How to find your Why to stay motivated

How to find your Why to stay motivated

Have you fallen off the wagon and struggling to get motivated again to train?

Are you a pro triathlete who finds it difficult to dig deeper when it really counts?

Do you find it hard to push yourself even further when you feel there’s not a realistic chance to changing the race outcome?

If this sounds like you, read on to discover how to stay motivated all year round, dig deeper when you need to and always perform at your best.

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The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon Race Report

Last weekend I became a Braveheart! It was the race I’ve been working all year towards and accumulated in a 1.2 mile swim in a FREEZING loch, 56 miles on a hilly road through the Scottish highlands and a 15 mile run up and down Ben Nevis.

MY THOUGHTS BEFORE THE RACE

“I jumped into the loch yesterday for 10 minutes and it was a very long 10 minutes! A little bit of brain freeze was going on, but once my 3 swim hats (including a Neoprene hat) were properly placed it was much better!

They say not to try out new equipment on race day.. I am trying new equipment on race day. The neoprene booties and gloves are new and much needed, as the water temperature is around 13oC.

It’s now 7:34am and I’m chilling out in the car with my mum waiting for the race to start, as all of my stuff is racked in transition and I’m in my wetsuit ready to go!

I’m just going out to have a really good time and be the happiest person out there, training has been almost non-existent due to a health issue.

My plan is to go out there and have fun, enjoy my first ascent of Ben Nevis (never imagined I would be running up it!) and experience the Scottish Highlands!”

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE RACE

I finished in 8 hours 57 minutes, so a sub-9 hour race, which I am really happy with, especially considering I haven't’ been able to train properly in the lead up to Braveheart.

My amazing trainer, Mark Kleanthos, predicted I would complete the race between 8 and 9 hours, so I’m pleased with the result.

(Listen to Mark on my podcast talk about his incredible journey in triathlon and he drops some juicy knowledge bombs too that will help you perform at your next race!)

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The Swim

The loch did not feel any warmer since my dip the previous morning. There’s no beating about the bush, it was cold. Scrap that.

It. Was. FREEZING.

Once over the initial cold shock, we all lined up and waited for someone to shout ‘GO’. When he did, the water around me suddenly became a washing machine of 150 swimmers. I’ve never experienced anything like it!

I held my ground and felt good. Frustratingly, I became sandwiched between everyone as we all amalgamated around the two buoys at the 500m mark. This slowed me down, but once everyone had spread out it was much better and I kept to the outside.

I finished the swim in 45 minutes which was a little slower than expected, but still good.

The Bike

My transition was 10 minutes, which I was really happy with and once on the bike, this is where the pain began.

A few weeks before the race I decided to get a bike fit as I wasn’t happy with the setup. Turns out that my new saddle was amazingly comfortable for the first 30 minutes and after that complete agony!

In the weeks preceding I had been out on my bike, but for no more than 30 minutes due to health reasons, so this amount of discomfort came as a shock.

The bike is usually my strongest disciple, but this ride was one of the most demoralising. I was overtaken by what felt like hundreds of cyclists over the course, but I just couldn’t speed up.

The Run

I usually look forward to the run the least, but I couldn’t wait to get off the bike!

On the run I was on a tight deadline, I had to get half way up Ben Nevis by 3:30pm which gave me just over 2 hours.

When I started running, it was uncomfortable. My legs were sore and there were SO many steps. I just went as quick as I could. I was completely self-sufficient with water and food, so I didn’t need to stop. My entire focus was on reaching the halfway cut-off time, which I did successfully.

At the halfway mark, I had a renewed amount of energy and even over took some competitions! I made it to the summit of Ben Nevis (which was also freezing!) with 10 minutes to spare.

I came down the mountain at an easy pace, taking care not to slip.

Crossing the line

It was pure relief to cross the line and know that I could stop. I could relax. It was underwhelming as the race crew had pretty much packed up. My bike was one of a handful left, I finished near last, but I finished.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m chilling out for a little while. I’m starting a new job this week and have lots planned for my business, so that’s my focus for October.

