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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Garbett/Whitworth Lanzarote Triathlon Training Camp 2018

I was really excited about heading to Lanzarote this year. It's been 9 years since I was last on the island! I was also excited to meet some new like-minded people and to spend some time with my coach Sophie Whitworth who was co-running the training camp.

We stayed at Hotel Costa Calero the food was abundant and delicious (perfect for refuelling triathletes) it has 4 pools, we were spoilt for choice. We swam in the 40m salt water pool and every day after swimming we enjoyed some time in the Thalasso Spa. It was such a luxurios way to end the day! I highly recommend this hotel.
Team Garbett & Whitworth pre run

At the meeting on the first day we were asked to write 3 things we wanted to achieve from the camp. Mine were:

  • Understand how to swim as well in my wetsuit as I feel without it
  • To enjoy riding my bike in the sun and tough conditions of Lanzarote
  • To enjoy running pain free 

Okay onto the meaty bit, The Training.....

  • I completed my biggest week of training EVER 23 hours & 30 minutes of Yoga!
  • I swam 11,600m
  • 1 rode my bike 294km
  • 1 ran 34km

Did I achieve what I hoped to in Lanzarote, absolutely Yes!

Swimming - I swam every day in my wetsuit (the pool was about 20 degrees) I'm very happy swimming in open water without a wetsuit but in races I've not felt like I am swimming well. I made sure I had enough lubrication and glide and that seemed to make a huge difference. Every day was an opportunity to improve how I felt and it worked! By the end of the camp I was loving swimming in it and I felt just as powerful in the water as I normally do. It was a huge breakthrough for me. Now I know exactly what to do with my wetsuit to ensure I have my best swim in it. Very happy and confident this year will be better for getting this sorted out now.

Cycling - I've always loved riding my bike (in the sun and warmth, especially!) since I started doing triathlon in 2006. So I was pretty relaxed and looking forward to some nice rides. It's never easy riding in Lanzarote, the wind really tests you!!! The last time I was here I rode the Ironman course with my friend Lou, it was pretty epic for me back in 2009! I remembered most of the roads eventually and we were all tested in the winds, as usual!
I rode in a small group with Sara, Erica, Phil and sometimes Juliet. We would be led by either Sophie or Toby and we certainly got to know one another really well. A highlight was probably our epic 6.5hr ride where we were all achieving new personal bests on the bike. Not a single one of us had ridden that long but we all did it and certainly earned our post ride G&T!
My cycling crew with Coach Toby

Running - I've written before about the past 2 years with injury and how in 2017 I finally started running pain free with the help of Sophie and Laurence at Henley Practice.
I did achieve my goal of running pain free on the camp!
It's also the first time in recent memory I've been on a training camp and been able to do all the run sessions!

  • I ran 5 days out of 7 and didn't miss any of the planned run sessions
  • I ran 4 days in a row (that's not happened in about 10 years!)
  • I completed my longest run 10k in 4 years!!! 
Post run choccie milkshakes in Puerto Del Carmen

I have come home with no injuries or niggles, just a tired body, goals achieved!

Between sessions and in the evenings I did some sort of maintenance whether it was stretching, foam rolling or using the massage balls and I think that definitely makes a big difference when you are doing more hours than you normally would.
We were very fortunate to have 2 Yoga teachers on the camp! Dee's session was a truly wonderful experience. If you live near Sunbury-on-Thames, please check her out Dee

I met some really lovely people who I hope to see again soon either at races or just to do some training and chatting!!! I love being around people who aren't afraid to challenge themselves and it just spurs me on to do my best and I certainly felt like that around everyone on the camp.

Exceptional coaching from Sophie, Toby, Mike and Martyn certainly meant we all improved our skill level as well as pushing us all to achieve all we could in 7 days.

So next year I'll know it's going to be epic but fun and I'll be ready. Fancy joining us? 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

What Do You Believe?

Belief - An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof (Oxford Dictionary)

I personally believe that maintaining hope in your goals is paramount. My personal challenge from 2015 to mid 2017 was to believe I would at some point run pain free again. When I found a new therapist and coach to work with in 2017 I had to believe they would help me achieve my dream. I maintained that hope and belief and thankfully my diligence in following their advice has led to the longest period of pain free running since 2015. I never gave up hope or lost the belief it would happen. I did have to go through a pretty tough time to get to that stage but that's just part of my journey. No one says these things are going to be plain sailing!

Some weeks the word Belief comes up more in my working week than others. Last week was definitely a week where it cropped up more than normal and it made me think a bit more about the word.

Meeting new clients is always an interesting experience. Their view of what they are capable of is usually much lower than I believe it to be. Confidence is eroded over a long period of time. Where once they may have felt fit and healthy; now they may believe that feeling is lost forever.

The ageing process doesn't have to mean you lose that feeling but you do need to believe you can feel like that once again to achieve it.

On more than once occasion a client has said that they need a trainer who believes in their ability to achieve their goals more than they do (because they don't believe they can do it alone usually). It's much more common than you might think.

The solution is to build that confidence back up again with training that makes my clients feel energised and excited that they can do it! That involves helping them to build consistency with regular exercise, not over doing it and generally having fun with getting fitter again.

