For me the past 6 months have been quite tough. I returned to working full time to make ends meet, and residence wise returning to the colder climate of Melbourne meant trying to stay healthy over winter. I wish I could report that I succeeded with this, but unfortunately I didn’t and I succumbed to the dreaded flu which was 5 weeks down and out, and then a severe bout of food poisoning. Not ideal when starting new jobs, and trying to train at an elite level. My body was completely annihilated. It’s taken some time to rebuild to quality health and I am still building the training up each week. I have really had to pay particular attention to my nutrition and sleep in order to get back on top of things. Always such a work in progress!
While there have been challenging times, I have had to draw the positives out of my current circumstances and try to make the changes work to my benefit. First of all I actually don’t own a car anymore, so getting around is usually by bike, running and walking. Being back in Melbourne, that means longer travel time and usually in freezing cold weather over winter! I managed to secure a contract role in the town of Port Melbourne which is approximately 30km from my house using the more bike friendly streets and bikeways. So I decided to use this to my benefit, commuting to work and training most days on a heavy steel commuter bike. Now if you’ve seen my commuter bike you would understand how this piece of machinery could easily be a double edged sword! It may make you strong on occasion, but get too wrapped up in attacking the ride and elements each day and you could also end up in a hole! I mean that physical hole of fatigue.
Melbourne offers it all over winter. Gale force winds across the bay, torrential freezing cold rain, icy cold mornings and hail if you are lucky! What surprised me the most was my resilience and mental strength to cope with this after spending 2 years in sunny Queensland. I rode most days to the swimming pool in Albert Park before riding onto work. I would then ride home again, and weather dependant I would either run or take a hot shower! There were times when I just had to make the call to get straight into a hot shower and not do anymore. I guess when it’s freezing cold and you are soaked through from the rain and hail it gives you little choice. When riding in the conditions I was convinced that it was making me stronger mentally, nobody else is out there doing this Jodie I would tell myself. Of course they aren’t! They are probably being smart and inside on their trainers and treadmills! I usually do this myself, but when the bike is your only mode of transport it gives you no option but to keep riding.
So with the arrival of Spring and daylight saving, one of my favourite things is daylight saving! The extra hours of daylight are most definitely welcomed when trying to squeeze in work and training. The days are actually starting to improve and we have been given a little taste of the warmer weather to come. Honestly I’m wishing for a long hot summer! It also means that the Australian domestic race season is upon us, so it’s time to start ramping up the training and getting ready for the upcoming races. My first race will be Port Macquarie 70.3 in NSW. Given my limited winter preparation I don’t really know where I will be at, it’s a tough race to start on and to be honest it will probably be the best indicator of form and what’s needs to be done. It’s not easy to rock up to race when you are not entirely confident of your preparation, mentally it will be test and I will need to remain strong to ensure that I just get the job done.
It’s also time to review my training again, winter is always 1/3 of what’s possible in Summer. The cold can have such an impact on your health and ability to train, it’s like everything just slows down a little. I guess we do kind of hibernate in the cooler climates. For me I need to start planning my training for my Iron distance races in the new year. My half ironman races leading up to Christmas will provide a platform to work from, the hard racing really can bring your fitness up and I will use these races as key training days. Not only do you get to practice the swim/bike/run under pressure, it also allows you to work out your equipment, pacing and helps you deal with nerves you get before a race. I have been absolutely crippled with nerves before key races in the past, and while some nerves are good for performance, when they are extreme they can sabotage your day. Building a program around racing is something that either your coach or your need to consider carefully. You can’t be up for every race, sometimes you need to train through and the body can be quite tired or just not on fire. If you can accept that the race isn’t key race, then you will get the benefit from racing. As they say, “racing is training”!
My next post will be after Port Mac 70.3, so I hope to get some good feedback on my long training that I can share with you :-)