However, I cannot wait to meet with my trainer, Mark Kleanthos, and start planning my 3 year journey to becoming a Norseman!

(Want some help with your nutrition and hydration system for racing and training? Listen to Mark on Season 2 of my podcast to discover how you can enhance your performance.)

The Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is the world’s ultimate triathlon. It’s an ironman-distance race stretched across the Norwegian landscape with 5000m and a finish line on top of a mountain. It was already at the back of mind, but since working at the race this summer, it’s now the race I’m gunning for.

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(Watch my video to get a taster of the amazing race that is Norseman. You'll soon see why I want to do it!)

How I Learnt From Ironman Barcelona Mistakes

Earlier this year, I reflected on my experience at Ironman Barcelona in October 2017 and wrote an article on the '10 Things I Would Do Differently For My Next Ironman'. This weekend is The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon. Let's see if I succeeded in doing things differently!

  What is The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon? It's apparently the ultimate bucket list adventure and includes 1.2 mile swim in a loch, 56 mile cycle through the highlands and a 13 mile run up and down Ben Nevis itself!

1. Know how to change my bicycle tyre before 2 weeks to go - YES!

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I have practised several times this year, even just before the Surrey Spring Triathlon!

I'm still not the most skilled bicycle-wheel changer (it takes me soo long!), so my fingers are crossed that I won't be needing to do this in the Scottish Highlands!

2. Know my sweat rate - YES!

Until triathlete coach Mark Kleanthouse, founder of IronMate Coaching and competitor of over 1,000 worldwide events - including some seriously insane events - started training me last year, I had no idea about sweat rate and how important it was.Listen to my episode with Mark on how to work out even more on how much you need to drink during race day and training.

Did you know that a 2% drop in body weight from fluid loss can result in a 10% decline in your performance?

And dehydration during long training sessions, especially rides, can weaken your immune system and cause you to become sick.

I now know approximately how much I need to drink per hour during training and racing, which has allowed me to optimise my performance and recovery rate.

I've been practising all year and feel I have this pretty nailed.

You also need to be aware of sodium loss through sweating. You must replace this sodium loss with electrolyte drinks and salty foods to prevent cramp.

During training and on race day, you don’t want to drink too much plain water as this can result in hyponatremia, which means you’ve diluted your the sodium levels in your body by too much.

I have been experimenting all year and my favourite way to replace sodium loss is using High5 Zero Electrolyte Sports Drink - Berry Flavour and OTE PH Neutral Energy Drink.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type="No Line"][vc_column_text]

3. Calculate how many calories I need to consume every hour - YES!

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By calculating how many calories you burn in an hour you can calculate how many calories you need to replace, as Mark explains in his blog here.

We dive into on my podcast how to work out how much you need to eat during race day and training.

I prefer to get my calories from natural sources, but this is challenging when you’re going abroad for your race (and our kitchen has only just been renovated!)

During training, I either eat Nakd Crunch Bars or dried fruit like dates or apricots.

My race nutrition is still an area for improvement, but for the moment this is all I can stomach and it keeps my energy levels up!

Here’s an insight into Mark’s A-Z of Sport Nutrition and there’s so much on his site!

I also found Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive very helpful and Rich Roll’s Plantpower Way cookbook is my go-to for delicious recipes packed with nutrient-dense food.

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4. Order your kit months, not weeks, before your race - YES (AND NO)

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Ok. So this hasn't been quite executed to plan....

It was at the forefront of my mind for the entire season, but due to various reasons, I've only done this half as well as I should have done. Months in advance, I either bought or had the key pieces of kit, like a wetsuit, goggles, trainers etc. However, other pieces of kit were ordered last week, such as arm warmers, leg knee warmers and a neoprene swim hat. This wasn't the plan, but due to working at the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon and getting sick. It is what it is. Have I practised with all of my kit as much as I wanted to? No. A pesky urine infection got in the way of this, so it's going to be an adventure.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type="No Line"][vc_column_text]

5. Practice taking snacks/drinks from people while cycling - YES!

Mark suggested this last year, so a week or so before the race, my dad and I practised on the road outside our house. I would cycle past him and take bottles and snacks from him!

