Your training doesn’t have to take a holiday just because you do

16 09 2016

Knowing that the training season is going to start gathering momentum towards Taupo Ironman 70.3, we decided to take a well-earned break from both forms of work!

A week in the sun at Port Douglas beckoned to get us away from the Wellington winter and allow us to chill out before the triathlon season kicks in.

 

My life usually revolves around my training programme, working out what I’m doing when and moving things if I need to. When you’re training for three disciplines, it’s not quite as easy as throwing on a pair of trainers and heading out the door for a run, so you become and expert scheduler!

 

But being on holiday meant I couldn’t be a slave to the plan.

 

For a start, we wouldn’t have our bikes with us. And while you could hire bikes at our destination, we thought that e-bikes may have been a bit of a cheat.

 

But I didn’t want to take a complete break that might mean losing some of the good work that had been done to build up a strong base fitness. I still wanted to be set up well for the upcoming season. So what could I do?

 

The easiest option is obviously to run. After all, it is just throwing on a pair of trainers.

 

You’re likely to be on unfamiliar territory, so the key thing is to map out a route that you’re going to take. And if you’re going out on your own, make sure you have a way of getting back, or contacting someone to get you back. The last thing you need is to be lost in some unknown place!

 

Think about the time of day you’ll train too. We were in tropical North Queensland so we knew the temperature and humidity would be well above what we were used to. So we planned for early morning runs before it got too hot and too humid.

 

But also be aware that those different conditions might mean it’s harder than normal. Although I was running on the flat, I wasn’t capable of the same pace I’d expect from myself at home, where it’s cooler.

 

The bonus was new scenery and terrain. The beach at Port Douglas is really firm, meaning you can easily run on it without the usual “sand fatigue”. While running the path that follows the main road allowed me to get my bearings for the town.

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Our hotel was also blessed with not one, but FOUR 30 metre swimming pools. We know they were 30 metres because we actually asked so we could get an accurate reading from our Garmins! I’m sure they thought we were a bit mad…

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This made it easy to get some swims in. After our first swim on day one we made a pact to try and swim every day. It gave us a great opportunity to build some swim fitness and get a better feel for the water. It’s amazing how consistency can help improve your swimming and I never really understood when people told me that. But on return from our holiday, my coach made a number of positive comments about improvements in my stroke.

And do you know what? I can feel it too.

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Because while my training didn’t take a holiday in terms of me taking a break, I GAVE myself a break. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to follow the plan. I didn’t force any time or pace goals. I went freestyle. I did what I felt like doing and just relaxed. And I got something out of it.

It’s taken me another step towards a bigger goal.

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