The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon Race Report

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Last weekend I became a Braveheart! It was the race I’ve been working all year towards and accumulated in a 1.2 mile swim in a FREEZING loch, 56 miles on a hilly road through the Scottish highlands and a 15 mile run up and down Ben Nevis.

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MY THOUGHTS BEFORE THE RACE

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“I jumped into the loch yesterday for 10 minutes and it was a very long 10 minutes! A little bit of brain freeze was going on, but once my 3 swim hats (including a Neoprene hat) were properly placed it was much better!

They say not to try out new equipment on race day.. I am trying new equipment on race day. The neoprene booties and gloves are new and much needed, as the water temperature is around 13oC.

It’s now 7:34am and I’m chilling out in the car with my mum waiting for the race to start, as all of my stuff is racked in transition and I’m in my wetsuit ready to go!

I’m just going out to have a really good time and be the happiest person out there, training has been almost non-existent due to a health issue.

My plan is to go out there and have fun, enjoy my first ascent of Ben Nevis (never imagined I would be running up it!) and experience the Scottish Highlands!”

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE RACE

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I finished in 8 hours 57 minutes, so a sub-9 hour race, which I am really happy with, especially considering I haven’t’ been able to train properly in the lead up to Braveheart.

My amazing trainer, Mark Kleanthos, predicted I would complete the race between 8 and 9 hours, so I’m pleased with the result.

(Listen to Mark on my podcast talk about his incredible journey in triathlon and he drops some juicy knowledge bombs too that will help you perform at your next race!)

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The Swim

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The loch did not feel any warmer since my dip the previous morning. There’s no beating about the bush, it was cold. Scrap that.

It. Was. FREEZING.

Once over the initial cold shock, we all lined up and waited for someone to shout ‘GO’. When he did, the water around me suddenly became a washing machine of 150 swimmers. I’ve never experienced anything like it!

I held my ground and felt good. Frustratingly, I became sandwiched between everyone as we all amalgamated around the two buoys at the 500m mark. This slowed me down, but once everyone had spread out it was much better and I kept to the outside.

I finished the swim in 45 minutes which was a little slower than expected, but still good.

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The Bike

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My transition was 10 minutes, which I was really happy with and once on the bike, this is where the pain began.

A few weeks before the race I decided to get a bike fit as I wasn’t happy with the setup. Turns out that my new saddle was amazingly comfortable for the first 30 minutes and after that complete agony!

In the weeks preceding I had been out on my bike, but for no more than 30 minutes due to health reasons, so this amount of discomfort came as a shock.

The bike is usually my strongest disciple, but this ride was one of the most demoralising. I was overtaken by what felt like hundreds of cyclists over the course, but I just couldn’t speed up.

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The Run

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I usually look forward to the run the least, but I couldn’t wait to get off the bike!

On the run I was on a tight deadline, I had to get half way up Ben Nevis by 3:30pm which gave me just over 2 hours.

When I started running, it was uncomfortable. My legs were sore and there were SO many steps. I just went as quick as I could. I was completely self-sufficient with water and food, so I didn’t need to stop. My entire focus was on reaching the halfway cut-off time, which I did successfully.

At the halfway mark, I had a renewed amount of energy and even over took some competitions! I made it to the summit of Ben Nevis (which was also freezing!) with 10 minutes to spare.

I came down the mountain at an easy pace, taking care not to slip.

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Crossing the line

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It was pure relief to cross the line and know that I could stop. I could relax. It was underwhelming as the race crew had pretty much packed up. My bike was one of a handful left, I finished near last, but I finished.

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WHAT’S NEXT?

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I’m chilling out for a little while. I’m starting a new job this week and have lots planned for my business, so that’s my focus for October.

However, I cannot wait to meet with my trainer, Mark Kleanthos, and start planning my 3 year journey to becoming a Norseman!

(Want some help with your nutrition and hydration system for racing and training? Listen to Mark on Season 2 of my podcast to discover how you can enhance your performance.)

The Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is the world’s ultimate triathlon. It’s an ironman-distance race stretched across the Norwegian landscape with 5000m and a finish line on top of a mountain. It was already at the back of mind, but since working at the race this summer, it’s now the race I’m gunning for.

(Watch my video to get a taster of the amazing race that is Norseman. You’ll soon see why I want to do it!)

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How I Learnt From Ironman Barcelona Mistakes

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Earlier this year, I reflected on my experience at Ironman Barcelona in October 2017 and wrote an article on the ‘10 Things I Would Do Differently For My Next Ironman‘. This weekend is The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon. Let’s see if I succeeded in doing things differently!

 

What is The Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon? It’s apparently the ultimate bucket list adventure and includes 1.2 mile swim in a loch, 56 mile cycle through the highlands and a 13 mile run up and down Ben Nevis itself![/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_custom_heading text=”10 things I Will Be Doing Differently for the Braveheart Half Ironman” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Raleway%3A100%2C200%2C300%2Cregular%2C500%2C600%2C700%2C800%2C900|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]

1. Know how to change my bicycle tyre before 2 weeks to go – YES!

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I have practised several times this year, even just before the Surrey Spring Triathlon!

I’m still not the most skilled bicycle-wheel changer (it takes me soo long!), so my fingers are crossed that I won’t be needing to do this in the Scottish Highlands!

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2. Know my sweat rate – YES!

Until triathlete coach Mark Kleanthouse, founder of IronMate Coaching and competitor of over 1,000 worldwide events – including some seriously insane events – started training me last year, I had no idea about sweat rate and how important it was.

Listen to my episode with Mark on how to work out even more on how much you need to drink during race day and training.

Did you know that a 2% drop in body weight from fluid loss can result in a 10% decline in your performance?

And dehydration during long training sessions, especially rides, can weaken your immune system and cause you to become sick.

I now know approximately how much I need to drink per hour during training and racing, which has allowed me to optimise my performance and recovery rate.

I’ve been practising all year and feel I have this pretty nailed.

You also need to be aware of sodium loss through sweating. You must replace this sodium loss with electrolyte drinks and salty foods to prevent cramp.

During training and on race day, you don’t want to drink too much plain water as this can result in hyponatremia, which means you’ve diluted your the sodium levels in your body by too much.

I have been experimenting all year and my favourite way to replace sodium loss is using High5 Zero Electrolyte Sports Drink – Berry Flavour and OTE PH Neutral Energy Drink.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]

3. Calculate how many calories I need to consume every hour – YES!

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By calculating how many calories you burn in an hour you can calculate how many calories you need to replace, as Mark explains in his blog here.

We dive into on my podcast how to work out how much you need to eat during race day and training.

I prefer to get my calories from natural sources, but this is challenging when you’re going abroad for your race (and our kitchen has only just been renovated!)

During training, I either eat Nakd Crunch Bars or dried fruit like dates or apricots.

My race nutrition is still an area for improvement, but for the moment this is all I can stomach and it keeps my energy levels up!

Here’s an insight into Mark’s A-Z of Sport Nutrition and there’s so much on his site!

I also found Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive very helpful and Rich Roll’s Plantpower Way cookbook is my go-to for delicious recipes packed with nutrient-dense food.

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4. Order your kit months, not weeks, before your race – YES (AND NO)

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Ok. So this hasn’t been quite executed to plan….

It was at the forefront of my mind for the entire season, but due to various reasons, I’ve only done this half as well as I should have done.

Months in advance, I either bought or had the key pieces of kit, like a wetsuit, goggles, trainers etc.

However, other pieces of kit were ordered last week, such as arm warmers, leg knee warmers and a neoprene swim hat.

This wasn’t the plan, but due to working at the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon and getting sick. It is what it is. Have I practised with all of my kit as much as I wanted to? No. A pesky urine infection got in the way of this, so it’s going to be an adventure.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]

5. Practice taking snacks/drinks from people while cycling – YES!

Mark suggested this last year, so a week or so before the race, my dad and I practised on the road outside our house. I would cycle past him and take bottles and snacks from him!

This boosted my confidence for Ironman Barcelona and as my cycling confidence has increased over the year, I’m feeling really good about this in the Braveheart race too.