This boosted my confidence for Ironman Barcelona and as my cycling confidence has increased over the year, I'm feeling really good about this in the Braveheart race too.

6. Really understand what the morning of the Ironman entails - YES AND NO!

I knew roughly what to expect for Ironman Barcelona...

I had racked my bike the evening before and walked through the swim to the transition area to my bike and then from my bike to transition area.

This meant that when it came to race day, I knew the quickest path to my bike and didn't become confused as to where I was going.

I wasn't 100% sure what else the morning entailed, apart from checking my bike, adding final touches such as my Garmin, changing into my wetsuit, dumping my street bag etc.

We were going to do everything as a group, but when we got there we all dispersed to do final checks and handle race nerves in different ways.

I was feeling slightly nervous at this point because it was passed the agreed time, no one was here, I didn’t know what to do and race time was approaching!

Luckily one of the guys was very tall and I spotted him in the crowd, so we put our wetsuits on together and headed to the water to warm up - I don’t think he realised how much this meant to me!

Again, I wasn't 100% sure what I should do for a warm up so relied on the others.

For the Braveheart Triathlon, again, I know roughly what to do, but until I have received my race info from Braveheart and listened to the briefing I won't be 100%. Come race day, I will be.

7. Woman with a plan - NO!

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For Ironman Barcelona, I fastidiously worked out my pace for each leg based on my estimated pace and also the minimum pace I would have to do as to not miss the cut off times. So if the worst happened, I knew what I would have to do to become an Ironman!

I laminated and taped this to my handle bars, as this is the leg I was most concerned about regarding making cut off times and I places a copy in each transition bag and my run food pouch.

This helped me to really relax about race day, as I could see that my training had really paid off and that if all went to plan, I could walk the marathon and still finish!

I can't believe I did the above! It sounds so anal! But it gave me the confidence I needed to have fun in the race and finish! I'm not racing Braveheart like that for 2 reasons:

  1. I'm much fitter than I was and am fully confident that I will finish each leg well within the cut off times

  2. As I've briefly mentioned, I have been sick with a urinary tract infection for the last month and so I will not be racing Braveheart. It's a training race for next year's Ironman and so I'm just going to relax, take in the views and have fun. It's going to be an adventure!

8. Quicker Run Time - YES AND NO!

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From Barcelona: The run was my weakest element of the Ironman, so this time around I'm working on improving my core strength, endurance and speed, so my pace quickens.

For Braveheart: I've been working on this ALOT with Mark, sadly an injury to the foot (I chipped one of the Sesamoids - like knee caps in your feet - during the Surrey Sprint Tri in July) meant I was off running for 6 weeks and then I caught the urinary tract infection. So run training has been stalled for a while. However, I'm definitely quicker and fitter than last year, but will my run time be faster than last years? I doubt it. Last year I only had to run a marathon on a flat road surface. This weekend it's up and down Ben Nevis!

9. Practice transitions - YES!

So last year I didn't really practice this and in Transition 2 (when you change from cycle to run gear) I took TWENTY MINUTES!!!!!

This year I'm doing it properly, especially as I have so much more kit due to the conditions. I'll be testing it before I go up to Scottland in the hotel.

10. Kit list for each bag and packing list - YES!

For Barcelona, I had an excel sheet with individual columns for general packing, street bag, swim, run bag and bike bag.

As I packed my suitcase for going to Barcelona, I put a tick next to each item and as I packed my kit bags the day before the race, I put a tick next to each item and took a photo of the kit I would place in each bag.

This put my mind at ease, as I knew I had packed everything I needed and that I was 100% ready to race and become an Ironman!

I said I would do it again and I have!

Well, overall I'm happy with my success! I learnt from my mistakes and haven't made the same mistakes (on the whole) which is great! Now all I have to do is the race!

Follow me on Instagram (@adelaidegoodeve) for live updates!