Fire up your training

You’ve been training for a few years now, results happened quickly, improvements kept coming, you felt unstoppable, riding the high of your triathlon successes. But as quickly as the results came, you suddenly feel like your improvements are slowly withering away and your shot at another PB seems like a distant memory. You keep training but your body just doesn’t seem to respond like it used to. Paces seem to be faltering, or even slowing down, energy and motivation wavering, race results diminishing. Does this sound like you? Good news is – you are not alone. Most athletes hit a plateau at some point in their training. We often see it in athletes after 2-3 years in the sport, but it can happen at any time. So with some understanding, practical tips and know how – you can smash through the plateau and be back on your way to your next PB in no time.  

What is a training plateau? 
Firstly, to understand why you have hit a training plateau, we must understand what it is.  When you put your body under physical exertion or physical stress (training), it creates a multitude of physiological responses at a cellular level in your body. Once the body is stimulated by the stress (training) it then goes through a process of adaption to meet the demands of the stress. As adaption occurs, the body is then better equipped (adapted) to handle the training load and it therefore becomes easier (ie you become faster / stronger / more efficient).  

Training increases must then be applied to elicit further physiological responses in the body and to continue improvement. This can be done in a number or combination of ways including increases in frequency, duration and/or intensity. If not, or if you don’t allow the adaption process to occur (through over training or under recovering) then your body will undoubtably hit the dreaded training wall plateau.  

Hitting a training wall or plateau is a frustrating part of training that most athletes will unfortunately experience at some point. The key is recognising it and making changes so you don’t find yourself stuck there and treading water for too long. So if you are consistent with your training, but have stopped seeing the results, try these practical and effective tips and training methods to smash your way through that training wall plateau and reap some serious results (and PB’s!) as a result.  

1. Don’t just train more
I put this first, as it’s often the ‘go to’ for athletes if they find themselves in a plateau. This can often be the worst thing you can do, especially if you have hit that wall due to over training or under recovering in the first place. Overtraining generally leads to fatigue, injury and/or underperforming, all that go hand in hand with hitting a plateau. So if you find yourself in this situation, don’t immediately just train more. Yes it’s important to be disciplined and consistent with your training, but it’s also crucial that you pay attention and listen to your body. If you have been training consistently, then look at other signs and reasons as to why you have found yourself in a plateau (read on). More training doesn’t necessarily equate to better results.  

2. Get the balance right
How much you train, and the type of training you do over time, along with the amount of recovery and/or the recovery methods you employ will all help ensure your training keeps progressing. A well-developed training plan/program will incorporate frequency, intensity and duration to elicit a specific physiological response at specific times in your training. Training increases are needed for a progressive overload but it is the amount of overload applied to the body that is the key. Too much and you risk injury, illness and over training, not enough and you won’t get the physical response to improve. To continue to see improvements, your training plan must stimulate the body at the new fitness level. Adaption then takes place again (the plateau) and so the process then continues. If you get to a point where you aren’t coming out of your plateau, then review the frequency, intensity and duration of your sessions to ensure a continued improvement. Sometimes it can mean not quite having the balance right or at the right times that sees you landing in a plateau for longer than planned.

3. Mix it up
One of the reasons you may have hit a plateau is because you are stuck in the same training routine. That training routine may have worked well in the past, but it doesn’t mean it is right for you now. Our bodies are very smart and extremely good at adapting to outside stress, so if you don’t mix things up, it can not only affect your results, but it can also affect your motivation too. So make sure you mix things up every now and then. It doesn’t have to be drastic, but just by changing up a block or period in our training such as backing off your running and bumping up your riding can freshen up your run and boost your ride at the same time. Or if you are always prescribed an aerobic, high volume training program, try adding some more intensity into your training. You may even want to try and flip things around, start your build with some intensity, and then move back to aerobic and strength. Remember there is always more than one way to achieve results. So don’t get stuck in your ways. Change it up and then monitor your results to ensure you are getting back on track.