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6. Really understand what the morning of the Ironman entails – YES AND NO!

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I knew roughly what to expect for Ironman Barcelona…

I had racked my bike the evening before and walked through the swim to the transition area to my bike and then from my bike to transition area.

This meant that when it came to race day, I knew the quickest path to my bike and didn’t become confused as to where I was going.

I wasn’t 100% sure what else the morning entailed, apart from checking my bike, adding final touches such as my Garmin, changing into my wetsuit, dumping my street bag etc.

We were going to do everything as a group, but when we got there we all dispersed to do final checks and handle race nerves in different ways.

I was feeling slightly nervous at this point because it was passed the agreed time, no one was here, I didn’t know what to do and race time was approaching!

Luckily one of the guys was very tall and I spotted him in the crowd, so we put our wetsuits on together and headed to the water to warm up – I don’t think he realised how much this meant to me!

Again, I wasn’t 100% sure what I should do for a warm up so relied on the others.

For the Braveheart Triathlon, again, I know roughly what to do, but until I have received my race info from Braveheart and listened to the briefing I won’t be 100%. Come race day, I will be.

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7. Woman with a plan – NO!

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For Ironman Barcelona, I fastidiously worked out my pace for each leg based on my estimated pace and also the minimum pace I would have to do as to not miss the cut off times. So if the worst happened, I knew what I would have to do to become an Ironman!

I laminated and taped this to my handle bars, as this is the leg I was most concerned about regarding making cut off times and I places a copy in each transition bag and my run food pouch.

This helped me to really relax about race day, as I could see that my training had really paid off and that if all went to plan, I could walk the marathon and still finish!

I can’t believe I did the above! It sounds so anal! But it gave me the confidence I needed to have fun in the race and finish!

I’m not racing Braveheart like that for 2 reasons:

  1. I’m much fitter than I was and am fully confident that I will finish each leg well within the cut off times
  2. As I’ve briefly mentioned, I have been sick with a urinary tract infection for the last month and so I will not be racing Braveheart. It’s a training race for next year’s Ironman and so I’m just going to relax, take in the views and have fun. It’s going to be an adventure!

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8. Quicker Run Time – YES AND NO!

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From Barcelona: The run was my weakest element of the Ironman, so this time around I’m working on improving my core strength, endurance and speed, so my pace quickens.

For Braveheart: I’ve been working on this ALOT with Mark, sadly an injury to the foot (I chipped one of the Sesamoids – like knee caps in your feet – during the Surrey Sprint Tri in July) meant I was off running for 6 weeks and then I caught the urinary tract infection. So run training has been stalled for a while.

However, I’m definitely quicker and fitter than last year, but will my run time be faster than last years? I doubt it. Last year I only had to run a marathon on a flat road surface. This weekend it’s up and down Ben Nevis![/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]

9. Practice transitions – YES!

So last year I didn’t really practice this and in Transition 2 (when you change from cycle to run gear) I took TWENTY MINUTES!!!!!

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10. Kit list for each bag and packing list – YES!

For Barcelona, I had an excel sheet with individual columns for general packing, street bag, swim, run bag and bike bag.

As I packed my suitcase for going to Barcelona, I put a tick next to each item and as I packed my kit bags the day before the race, I put a tick next to each item and took a photo of the kit I would place in each bag.

This put my mind at ease, as I knew I had packed everything I needed and that I was 100% ready to race and become an Ironman!

I said I would do it again and I have!

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Well, overall I’m happy with my success! I learnt from my mistakes and haven’t made the same mistakes (on the whole) which is great! Now all I have to do is the race!

Follow me on Instagram (@adelaidegoodeve) for live updates! 

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Andreas Mikkelsen’s insane journey from rally driver to top triathlete

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Header Image Photo Credit: Andreas Mikkelsen

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I visited the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlete Camp with Red Bull, where I interviewed their athlete, three times car rally world champion Andreas Mikkelsen. Read the article on Red Bull or below.

