Tag Archives: planning

How do you deal with the off-season slump?

30 Nov

I’ll be honest that I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently. I spent the first half of the year building up to Ironman Dublin 70.3 in August and the Scilly Swim Challenge in September and those events were immediately followed by the Tour de Y. I then realised that I was at the top of my tri club’s merit table (a competition where you get points based on the number of events you do and their distance), so I did loads of other events. Then I moved house and went on holiday and then I came home and back to reality.

Unfortunately, the reality was that I felt totally burned out.

This has had a lot of knock on consequences:

  • My training schedule has changed (planned group classes have been cancelled) and instead of dealing with it, I’ve panicked and done no training
  • The lack of training means I have felt too embarrassed about it to come back to my blog
  • This has made me feel slightly depressed, which has made me make unwise food choices

With the sum total of all of this being that my motivation has slumped.

However, I’m not a quitter and I know that my feelings are not unique. At the end of a season or training block, many athletes will be feeling the effects of both mental and physical fatigue. So, what am I going to do about it and what could you do in the same situation?

I’m going to draw on the three Ps: plan, positivity and people.


  • Focus on what you can control

I am going to go back to my training schedule and see how it can be tweaked. It’s better to do something, even if it’s not what I originally planned to do. I am also going to eat well and sleep well.

  • Keep long-term goals visible

The house move means that I now have an entire room (*a very small one) for training in. I’ve put up my medals and trophies as well as a couple of motivational pictures, but haven’t managed to get up my race number yet. I’m also hoping to put up a motivation board that will remind me of my long-term goal of completing an Ironman.

  • Set short-term goals

I’m going to work on some very short-term goals that I know I can achieve, such as attending all of my planned training sessions for a fortnight. Hopefully that will be enough to kickstart my training mojo.



  • Consider the progress you’ve made

Although I’m feeling a bit down right now, when I consider what I’ve achieved this year I realise that I should be feeling proud. I achieved various running PBs this year, including a 5k PB and my first ever race win (Brutal 10); I cycled my first century and swam over 15km in one day, as well as getting PBs at most triathlon distances.

  • There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.

Although the weather seems a little bleak, that’s not an excuse for not training. When my turbo room is ready, I’ll be able to cycle indoors every day. I’ll also consider treating myself to new seasonal kit.



  • Find friends who are pursuing the same goals as you.

I have a 10 mile race coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’m going to ask around to find out whether any of my friends are going to be doing this race and whether they want to get in a couple of training runs with me.

I am also going to go out cycling with a friend who has not done much cycling before. This will be an opportunity for me to share some of my experience without feeling that I have to push myself.

Have you experienced an off-season slump? How did you deal with it?


Although I’ve not been training as much as I should recently, I have managed to fit in some training. Last Monday, I managed to drag myself back to STC swimming. I think I’m swimming quite well at the moment, but the tightness in my shoulders in hindering my progress, so that’s something I need to work on this winter.

On Saturday, I went to Eastleigh parkrun for the first time in a very long time. Eastleigh parkrun is where I first started running, back in August 2010. It was my friend Teri’s 100th parkrun, so she wanted to go back to where she first started running as well. The course was very muddy, but it was great fun and I enjoyed having a social run with no pressure to run fast.

Teri's 100th parkrun

Teri’s 100th parkrun

Southampton Tri Club’s Awards night was on Saturday evening. It was really nice to be able to socialise with the people I train with, although it was strange to see people wearing smart clothes instead of lycra! My husband, Stu, was awarded a silver salver for coming 3rd in the Tri Club Merit Table and I received one for finishing top of the table 😀

Tri Club silver salver

Winner of the Tri Club Merit Table!

On Sunday I did a huge amount of gardening, which has to count as a work out and then when it got dark, I did a bit of DIY, including putting up some medla racks and a shelf for Stu and I. The top row are Stu’s and the botto row are my medals – left = running; centre = triathlon and right = duathlons, cycling and swimming. I’ve included both photos, so that you can see my favourite print… if you want one, you’ll need to track down Katherine Anteny from Red Hot Press.

IMG_6552 IMG_6554

This evening, I managed to get myself back in the pool again, but I think I’ve worked out why my swimming isn’t improving – my shoulders are so tight and inflexible that I can’t change my technique. I’d love to hear of any exercises I could do to improve my range of movement.