4. Embrace recovery
If you are one of those athletes that fears taking a day off training, you are actually more susceptible to hitting the dreaded training wall plateau.
A body grows and becomes stronger and faster AFTER it has adapted to a training stimuli. So the amount of rest and recovery you give your body is just as important as the training itself. Without sufficient recovery, over time your body won’t be able to absorb the training load and make the adaptations to increase performance.
Think of this process like climbing a staircase. You can’t keep climbing at the same rate and the same intensity forever. At some point you will need to stop and rest so you can recharge and keep going. That’s what recovery days / sessions allow. A chance for your body to recharge so you can then hit your next sessions stronger.  So if you are constantly fatigued, sore, or not hitting your target times or efforts in training, there’s a good chance that you are simply not giving your body sufficient rest and recovery. So listen to your body and back it off a little if you need. Try taking a day or two off to regain both your physical and mental strength. You may just be surprised with how taking just a few days off can actually help not hinder your training and performance. So don’t fear recovery sessions or days. Embrace them.

5. Go hard on hard days, easy on easy days
Far too many athletes spend time in the ‘grey’ zone. Sitting in that middle ground of training. I understand it, it feels like you’ve had a good work out, but still got some left in the tank, it’s not super hard, but not easy either. But there lies the problem. Each type of session has a purpose at specific times in your training build. If you are always training in that ‘grey’ zone, you will miss the benefits of building a sounds aerobic base and therefore stunt your maximum aerobic function (your engine!), and at the other end, you will never hit hard sessions hard enough to effectively improve your VO2Max – which is what every athlete should be aiming for. Plus another down-side – you are at an increased risk of over training and/or under recovering.  So know and have a purpose for every session you do. If the purpose is aerobic base development, train in that zone, if it’s technique, go slow and focus, if it’s VO2max or speed, go hard and fast. Save the tempo and threshold training for race specific sessions when they are needed, and they certainly aren’t needed in every session.

6. Include specific training blocks
Many athletes get stuck into the ‘3 swims, 3 rides, 3 runs’ routine and then find themselves stagnating in one or more of the 3 disciplines. To give your training a little boost, while still balancing your time and recovery, look at including a block of training which focuses on one or two disciplines for a specific period of time, not all three. As an example:
Plan a 6 week ‘swim’ block if you have found you aren’t making progress in your swim. You might still train 9 times a week, but the ratio may be 5 swims, 2 runs, 2 rides. Similar plans can be done for the bike and run.

7. Add a training spike 
If you feel like you train specifically, you tried the recovery, have a good balance but still feel like you are in a rut, the next step might be a training spike. A training spike can often come in the form of a training camp. Training camps provide a training spike through a condensed training overload over a specific period of time – generally from 3-5days. Your aim is to overload your training during that specific period, then allow sufficient recovery and you should see the benefits a few weeks later. You can choose to attend a specific training camp, or you can simulate your own at home. As an example, you might normally swim 3km on a Friday morning, ride 3hours in the hills on a Saturday and run 1hour on Sunday. A training spike over the same 3 day period may look like the following*:

Friday AM: 3km aerobic strength based pool swim
Friday PM: 45-60min easy technique focused aerobic run
Saturday AM: 4hour aerobic strength based hills ride
Saturday LUNCH: 2km easy recovery pool swim
Saturday PM: 60-90min aerobic strength based run
SUNDAY AM: 3hour flat aerobic ride
Sunday LUNCH: 45min easy technique focused run

*Keep in mind that everyone’s training load and demand is different. Depending on the time of the year and phase in your training program, your training spike might focus on increased frequency, duration, intensity or a combination of all three. It should also have a particular focus based on where you are at in your training such as aerobic strength base or race specific phase.

8. Plan a bi-annual /annual recovery phase
A sound training plan will build you up over time, aiming to peak you for your specific key race/s, then include a recovery or transition period where you enjoy some recovery and down time. Too many athletes are frightened of having time off after a key race for fear of loosing the fitness they worked so hard for. Yes – you will see some decline in fitness after a week or so, but it is necessary. If you don’t, you actually run the risk of under recovering. The key though is not stopping fully. In general, aim to move your body for fun, enjoyment and exercise – rather than viewing it as training. Try something new, jump on a mountain bike, sign up to a yoga class, go on a hike… the list is endless. The movement and exercise will help maintain some fitness while fast tracking your recovery. Our bodies can’t be at their peak year round, so take some time off after a key race to refresh physically and just as importantly mentally, and you will come back even stronger for your next race or season.  

