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With despair in the air, suspicion around, and a world on its knees from a simple (or not so simple) virus, we are definitely not where we thought we would be this time last year.

San Diego!

October 2019 was a time of hope when I was preparing to grace the shores of San Diego, the home of modern triathlon.


Arriving with no plans, but to go with the flow I had the privilege of making connections across a number of triathlon, running and fitness groups in the most random of circumstances.


Indulge me for a minute as these are great memories:

Image by Victoria Palacios

Highlights included:

- Training with the Triathlon Club of San Diego in the (sometimes) shark-infested waters of La Jolla bay, as well as competing in an aquathlon with the San Diego University TriClub.


- Running with Milestone Running Shops on their Halloween run followed by a tour of one of the local breweries. There I got to meet a whole host of people including Alex and Kristine which led me to Alex’s...


- ...Tuesday Waterfront Run Crew, additionally I got to meet Iman Wilkerson, some of whom you may recognize from her talk on sport and mental health with me which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAtLAn0h6Fc


- Iman runs a business in an app called the RunDown which allows people to find running groups in San Diego, as well as take part in virtual exercise - perfect for anyone new to the city; she also hosts a Run Group facilitated by the brand Lululemon.


- I was fortunate enough to attend the Lululemon run group and meet some of the staff from the brand where I got invited to a flat party. Getting back fairly late, I got up and went to...


- ...Climb Cowles Mountain with the ever-so friendly November Project, meeting a number of people including a respected Armed Forces Veteran, a director of Sea World, and of course the mighty Bruce who faithfully leads the way week in and week out.


- A particular highlight for me was the welcome from everyone, a warm community with much love for their city, state and of course the people – I’ve never seen quite so many athletes in one place (bar my current location in Loughborough).

Adapt to survive, and thrive:

These guys epitomise what it is to stay fit and well mentally and physically. During lockdown Iman undertook 100 days of meditation which could be seen on instagram stories, Milestone Running Shop adapted their services and provided a delivery service for running equipment and much needed banter on their social media pages, I'm aware of all the great people I met are showing what it takes to persevere on and are keeping up their daily exercise routines. I know that all of them are keeping fit, well and active.

2020, the year of the 'p' word:

This year is very different due to the pandemic, I had a staycation where I worked on this business TriClub, aiming to support people who want to get into triathlon, running and fitness, as well as those who want to progress on to loftier goals such as PBs and international age group vests. The purpose is quite simple, to help people realise their potential in this sport.


Going out to San Diego helped me realise my potential, it helped me relax physically and mentally from the stresses and strains of work, as well as extend my online and in-person community.


With despair in the air, we need to remember who we are… that we are capable human beings who are able to reach out to someone for a chat or phonecall, go online to find virtual/phone support when we are struggling (116123 for the Samaritans free phone from the UK on landline and mobiles).


This will all be over down the road, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have the ability to get out the door and exercise, whether that is a visit to the gym/swimming pool (when they are open), a walk along the street/canal/countryside (dependent on location), or a workout session indoors virtually if we are in lockdown.


You have the ability to be a healthier and happier version of you, the choice though is yours…


Top tips, you've waited long enough:

- Choose to eat healthy

- Get regular sleep

- See friends and family, whether online or in-person

- Start exercising, or keep going with it!

- Stay hydrated

- Talk, talk, talk you will feel better... as Ron Burgundy says...


We're all in this together, we will get through this, and like San Diego, brighter shores are on the horizon. Perseverance produces character, and in turn hope, it won't disappoint.


Stay classy!


Ian

TriClub Owner & Head Coach


This blog was written to celebrate something different this year, TriClub being a part of the #smallbiz100 with Small Business Saturday. Thank you for your support and remember to shop local where possible.


40 Years:

The London Marathon has been and gone for another year, as you well know it was very different to the previous 39. As an elite only race it was quite the unusual spectacle, and with a very unusual end.




Three performances though stand out to me.


1) Sarah:

The first an unbelievable and incredible finish from Sarah Hall, demonstrating commitment to training and that determination to chase after your goals when the unachievable is in front of you.


2) Brent:

The second by Brent Lakatos to fend off his rivals in the men’s wheelchair race, showing strength and persistence to lead the effort and individual sprints to come out on top.


Marathon Highlights:

To view some marathon highlights and behind the scenes footage with the athletes click here: https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a34241725/sara-hall-london-marathon-results-2020/



Image: Miguel A. Amutio


The third I’d like to talk about a little more in-depth.


3) Age Groupers:

Whilst I enjoyed watching the elite battle it out, there was another battle going on all around the world, one of grit, resilience and some would say a defiance to circumstances… the age groupers, by this I mean the everyday individual who works and trains (although saying that Brent works as a full-time engineer and a full-time athlete which is an incredible feat!).


