By Coach Julie

Blog #4 Pre-season

Already 2017! Christmas has come and gone and so has January. Taking a week off over the holidays was definitely rewarding. It gave my body a break from lifting, allowing time for adaptation and got some much needed R&R with family and friends. It was a key time to step away from work and my training routine and just take a break to recharge.

Now if I go back to 2014, the next race to cross off my list was the Olympic distance triathlon. This would be another big accomplishment as the swim doubled in distance to 1500m. I participated in the Cornwall triathlon where the swim took place in the St-Lawrence river which I had to wrap my head around the idea of current, waves and not seeing bottom at any point.

Finally, I could see the finish line in the distance. I was almost done my first Olympic distance triathlon. When I crossed the finish line I was so happy and filled with emotions I hyperventilated (not usually a good thing) as this was a huge accomplishment for me. It was the longest triathlon I had completed to date.

Olympic Distance: Swim 1500m, Bike 40Km, Run 10km


2017 is the year of the IRONMAN!

Over the next 7months, I have a plan to follow but I know I will encounter bumps in the roads so the points below discuss some of those bumps in the road and elaborate on some more to do's to be prepared for you race.

Injuries: My main goal for January was to resolve my foot injury. I had a consult with a sports Doctor which we both agreed it was most likely a neuroma. As per her advice, I then had a fitting for orthotics and got in for consistent treatment. Then... BANG! with a few changes made to my gait, footwear and regular treatment I have noticed some improvements. Things are looking up! Remember, make sure to resolve your nagging injuries before you ramp up your mileage in the spring.

Strength training continues: As I am still in the later stages of off-season known as pre-season, strength training is still a huge focus to build strength and core endurance. I followed a second strength phase over the last 4 weeks and notice tremendous gains. This was especially evident in my lower body and core endurance/stability. After my most recent fitness test, I've corrected most of my lower body imbalances as well as decreased symptoms of my chronic low back pain. These strength gains will transfer directly to increase power output on the bike allowing me to climb those hills, improve my running efficiency and decrease the likelihood of developing more or old chronic running injuries. So as an endurance athlete, it is very important to step foot in a gym / strength and conditioning facility to get stronger and leaner in the off season.

Knowledge: Winter is great time to get some reading as you probably won't be spending as much time outside and will have some spare time. If you are new to triathlons, try to learn as much about your sport as you can. Find information in books, articles; listen to podcast and audio books or even better attend seminars and clinics in your area. As for me, I am currently reading about nutrition for endurance athletes, practicing some mental preparation techniques and listening to an audio book telling the story of five weekend warriors journey to completing their first Ironman.

Mental preparation: It's amazing how visualizing yourself crossing the finish line motivates you on any given day you don't feel like it?. You will feel immediately excited and want to get out there and complete your training. It's also a great time start practicing imagining yourself going through your race; more specifically each leg of the race, your transitions and even your planned race nutrition. Doing this over and over will make the actual day less overwhelming and you will be more confident with your race day plan. Start visualizing now!

The Cornwall Olympic distance tri allowed me to better understand the importance of mental preparation. For example, the race organizers included an orientation the night prior to race day for beginners. (which I was then). This was useful as they went through how to rack your bike and set up your transition area. They also walked us to the river, outlined the swim course re-assuring us that it would be well marked and as a bonus, even showed us how to transition from our swim gear (wet suit for most) to our bikes. As a bonus, the race also had video of the entire bike course available for athletes beforehand. Since the bike leg consisted of four 10km loops with tight turns the video was helpful to know when and how sharp turns were. Thinking back, I realize now the importance of all the information I received from the Cornwall Olympic tri prior to starting the race. It definitely helped me mentally prepare and calmed my nerves before my swim start.

Equipment: It's also a great time of the year to start searching and purchasing some must need tri equipment you may not have been able to check off your Christmas list. Look on Kijiji, Amazon or attend a tri swap where you can buy some used gear and save a few dollars.

Accommodations: Lastly, If you haven't done so already, look into booking accommodations as most places get booked early. As this is my first ironman, I want to finish it but also want to experience all it has to offer and enjoy myself. That said, my support crew and I are staying in the village to be in the centre of it all.

So remember, it's never too early to look into booking accommodations, gathering your gear and practicing mental preparation techniques and never to late to start strength training.

Only 2 months to go in the off season/ pre season.

Plan, Prepare & train smart,

Coach Julie