9. Seek out a coach
When you started out in the sport, you may have been training yourself, joining in on group sessions or even following a template training plan. But as you progress, your training needs to progress too. So if you are serious about improving, it may be time to seek additional guidance through a Coach. A Coach can provide a training program that is periodised, with specific training blocks and cycles to help you get the most out of your training, and also leap you out of that plateau. Do some research on Coaches that provide individualised training programs designed for you. It will cost you a little more, but don’t underestimate the value a personalised coach who can add to your training and progression as an athlete. 

Although there can be a number of reasons for a training plateau, most of the time you can come out the other side with just a few small changes to your training, recovery or lifestyle to get you are back on your way. So instead of getting stuck behind the training plateau wall, listen to your body and make some changes to ensure you are back on your way to your next PB in no time!  

 

Written by Coach Sarah, as previously published in Australian Triathlete Magazine

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Sarah is the Director & Head Coach at Complete Per4mance Coaching. Born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes, Sarah shares her 10 years of coaching and racing experience, knowledge and education with athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.

Contact Sarah to discuss training options for you.

 

 

Athlete Profile: Scott Salmon

Name: Scott

Nickname: Just plain old Scott 🙂

Lives: Maitland – Hunter Valley, NSW

Sports growing up: Everything and anything!

Chosen sport nowTriathlon

Years in Sport: 2 years

How did you get started in the sport: Meeting triathletes through parkrun and seeing how much they enjoyed the sport. 

Ultimate goal: In triathlon it is to be fit and highly competitive.

Triathlon in 3 wordsFriendship. Challenges. Wellbeing

Why I choose CPC: Enjoyed reading articles in Australian Triathlete Magazine that Sarah had written and decided to reach out to CPC.

What couldn’t you live without: My wife Sharon. 🙂

Biggest love: My whole family.

Pet peeve: Rude people.

Guilty pleasure: Icecream!

If you had one last meal, what would it be: Steak, salad & chips with diane sauce.

Interesting fact about meOur family of name sake have continuously live in Maitland and I’m the 5th generation. 

Bike Racing Over Winter – Why All Triathletes Should Give It A Go

When heading into winter or the offseason, most triathletes will sit down and review the running calendar to see which run races they will incorporate as part of their training. But how many triathletes sit down and mull over the cycling calendar to decide which bike races they will enter? Surprisingly, or not, only a small minority.

I’m not talking about your mass group/participation rides; I’m talking about actually ‘bike racing’ – where you pin on a number, line up against pure cyclists and race for placings.

This got me thinking, and I wondered why only a small number of triathletes participate in bike racing. When I delved a little deeper, I learnt that unless a triathlete comes from a cycling background, they don’t really know a great deal about the cycling community. Triathletes may feel intimidated or don’t even know where to start, so they simply don’t even bother considering it. The thought of crashing also puts many triathletes off and can be one of the reasons many triathletes are too nervous to give bike racing a go. Along with this, many triathlon coaches aren’t involved in the cycling community either, so they don’t discuss the option of including bike racing into a triathletes training program, as they too don’t know enough about the sport to add it.

If you are looking at focusing on the bike leg over winter, I’ll show you why and how to incorporate bike racing into your training mix to help you become a stronger and more skilled cyclist, so you can transform into a stronger all round triathlete.

WHY you should incorporate bike racing into your training:

1.    Build your bike skills

In swimming, we practice and incorporate tumble turns into training even though we don’t need the specific skill in racing, but we know the benefits it offers. In cycling, developing, practising and incorporating bike skills is exactly the same. Traditionally triathletes are not known for their bike handling and skills. This is mainly because triathletes don’t see the need to learn these skills as we don’t use them in racing. However, the skills you develop in bike racing, just like the skills developed in open water swim events, help you to develop the necessary skills to become a better cyclist and bike handler overall. This is not only beneficial to you becoming faster but also helps for safety reasons too. Plus, the more skilled you are on the bike, the more confident you will be and the more you will be able to push yourself – whether when riding by yourself or in a faster group. 

