Our daily lives are taken up with tasks, lists and activities of the things we need to do in order to achieve our goals, dividing our time between the many demands that these goals make on us. At any one time, we will be working to make progress towards these goals in different areas of our lives - friends and family, relationship, career, health and fitness, learning and development, happiness... It is not often we have the opportunity to focus our time and energy on just one goal, but when we do, the results speak for themselves.
Last week I travelled to Spain with 27 triathletes to immerse myself in a week of intensive training for my impending Ironman. My aim was to train as hard as I could, to learn about how I should be training rather than the 'winging it' style I've had up until now, to feel motivated about my training and to have fun. I can definitely tick all of this and more off my list.
I've often wondered what it would be like to train all day, every day. Now I know. Pretty damn awesome! Here's what an average day looked like in Spain:
A day in the life of a Professional Triathlete
7:30am: Rise and Shine
8:00am: Wetsuit on, ready to start lake swim 2-3km. Practise sighting and drafting skills, or a longer open water swim
9:00am: Make delicious breakfast that I've been thinking of during my swim
This is my favourite breakfast in the world - poached eggs on toast with chorizo and avocado. A special treat for me one morning after the swim session!
10:30am: Swap wetsuit for lycra and get ready for bike ride
11:00am: Ride off into the hills and practise group riding. Climb as many hills as my legs can endure
2:00pm: Celebrate epic climbs with high fives, hugs and pictures
3:00pm: Break for lunch at seaside cafe. Down glass of cold, refreshing coke. Eat chips and omlette
5:00pm: Arrive back at lodge after cycling 60 miles with 2000 metres of ascent
5:15:pm Run 3km off the bike, either flat or hill run
6:00pm: Jump in lake to cool off
7:00pm: 1 Hour of relaxing yoga - stretch and relax body and mind after hard day
8:00pm: Open bottle of wine, start cooking
8:30pm: Pressup competition in the kitchen
9:00pm: Dinner and chill out
11:00pm: Bed, sleep and get ready to repeat
Total daily calories burned: 5500
People - The number one highlight for me was meeting like-minded people, training hard and having fun with them. It's always a risk going on holiday with people you don't know, but everyone was welcoming and provided me with fantastic tips and inspiration. I gained a lot from being around people who train hard and smart and have the results to show for it. I definitely reaped the benefits pushing myself hard on the bike during the day and then relaxing and stretching out in yoga. I taught my body how to push hard through pain and tiredness, I gained new skills on the bike and swim and learned how deep breathing can improve performance.
Many of the crew race for Great Britain which was hugely inspiring! I've never done a proper triathlon before and am new to this sport, so it was great to see how committed people were and how they fit that commitment into their lives. There was definitely a huge amount of determination, focus and drive emanating from everyone, not only in their chosen sport but also in their careers. I've always found that achieving goals outside of work, in your personal life has a direct effect on your outlook and attitude towards your work. The more you push yourself and achieve in one area of your life, the more you want this to be reflected in other areas. Success breeds success. Aim high!
Confidence - My confidence has increased this last week, being able to ride with the stronger riders and hold the pace makes me feel as though I'm in a good position to build on my training over the coming months. I feel motivated, focused and excited about training for and completing my first ironman. Thank you London Fields Triathlon Club and Spain, I'm very happy!
The Last Night
I always seem to start and end holidays in the same fashion, hungover... I love to think that one day I will learn and be able to start and depart from holidays in a mature fashion, i.e not hungover. Alas, that day has not yet arrived. Our last day in Spain was unforgettable, the sun came out and we cycled up two huge hills, we ate chips in the sun and then raced back to our local town to have beers and wait for everyone to join up. It was time to celebrate and that we did. Here's the story:
Got to take home some Spanish chorizo!
Afternoon drinks turned into drinking games...
Drinking games descended into some people going to bed. Those who stayed up indulged in 3am skinny dipping in the lake by the light of the moon. What a way to finish a brilliant week. I can remember how refreshing it felt to dive in the lake for the last time with the water rippling under the reflection of the moon.
3 hours later, we were awake, packed and saying goodbye. Next stop, London.