Monday, 30 March 2015

Triathlon training - staying on track

This might be an odd thing to say about a sport that involves training for three separate disciplines but triathlon seems to be the ideal sport to fit around a busy lifestyle.

The huge advantage of training for a triathlon, rather than taking part in a team game or even playing a sport such as tennis or badminton, is that I can arrange my training to suit me and to fit around my other commitments. If I don't get out of the house to go to the gym until gone 8pm it doesn't matter. And if I have to cancel a training session unexpectedly, then I'm not letting anyone else down. I'm the only person affected and it's no big deal - I can just rearrange it for the next day or the day after.

But it's a double-edged sword. The flexibility that comes with training on my own brings with it challenges too, the obvious one being the challenge of self- motivation. Lonely sessions at the gym, in the pool or pounding the pavements can be difficult when the only person you're answerable to is yourself. So what if you don't feel like putting your running gear on and braving the rain? So what if you're feeling a bit under the weather and the last thing you want to do is head to the pool? So what if you just can't be bothered today and would rather sit in front of the TV with a glass of wine or a box of chocolates?

Let's face it, it's very easy to find reasons not to train. The real challenge is to keep the momentum going and to keep ourselves motivated. Two of the things that have really helped keep my training on track are joining a running group and raising money for a charity close to my own heart.

In January, I started running with the Boldmere Bullets Running Collective. The "Bullets" meet every Sunday in a local park at 7.40am for a warm up followed by a run at 8am.  There are different groups for different abilities ranging from the walkers to the speedy 8 minute milers. I fall somewhere in the middle in the "social group" which generally completes a 5 km route in about 35 minutes. The Bullets are non-competitive and there are no official timings. The ethos is to run together as a group and not to leave anyone behind.
The Bullets Social Group

I have found running with the Bullets has really helped me stick at my running. By signing up to the event on Facebook each week I feel I have committed to going and it's amazing how much this motivates me to set my alarm and get out of bed.  But more importantly the Bullets are a great bunch of people and it really is a pleasure to run with them - it must be for me to get up so early on a Sunday morning! In fact, I haven't missed a session since January, I gave up my Mother's Day lie in and didn't even miss this week's run despite the wind and rain and losing an hour's sleep because of the clocks going forward. I love the positive feeling I get from completing a 5 km run before 9am and the fact that I still have the rest of the day ahead of me.

So if you're struggling to stay motivated, why not see if there are any similar running groups near you, or maybe just find a running buddy, so that you can encourage each other to keep going. It's amazing what a bit of camaraderie can do - this week our group ran at sub 11 minute mile pace for the very first time!

Of course, the fact that I have decided to complete my first triathlon for charity is also helping to keep me motivated. I'm raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support, a charity providing support and information to women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum* (HG) and aiming to improve the care and treatment they receive. So in a way I am answerable to others - the sufferers and their families who desperately need the support of the charity as well as all the amazing volunteers who work tirelessly to support those sufferers. If I don't put the training in, if I don't complete my challenge, then I will be letting them down as well as myself.

You can also help to keep my motivation up by sponsoring me and I would be immensely grateful for any donations no matter what size. If you would like to spur me on with my training, here's the link to my fundraising page. Thank you so much.

* Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of pregnancy sickness involving constant and unrelenting nausea and vomiting. Women lose a considerable amount of weight (in some cases this can be as much as 10% of the woman's pre-pregnancy weight), they become dehydrated and frequently require IV fluids in hospital. HG renders sufferers too ill to carry out simple daily tasks and they are often bed- or house-bound for months on end. This leads to an overwhelming feeling of isolation which can result in antenatal and postnatal depression. It is mentally and physically debilitating and can leave sufferers with post traumatic stress disorder.

No comments:

Post a Comment