2.    Race specific skills (draft legal)

Bike racing helps you develop key race specific bike skills, including drafting, bike handling, strategic racing skills and more, and the winter season is the perfect time to hone these skills against other top cyclists. It’s hard to simulate this type of racing and skills in training, so bike races, and in particular criterium racing, are the perfect way to improve these skills.

3.    Provides winter motivation

If you are a fair weather rider or sometimes struggle for motivation with getting on the bike in the dark/cold winter months, then entering some bike racing events is an excellent way to get out and get your long ride done, and keep the motivation high. Just the same as entering running events over winter, bike racing allows you to stay focused, and have something to work towards during the times when triathlon races seem so far away.

4.    Train and race with those stronger than you

To become better at something, you should train with those who are better than you. Most triathletes will consider themselves decent runners until they enter run events and run against pure runners. The same goes for cycling. Enter into a bike race or two, and you will soon learn that even the strongest triathlete riders will find it hard to compare to the strongest cyclists. This is a great way to challenge and push yourself against some of the strongest in their field and drive yourself to become stronger yourself.

5.    Changing your training stimulus

If you have been training and racing for a few years, you will probably find you go through a similar winter season year after year. Long aerobic and hilly rides, building up the duration or the elevation over the months, but essentially the same (or very similar) training stimulus each year is rolled out. There’s a great saying: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” Bike racing incorporates a great mix of different training stimulus on the body’s energy systems – aerobic (sitting in the bunch), threshold (chasing a pack), VO2 (holding off a chase) strength (hills), power (sprinting to the finish). And just like any other event/race, it’s hard to simulate these top efforts in training, and so racing can give you that extra five to 10 percent you may be looking for. Changing up your training and including a different stimulus such as bike racing can provide you with the stimulus your training may just be looking for.

6.    It’s safer than you think

Yes, there are crashes in races, and you may see them happen, but it doesn’t mean you will be involved in one. I’ve raced for three years and haven’t had one crash. In general, crashes happen because an athlete takes too big of a risk (and it doesn’t come off), or because an athlete stops concentrating or isn’t aware of the other athletes. This can all happen in training too. If you’re scared of crashing, my advice is to race to your ability, know your limits, and develop the skills and confidence over time. And again, just like in swimming, position yourself in a pack where you feel comfortable. In bike racing, if you are not confident, the worst place you can sit is in the middle of the pack. So, start off by learning from the peloton on the back or side of the pack, and get a feel for the other riders and gain your confidence. Then make your way into the pack, taking turns and making moves. For my first few races, all I did was sit on the back, watch and learn. This was the best thing I could ever do to learn and stay safe!

7.    Keeping it fun

If you feel like you have started to lose your mojo on the bike, or training in general, changing things up can be a breath of fresh air. Having a new and different focus over winter can help to bring back your motivation and throwing in some bike racing may just be the catalyst you need!

HOW to include bike racing into your training:

Have I convinced you yet, to give bike racing a go this winter? Awesome! Here are some key things to get you started:

1.    Equipment: You will need a road bike – tri bikes are illegal in road races.

2.    Watch and learn: Head down to a local race to first watch a race in action. Watch how the experienced riders navigate the peloton, the lines they take, how they spend their time and energy in a pack, and how they set themselves up for attacks or the finish line sprint. Watching and learning can be one of the best ways to learn from the best.

3.    Join a cycling Club: The cycling culture and club support are fantastic, so I suggest simply finding a club close to you and enquiring with them. A list of clubs is available from your state cycling body (i.e., Cycling Victoria). Clubs are fantastic at supporting those new to the sport and can provide you with plenty of guidance and information on getting started. Note: most Clubs will have a small annual fee to join.

4.    Have the basic skills: Even though you will use racing to develop your bike skills, it is still important that you are competent and comfortable on local group/training rides first. Basic bike skills that you will need include not only having base fitness/endurance but also base bike handling skills, knowledge of pack etiquette, knowing how to draft and corner, and having rider/situational awareness – these are all essential to riding safely. In bike racing (and pack riding in general) you want smooth movements rather than sudden changes. You also want to hold a constant line through corners. If you are unsure whether your skills are up to scratch, most local cycling clubs offer bike skills courses and trials before entering a race.