Once confidence starts to increase the seed of belief you can achieve your goal is sown.

The change of mindset that occurs at this point is pretty spectacular to be part of. It's actually the most rewarding part of my work.

To achieve anything in life we need to have an element of belief; you don't have to 100% believe it's possible at the start but we need to sow the seed and nurture it to maturity.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

How's Your Mobility?

It wasn't until I developed a serious problem with my brachial plexus when on holiday back in September that I really had to do some serious work on improving the movement in my shoulders and neck.

Despite lifting weights and bicycles daily, for some reason on holiday lifting heavy water bottles the nerves in that area decided they had enough!

Thankfully, I have a great therapist Laurence Plant at Henley Practice  who was looking after my Achilles treatment and gave me some great advice to set about getting rid of the serious amounts of pain I had.

The best piece of advice he gave me was to look up Kelly Starrett. Kelly is a physiotherapist turned master of mobility and getting rid of all the nasty sticky spots in your body!

I started to view as many of his You Tube videos as I could to try to find the ones that would help where I had pain. 

I founds so many and started picking out the sections which felt like they were alleviating tension in the right place.

When you are struggling with daily pain it's important to feel you have some control and can do a lot to help yourself.

As well as truly helping to improve my pain I learned so much about just how important mobility is whether you do no exercise or you exercise multiple times a day.

I've benefited personally and professionally from Kelly's work. My clients now have a love/hate relationship with massage balls and the other pieces of torture equipment I've since introduced.

The good news is we are all benefiting from improved mobility and I hope you do too.

Links to Kelly's website and You Tube channel are above and the exercise below is my personal favourite for shoulders, give it a try!

The Best Shoulder Mobility Exercise - EVER!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Things I'm Loving In January

This is the infamous time in January when New Years Resolutions get tough or have gone out the window. I hope you set some achievable goals and are enjoying pursuing them 👏

These are a few things I'm really enjoying; some fitness, health, beauty and nutrition gems 💓

  • Heck Super Greens Balls These look amazing and taste amazing, veggie and vegan friendly they are just a great way to add a bit more veg to your meals, yum 😋

  • Rawsons Retreat It was actually a client who recommended this non-alcoholic wine to me (we have both decided for health reasons to stop drinking) we are enjoying finding nice drinks without alcohol. Keep it in the fridge and enjoy at the weekends, or just on a Wednesday evening 😘 Okay it's a little sweet for my palate but so far it's the driest one I have found. If you are doing Dry January give it a go 🍷

  • Symprove I wrote in December about my nightmare with annually recurring chest infections for the last 5 years. I heard about Symprove via a Dr friend and as it's not the cheapest probiotic (for good reason) it was only this year I felt I needed to make the investment (I wish I had done it sooner!). I started taking it when I knew I had a chest infection and before my first course of antibiotics. The brilliant news is that despite two weeks of antibiotics and steroids I had absolutely NO gut distress! This has NEVER happened, I normally have a terrible time with my gut as I try to get rid of the chest infection. I am now committed to taking it until the end of February. In October I am going to start another 12 week course to see if it can help to keep me well, fingers crossed 😷    
  • Massage Balls All my clients have these little beauties! They are simply brilliant at keeping tight joints and muscles moving a lot better. A little every day goes a long way. If you are tight they aren't exactly "enjoyable" however, your hard working body will love you for the tlc you give it. Especially good for shoulders, back, glutes and hamstrings but really they can be used on most parts of the body 💜  

  • Lemon & Ginger Beauty - Oxford If you work or live in Oxford then this is a beautiful little salon in Headington. Issy set up her own business last year and she is truly flourishing. Her shepherds hut is fully fitted with a wood burner (!) It's so cosy and smells amazing as she uses Neal's Yard Remedies. She has an online booking system to book those last minute appointments. When you have been once you'll want to go back again soon, I promise 😍 

  • Martin "Nutrition" MacDonald  Okay, there is a lot of guff (technical term) out there about nutrition (especially at this time of year!) Do yourself a huge favour and visit Martin's Facebook page. In January he is doing a FREE Q&A every day to answer all your questions. To use Martin's words "there are no stupid questions" so go ask him your biggest concerns about nutrition. Yes, Martin has an academic background but I promise you he is also a real person who knows how to help real people with real lives. Think of it as a late Christmas present from me 🎅

Well I hope you have a look at some of the things I am enjoying this month. Good luck and keep up the good work with your Health and Fitness goals x

Friday, 5 January 2018

Healthy New Year

A few days into a New Year and I hope that it's been a super start for you. I'm finally free of my chest infection and enjoying being able to breathe easily, simple things huh!

I'm also challenging myself to eat my 7 a day, 5 veggies, 2 fruit and 2 litres of water. It's really made me realise I have to make some very conscious decisions to hit my targets!

For the past 5 winters I've had a very nasty chest infection every year. This year I am on a mission to understand a) why I am that person who gets a cold and then within 10 days has a chest infection via specialist medical advice b) try some natural ways to boost my immune system and see what impact that has on my ability to avoid another chest infection.

