Time really does fly. I am finally coming down to earth a week later. I am so grateful to everyone who wished me well. I never expected such a reaction.
I spent the week wondering what is next, how do I up my training next year and do I totally ease off now for a few weeks. All great dilemmas of course, but at the same time my head has been going a little crazy. I have finally come to the conclusion that I will carry on where I left off but take a little more rest than the previous few months. After all I would go crazy without my training. It is as you all know, an addiction!
So what made the difference this year?
Outside of power sessions on the bike, mountain runs, long mountain races and more training I did start to perfect a few minor details that may have given me an edge on other years, or at least given me the confidence to push harder and believe in myself more than other years.
I invested in tri bars (Token aero bars) for my road bike, an aero helmet (Giro Advantage) , and new trail runners. I didn’t break the bank on anything, however, the bars and helmet adjusted my position on the bike and have brought my average speed way up. The runners are amazingly comfortable and light, yet top class on the mountain. These Salomon S LAb runners are a little pricier than your normal trail runners, but worth the extra little bit.
Giro helmet, token tri bars.
Salomon S LAb trail runners. amazing !
The final tweaks in my armoury were physical ones. I have been going to my physio, Patrick Kearney @patrick88ie, now for a year and he has worked wonders. My ankles have become stronger and more flexible with concentrated work on my Soleus muscle in the calf. Here are Patrick’s details for any locals interested.
My next big step, which is possibly the most important of all, is diet. As explained in older posts, my diet has always been reasonable but I have made more of an effort this year to up my game a bit. This has seen a total reduction in high carbohydrate foods and more of a focus on proteins and fats. I find lots of vegetables, fish, halloumi, other cheeses, dairy, eggs and add quinoa, buckwheat and lentils to bulk up the meals. This is a very brief idea, but all in all, cut out as much processed foods as possible. It may just of helped. A massive thanks also has to advice I received from a nutritionalist, Bridget Wing, also from Oranmore, that gave me a few extra tips and helped me understand the workings of my diet on my training. You can find Bridget on her website http://www.mindbodynutrition.ie/
Then there was this little beauty. No I don’t own one, but thanks to the top class gym I am a member of I have had the use of one for the last few months. I would put my great progression on the bike down to the watt bike. I am still learning how to use it to it’s greatest potential. Anyone that has a chance over the winter give it a go. My gym is Club Vitae in Oranmore and I would like to thank everyone there for making it a great place to train. There are some great athletes and personal trainers involved in the gym and always a thing or two to be learnt along the way.
A wattbike !
On race day I keep things very basic in terms of accessories, having learnt from the people around me in the past. We all start adventure racing with a pack on our backs, a big plastic bag full of food, about 20 bottles of water and 5 coats ! It isn’t long before we are stripped down to the bare essentials. A buff to keep my head warm if needed, a flipbelt with the manditory kit, a few gels, and a bottle of water with electrolyte mixed in. These few things I carry and the helmet is the only thing I change in transition.
The trek bar is for immediately after the race along with the nuts and seeds. I also have these nuts and seeds with me at work for snacking during the day. The gels are essential, however it is for each indiidual to test out what works for you.
I will try and do a few blog posts similar to this one, to give some information and ideas to those of you interested in progressing in any sport. I have a huge amount to learn yet but I hope for those coming up the ladder that this will be of some help.