5.    Get your insurance: Just like Triathlon Australia, Cycling Australia requires you to hold a license for insurance purposes to race. A great way to ‘try before you buy’ is purchasing a three-race license so you can try out a few races before signing up to an annual Cycling Australia Membership.

6.    Choose your event/s: There are a number of different types of bike racing including road races, criteriums, time trials and two to three-day tours, all of which are an excellent way to improve your skills, strength and performance on the bike. A time trial is an easy one to start with, and you may want to gravitate towards this, but really they are more like a triathlon than a bike race. Criteriums only happen over the summer season, so in winter, road races are a great place to start. Start by choosing road races on courses that are less technical until you build up your confidence. Find out what races are on in your area/state by contacting the state cycling body (Cycling Australia).

7.    Find your grade: Most races are graded A, B, C, D, etc., with grade A being the strongest, and cyclists are graded accordingly, based on previous races. If this is going to be your first bike race start in a lower grade and ease yourself into racing – you can always move up once you gain your confidence. There is nothing worse than entering a grade above your ability and getting dropped by the bunch in the first five minutes and finding yourself riding by yourself for the rest of the race.

8.    Give it a go: Once you have done your research, it’s simply about biting the bullet, entering and giving it a go!

As you sit down over winter and plan your season, throw up the idea of incorporating bike racing into your training mix. Then watch as your bike strength and endurance improves along with your enjoyment!

Written by Coach Sarah, as previously published in Australian Triathlete Magazine

~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~
Sarah is the Director & Head Coach at Complete Per4mance Coaching. Born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes, Sarah shares her 10 years of coaching and racing experience, knowledge and education with athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.

Contact Sarah to discuss training options for you.

Athlete Profile: Stuart Grimsey

Name: Stuart Grimsey

Nickname: Stu, Stuey, Grima, Berries

Lives: Essendon, Melbourne

Sports growing upFootball, swimming and athletics

Chosen sport now:  Cycling & Triathlon

Years in Sport: 14 years (cycling)

How did you get started in the sport: Brunswick cycling club junior clinic

Ultimate goalFinish a full Ironman in sub 11 hours ! 

Triathlon in 3 wordsFitness. Health. Lifestyle

Why I choose CPCSarah is one of the best coach in the business – referred by a close friend. 

What couldn’t you live without: Chocolate!

Biggest love: Cycling

Pet peeve: People chewing with their mouth open

Interesting fact about me: I finished second at the Australian Cycling Championships. 

Shameless Plug: 
Instagram: svgrimsey
Twitter: stuartgrimsey
Business: Grimsey Wealth

 

How becoming a mum has changed me

An honest and open account on the changes motherhood has brought to my personal life, my working life, my training and me as a person. 

People told me before having my little one that it would ‘change my life forever‘ and my ‘life wouldn’t be the same again‘.  It was those same people that had children themselves, of which were given the same words of wisdom by others before them.

Of course I knew that life wasn’t going to be the same. Because life wasn’t just going to be about me anymore.  But at the same time, I didn’t know exactly what it would look like, or how it would feel. I knew that it would change our dynamics at home, my working structure, and it would alter how and when I could train but above all else, what I wasn’t expecting was how it has changed me as a person.

Our little man Mills is now 6 months old, and such a little dude already. “Little M” as I affectionately call him. He has a lot of nicknames already, but this is my fav simply because he is so teeny, smashing the charts in the mere 10th percentile!  So yes, he is blessed to have inherited both our short @rse genes which almost guarantees he’ll be that small fella in the front row of school photos.  He’ll be the little whippet on the football oval running all day long, and I have no doubt riding bikes before his feet can even touch the pedals! But what he lacks in size I know will be made up in every other way.