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When three-time rallying world champ Andreas Mikkelsen decided to race his first elite triathlon, he picked the toughest one on earth. Reliving the pain, he breaks down his epic Norseman challenge.

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Andreas Mikkelsen was always destined for greatness. After knee injuries brought a promising skiing career to an end, the Norwegian turned his hand to motor racing at 16 years old, and has been competing on the rallying world stage ever since, winning three World Championships to date. And now he’s got another incredible racing achievement under his belt – but one that didn’t require an engine.
The 29-year-old and his co-driver and navigator, Anders Jaeger, have always dreamed of racing in a full triathlon event. So, naturally, they signed up for the toughest triathlon in the world: Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. Held in their native Norway, it requires athletes to swim 3.8km, cycle 180km, run 42.2km and ascend more than 5235m of Norway’s exquisite landscape. From jumping off a ferry at 5am into a freezing fjord, to a leg-sappingly steep mountain climb, called Zombie Hill, it’s hours of never-ending pain.
It’s the kind of race where you’ll find yourself alone on your bike in the middle of a big mountain plateau or looking marooned in a wasteland, only suited for reindeer and rocks. Often, it’s just you and your sheer determination to make it to the finish line and claim the world’s most coveted black tee on the summit of a mountain – a mountain so high that you can see one sixth of Norway’s mainland. And, you won’t be surprised to know, it’s seen many an experienced triathlete fail.
With no experience in open water, and very little experience on the bike, even an elite sportsman like Andreas had his work cut out. Here, the Red Bull athlete breaks down exactly what it takes to race in the world’s ultimate triathlon…

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The Preparation

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I cycled any chance I got

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My full-time job is rallying, so we – Anders and I – can’t train like the proper triathletes. Fitting in the really long elite triathlon training sessions was difficult, because we have to use as little energy as possible, as our main focus is rallying.
To counteract our lack of triathlon training time, we prioritised cycling as we needed to get the milage in on the bike. We also practised the entire Norseman cycle route before the summer, but even then we couldn’t fit in enough training! So I took my bike on my summer vacation in Ibiza, to get some miles in before the start of the race.

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My rally training counted for zero

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To be a competitive rally driver, you have to be in good shape. The training isn’t as extreme as Norseman, or even regular triathlon training, and usually requires hard workouts between 5-25 minutes, be it running or strength training, whatever it takes for you to be fit and maintain concentration during really warm and very long days. More often than not, you’re sitting in a car that’s between sixty and seventy degrees for long periods. It’s tough and requires a lot of focus, but training is done in small doses.
Triathlon training is the opposite of this. More often than not, it requires long periods of time in the saddle, pool or on your feet and there is no one temperature to worry about. Unfortunately, time was not a luxury we were afforded, as our schedule didn’t allow it. But, along with the cycle route, we were able to squeeze in the first 25km of the run and we swam in the fjord – it was freezing in the springtime, I’d never swam in such cold water before, it was a little bit of a shock!

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It really was sink or swim

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My training for rally driving has never involved swimming. I’ve come a long way since my first ever open-water swimming lesson, which was only two months before the race! My initial thoughts after my debut open-water session was that it was much harder than I expected. I was having trouble with the breathing and swallowed a little water. We were advised to get an expert in to give us some open-water swimming tips, to improve our efficiency and performance in the water.
Subsequently, we enlisted the help of fellow Red Bull athlete Kristian Blummenfelt, bronze winner of the Triathlon World Cup, ranked number 3 in the World Triathlon Series 2017, and somebody who swims between 4000m and 6000m every day. Kristian gave us some great tips on how to use less energy in the water and swim faster, such as a steeper hand entry into the water.

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Kristian was a great instructor. Anders was always faster than me during the training sessions but, on race day, I was first out of the water which surprised me!

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My support crew were key

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My support crew were two of my friends; one had raced in Norseman previously and his past experience was really important to our success, and my other friend was a very serious guy.
We had a lot of meetings before Norseman to go through the athlete guide and cover every potential problem. They joined me on lots of my training sessions before the summer, during which those who had already raced Norseman gave us lots of tips, good ideas and told us what to expect.