Watching the age groupers around the world competing in the first ever Virtual London Marathon was a particular highlight as it showed that we are able to push through tough times, come out on top and engage in activities that can bring hope, joy and a dose of happiness.


Taking part in the VLM:

This year I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in the marathon, well only the first 10k. This was to support my friend Jo on her epic effort which was in aid of the charity Mind.


Jo I coached last year to complete the 2019 version of the event. This year she embarked upon the race in a very different set of circumstances.


Jo as I mentioned runs for the charity Mind, she also runs for her family, and she runs as a woman who is willing to persevere, demonstrating great character, and like the rest of us she stands defiant to the giant of despair that is the pandemic of 2020.



Image: Miguel A. Amutio


Mindset:

Most of you reading this are not elite athletes on paper but you most certainly have the tenacity and capacity to have the mindset of one. You demonstrate that in-spite of difficult circumstances you are resilient and have the ability to be the best version of yourself. I am very proud of Jo and all athletes who attempted, competed and completed the VLM.


It can be you are sat there thinking, I could never do that? I don't have the ability?


What if you could. What if you made the time? Started a new routine? And what if you don't have to run the marathon as a starting point. Maybe it's worth contacting your local running club or if you'd prefer to start this journey solo (as may be required during a second lockdown wave) why not try the couch to 5k app.


From there you can build the distances, and eventually work towards the lofty achievable heights of the London Marathon.


Maybe you need to start believing in yourself like Sarah, like Brent, like Jo, and the thousands of people around the world.


To all of you, I take my hat off, keep on running!


Photo on unsplash by Quino Al

Apologies for the text speak, but glad it got your attention as I think it's worth noting that there are a few races appearing around the country which is truly a positive step for the sport of triathlon!


Races will have new measures in place such as staggered starts, requirements around cleanliness and of course social distancing.


Now, if you're like me you have probably lost some race sharpness and may forget the odd thing when heading to the race, I once forgot my race shoes and so ran in my current trainers (thankfully I wasn't wearing flip flops and was wearing old race shoes - phew!).


In order to be race day ready, here are 3 top tips that will help you:


1) Preparation & Lists are key.



GIF courtesy of Wix

Competing in three sports means there is a LOT of equipment to pack to make sure you perform at your best, and there are some essentials you will need in order to race, e.g. if you don't have goggles that is going to be one awkward and uncomfortable swim, no bike helmet will mean you are not even allowed to put your bike in transition (and therefore what's the point in even starting!), and no run shoes... you get the picture.


So to make sure you don't forget anything I have provided a free downloadable RACE DAY CHECKLIST that you can use. I hope it helps! Here's a preview below.



2) Build the wall.


Photo on unsplash by Coen van de Broek

Build the wall? What? Sorry, it's an awful pun where I am talking about using brick sessions in training... bricks... walls... no... O.K. I'll leave the humour out.


A brick session is a doing more than one sport together, traditionally this may be a bike to run where you get your body used to the jelly leg feeling, it is important you get your legs used to this so you don't falter come race day.


I would say it's also important to practise swim-bike. After being in a horizontal position for a significant length of time where your upper body has done a large part of the work, you do need the lower half ready to go again, so you can get the blood rushing to those muscles that will allow you to smash the bike.


So practise building the wall, i.e. make yourself indestructible by including at least one brick session a week in your training especially as you get closer to race day.


3) Stay on top of the mental mind games.

Photo courtesy of Wix Images

The best race I had ironically is when I got zero sleep, it was the day I qualified for the GB Age Group Team and booked my slot to the World Championships in Mexico. However, to potentially improve a future performance I now implement the following:

  • Distraction: you want to wake up the day of the race feeling fresh and good to go so watching a film, reading a book before bed, or even chatting to a friend about something other than triathlon can help you forget those race day nerves that can creep in.

  • Positive self-talk: When thoughts of pain come in when you are in the final 5km of the run, or in the first 200m of the swim (or wherever you are in the race), having mantras handy like 'it will get easier', 'I am doing well', 'you've done this in training you can do it now' all help me... even if it feels rough positive self talk can help to get you through those tough times.

  • Mindfulness: Pre-race or during the race it can be helpful to use mindfulness techniques. Effectively what you are doing is taking the thoughts that may be troubling you, being aware of them but not emotionally letting them effect you and letting them go. For more information on this please download the free mindfulness PDF from Mind.

If you want a free no obligation chat around your upcoming races to help you alleviate any fears or concerns book a call with me here now. I want to help you relax and enjoy racing! Believe me I get it! I've been there!


For now thanks for reading and have a great day!

Ian

TriClub

Proud to be a part of the Small Business Saturday 2020 cohort! #smallbiz100




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