My life has changed a lot in the past three years.
At the beginning of 2017 I was newly married and very happy. My triathlon career had finally come full circle having re won the World title that had marked the beginning of my long distance career in 2009. It was a personal goal of mine, not solely because it showed athletic longevity. Once you have won a World title or two then you simply get a taste to want to win more.
When I fell pregnant I never doubted that I would race again. Now, with three kids under three, I consider that a possibility, but still refuse it is a probability. The twins will eventually grow up. I will eventually get back to racing.
What training will look like for me then, is hard to predict. My life at the moment has no time for reading the paper yet alone training to take on the top triathletes in the world. My day is filled solely by seeing to the needs of others. Coaching is a welcome distraction from incessant parenting but the highlight of my day remains my run. Training for me, at the moment, is mostly ‘exercising’. Never though has ‘exercise’ held such prime importance in my life. It is literally holding me together.
Having twins is hard. Indescribably hard. It leaves no time for doubt, depression or self indulgence and I have never being as emotionally strong as I am now. Finding an hour a day to run, with or without the double pram, has felt unfeasible between feeds, sleeps and bonding with my three babies. Not finding that time however means; no time outside; it means no improved health; no endorphins; nor sunshine, nor space. The walls close in, the goalposts wobble and the light at the end of the tunnel of sleep deprivation dims.
Lately, the elite athlete in me has taken my own coaching advice and I have begun to set goals. My goals may look meagre to those of the past but they are just as real and responsive.
The art of professional training is to get ‘more buck for your bite’; to maximise energy output in the right ways to ensure growth and progress but to limit burnout and injury. The skill of coaching an age group athlete is to understand time constraints, individuals motivations and and to balance them and create a sound program that will enhance not only their athletic prowess but impact their whole life positively.
Bearing three children may have made me slower as an athlete but I have had to be more efficient, more direct and more focused on the process. I don’t have time for padding conversation. Busy people should have no time for wishy washy training, fad type coaching or junk milage. At times, I wish I could have found the perspective I have about racing now whilst I was at my prime. I relay that hindsight into my coaching in order to create balance that never had to exist in my life as a professional athlete. Whilst training is not the most important thing in life, good training enhances a person’s ability to cope with the things that are; newborn twins, illness, pressured careers and, most imperatively to it all, a persons mental health.