February is now upon us and we’re well past the winter solstice – but it’s still cold, dark and difficult to get out of bed. We’ve recruited ex-professional cyclist Chris Ball and MaxiNutrition’s Gareth Nicholas to help you keep your training on track for this year’s London Triathlon.
Before you do anything else, start by setting your goals. Anyone can say they want to compete in a marathon or take on the London Triathlon but think it through first, why are you doing it? What do you want to achieve? By dissecting your goals you’ll be able to train smarter rather than harder, you’ll see the benefits throughout your training, right up to when it really counts – on race day.
Using London Triathlon as an example outcome goal, MaxiNutrition’s Gareth Nicholas outlines his top tips to help you get there:
1. Start with the August race weekend in mind and work backwards to now.
2. Put minor goals in place to help you focus.
3. Print off your training programme and track your progress.
4. Listen to your body and give it appropriate rest.
5. It’s not about having the best session every day, it’s consistency that’s important.
6. Have trust in yourself and your training programme to get you there.
7. Make training fun and enjoyable, if possible train with others.
8. Injuries and illness may crop up, rest as long as you need to.
9. It’s not all about training, nutrition and rest are just as important.
10. Take one day at a time, enjoy it and have fun!
Then it’s just about putting all this theory into practice. Find the right training plan to suit you, get your nutrition right, put in the hours and miles, banish that winter weight and get race fit.
And, don’t worry if there’s snowstorms and rain outside, cycling coach and functional movement expert Chris Ball says: “No matter what distance you’re taking on, the majority of your early season training can be done indoors. Whether it’s in the local pool for your swim training, jumping on the treadmill at your nearest gym, or for those of you who want to cycle from the comfort of your own home – a turbo trainer is all you need!
“When you’re ready and willing to fight the cold and you start to head out for long rides in the saddle at the weekend, the thought of having a coffee break half way round is very much like marmite,” he adds. “It’s always so tempting to stop, refuel and warm up a little – it means you won’t have to take as much food in your back pockets plus you’ll be properly fuelled for the second half of the ride.
Chris adds that it’s important to gradually get out of the habit of these regular coffee breaks and start getting your nutrition plan in gear, as when it comes to race day you won’t get to stop – instead you’ll be shouting at your legs to get you to the end of the bike route and onto the run before you can even think about that coffee!
Here are some more of Gareth’s tips to building a successful nutrition plan:
1. A well balanced diet of carbohydrate, protein and fat is key, the amounts of each will depend on how fit you are now and what you want to achieve.
2. Always ensure you have enough energy to support your session and the right balance of nutrition to aid recovery.
3. Aim to have 5-7 meals per day, calorically balanced where possible.
4. Avoid over indulging on fast foods, confectionary and alcohol.
5. Stay hydrated throughout the day, drink at least 2 litres of fluids
He adds that you should always plan what you are going to eat the night before to avoid temptation and deviation from your programme. As with training, nutrition needn’t be boring – make sure you change things around and allow yourself the odd cheat meal.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that you enjoy it. Putting the effort in now and learning to love your nutrition and training will get your motivation running and set your adrenalin thumping for race day. Then it won’t be long before you set your next challenge and do it all again, you’ll be tackling the Olympic Plus distance next time right?
Entries for London Triathlon are on sale and participants should visit www.thelondontriathlon.com to secure their place.
Are you racing this year’s London Triathlon? Let us know in the comments!