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The race

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I had no real expectations – just to finish

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I was not feeling nervous before the race, as I knew I had done the training and was just racing to have a really good time.
I thought, ‘Okay, if I don’t get the black tee, what’s the worst that will happen?’ Nothing. I am just racing Norseman for myself, whereas in rallying, if I don’t perform, then I let down a lot of people and manufacturers.
Having said that, I was a little nervous about opening too hard on the swim, which I managed to do anyway! When we were on the ferry, I was really looking forward to starting Norseman. It was fun.

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My swim was surprisingly strong

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This year, Norseman experienced unusually warm weather. In past events, the fjord’s water temperature has been around 13 degrees, but, this year, it was 18 degrees. So we knew the water was warmer and it was going to be okay. Before we jumped off the ferry, we said goodbye to each other. Everyone is dressed exactly the same and we all resemble seals in the water, so it’s impossible to see and even recognise each other during a swim, particularly at dawn. It just felt nice to get going.

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Cycling had its ups and downs

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During the 180km cycle I was pushing hard on the downhill, as it was so much more exciting. No-one passed me on the downhill! I conserved energy on the uphill and that’s where a few athletes passed me.
Only would I later realise that I had started way too hard on the swim. Just before halfway on the cycling, my legs started to cramp. I eventually managed to overcome the cramps by eating well, drinking a lot and getting enough salt throughout the entire event. My support crew did a really great job in preparing everything for me.
My cramps were still giving me a little trouble and I struggled a bit during the run, but thankfully it did get much better over time.

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Zombie Hill lived up to its name

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After cycling 180km, I had to run 25km – it’s pretty much flat terrain, but I was struggling with a lot of lower-back pain as my body was not used to sitting in the aero position on the bike for such a long period of time.
By the time I reached Zombie Hill, an 8km section of switchbacks that mark the start of the 1650m ascent to the top of Gaustatoppen, where you can claim the black tee shirt, my muscles were finished. My back still ached a lot.
I expected it would be an easy walk up to the top of Gaustatoppen. I have no trouble running 20/30km, however, after swimming and cycling so much, it was a very, very different experience. Walking was really tough. It was so steep, I was in so much pain, I was exhausted. My legs simply had no energy. To run up the hill was unthinkable.
On race day, nothing really worked! I was really exhausted and never thought: ‘This is going really well!’ But I did it – I made it to the top.

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I finished 90th out of 238 triathletes

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I made it across the line in 14hrs and 5 minutes. I am really pleased with the result. Despite being very tired, I was well within the cut-off time for the black tee, which you get for finishing on top of Gaustatoppen. Next time I will start the swim much calmer, so I have more energy towards the end.
Everything up to the last 5km was great, but those final 5km were tough. I was feeling pain in my ankles, knees and lower back, but luckily I had my crew with me and they really helped me on.

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It was encouraging to have so many spectators cheering you on, while my crew had a car with a big music player so, while running, I was able to listen to my playlists.
Right now, I’m feeling very happy and feel like I have done my first and last Norseman, although give me a week and I might be telling you differently!

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Competing in Norseman will make me become a better rally driver

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I have been competing in sport my entire life and love it. I know that I’m fit enough to be a really good rally driver, but Norseman gave me a new motivation to be even better.
Norseman pushed me to train more, and pushed me to search for my mental and physical limits. I need other goals along with rallying that will drive me to train harder and become better and, this year, it was Norseman.
You have to be very focused while rallying, but I don’t think being a rally driver helped me that much in Norseman. What I’m actually really hoping for, is that racing Norseman will help me become a better rally driver and take our performance as a team to the next level.

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Watch Andreas’ vlog of the race below. And follow him on Instagram here.

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Norseman Pro Tips From Some Of The World’s Toughest Triathletes

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“It’s without a doubt my favourite triathlon!” – Tobias Mews, Adventure journalist, author and athlete

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If you want to conquer The Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, you’ll need to jump off a ferry into freezing fjord waters at 5am, cycle up 1000’s of meters, defeat numerous mountains, including Zombie Mountain, and take whatever nature throws at you. You can have all 4 seasons in one race day here in Eidjford. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Then look no further for pro tips on how to tackle the world’s toughest Triathlon.

