Throughout March I have been building intensity slightly within my training as the British Triathlon Performance assessments draws near. There is an explanation of how it works in my previous blog, but I’ll include it at the bottom too. However, on the whole training has been very similar to the last few months, and running has been slightly increased, but I am still at about 20k/week with one session.
My running has been almost completely on grass, and even with my largely reduced running I have actually really good. I think my biking and swimming have helped to maintain fitness, and doing more short runs (3-5km) has helped my muscle memory.
I have also changed coach, as Jack has moved away, so a massive thankd to him as he was amazing to work with. I am now coached by Marc Austin, a previous athlete himself (who was very good), so I can’t wait to build and grow with him.
There’s little more to say, apart from that performance assessments is this week, so wish me luck! (although I hopefully shouldn’t need luck).
PAs consists of a 400m swim time trial in a pool, then a bike-run pursuit the next day, based of your 400 swim time. It is an interesting format, a bit different to usual because open water is still too cold, but I find it favours the weaker swimmers aa they are able to recover after the swim. It is also the qualifying race for the youth commonwealth games, so I will have to give my all regardless of whether I like the format. To qualify, I need to be in the top 6 athletes, and the first Scottish athlete. Since this race is the qualifying race for the youth commies, which I am targeting, it has been quite a big focus for me!
It’s been a while since my last post, but there’s much more positive news. I had a few weeks off, then a few weeks of less than 10k/week running at the start of this year/end of last. However, I started getting shockwave treatment on my achilies, thanks to the Scottish institute of sport, which has helped massively, along with the exercises my Physio, Andy, has given me. Thankfully, this has meant I have been able to build my running volume slowly, and I am now doing 1 session a week. This session is currently capped at 12 minutes of work, but it is still much more than I was doing a few weeks ago.
My bike and swim training has been fairly consistent, just ticking over like normal aiming for consistent training leading into the first race of the year, British Triathlon Performance Assessments. This race consists of a 400m swim time trial in a pool, then a bike-run pursuit the next day, based of your 400 swim time. It is an interesting format, a bit different to usual because open water is still too cold, but I find it favours the weaker swimmers aa they are able to recover after the swim. It is also the qualifying race for the youth commonwealth games, so I will have to give everything regardless of whether I like the format. To qualify, I need to be in the top 6 athletes, and the first Scottish athlete. Qualifying for the Youth Commies is a big aim for me, and so I am targeting this race.
Finally, it is a pleasure for me to announce that I will continue to be supported by Pedal Potential for the next season, and so a massive thanks to them for continuing to believe in me after a below par season last year.
After a wonderful end to the season, I had a week off to let mind mind and body recover. Normally I would have a bit longer but because I had missed so much training due to injury I decided to take a bit less time off. Since I was injury free at that point I was able to start running again, however I didn’t start doing full running, just 25 km a week. I did this for 2 weeks and then got a bit of pain in my lower calf, which turned out to be an achilies tendonopathy. Due the my lack of running this year, my body broke down after even a little running, and to cut a long story short, I am still recovering from it. It is definitely getting better, and although this is the worst start possible to training for next season, I’m doing everything possible to get back running. I’ve been doing lots more cycling due to the lack of running, and a little more swimming, in order to maximise my other disciplines.
I’ve not done any cross-countries because of this Achilles tendonopathy so there are no races to speak of apart from a few swim meets, which I’ve been doing to keep ticking over. This biggest one was the Scottish short course championships, in which I swam the 400 free, going 4.28 adding on 12 seconds to my pb. I had been swimming well enough in training so this was a big surprise, but all I can do is my best and keep working hard.
Hopefully next year is better Happy new year to everyone
As mentioned in my previous blog my next race was on the 1st of September in Loughborough- the school games 2022. It was a very different format to normal. On the first day there were aquathlon heats and finals. On the second day there was an individual circuit test, and then a few hours later a pursuit bike race (plus T1 and T2), with the first across the line being the winner. The times used to start the pursuit were a combination of the aquathlon finals time and the circuit race time. I went into the race knowing I was not running well after being out of proper running training since December, so I knew I had to push the swim. In the heats I got caught up at the first buoy and went round it in 3rd last, but managed to work my way up to second coming out of the swim. I didn’t run as well and dropped to 4th in my heat, after working very hard in the swim. I went into the A final ranked 7th, so I didn’t get an ideal start position, and had to start on the inside of the first buoy. I knew I had to go out hard to not get caught up like I did in the heats and so did precisely that. I took the whole swim very hard to maximise my advantage going onto the run and came out the water in first, with second place a few seconds back, then the next person 21 seconds back. I went out quickly and got a lead over second. But was getting caught by the boy who came out the water third. I was hanging on for the 3 laps, and got caught with 75 metres to go, so sprinted as hard as I could but unfortunately I didn’t have the legs and finished 2nd, but with the same time as 1st.