Finally… I’d love your vote in the Bloggers’ Lounge Health and Fitness category: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015-voting/ You don’t need to sign up, so it just takes two clicks. Thank you 🙂


Planning for 2016 and some new kit

23 Oct

There are so many exciting things happening in the next two weeks that I’m going to have to work hard to find enough time for blogging.

Exciting thing number one is a new training location taking shape – there will be a sneaky glimpse next week, but you’ll have to keep following if you want more than a peek! The other excitement is a week dedicated to warm weather training 😀 There are also just eight days left until the end of the Tri Club Merit table – I’ve given it my best shot, but I think it’s too late for me to do much more – fingers crossed that I manage to cling on in the top three as Ian’s not going down without a fight and probably has a few things up his sleeve! Also there are only six days left until voting closes in the Blogging Edge 2015 Awards… and they’ve given me a lovely icon to display on my blog.

2015 UK Blog Awards finalist

My training has been a bit mixed up this week, but I’ve been busy planning, so it should all fall into place soon.

On Monday evening, I went to STC’s swimming session. We did a lot of technique work with fins and then we had to work on our swolf scores (stroke count and time for 50m). I’ve been working really hard on my stroke count and was pleased to be able to consistently swim under 20 strokes per length, with many lengths at 16 strokes! We had to count our swolf three times – I managed 85, 87 and 86. We were told that we should improve each time, but I think I was reasonably consistent 🙂

On Tuesday morning I went to the SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Coach Olly from Solent Athlete.  We did loads of lunges.

20 Oct Crossfit

That’s me on the right with the green shoes carefully studying Olly’s technique ©Olly Drew

22 Oct crossfit

We also worked on what I would call ‘dishes’, but Olly calls ‘hollow holds’ – fortunately, we’re not made to do dish/arch rolls, which I used to find tough at gymnastics. The last part of the session was 6x 2 lengths of walking lunges. It sounds easy, but by Wednesday afternoon my legs were in agony!

Thursday morning’s session was based around deadlifts, which gave my achy legs a rest. I really wanted to do well, but (like on Tuesday) I felt really light-headed and faint, which isn’t great when you’re trying to pick up heavy things. I didn’t feel too bad after the session, but my arms and shoulders have been a bit tired today.

I really love doing the SUTRI training sessions, even though all of the others are so much younger and slimmer than me – it’s definitely a motivation for me to train harder. I’ve put in an order for some kit, so that I can represent the team at parkrun and other events. I wish that I’d had more opportunities to join sports clubs at uni as I might be so much healthier now if I’d been sportier 15 years ago.

On Thursday evening, Liz ‘parcels from America’ Carter came around with my new SOAS kit. It felt like Christmas. I ripped open the parcels and admired my goodies.

Barcelona Nights crop top Barcelona Nights shorts Sunset cliffs sports bra Sunset Cliffs shorts Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 22.42.02

I still want to get the run tights in Sunset Cliffs and Barcelona Nights and would love to have the Sunset Cliffs cycling jersey. I’m wondering whether more items will be released in the Aquarius collection soon – I’m sure I saw some tights on instagram… and a crop top… and a totally awesome bikini. That’s all the incentive I need to get my nutrition plans back on track.

This evening, Olly and Sam came around to help me plan my races for next year and also do some general training planning. I’m still waiting to find out whether I have got a place in some popular races, but I know what my main events are. Probably the most important weekend for me will be when I tackle the Long Course Weekend in Wales.

I agreed with Olly and Sam that I’d post my general weekly schedule as it helps to keep me accountable:

Autumn 2015 training plan

I’ve also been talking to LRR about a possible return to coaching, but it’s all going to depend on whether I can complete an assessment day… unfortunately, there aren’t many and most of them are a long way from Southampton 😦

I’m also excited that I’m going to be trying out some indoor cycling with Brightside next week. I don’t really know what to expect, so watch this space!

Finally, I’ve managed to find a few minutes to watch things online:


18 months into my 5 year challenge… what have I achieved?

23 Sep

18 months ago, I laid out my plans: http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/03/28/failure-to-plan-is-like-planning-to-fail/

A year ago, I reported back on my progress:  http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/09/10/where-am-i-now-assessing-my-progress/

So it’s now time to check up on whether I’ve made any progress in the last year. Here’s a recap of my goals.

