Anna would say that it is just my normal pre-race jitters, but with the British Sprint Triathlon Championships coming up in Eton in little over a weeks time things aren’t looking good for me at the moment.
A Matter of Priority
Training has been a little lack lustre for a while now and I’m just not as psyched up for it as I was last year. Maybe it’s just not possible for people in the real world to compete at that level year after year? Last year it was virtually a full-time job, by the time I’d done my training, stretching, conditioning, made sure my diet was on track, logged and analysed everything, there was little time left much else. Obviously I was fitting all of this in around a job and a family and sacrifices had to be made. Even if it’s only silly little things like making sure the garden was looking nice, I couldn’t do it all and I don’t necessarily want to do that this year.
It’s all a matter of priorities really. Last year, getting to and doing well in the European Championships was at the very top of my priority list – well, after Anna and Morgan of course. This year it isn’t. I’d still like to do well, but there are plenty of other things in my life that are just as important and getting the balance right is proving difficult. I’m hoping to ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End later in the year, which is quite a big event to aim for this year. It’s our 10th wedding anniversary so organising a garden party for that will take some time and there are plenty of household things I’d like to get on top of as well.
I’d really like to be competing in these ‘big’ races just for the enjoyment of doing so, but as the race approaches it’s really hard not to be concerned about how I’ll do and it’s a little worrying knowing that I’m not on top form and therefore won’t be able to compete at the best of my ability at the pointy end of the field. When you’ve been right at the top it’s hard to take a step back.
I really wish I could get the ‘it’s the taking part that matters’ mentality into my head but it will be a little frustrating knowing that I could have been faster had I been more focused.
Too many Cakes
I’ve been doing similar amounts of training, but the focus just hasn’t quite been there. This has meant that I probably haven’t been pushing quite as hard as I could do during the hard training sessions and I’m feeling a little slow and sluggish. Even more of a contributory factor though has been my diet. It’s never a terrible diet, but I’ve just been eating too much. I enjoy the act of eating, I never get full and just don’t seem to be able to stop. I’m therefore about 5kg heavier than I should be going into a race. I’ve also been enjoying cooking and baking quite a bit this year and all of those delicious cakes don’t help matters! Again it’s all a matter of making sacrifices. Last year I made loads in order to compete as well as I could, this year I’ve been unwilling to give up quite so much and it shows in my performances.
The biggest worry at the moment though is a fairly painful bout of Sciatica. It’s been building up for a few weeks now as a niggle in my back and down through my left buttock along the outer side of my thigh to my knee. I’ve just been training through it without too much of an issue, just a little bit of discomfort rather than any real pain and the odd twinge when bending or lifting.
It all became considerably worse yesterday though after a run session when it developed into proper pain and considerable impairment to my range of motion. Getting around the house turned into a bit of a hobbling exercise and getting up and down from the sofa was accompanied by several groans and grunts. I missed a core workout session because of it and didn’t swim this morning either. I shall miss my gym session and chain-gang ride on the bike later today too as I’m sure the best course of action is to rest it properly.
I’m not really sure what is causing it, maybe just a general beak-down due to increased training loads. Maybe it’s too many inflammatory foods in my diet. Maybe, it’s just ‘one of those things’. I don’t know, but I don’t think there was anything specific that set it off. Maybe it’s time to change my running shoes – I do have some on order as mine had reached the mileage I had prescribed to them. But whatever it was, I’ve got to deal with it and it isn’t ideal with race season upon us.
Rest and Race
Ibuprofen helps ease it off a little and it is less painful today than it was last night, so hopefully a couple of days rest will work wonders. Fitness wise a few days rest shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I would have been tapering next week anyway, so this will just be an enforced, longer taper than I’d normally do. ‘Fatness’-wise though it may be a different story. Without the training load I’ll be expending far fewer calories than usual, but no doubt won’t be able to curb the eating. I should be trying to get closer to racing weight, but without the training will probably gain even more weight – all of which I’ll have to carry around the race with me.
Somehow I just don’t think I’m going to be on top form in Eton – Hopefully people don’t have too high expectations and I don’t let anyone (other than myself) down, and if nothing else it should be an enjoyable family weekend away whatever happens in the race. I’ll try to enjoy it, even if I can’t be as fast as I could be – if that makes sense!
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Thanks need to be made to Ceredigion County Council for supporting my training. - Diolch hefyd i Gyngor Sir Ceredigion.