The next day started with the circuit test, and I performed quite well in that, only losing a few seconds to first. I was quite happy with this as I had been working on my cornering because it was a big weakness for me. I started the pursuit bike in second with a 5 second gap to 1st and 10 seconds to 3rd. I basically just did a solo TT and held on to second on a very tough course! I was very happy my result considering my year so far, but there was still the mixed relay to come…
The final race of the competition was the mixed relay. It went boy/girl/boy/girl and I was put on the first leg since it was a longer swim. I used the same tactic as the previous day of going out hard, and had planned to work on the bike with the only boy who could follow me in the aquathlon. I took the swim out harder than the day before, leading with a small gap over second and a larger one over everyone else. I took the bike pretty hard, saving a little for the run, leading both the whole way. I emptied myself on the run and passed over with a solid gap to second. My team did an amazing job and going onto the final run we were in 4th, but we still had a penalty to take and so did the team in 3rd. The girl from my team, Ella, took our penalty on the first lap of the 2 lap run, and then chased as hard as she could for the bronze. Ella came round the penultimate corner where the penalty box was, while the team in third were seeing their penalty. Their athlete panicked and left the box early, and although they crossed the line first were then disqualified for not serving the full penalty, so we came third! A massive thanks to the team- Melissa, Ella and Charlie, and it was great to cap off the weekend in such a great way.
My last race of the season was one week after school games at Eton. It was the last super series race of the year and a final chance for me to get a good super series result this year. It was mixed youth A and B over an eliminator format, with 2 heats with 10 from each one going to the first A final, and 5 getting eliminated from that first final before the last one.
Again I knew that my run wasn’t as strong, so took out the swim in the heats, getting a break of 3 out the swim and on the bike, which was actually really fun since we weren’t completely drilling it, then just doing enough on the run to get through.
After the heats I was very conscious of recovery so had something to eat and drink just after to prepare for the first final. I swam hard again, coming out of the water second and just sitting in on the bike, which was extremely slow. Everyone in the race was in one pack so it was going to come down to the run. I positioned myself at the front going into T2 and then ran fats enough to qualify without having to sprint at the end. I actually ended up winning that race because I went faster from a bit further out to avoid having a crazy sprint at the end to qualify.
Onto the last race, the real final. We had 5 minutes between finishing the first final and starting the second, so I decided not to put on a wetsuit to make sure I could set up transition again and didn’t miss the start. Most people had the same idea although 2 guys wore wetsuits, which clearly paid off as they came out 1st and 2nd. I came out third, with the guy in second and a few seconds behind first. I had to swim hard to keep in touch and really felt the accumulated fatigue, but was still happy with my swim. I came out of T1 in second next to one other guy, who I used to get up to the front of the race to save energy. Once we caught the front one other person caught up, and we stayed away for the whole bike. I was just sitting at the back saving energy. However I wanted to go into transition first so undid my bike shoes before the other then went to the front with a 200 metres to go and sped up to ensure they couldn’t get back in front before the dismount line because they still had their feet in their shoes. It worked to perfection, and I even had a small 2 second gap going into transition. I maintained it coming out of transition and now it was just a run race. I knew the next youth A was further back and I probably had won out of my age group, but I gave it my all to win overall too. I pushed extremely hard on the run, and felt like I was going to cramp about 200m in but it eased up as i slowed very slightly and I was able to keep going. I managed to hold on to the gap I had and even extend it slightly to take the overall youth A and B (15-17) win! It was a fairytale ending to a rough season and I was so pleased all my tactical decisions had paid off.
I also have to thank pedal potential for their support this season-it has been so, so helpful. And also thank you to sports aid for their support , a massive help too.
August has been the best month of this year so far. All. My niggles and injuries have finally healed so I’ve just been increasing my training steadily.
I also raced the British Super Series grand final in Sunderland. I had an awful start after getting pushed back on the start line(it was a beach start) but managed to swim well get back up into third. Transition was basically on a road but there wasn’t any carpet down so I lost 5 places in transition just from having sore feet. The particularly annoying thing was that my transition itself was really good.
