Monday, 21 January 2013

Aspirations; What's your pot of gold?

Quick recap: This blog aims to connect my day job working for Teach First with my life as a Triathlete. The teachers I work with create 3 goals; Access, Aspiration and Achievement and create a backward plan to achieve these goals. This post takes a closer look at “Aspiration” and the plan to achieve these.

I will specifically look at my aspirations in relation to last year, the 2012 season, rather than larger life aspirations etc. (save that for a rainy day!) and 2013 season as I think it will be better to be reflective, looking at what I have done rather than what I am going to do. I will then explain how I planned backwards from the main races.
This was last year’s calendar. 

On it were four main races
1) World Duathlon Championships, Nance, France (Sept 2012)
2) World Triathlon Championships, Auckland New Zealand (Oct 2012)
3) Dambuster Duathlon, qualification race for World Duathlon  (March 2012)
4) Dambuster Triathlon, qualification for World Triathlon Championships (June 2012)

I put this calendar on my bedroom wall in October 2011, it provided a real focus for the year. All the other races and the training were planned around these 4 races, in an effort to achieve the best results at these races.

Being new to triathlon, having switched from being purely a runner (and having moved from London to Leeds in Sept 2011) I needed some expert help. My philosophy on this was and still is to seek out expertise from a wide range of sources. At Teach First we have 5 values, one of which is collaboration, which really rings true here, there is no way I could create and carry out my plan leading up to the 4 main races without the wide range of help I received.

So I had my main races: 2 qualification races in the early part of the season (March and June) and 2 championships at the end of the season (Sept and Oct). I worked backwards from these key dates with the main considerations being:

-What are the key skills/demands of these races?
How much time do I have for training?
What are my main weaknesses?
From this I worked out a training schedule. The key components being:
- Consistency; finding the quantity and quality of training I could repeat day after day, week after week.
- Progress; building the training up in a cycle of 2 weeks hard, 1 week easier and  repeat so it looks a bit like this:
Fun; without which my schedule could become a drag and a bit dull. So I kept finding ways to mix it up, this normally involved replacing a hard training session with a race or changing locations of training, meaning i visited different beautiful locations around Yorkshire and further afield.
   It is great that lots of you out there are planning your races for 2013, I too am deciding what to enter, so many tempting options! Though best piece of advice i got was "You can get distracted and do lots of races and be average or concentrate on a few and do well". 
A special mention to my friend, Susannah who has entered her first triathlon in Gloucester. I am no expert at all but when people ask me “I have entered race x, what should I do? My advice would be;   

1)    Put it in the diary and work backwards
2)   How many weeks do you have?
3)   What can you do currently (how far/fast can you run/bike/swim?)
4)   Work out a plan from current fitness/skill level to where you need to be on race day.
5)   Seek out help from experts-find a club/group of friends

This week has been snowy, which makes for fun, exciting training/racing (& lots of thermals!)

Good luck with planning your races and training!

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