Last year, on 21 August, I managed to complete a half iron distance triathlon. That’s a 1.9km swim, followed by a 90km cycle, followed by a half marathon run. It was fantastic fun, but with the year having been exhausting on many other fronts, the race was followed by zero training until last week. I couldn’t bear to even touch my running shoes, gave my beloved bicycle a wide berth. Why? I love exercise. I enjoy it. My mind started drifting to a different idea: body-centred, rather than event-centred, training.
Usually, you pick a few major races to aim for during a coming year. You, or usually your trainer, then plan your training so that your body peaks at the time of the race. Now, I’m training for training’s sake. My programme consists of suggestions, not requirements. There is also scope for making note of days I didn’t train, but got a lot of exercise. For instance, last week Thursday I missed my planned swim, but I walked at least 8km in the course of the day. The space for recording what I did that day is filled with a W for Epic Walk.
So will I not race again? I plan to. However, instead of picking a race and getting my body ready for it, I am going to train for the love of it, and enter events I feel ready for at the time, at short notice.
Will this work? I don’t know. People aim for races to help motivate them. I’m weird that way, though: I just love exercise. Getting fit enough to be able to run or cycle a certain distance is enough motivation for me. I think I won’t perform as well as I would if I trained ‘properly’. That just isn’t important to me, though. I find myself left cold by the idea of aiming to complete a half iron in a faster time. Being fit enough to complete another one and feeling good when I’m done with it is a more attractive goal, and if I do it slower than my first I can’t say it really bothers me.
Watch this space then to see if this body-centred approach will yield good results. I’ll keep you updated.