Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Winter training is a go.

Kicked off on Sunday with my first trip to the pool in 2 weeks, 7200m later I emerged with significantly heavier shoulders and a smile on my face. We're now on Wednesday and I've done my first long run of the season too, last night with the Metro Running club. This week will be a steady build before getting down to serious business next Monday, I've already covered quite a few meters in the pool though, some sore muscles for sure.

Did my first Yoga session of the winter on Monday evening, noticed my distinct lack of flexibility after 2 weeks off! Luckily the class was pretty mellow so it will give me a chance to ease back into the positions, coupled with my Pilates sessions on a Tuesday morning I should be a more complete and "at one" triathlete by the end of winter training.

The concepts of Yoga and Pilates were completely foreign to me a few years ago but I put my preconceptions aside and gave them both a try. Each one has huge advantages to all people, let alone athletes and I would recommend that everyone try them out at some point. Being more flexible, stable and strong person is a great combination. As a 15 year old or a 65 year old there will always be big benefits to being generally strong on your feet...even for guys. It can be intimidating starting up a practice seen to be for "girls" but you all need to man up, grab your yoga mats and head to a class. When it comes to well being and health sometimes pride has to be put aside!

Anyways, my post title today is "Team". Maybe it should be "The team" but I'm going with Team.

I get called out quite often by people when being asked about my training:
"So what are you working on right now in the pool Mike?"
"Well I guess we're getting ready for ..... race at the moment"
"What training you getting up to today dude?"
"I think we're swim, bike and running today"

As a lot of you know I train mostly by myself so everyone is always interested to whom I'm referring when I say "we". It's not intentional at all but I work so closely with my coach and feel he has such a huge impact on all my training I feel as if every session is a joint effort, even when I'm by myself.

This gets poked fun at quite a bit but I'm not changing my lingo. I guess having that perspective of my training is important to me, it's definitely a team effort from a lot of people, most importantly my coach. He works hard to put my sets together and structure my whole year, so it's only natural that I feel as if he has a serious interest in how I complete those sessions and go about my season.
Without that I don't know if I would do myself justice in training.

But it's not just my coach, I feel as if there are many people who care that I'm training well and in the right way. If I wasn't doing that I'd be letting a lot of people down, most of all myself. I guess it's one of the ways I keep myself going, it's very easy to wimp out at times, so without added encouragement there are plenty of days that I'd stay in bed. I'm pretty lucky to have plenty of extra words of encouragement from all over when I need them, I've already called on a few people's wise words already and it's only day 4 of winter training!

It can be applied to everything you do though, when you get the feeling of being isolated and alone it is very easy to lose hope and not do justice to what you're aiming for. I've learned this from the team I keep around me in sport but I see it everywhere when people are trying to do something that takes big sacrifices. Look at the group of support people call on when trying to quit smoking? Or overcome an illness? It's similar to the guys I have around me now, sponsors, coaches, physios, nutritionists, friends and family. All there to give me a hand when I'm struggling...which can be on a daily basis!
(some of my team in full force at the Vancouver triathlon)

I talk about my team quite a lot but they are there for me every day and I really appreciate it. Whether you're trying to lose some weight, quit drinking as much or trying to be a world class athlete we all need a bit of help, I'm happy to admit I need help at times and it's important to realise that.

A 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km is hard enough, let alone trying to do it all by yourself.


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