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#1 You all know I’m a BIG advocate for this: Mental Preparation

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“Accept the pain and know that it will pass.”

– Allan Hovda (@Allan Hovda), Winner of Norseman x2, Swissman, Lofoten Triathlon and Ironman Haugesund

At the Norseman Athlete Zone – LIVE Q&A Allan recommended visualising and mentally preparing yourself for parts of the course, so you know what to do and what to say to yourself when you come to that point of the race. 

When you come to that point when you hurt, accept the pain and know that everyone is hurting and that this will pass.

And if that doesn’t work, know that if you will give up, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.

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#2 Train in race conditions

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“I had to work on getting used to cold water swimming.”

– Josta Bolhuis, triathlon coach and founder Trispiration, Norseman competitor (DNF) and Celtman finisher, among others.

I had to work on getting used to cold water swimming, because while I was training the open water temperature in Holland was rising. Open water temperatures in Holland were between 18-20oC and for Norseman they were between 10-14oC. This was a problem.

So I decided to only shower really really cold. I also swam all of my races in Holland without a wetsuit to get used to cold waters. During Norseman I didn’t have any problems with the cold water and came out of the water very happy, with a good strong swim behind me. Celtman, Norseman’s partner race, was even better!!!

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#3 Test your kit out on the race course where possible

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“Don’t do what I did and stupidly wear tinted goggles for the swim!”

Tobias Mews (@tobiasmews), Adventure journalist, author and athlete

Don’t do what I did and stupidly wear tinted goggles for the swim. I jumped off the ferry into the murky depths to then discover I couldn’t see a thing. I promptly swam the 700m to the start in total darkness, only to end up being off course. I then swam blindly upstream and finished several hours later! It was not my finest hour or two!

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#4 Can’t train or test the course? Think outside the box and replicate the course in any way you can!

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“I think people who lived around these bridges thought I was going nuts!”

Josta Bolhuis, triathlon coach and founder Trispiration, Norseman competitor (DNF) and Celtman finisher, among others.

There are no mountains nor hills where I live in Holland, but Norseman is all about climbing meters.  So to get stronger and to get used to going up and down for the run, I went to the coast of Holland and ran up and down the deep sand dunes. For cycling, I cycled endless amount of times up and down the bridges, between 30 and 50times in one training session!

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#5 Pace yourself

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“Do not kill yourself on the bike”

– Tobias Mews(@tobiasmews), Adventure journalist, author and athlete

Another tip would be to not kill yourself on the bike. I was so distraught by how much time I’d lost, I beasted myself on the bike to make up time. Which meant that my legs died on zombie hill (something that’s never happened in any of the 4 Ironmans I’ve done). 

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#6 Strategise and plan with your race crew

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“Make sure one of your support crew members is a good driver and you have a good communication system in place!”

– Josta Bolhuis, triathlon coach and founder Trispiration, Norseman competitor (DNF) and Celtman finisher, among others.

My nutrition plan failed during the race along with communications with my support crew. They were scared of driving in Norway, so they drove off for 50KM each time and I just lost them. This meant I couldn’t fill up my bottles, get my nutrition and more.

It’s also important to have a good fit athlete to run with you and one that doesn’t mind stopping a lot. Have a communication plan in place, so you can give a thumb up or down to let them know you need something and that you are ok.

Nutrition is really important. Talk it through many times with your crew, including how you react when you get tired, dehydrated etc., so they can anticipate what you need help with.

I improved this system for Celtman after being unable to complete Norseman and it paid off.

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#7 Get into the adventure mindset

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“See Norseman as an adventure.”

Tobias Mews (@tobiasmews), Adventure journalist, author and athlete

You have one goal – to get that black t-shirt. Your second goal is to get a white one! Any notion of finishing time or position (as long as it’s less than the cut off) should be arbitrary! It’s without a doubt my favourite triathlon!

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#8 Nail your nutrition

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“Nice to get a black tee, but it’s not worth dying for!”

