By Louise Croxon – 22 August, 2016
So the butterflies have started fluttering and the starting lists are out! I’m trying not to PANIC but….my A race of 2016, the Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Cozumel are less than 4 weeks away on the 18th September. I’ve been training and preparing for this for the last 32 weeks, spending on average of 20 hours a week swimming, biking, running and gymming.
At the moment I don’t feel like I’m ready yet, like a cake which still has a few minute to go in the oven, I’m soft in the middle and underdone. However during a chat last week with my coach, Michelle Dillon from Team Dillon, she said I’d felt like this last year before the European Championships and that turned out well – a silver medal. Also that with 4 weeks to go it was too early to peak and be ready to go – there is still work to be done she said!
My aim for last month was to get some racing in, there is nothing like race practice to get you fit and firing. With 3 races in 10 days I think I achieved that aim. Results have been mixed but I’ve taken something away from everyone, positive and negative, and now I need to consolidate.
My first race was the London Tri in the Docklands. It was nice to be doing it with my brother in law so I could say with my sister and her family. They all loved the fitnaturally pre-race dinner of tomato pasta and chocolate brownie with ice cream. I felt ok warming up and excited to be back racing. The swim and run were solid but I messed up the bike. A navigational error and not reading the small print meant I did an extra 10 miles!! What a Nelly! I did 2 BIG laps instead of 1 big and 1 small, however even with that I finished 9th in my AG in 2 hours 45 minutes. Actually I felt better about it when I heard that at least 4 other people I knew had done the same thing! The positives were it was great training, it was good to put everything together and I certainly got my money’s worth.
A week later it was the British Championships in Liverpool. A race I’d won twice in 2014 and 2015 so of course I wanted to do the triple! But it wasn’t to be and I came 3rd in 2 hours 14 minutes beaten by a stronger biker and an amazing runner, ex-elite I hear. However I managed my main aim of a clean, non-messed up race. I was a bit caution on the bike as a lot of drafting was going on and I didn’t want to get caught up in that so had to slow down and drop back a few times. But at least I didn’t cheat and I was very pleased to run past those I had seen drafting – so there! Time wise I was chuffed to be 2 minutes quicker than last year, which would have been even better if I hadn’t of fluffed up T1. 2 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot but at this level its loads and it shows I’m fitter than last year and in great shape.
My third race was my tri club’s championships, an evening sprint race at Dorney. These are always loads of fun, with lots of banter and camaraderie. It was a stunning evening at Dorney with hardly any wind (those that have raced there will know now amazing that is!). Michelle had said take the swim out hard, ease back on the bike (as long as you’re winning) and run hard. This was because it was only 2 days after my last race and I’d be tired but also I needed some more hard running in the legs. The swim was fun, drafting off some of the fast boys. The bike was amazing. I cruised round in 4th gear, cycling down the clear straight smooth middle road in-between in the lakes with a gentle breeze on my back, whilst the sun was setting was stunning. The run I took out hard and held on. Overall time was 1 hour 4 minutes and I was fastest BTS lady and 5th man.
Perhaps more importantly my body – knees, feet, shoulder, and ankles everything that has been injured in the past year felt great both during and after the races. Whoop, Whoop! Onwards and upwards.
So what will I be doing for the next 4 weeks? I need a bit more baking, so a couple more hard weeks of training with high volume and intensity. I will be doing some heat acclimisation work to get used to the potential conditions in Mexico. This means sweaty turbo sessions in a heated room, layering up in training and hot yoga sessions. A few track sessions should hopefully inject some speed into my legs and be the icing on the cake. And then it will be a 2 week “freshen up” phase to get me in the best condition to race.
Mentally I need to focus and concentrate on each day. That means making sure I eat well, so I’m healthy and illness free and my body composition is right. fitnaturally are the experts at this so I’ve got that covered! Also it means going to bed on time and to get that all important recovery in so thank goodness the Olympics are over! Also it means being organised with my time and not getting distracted. I feel my confidence is a bit low so I need to work on believing in myself and stop feeling sorry for myself. Yes I’m tired, yes its hard work but I’ve chosen to do it and I need to believe in myself and do the best I can. I pride myself in my strong mental attitude especially in big races and making sure that I race to the best of my abilities. I know I’m not the most talented but I’m tenacious and stubborn. For me being well prepared is the key.