This time last year I decided to do a few things to try and get faster and better at adventure races. After a couple of average events, I had a fantastic time in a truly wild, wet and windswept event in Kirkby Stephen, which also really inspired me and gave me bags of confidence. So, what did I do?
- Lost a bit of weight
- Learnt to run further
- Trimmed down all the unnecessary kit I was carrying
- Consistent race practice
- Lots of map study
I had a brief spell feeling that I could have done better on the run during the Ben Nevis Triathlon a few weeks ago, but then remembered that this time last year I could barely manage 8km, and now I think 20km is about the limit.
Race practice is invaluable – you just can’t get better at strategy and decision making under pressure without actually doing it. Even if it is sometimes a disaster!
With two individual event wins and third in last year’s Open 5 series, plus three podium places out of my four big events this summer, I feel quite happy with how this plan worked out 😀
What next? Well, here are some ideas I have:
- Get super new bike (start lists with something you can already tick off…)
- Ride off-road more often
- Start going to the club running sessions consistently
- Get more recovery
- Eat better
- More map study … well, it’s fun, like curling up with a good book!
It sounds obvious, but it was only at the Trans Wales event that I realised by going mountain biking every day, I was getting better at it. With the new bike there’s no excuse, and anyway, it is such fun to ride that this one isn’t gong to be a chore. Last night I went to Glentress after work with a colleague. We had the trails all to ourselves, the woods echoed to my whoop-de-woops and night riding is great for technique! You’re forced to look round tight corners and I find myself riding trickier stuff because I’m there and going over it before my brain whispers ‘you can’t …’. I’m also finding new people to ride with, like the girls at Hervelo and a fledgling team at Ronde.
As for recovery and eating – in a week’s time I will officially be a part-time employee. Not by much, but every other Monday I will be free to relax after the weekend’s exertions and catch up on everything that currently gets ignored or crammed into the late evenings when I should be going to bed. Things like planning what to eat for the rest of the week and going shopping so I have food in the house. Plus all the boring stuff like ironing and housework, mixed with interesting stuff like writing race reports and doing my Italian homework.
I’m really quite excited by the prospect. My challenge will be to avoid the temptation to fill up the time with new things 😀
Next race: Open 5 at Staveley in the Lake District.