Allan Hovda (@AllanHovda), Winner of Norseman x2, Swissman, Lofoten Triathlon and Ironman Haugesund

For those who are doing Norseman for the first time, nutrition tends to be the biggest issue. You really need a tried and tested sound nutrition plan.

Sometimes when you’re racing, you don’t feel hungry and don’t want to eat, but you really have to be consistent with the amount of food your are digesting. Always listen to your support crew regarding your nutrition, if they tell you to eat, eat!

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Want to up your mental game in your sport? Then find out how we can work together by dropping me a message via my red messenger on my website or send me an email to adelaide@lillywild.com

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How To Be More Present

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Do you find yourself running through your life with barely time to think, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and tired?

Lululemon Guildford asked me to give a workshop for their community on how to be more present, and we partnered with Kiki.K and Turnfit Studio to make it really awesome! Read on to find out my top 6 ways to slow down, to feel more calm, to bring more presence into your life.

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Do you want to live your best life? Yes? Excellent! Then read on, this blog is for your 🙂

My name is Adelaide and I draw inspiration from sports psychology, to coach entrepreneurs, executives, and athletes to overcome adversity, become adventurous and live their best life.

I came to be a coach by learning to overcome adversity myself… Imagine someone ripping out the batteries in your body and not being able to replace them. That’s what it was like for me several years ago. For 4 years I suffered with M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and this meant I spent much of my time sleeping in bed, in a darkened room, in silence.

My life fell apart around me. I was told by doctors that I would never recover. But I wanted to live my best life. I wanted to go on adventures. These deep desires drove me to find the thing that would enable me to fully recover.

And I did. In 3 days. By learning how to re-wire my mind to live a life I love. I haven’t looked back since, I’m now an adventurer, high performance coach and last year I went from coach to Ironman athlete – unfortunately for my bank account, I’m now hooked on long distance triathlon and endurance challenges!

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[In 2016 I achieved my dream of adventuring in the Arctic, listen to my journey of cross-country skiing across Svalbard for 9 days here.]

I’ve learnt that one of the key ways to living your best life is by living in the moment, by being present.

But what do you think it means to be present?

Being Present is an experience when you feel at peace with who you are, your desires and how you can achieve them – no matter what the situation is or what other people think.

Being Present Matters, because it allows you to show up in the best way possible.

On my podcast, The Wild Show, one of the world’s top survival expert’s Megan Hine shared with us that she’s added a 4th rule to the survival rule of 3:

  • 3 mins minutes without air
  • 3 days without water 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without company
  • 3 seconds without thinking

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95% of thought processes happen beneath the surface, to protect us from the bombardment of stimuli. We need to be present, we need to notice our surroundings, to listen to our conscious and unconscious, so we can not just survive, but make the best decisions and live our best life.

When you feel nervous, how well do you perform?

When you feel irritated, how compassionate are you?

When you feel stressed, how creative and positive are you?

These negative feelings are caused by our thoughts about the past or the future such as what might happen, how we might screw something up, what someone did to you.

Being present is challenging, because we must learn to influence what we can actually influence – our thoughts, feelings, plans and behaviours.  A skill that’s crucial in survival situations as well as enabling us to thrive in our daily life.

For example, it’s not being cut up in traffic by that white van driver that makes us irritated and angry, we are doing these feelings in response to his actions.

We do not have influence over the white van driver and it’s not fair that we should be at whim to these negative and unhelpful feelings, we need to learn how to influence our emotions, our feelings. To feel the things we want to feel and act how we want to act. To be present in the moment.

The serenity prayer says it best:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 

Courage to change the things I can; 

And wisdom to know the difference

But how do you actually slow your mind down enough to be present? To utilise the power of now? To zone back in again?

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1. Gratitude Practice

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Do any of you stop to think about how grateful you are for a specific moment or for your life?

A daily gratitude practice is so important to our wellbeing, as it really helps us to re-wire our mind for happiness and positivity.

By spending time to be present and focus on the things we’re grateful for, we’re wiring our mind to look out for the positive moments that happen in our life and to stay with them for a longer period of time.