Onto the bike and I was just off the front pack coming out of transition. I could have probably kicked and got up to that group but I wanted to save some energy and get up more steadily. This proved to be a bad tactical decision as I couldn’t close the gap in the end and had to wait for the second pack. I just sat in that pack until T2. Again I lost some time from running on the concrete in T2, and came out in around 12th. I knew I would never do too well running from second pack after my limited training ( only 3 run sessions this year) , but just did my best and came home in 9th (7th brit). I felt really good on the run which is a massive positive, but a stitch meant I couldn’t give it as good a shot as I would have liked. However after so long out it is a massive positive that I felt so good, I just need to work on race execution now, which should come back as I race more.
I still had a chance to redeem myself the next day in the British youth and junior relay championships. I went third and was very pleased with my leg, racing against guys up to 3 year older. In the end my team came third to massive thanks to Jess, Struan and Annabelle.
I’m writing this as I go down to UK school games. I’m racing tomorrow (1st September) in the aquathlon lon which is live streamed on the youth sport Trust YouTube channel. The heats are at 17:00 and the finals around 18:20. The relay is also livestreamed, in the Saturday at 17:15. I’ll explain how the format works in my next blog, but the individual race doesn’t only consist of the aquathlon.
My strained tendon wasn’t completely healed at the start of the month so that meant no hard running for another 2 weeks. I was on holiday for the 2 and a half weeks before Mallory which meant my preparation wasn’t great. I did however manage to do my first proper run session since December while on holiday, which I was extremely pleased about. I wasn’t running too slowly either-in fact I was very happy with how my first two sessions went. The third and last one before Mallory (which was slightly easier) wasn’t quite as good but still ok.
Mallory was a heats and finals format so I was wanting to take the heats as easily as possible and then see what I could do in the final. This was the qualifying race for Europeans which was a big target of mine at the start of the season, but obviously I had to admit that I wasn’t in a great position to deliver, but I still wanted to give it a shot.
In the heats my swim and bike went to plan, as I made the front pack and just sat on the back for the bike. On the run however, I felt awful, but still managed to get into the ‘A’ final without too much effort. During my warmup however, I had felt a niggle in my quad which meant I couldn’t do any strides.
Thankfully my quad felt slightly better during my warmup for the final but it was still a little sore. In the final I wanted to position myself out wide to avoid the ‘washing machine’ effect to give myself the best chance of getting in the front pack. I also started hard to avoid the chaos, which worked quite well but I still got a bit caught up, however that was more due to my lack of fitness that tactics. I came out of the water in around 10th, or maybe just slightly higher up. My transition was average and I came out of transition in about the same position, just 5 seconds down on the front pack that was forming. I felt strong on the bike, but I wasn’t strong enough to close down the front pack. The technical course was also hampering me as cornering is a big weakness of mine and something I am working on. I came into transition 2 in the second pack about 5 seconds down on the leader. From this point on my race went terribly. I had an awful transition and went onto the run already quite a bit down. My run was also feeling awful, and something just felt off, and I felt sore but not in a good way, not like the pain from working hard. After 500m I made the decision to ease up and just jog home as I felt like I was going to injure myself from running hard, and I really didn’t want to risk it as I was already quite far down. It turned out to be the right decision as I’ve now got a bit of a quad niggle, so running hard would have aggravated that massively.
I think now I’m just going to focus on enjoying the season, not stressing about results and trying to be fit enough to train properly. The main positive from mallory is that I’ve qualified for the school games in September so that’s another race to look forward to.
In June I continued to build back up to full training, but it didn’t go as smoothly as planned. I was building up training until Lochore Aquathlon in mid June, but had to take a few days off after that due to sickness. Then I had to take a further week easier as a tendon attached to my hamstring was irritated, and its always better to back off early than get a serious injury (as I’ve learned through experience) so that is what I did. However I did enjoy racing at Lochore.
It was a multi-race format, with 3 races and your best 2 results counting towards the overall result. In the first race I swam worse than expected – I thought that since I had done some swim training I would have been close to the front but in reality I was still way off the pace. I came out in about 8th and also had an awful transition, however I was happy with how my run went because I hadn’t done any fast running in 6 months so had no idea how I would be. I ended up finishing in 7th.
