Beginning to Tri – So the journey finally begins!

Coming back from injury

It’s finally here! I have had the nod to get back on a bike and put my trainers on but I do it with trepidation!  I’m still not feeling fully healed but I know that I need to get started.   I still have pain in my calf during and after activity but it’s nowhere near what I have had previously though.  I think the main issue now is in my head!  It ended up being 10 weeks without running and riding and the return to it hasn’t been what I thought or expected!

My head is causing me problems in 2 ways:

  1. I don’t feel 100% injury free so doubt myself.  Since starting back I have noticed my fitness on the treadmill and bike are nowhere near what it was.  I do expect this but my head still gets disappointed when performances are slower and shorter.  I know I need to get real and expect only small gains at first.
  2. On the same lines as above, I’m also still scared to try my legs out in on the road just encase I have a relapse and need to be called to be collected or walk home. I’m more scared of having to deal with the frustration of pulling up than realising I’ve gone too hard too fast.  I’m not sure how to overcome this but i guess time will tell.

When you hear of the top athletes coming back from injury I don’t know how they can start and expect slower paces and performances.  As with a great quote from a good film “My minds writing cheques my body can’t cash!” I’m currently working on no credit and desperately need to build an overdraft!

Silver lining to dark clouds

So it’s been 10 tough weeks of no running but this has actually help in the long run I think!  As I’m embracing the new challenge of Tri, I always though the swim would be my weakest part, followed by the Bike and then the run being the slightly better one of the 3!  I have asked so many triathletes on their mindset – Train harder on your weaknesses to reduce the difference or train your strengths to smash them.  Lots of different opinions but my feeling is to work harder on your weaknesses but to be fair after 10 weeks out I have 3 of them!!

So having 10 weeks where I could only swim has helped to build on one of them.  I have made full use of tips from friends, websites and a coach’s I know and built speed and strength drills into my training.  I have also used all manor of training aids to help improve my strength and speed in the pool, I hope this will pay off!

The real proof in this training has been in the 2 sea swims I have done in the past 2 weeks.  Swim 1 was in poor conditions with Exeter Tri Club.  It was a real drop into the unknown.  I have done very few sea swims without a surfboard and never with a group of swimmers so I was interested to see how I fared.  I have no concept of how fast I am and if I could hold my own as this i a truly new experience.  I was really pleased with how I did.  I need to work on sighting and swimming in a straight line but I was able to keep up with the more experienced, faster group.  The conditions were not the best and I was very happy for my Zone3 Parka when I got out!

Swim 2 was a different experience altogether!  On a family day trip to Exmouth beach I decided to get in some sea swim training.  Keeping myself safe I used the Lomo Tow Float and swam parallel to the beach just out of the shallows.  Once again the conditions were tough.  With an onshore wind and a swell I really had to learn to time my breathing on the crest of the waves.  I think this is a work in progress as I spent a fair bit of time swallowing sea water!  The conditions didn’t change but the swim got tougher on the turn around.  I now know why people avoid Exmouth for sea swim training!  The tide was on the way out so I felt like I was in an endless pool!  I have done a fair bit of swimming in white water when i kayaked but this was tough!  I found the return leg really hard, both with breathing, sighting and most of all effort!  Positives in negative though, it was great strength training!

So my first test event is looming quickly ad I’m still not out on the road! So I have a few targets for this week:

  • Get 2 runs outside this week (Not worried how far or fast but they need to be not on the DREADMILL!!)
  • Get a road ride in to see how I fair
  • Keep the swimming up and get a third sea swim in!

I know that the Dart Duo is only a 500m swim and 5km run but I don’t feel anywhere near that at the moment.  My brain needs to be convinced that I’m ready to get back to full training and then I feel I can start to prepare.

I have a week of normality before heading off for a week’s holiday by the Conish coast.  I’m not sure how much I will get to train but I will approach the conversation with my wife later this week!  Hopefully this is not my last blog!

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