile here are some of the things that I have been up to and enjoying again in the last 5 weeks;

Going to a wedding

I had a cold unfortunately but enjoyed eating, drinking and camping in the New Forest, beautiful…

Surfing

Or attempting to, not ideal conditions the times I’ve been out, but have had fun splashing about in the sea.

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Windy and cold in my ancient wetsuit!

Cycling with my husband

My husband has bought a road bike, so I have been showing him a few routes.

Cooking, cooking, and more cooking

Lots of baking, and experimenting has been going on in my kitchen.

Mushroom hunting

My oldest boy has developed an obsession with identifying mushrooms, which has meant lots of foraging in the woods.

 

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Not edible, but interesting.

The big smoke

As a surprise for my husbands “special” birthday I took him to London. We had a great time wandering around Brick Lane, eating and drinking, and made a special visit to Nopi, which was fantastic, I even saw Ottolenghi at the bar and got a bit star struck. I wanted to go and say hi but by the time I had decided to go over he was leaving, (let that be a lesson!) We spent the next evening watching 3 back to back surf films at The London Surf Film Festival which was a real treat for us.

A bit more bike maintenance

I have been meaning to get my mountain bike gear cables changed, so I did that and then went out on my road bike. The gear cable snapped for the rear derailed, and I had to cycle home in a very hard gear, ouch (luckily it happened at the end of the ride). I investigated and have bought a new derailler, and shifters :-( It is now in quarantine in the garage! I am suddenly desperate to get out on my bike, so I had to go off road this week, which is no bad thing!

My lovely bike, needing repair

My lovely bike, needing repair

 Launching my website

I have spent far too much time in front of a computer setting up my website, but I think its looking good, here is a link, and take the time to like my Facebook page if you haven’t already :-)

 

 

 

Home

I am a mother of 2 boys. with a passion for exercise, the outdoors, food, and nutrition.

I provide coaching services to help you achieve your goals.

I aim to work with you as an individual, and find out your unique training needs.

I have a proven track record of self coaching with success at all distances of Triathlon.

I started Triathlon as a way of getting back into fitness after my first son was born, I have gone on to compete in all distances of triathlon, with success in self coaching.

I believe that through my varied experience (outdoor instructor, teacher, and cycling coach) I have the tools to help people to achieve their goals.

My ethos

  • To empower you to make positive improvements in your life.
  • To demonstrate and teach best practice.
  • To keep up to date with developments and apply these to your training.
  • To be flexible in my approach.
  • To find out about what works for you as an individual.

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To see what I can offer you please click here.

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