He’s already started to show his own little personality. He doesn’t like sitting still for long (I can thank myself for that one!), yet has the most relaxed chilled out nature – which has made my ‘job‘ as a mum very easy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a baby and will cry when he wants something or is uncomfortable, has his nights when he wants to party, and doesn’t go to bed before 9pm. But in the most part, he’s smiley, happy, and loves cuddles from everyone and anyone. He hangs to get outside each day and is fascinated by trees. It’s amazing how such a tiny little human can already be moulding into his own little person.

ANYWAY – back on track! But at least you can now get a picture of our special little dude.  🙂

Before Little M arrived into our lives, we had a pretty relaxed, organised, yet carefree life. We both trained when we wanted (my partner is a cyclist), we could head away for the weekend without much planning, we could ride our bikes all day long if we chose. We could stay up late, and wake up whenever our bodies woke. There was no timeline apart from the one we set ourselves. Fast forward to today and we’re learning to live with and work around the needs of a small human that is 100% dependent on you, so all of that has changed – but certainly not for the worst! 🙂

How have things changed?

My Working Life
I decided early on in my pregnancy that I didn’t want to have much time off work. I love my job and what I can offer people and I love the satisfaction it provides me. I didn’t want to be away from that for very long. As much as others tried to advise me to take more time off, it only took a couple of months for me and I was already jumping out of my skin to get back into the coaching scene.

So I’ve been back coaching since December, gradually taking athletes back on board each month based on how I feel I can manage my time and still provide the support my athletes expect and deserve. But it does look totally different than before bubs. Pre Mills I would plan out my week day by day (heck, nearly hour by hour), I would set times that I would complete certain tasks and know when I was doing what. I could meet up with athletes on a whim, and run training sessions without too much thought.

But today, that simply isn’t possible. I still write lists on what I want/need to achieve for the week, but the hourly planning has gone out the window. And it is more of a challenge to meet for training sessions. I have to be far more flexible, yet also very organised. As much as Little M is in a routine, that routine isn’t set in stone. He doesn’t know what time it is, when I ‘m on a time line or that I have to finish writing a program for an athlete. And to make it even more challenging, he hasn’t taken to enjoying milk from a bottle, so I’m literally his lifeline, his milkbar on call whenever he says so! (guys really do get it easier in all aspects don’t they!) 😉

There have been days when he’s been unsettled and I haven’t been able to get any work done, but then others when I’ve been able to knock out a solid 7 hours.  There will be times that I get up and work early in the morning when he’s still sleeping  or at night when my partner is home. So as much as I feel like my days aren’t as effective as they once were, I’m definitely far more efficient with the time that I do spend working.

I’m loving the challenge of balancing work, life and bubs and on the most part – I feel I have a great balance. And I feel like it is working well for me and most importantly for my athletes.

And on my athletes – I totally appreciate the support I have from each of them. There have been times that I’ve had to reschedule a phone chat, or an email has taken a day longer to respond to. So I appreciate their understanding that that is the life of a working mum, but it certainly doesn’t mean that their training, racing and performance is any less important to me than before. Quite opposite actually. I could so easily just not work. To take 12months off like many working mums do, to enjoy the precious moments with my attention spent on him wholly. But that’s not me. I am grateful that I can combine the love of my son, with the love of my work together. And I’ve loved taking Little M down to the local races to watch my athletes our on course. It’s such a special feeling and something that I intend to continue to share.

My Training Life
I love training. I love it just as much as I do racing. I honestly feel like I was born to push and test my body, because it’s when I feel at my best. 6 months postpartum and I’ve managed to race a handful of races already including some crit racing and a local triathlon. I was (and still are) far from being my fittest or strongest – but who said you have to be ready to race? (read my last blog on that here.) I’m lucky/blessed – however you like to term it, that from around 3months old, out little man has slept through the night. Giving me a solid 7-9hours of sleep a night. (I have chosen to forget about the horrible 2 weeks when he was 4months old and he reverted back to waking every 2 hours!) So lack of sleep is not the issue for me in being able to train.

The two (maybe three) driving factors for me that is keeping my training volume low is my shift in priorities (right now it’s about him not me), his lack of interest in taking a bottle means i’m on call whenever he says so! And co-ordinating training with my fiance. (think that is the first time I’ve actually written fiance!) 🙂 And I am totally AOK with all of them. Right now, I am more than happy to be the role of mother, providing love and support at home so the two most important men in my life can be their happiest, healthiest selves. Saying that out loud makes my heart explode with so much love and that truly is what makes me happy right now. If I wanted to train hard, I most certainly could, and I would find a way to do it. But I don’t want to, and I don’t feel the pressure or need to either.

