No pain, no gain. That’s what I kept telling myself during April anyway.
Injury has restricted the amount of running I was able to manage between Christmas and the end of March and having taken on extra project work a heavy work schedule wasn’t helping my training much either. I was going OK, but felt I needed a big block of training before the season kicked into gear properly. Fortunately that’s exactly what I got.
I made a good start over the extended Easter weekend including several chilly bike rides in snow showers and a short run or two also. A planned time trial on the tandem had to be abandoned however after stripping the threads from a seatpost clamp – clearly I shouldn’t be let loose with an Allen key!
After just one day back at work it was off to Loughborough for the first GB Paratriathlon Team training camp of 2013. This was a fully funded camp as part of UK Sports commitment over the next 4 years in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympics, where triathlon will be included for the first time.
It was a fairly busy 5 days with talks on psychology, sponsorship and media skills as well as the usual training sessions you would expect. We also did some swim video analysis, strength and conditioning sessions and I continued my injury rehab with daily exercises and slowly building up my running endurance. I was pleased to cover almost 10km on one run and over 13km on another, even if this was only because I kept getting lost…
It was also great to spend some quality training time with Carl Shaw who will be guiding me during most events this year. It gave us the chance to get to grips with some of the new rule changes within Paratriathlon that come into force this season (more on this another time!). It was also nice to catch up with some of my team mates from last year and meet several new athletes selected onto this year’s squad following a talent identification process. Clearly I will have to keep improving to make it to Rio, but it’s good to be pushed!
From Loughborough it was straight onto Derbyshire with Jill. For Jill it was lambing time which is a highlight of the year for her whilst for me it was my annual boot camp style training routine. I was already a little tired from 10 days of decent training, but nevertheless set about doing 4 hours of training a day. This mostly took the form of a 1 hour swim set, 2 hour steady bike ride (as far is possible in the Peak District) and a short-medium distance run followed by my rehab exercises. There wasn’t any really epic bike rides or half marathon off-road trail runs like there have been in previous years but it was certainly good training.
I was also impressed with Jill’s efforts following on from her own boot camp recently. As well as all the physical work involved with lambing she was out walking, running or attending an aqua-fit class, so she’s really keeping up the good work she started previously.
Carl joined us for the last few days in the Peaks, annoyingly with very fresh legs just as I was beginning to crack badly. A ride through Winnats Pass finished me off! I don’t mind admitting that I had to walk the last third of the climb, but in my defence I had done 20 days of hard training by then.
I just about managed one more session on my last day up North, but this time at Manchester Velodrome. It was good to ride the boards again after a few years away. This was Carl’s first experience of track riding and he looked a touch nervous about tackling the ‘wall of death’ that is the banked indoor track. It probably didn’t help that the ‘coach’ in charge of the session simply told everyone just to get on and ride. It was only 20 or so minutes later when he realised Carl was a relative track novice. At this point he helpfully made a few suggestions like ‘don’t stop pedalling as you will be thrown from your bike’ due to the fixed wheel set-up on track bikes. Brilliant! Carl seemed to take to track riding easily though and was diving down from the top of the banking Chris Hoy-like for a sprint effort, only slower.
So, 3 weeks of good training in the bank. Now that I have recovered I’m generally feeling much fitter and ready for some more consistent training and a spot of racing!