The second race went slightly better as I was able to position myself better and come out in 6th, quite close to the leaders. My transition was better but I still have a lot of work to do, and I ran myself into 4th. In third race the swim went out very quickly, but I didn’t meaning at the first buoy I was out of the top 10. In the last straight I managed to swim myself up into sixth and from then it played out the same as the second race, and I came 4th. I was also 4th overall which I’m quite proud of considering how much training I’ve been doing but way off where I ultimately want to be.
Finally I got myself a new pair of Huckson bib shorts to try out. I love them and I’d recommend you go and get some for yourself. Sorry I don’t have many pictures from the race- I just couldn’t find any more.
Fore this month has just been about progressing total training load and introducing running. I’ve now started doing very short easy runs as opposed to the previous run the walk stuff.
I’ve been doing some swimming and cycling, but I’m still a good bit off my normal training as I have to be very careful to not get injured again. I’m hoping to do my first race back at lochore aquathlon however I don’t think I’ll be allowed to run hard, I’ll just have to jog it. I’m also hoping to do a few more races later in the year just so I don’t completely lose the feel for racing for next year, which I’m really focusing on now. It has however been great to get out on my bike a bit in the good weather. I’m just really enjoying the process at the moment and trying to be the best I can with the training I’m allowed to do.
I actually also managed to do my first open water swim of the year, which was great but the water is still quite cold here in Scotland. It was my first time wearing my new huub wetsuit so it was great to swim in that.
Finally, I’m excited to share that Huckson are now releasing new cycling gear, which I know lots of hard work has gone into. Go and check it out at https://huckson.co/
April has been a lot better than March for me. After my 4 weeks off the doctor said that my fracture should be healed so I’ve been getting slowly back to biking and swimming, and I’ve been doing some plyo work (mostly hopping) to prep for my return to running. I’ve only been training for a few weeks but I’ve already seen some big improvements, however I’m still a long way off being race fit, and I think it’ll be a good few months before I’m anywhere near race fitness. It’s been great getting out and about (I’ve been doing a lot of walking too) since the weather’s really picked up here in Glasgow which has made it really enjoyable to be outside.
Although my fracture has healed and my back has felt a lot better, it is still a little bit sore sometimes which is due to my posture and the way i bend my back when under pressure, so my physio thinks its more postural back pain now, which means i can slowly increase my training. I have to thank my Physio Andy as he’s been great at helping me manage my back and indetify what the problem is, and I have to thank my coach Jack who’s been planning my return to training with Andy.
I was also at The scottish national swimming championships, although I was just there to see and support my friends and teammates. This is always one of, if not the biggest competition of the year for my club, because there is a team award that we are usually in the running for. We had never won it before, but had come second many times. This year we were leading the for the whole meet and we were presented with the award on the last day. I was also there so got to celebrate with the team- we jumped in the pool as our celebration, but there was also face and body paint.
On another note My Scotland trisuit for this season has arrived so i can’t wait to put it to use. Its quite a bit tighter than the other one but still fits and thanks to yonder and Tri Scotland it also had the pedal potential logo on it too-and it looks great!
March hasn’t been as good a month with my injury, but there is some positive news. so, the MRI scan picked up some heat on one of the vertebrae in my lumbar spine and I subsequently had to go for a CT scan. The CT scan was much quicker than the MRI- about a third of the time. The results from the CT came back saying that I had a stress fracture in that vertebrae. I’ve been told that it should take 3-4 weeks to heal and then I’ll be able to train normally and race again. Unfortunately I won’t be competing this weekend at Performance Assessments but I’m hoping to have a good race at Llanelli in March, my next big race. Although its not great to have a fracture I’m happy that my physio, Andy, the doctor, Jonathan and myself have finally found out what the problem was, and now know exactly what to do how long it’ll take to heal, as I was really getting frustrated with just doing some training not knowing what the problem was. I’ve just been enjoying the time off and making the most of it.
On a much more positive note, I very excited to announce that I’ll be joining the Team Huckson crew. They specialise in sports clothing, with some casual things to and their products are of great quality. Check out their website https://huckson.co . I’ve also got to give a massive thanks to Sportsaid Scotland for the cheque I have received from them- it’s a great help when there’s so much kit needed for triathlon. Last but not least, thanks to Huub, British Triathlon and Triathlon Scotland for the Huub Brownlee Agilis wetsuit that I’ll be using this year. I’ve got the limited edition gold version so if you want that one you better get it quickly before stocks run out! Finally, I just wanted to let you know that I was in the 3rd episode of the latest superleague documentary series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rww4z65YFE (29:52, and 30:15).