None of what I am doing is going to harm me so I feel there is no down side to trying these things.

This recipe is a favourite of mine and certainly makes it easier for me to get my veggies. I hope you like it too. 

Kale, Avocado & Pineapple Salad
It's a salad and a half. Serves 4 - Maybe!
100g Kale
1/2 cucumber, sliced into bite size chunks
1 red pepper, cut into bite size chunks
1 small pineapple, cut into chunks
2 small avocados, cut into chunks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
50g salted nuts.
Small bunch of basil and coriander roughly chopped

Dress with 50ml sweet chilli sauce, 1 tbspn soy sauce, 1 tbspn fish sauce, juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt.

I served mine with a slice of Crustless Quiche Lorraine and it's delicious on it's own :)

Scrumalicious x

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Here's To A Joyous January

I hope as you read this you are well and excited to have a fun Christmas. After almost 4 weeks trying to recover from a chest infection I finally feel a little human and have found some festive cheer, yay!

I wanted to write about enjoying Christmas and my philosophy on the approaching New Year.

I am a big fan of Christmas, spending more time with my friends and family, eating delicious food and having time to recharge my batteries ready to start 2018 with great energy.

If you already have thoughts of your New Year health and fitness goals then I say write them down and put them on hold for a few days. Now is the time to enjoy a little or a lot of what you like with your favourite people.

Equally some people like to choose a couple of days to eat and drink whatever they fancy and then go back to normal eating. I like to fit in a bit of exercise, not to burn anything off but simply because I have time to do what I love and it's generally very quiet going for a run, riding my bike or hopping in the pool!

If you've ever been out on Christmas Day for a run (my personal tradition is a Christmas morning run) everyone you meet says Happy Christmas and I honestly think it's the one day a year when everyone is kinder to each other, big love for that!

Okay so let's move on to 1st January and those goals you wrote down. I don't train my clients differently in January to any other month of the year. I do however find myself giving the message of moderation in this month a lot more!

My personal advice on how to get fitter, stronger, healthier:
  • Have a sensible, achievable, longer than 4 weeks long goal
  • To make January joyous add a healthy dose of patience to your goals
  • Avoid anything extreme; extreme diets and extreme exercise
  • Try to keep your list of new habits to no more than 5. Overhauling your entire diet and exercise in one hit is mentally and physically challenging. Don't burn out in January!
  • Focus on achieving those new healthy habits rather than giving up everything you enjoy
  • With exercise, if it's been a while since you regularly worked out, start with a goal of being active 3 times a week, hit that for 12 weeks, that's consistency and it's key
  • Your body needs time to adapt so keep the workouts shorter initially and see how it responds
  • Mindset changes take many weeks so think longer than January, maybe set your first target for the end of February or 1st March
  • Where nutrition is concerned avoid cutting out major food groups and all your favourite foods
  • 3 Simple ways to feel healthier; walk more, drink more water and eat more green veg
  • It is possible to enjoy the process of becoming healthier. If there is no joy then rethink some of the changes you have implemented

This is a great article

By taking a more relaxed approach and focusing each day on implementing your new habits January can truly be more Joyous. That way you hopefully get to the end of the month with those new habits still a part of your life. I hope so!

Wishing you a fun Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2018 x

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

2nd Race of the season - A bit less faffing!

So my 2nd race of the season was at Dorney Lake and was an F3 Events Supersprint. In the 10 years I have been doing triathlon I have never done this distance! 400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run.

This was also be my first open water race of the season. With my next race in two weeks time at the same venue it felt like perfect preparation to go to the race site and feel comfortable as well as having a bit of a hit out in the same water and on the same tarmac!

This is a mass start swim at 8.30am. I arrived at 7am because I do like to faff a bit! Got myself all set up in transition and then started to warm up.

Wow 13 degrees is pretty cold! I was glad when the gun went and I could get going, or not! I found it quite difficult getting my arms moving as fast as I wanted and took a while to get going. Once I felt like I was moving better I then had to fight off a couple of guys who had clearly taken the completely wrong line and were now trying to swim into me as I headed for the exit! I don't surrender my position in the swim just cos you are a guy :)
Less faffing, yay! But a reminder that I need to focus whilst trying to get my wetsuit off! All in all much better
It's pancake flat at Dorney so it's Vollgas all the way! There was a pretty strong head wind for part of it but a nice tail wind too. It took me until the 2nd lap to really find my mojo but it was good to find it and have a faster 2nd lap
Lesson learned from the last race and this time I got my shoes on much easier, yay!
I'm still giving myself too much of a hard time for not being able to run at the pace I want to (despite only running properly now for 5 weeks) BUT I did manage to change that in this race, yay! I had to have stern words with myself about the pace and just focus on working hard and giving it 100% effort. I'm happy to say it feels much better to not beat yourself up and focus on doing the absolute best you can and try to relax and enjoy it.

Another pain free race = happy days, still things to improve on as always but I'm faffing less and making fewer mistakes so it's all going in the right direction :)

I finished 1st in my Age Group and 7th Overall.

Next race is back to Dorney Lake on 21st May for a Sprint Distance World Championship Qualifier