Don’t get me wrong though, I still make time for myself and exercise every day – as I believe that is important for every person, not just new mums. But that’s exactly what it is for me – exercise. Doing what makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Sometimes that’s simply getting outside for a long walk and doing some strength training, other times it’s runs and rides, or a combination of both. But no matter what it is, I just do what my body feels like it needs, and it is paying me back by providing a healthy milk supply for my little man and a strong body to enable me to race whenever I choose to, even without training specifically.


And Me…
Earlier this month I heard and read about the heart wrenching story of a well known female figure in our sport who lost her baby girl at birth. They say that when you have children you are affected so much more by tragic stories such as this. And my god this is true. When I heard the news I was absolutely devastated for her, and the many mothers before her and after her that have and will have to endure that sort of heartache. A couple of weeks later she started to blog about her experience – not necessarily to share with others, but to help her on her journey to recovery. They are raw, devastatingly honest and emotionally heart-wrenching. Reading her blogs stabbed me in the heart and hit me so hard that I truly did not expect and it took me off guard.  After reading the blogs I didn’t want to leave my little boy alone. I didn’t want him out of my sight, I just wanted to cuddle him all day long, not letting him out of my sight for a moment. I thought that if he was with me, nothing could happen to him, that I’d be able to control what we did and when and he would be safe. I planted so many kisses all over his body that I’m sure if he could talk, he would say ‘mum – stop kissing me!‘.

It took a couple of days for this feeling to lift as I realised that I couldn’t be his saviour, I simply had to be his mum. To love him and protect him and help him learn and navigate this world in his own way – and eventually on his own. And it was then that I realised how much being a mum had changed me.

I was someone who always needed to control things in my life. I didn’t like surprises, I liked planning and organising, I’d take my time in making decisions. I didn’t do things spur of the moment. But looking back, since becoming a mum, I realise that motherhood has actually changed that part of me. I’m more relaxed and carefree and happy to go with the flow. Things that spring up or surprise me don’t bother me, I simply deal with it and move on. Because who has the time to worry about what could have been, should have been, or might have been? I certainly don’t anymore.

And I have far more patience. My dad even commented on this, saying how proud it made him to me see me as a mum. He also said it changed me – but  in a good way. He said that he can see it has relaxed me, slowed me down and I now don’t get frustrated when I feel like others ‘couldn’t keep up’ with me. (not literally, but figuratively) And without even realising it, it had. And I love it.

People say that motherhood is stressful, but my experience so far has been the opposite. It has calmed me. It has allowed me to simply accept what the day brings. I love the mess my little man makes when learning to eat food, even if I had just changed him into clean clothes. Instead of getting frustrated when he cries or won’t stop grizzling, I try and understand what it is he is trying to tell me. I don’t stress about what time he wakes up in the morning, sometimes it’s 6am, other times 8.00am. Because either is fine. I don’t worry if he sleeps for 3 hours in the afternoon, even if the guidelines say he shouldn’t be… And I let him tell me when he’s hungry, I don’t go by a clock. I wonder at times if I may be a little too relaxed (is that possible?!) but I certainly don’t feel guilty by that at all. Because this is my experience as a working mum and it’s working for me and my family, and that’s all that matters.

Here’s to the next few months of changes, challenges and learnings and plenty more awesome improvements, performances and breakthroughs from my athletes! 🙂

Coach Sarah

 



Complete Per4mance Coaching was born out of the desire and passion to not just coach but to educate athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal performance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life.

Every athlete is individual, therefore I provide programs written and designed specifically based on each athletes goals, time commitment, training level and ‘life’ in general. Delivered through training peaks, each athlete receives a truly personal coaching service dedicated to improving YOUR results, while providing a pricing structure that helps allow every athlete receive the coaching that they deserve.

Contact me for a FREE initial coaching consultation to discuss your training and coaching options.