A different kind of “off season”
Training for a marathon isn’t my usual off-season ritual. Usually I book a holiday to somewhere sunny, leave the Belgium sand and mud well behind and take an immediate rest from the bike following a 10-11 month training and race period. Over the years I’ve come to realise that these points of rest are most precious to an elite athlete and need to be enforced so that the following months I can be fully motivated and hit peak form when its necessary. Without a good well-earned rest then the rest of the season will suffer. This is one key point I try to explain to every athlete I work with.
In saying that, sometimes a opportunity arises that can’t be turned down, so the enforced rest didn’t happen in its usual way. Running a marathon has always been on my bucket list, and when I was approached back in December to run for Headway at this year’s London Marathon, it was something I couldn’t say no to. It filled me with excitement and offered me a new challenge. Once cross season had finished, I had a 2-month period to up my running km and train for the marathon. I have to say this has been one hell of a challenge, before beginning this journey my longest run had only ever been 12km, and now several weeks later I’ve ran up to 30km. It’s been tough, with a few injuries and niggles along the way, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring another way to push my body to its limits. I included riding in my training to begin with, but then once April arrived, I had already had a holiday booked to Maui, so this was my time to take some time out from bike riding, do some steady runs and enjoy some beach time.
I found that having this holiday was the perfect chance to let me mentally wind down, sometimes we forget that we are so busy planning, preparing, training, travelling and focusing on our goals that the brain needs some recovery too. Happy head, happy legs.
Since returning from Maui I’ve been back in Girona, riding the bike again and picking up some studying. After cross season had finished, I wanted to also make it one of my missions to do a sports science course and being able to do one like the one I’ve chosen with the Distance learning centre has been really nice to get back to studying in my own time. One of my aims this year is to take some more time to help other athletes with some coaching and mentoring. From my own experience, female coaches are relatively an unknown in the world of cycling, and I feel with the experience I have its only right to begin sharing it with others. I want to help local cycling clubs, women and men across disciplines to get the best out of themselves, no matter what their level, and inspire them to progress and so that’s what I intend to do.
Next up is the marathon this coming weekend, my aim really is just to finish. I’m excited to be pushed on by the crowds and to experience what the London marathon is all about, I hope I can finish with a smile on my face and having raised some awareness of concussion within sport, if I do that, I will be a happy lady.