Is preparing to be a first time mum just like prepping for your first Ironman?

Follow Coach Sarah as she shares her training and racing journey. She will share not only what her training looks like, but her day to day nutrition, recovery, the mental side of training, the 1%rs, the ups and the downs, her favourite sessions, break throughs, realisations and now, her journey with a bub on the way! She will show you that training to your optimal performance doesn’t have to mean spending every spare hour training or every waking moment tired….

It is easy to get into a routine and simply let time pass us by. Another day, another week, another month, another year… gone, just like that. And before we know it ‘life’ is literally passing us by. When you first sign up for a big race you feel like you have loads of time. “9 months to train for an Ironman – no worries!” You’ll convince yourself. And before you know it, you are counting down the weeks and you start freaking out – ‘Where did the time go?!‘ And you begin doubting yourself if you have done ‘enough’ to be ready for race day.

And that’s how I feel right now.

As I write this, I’m just 5weeks away from meeting our little mini-me. 5 weeks until our house and our lives will be transformed. And to be honest, I still can’t actually ‘visualise’ what that will look like. We’ve put together bubs’ room, but I still can’t picture a little human in there, in our home, in our lives… Will I be able to cope? Will I know what to do? What will happen if things don’t go to plan? What a scary prospect! And all too familiar to feelings I’ve had before.

And so when I was thinking about these doubts, I started relating it to when I was preparing for my first Ironman. Something so daunting that I didn’t know if I’d be able to accomplish. I had steps in place to get there, but self doubt would still creep in. I’d become unsure of myself, of my ability, of my training, I’d compare myself to others, to my former self, to my future self. Self doubt can be crippling on so many levels. So I’d search for ways to remind myself that what I was doing was enough. That where I am right now is where I’m supposed to be. And if I just kept ticking off those boxes, each day, each week, then I’d get to my goal. And sure enough I not only reached my goal, but I surpassed it. A podium finish. And a spot at the the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

But it seems like I’ve now come full circle. The work I did leading into Ironman was one thing, and I know if I ever wanted to do another one, I’d be even better prepared as I know what I was in for, I know what it takes and I know the challenges along the way. But most of all, I’d be sure of myself.

But when it comes to motherhood, I have no hesitations in saying I have absolutely no idea what I’m in for. I have 8 nieces and nephews and the majority of my friends have kids, but still it seems so foreign. Being around others who have done it before you is one thing, but actually doing it yourself is another. Being a mother is something I’ve never done before and I have those same self doubts again on whether I’ll be ‘good’ enough. But to help combat the self doubt, just as in triathlon, I have to just keep reminding myself that what I am doing is enough.

So just as in triathlon, I’ve been working on my preparation for the big ‘day’. I’ve been working on my physical being – training most days to help prepare my body as best as physically possible for what it will endure through labour. I’ve also been working on my mental being. Visualising, learning techniques to self manage pain, understanding whats available to me and simply educating myself as best as possible. Just as in triathlon. Even though there will most likely be times when I’ll feel like I can’t go on any longer and I’ll want to give up, I’ll remind myself what is waiting at the finish line and I’ll know I can’t give up when I’m so close.

Once I reach the ‘finish line’, I actually haven’t planned out in great detail what things will look like when bubs arrives, why? Because I have no idea what it will look like. And I am ok with that. First and foremost for me is about getting to the start line in my best shape possible. And for me that means I’m as happy, healthy and stress free as possible,the rest will take care of itself. And at the moment I feel like I’m doing pretty well!

I’ve received lots of advice along the way and these resonate with me – both in preparing for motherhood, and for Ironman…..

  • Listen and take advice from others, but ultimately do what feels right to you. 
  • Have a team of support people with you and beside you that you can rely on and lean on – you don’t have to do it alone. 
  • Have a process and a goal, but be flexible with your plan otherwise you will set yourself up for disappointment.
  • There will be challenges, there will be great days and there will be hard days. Days when you feel like you just want to hide under the doona and not come out. And that’s ok. We are human.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Period.
  • If all else fails, stick to what feels right to you, listen to yourself, what is ultimately the right thing for your health, well-being and happiness and it will work out. 

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