The Scribbler

16 January 2010

More ups than downs

Filed under: Great North Run,swim,training — The Scribbler @ 17:32
Tags: , , , ,

There was a day this week when I was all grrr, and fed up and cynical and wondering ‘what’s the point, really?’ Now I can’t even remember what that was all about.

I love my PT sessions on a Thursday morning. We’ve got a great venue down the beach and Ian is just brilliant at keeping things interesting, motivating me, moving my fitness on a bit more each time.

We’ve done all sorts of different types of training – from running intervals to working with the boxing pads. Ian builds each session around what his clients want to achieve. So, at the start I needed to work on my cardio. Then when I started running on my own a lot more, he developed training that would help me build up my leg muscles and endurance for longer distance races.

Now my sessions mainly focus on weights and resistance. I’ve even got my own kettlebell now. It’s been a fantastic training tool, and I love the whole body workout.

But Thursday’s training session is about more than just an hour throwing weights around on a beach. The effect lasts much longer. That positive rush of endorphins and adrenaline sends me bouncing into work, knowing that whatever happens I’ve achieved something with my day.

This week it carried me right through to an evening swimming session.

I’ve decided my big goal this year is to complete a sprint triathlon. It’s a big challenge. As big as running the Great North Run was for me last year, maybe even bigger, because I’ve got other boxes I want to tick too.

So I’ve been swimming. Taken some lessons to learn how to breathe properly when doing front crawl and practised, practised, practised. On Thursday, for the first time, I timed myself swimming 400m front crawl (including a few breathers at the end of 3 or 4 lengths) and I did it in 13.20.

I know that’s not startling, but I was kind of surprised. And I know I can bring that time down, even if by nothing more than stringing those four lengths into six, then eight, then ten and so on until I can swim the distance continuously without a break. I also did another couple of 200m sets that came in around the 5.30/6.00 min mark.

So that’s a marker – a base point from which to measure my progress. It’s about challenging myself to do better, not necessarily measuring myself against others. I’ve already made great progress with swimming, undoing old habits and learning a new way to move through the water more efficiently and I know I’ll get better. Thursday night was really the first time I believed that my triathlon goal wasn’t so ridiculous.

So where are the downs then? Well, I didn’t get a place in the first ballot for the Great North Run. I must have checked my email a hundred times on Friday – hoping, hoping. I still have a chance in the general ballot – fingers crossed. But I was a bit disappointed.

I’ve also missed out on a triathlon that I was eyeing up as it’s already full. I’d debated and questioned whether it realistically gave me enough time to train for it, and by the time I’d been convinced, it was no longer an option.

But I’ve dealt with both those, in the grand scheme of things, rather small disappointments, better than I would have in the past. Because there are always other races, other events, other challenges.

And there are always Thursdays training on the beach.

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