Year Swimming Cycling Running Triathlon
2013 800m swim 42k cycletta or 82k Marathon Novice – Newbury
2014 1600m swim 63 mile sportive (IoW) Marathon Sprint
2015 2k swim 86 mile sportive Marathon Olympic
2016 3k swim 100 mile sportive Marathon Half Ironman
2017 4k swim 127 mile sportive (Chichester) Marathon Half Ironman
2018 2.4 miles/3.9k 112miles/180k 26.2 miles Ironman

Swimming – goal: 1600m – surpassed!

I feel like I’ve made significant progress over the last six weeks to two months. Back in April, I did a 400m time trial and managed to swim it in 9:30. I would love to repeat this now as I’m confident that I could beat that time. Coach Peter has timed me doing 25m in 25, which is a massive improvement and several people have commented that they think I’m getting faster. I wouldn’t say that my technique is good yet, but I’m finally getting to grips with breathing. I’ve persevered and with the help of Huw (and the stress of sea swimming), I’m now starting to believe that I might one day be able to swim 3.8k in 2:20. In June, I managed to swim 1.54 miles in 1:23 at the Big Cove swim.

Cycling – goal: 63 mile sportive – achieved!

In April, I completed the Wiggle Spring Sportive (100.74km) and at the end of August I cycled 100km in Cornwall with Stuart and Donna. When I set my goals, I had a specific sportive in mind. I did not do a 63 mile sportive on IoW, but I am confident that I can cycle the distance having done the other 100km rides, so I am going to count that as a success… especially as teh Cornish ride was at least as hilly as the IoW!

Running – goal: marathon – achieved!

In April, I ran Brighton Marathon. My time was a little disappointing (4:39:44), but I was unwell and had not trained to my full potential, so this is far better than I expected.

Triathlon – goal: sprint – surpassed!

This is the one goal that I leapt ahead on. I completed a sprint triathlon back in April (Good Fri Tri) as well as Eastleigh Open Water (sprint) Tri in June. I did two Olympic distance triathlons in Weymouth this summer (GU Classic in July and Weymouth Classic in August) and then I soared past my goal to finish Weymouth Half last week.

I think it is probably time for me to revise my original goals. Obviously, an ironman is still my ultimate goal, but I think the swimming targets are a little soft. I regularly swim over 2k in an hour and my longest swim this year was 2.67km. I am considering entering a 5km lake swim next year, although I may find it a little boring. I need to persevere with cycling, but I think that with some good mileage over winter and a new-found friend in my turbo trainer, I should be able to complete a 100 mile event next year. My running aim is the one that is most challenging. I’m not sure that I have the motivation/desire to run a marathon whilst I’m struggling so badly with my breathing. I really want to focus on my speed and achieve a 5k PB and get a great time (ideally a PB) at Southampton Half Marathon in April, so I may choose not to focus on doing a marathon next year.

The area where I still feel that I am failing is my nutrition and weightloss. I am an emotional eater and this year has been a rollercoaster for me. I am also struggling with having a huge workload, which means that by the time I’ve finished training, I’m too tired to spend a lot of time preparing food. I know that unless something changes, I will never be successful in this area, so I’m going to spend a bit of time planning ahead and preparing to try to get me back on track.

I want to do another half iron triathlon next year. I loved Challenge Weymouth, so I may enter the event again and aim for a PB, or I may do Ironman 70.3 in Dublin. As soon as I’ve made a decision, I’ll share it here!

Monday Morning Motivation – Do you have a motivation page?

11 Aug

Do you use any tips or tricks to help keep your motivation going? Maybe you have a motivation wall, or perhaps a medal display to remind you of your achievements? Some people create montages that help them to visualise where they want to be in the future. This motivation page is a template to help you set out your goals.

This Page Will Motivate You To Take Action!

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If you’ve shared your motivation online, please post a link as I’d love to see what helps to keep you on your journey.

Monday Morning Motivation – Planning and goal-setting

9 Jun

We’ve all heard of SMART goals (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-based), but how many of you think about the language you use on your to-do lists?

How To Use Words To Generate Motivation

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

the importance of goals & when to give up!

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Which verbs are going to feature in your plans for this week?