We are wiring our minds for positivity and shots circuiting the negative thought loops – the stuff that takes our attention away from the present.

In the morning, write down 3 things that you’re grateful for

This establishes a positive pattern of thinking and acting when it really matters, setting you up for the day, to focus your attention on the positive.

In the evening, write down 3 amazing things that happened that day.

Use the time before bed to invest in yourself, to reflect on your day, to be present and focus on the positive.

You can’t use the same thing everyday, so think of it as a game!

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2. Check in with yourself

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Do any of you ever feel tired or overwhelmed during your day? The solution is easy. Hit the pause button.

Throughout your day check in with yourself and take in the moment.

Look around you, assess your current state and ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What can I see around me?
  • What can I hear?
  • What can I smell?
  • What can I feel, what textures are there?
  • What kind of colours are there?
  • What am I grateful for?

Do you workout?

Give using this technique a go just before your next workout… A few minutes before you being, pause, with no music in your ear and tune into your body and your breathe. Really zone in.

Stay there for several seconds or a couple of minutes, close your eyes to really focus and think about what you want to get out of your workout. If it’s to be more present, turn off strava or your tracker, or perhaps run without music.

By practising this technique, you’ll start to get so much more out of your workout, are you’ll start to feel more present to your body, mind experience and surroundings.

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3. Really listen

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When you’re talking to someone, how often do you worry about what you’re going to say next?

Are you thinking about…What cool story can you tell them? What can you say that will make you sound smart? Or perhaps you’re thinking about what you need to buy for dinner tonight?

This results in us half listening to either our friend, family, colleague or person in passing. We’re often constantly thinking about something other than what they’re saying.

Instead, I challenge you to be present in your conversation. Simply listen to the person with curiosity and compassion. Don’t worry about what you can add to the conversation or what you’re going to say next.

If you’ve truly listened to what they’ve been saying, your unconscious mind will know exactly what to say next – and it will probably be better than what you would say!

It’s challenging and can be scary not to listen with anticipation, I know, I’ve been there.

When creating my podcast The Wild Show I was suddenly interviewing all of these amazing people and while they were talking I would be constantly worrying about what I should say next? What question should I ask them afterwards? How should I link what they’re saying now to the next thing I wanted to talk about?

The result? A good conversation, but not a truly great one.

I wanted to have the really great conversations. It’s taken practice, courage and confidence, but I now I don’t even go in with prepared questions! I have a couple of bullet points of themes to cover, otherwise I just let the conversation flow by really listening to what they’re saying and diving off their story or advice.

It’s been great seeing how this technique has produced conversations I couldn’t otherwise have imagined and my listeners love it!

This has helped me in my personal and professional life too, as I’m able to be much more present in these conversations too.

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4. Be Ok with not being in control of the future

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Do you worry about the future not panning out how you planned?

Are you often caught up in worrying about the future? From what that person will think of you and if you’ll get that promotion to not being able to handle a certain situation.

By getting caught up in worry, we also allow our insecurities to creep in, we start to experience self-doubt and self-criticism.

I’m currently coaching adaptive climbers who are going to the world championships this year.

One of the main things we are working on is being present in their climbing. They’re worried about the event and how how they’re going to do. I’m helping them change this. Together we’re bringing their focus to the top things that they need to focus on in order to perform at their very best, consistently.

So instead of thinking about how they’ll fall or that the grade will be too high for them. I’m helping them to think about the things that they can influence, the things that will help them perform at their very best on the day, from diet and training, to how they can influence their mind, their feelings and their emotions when it’s competition time.

Worrying about something that may or may not happen is a waste of our energy and really not very helpful to us living our best life. We need to be ok with not being able to control the outcome. But we can influence it by focusing on the right things at the right time.

Have you ever tried to hold on to water? The harder and harder we try, the more it slips through our fingers. However, if we relax, go with the flow and cup our hands, we can hold more water and our life will become fuller.

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5. Reduce Your Distractions

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Do you find that when you sit down to work something is often distracting you away from your task at hand?

It’s challenging to be present in our society that now drains us of all of our focus and attention with the bombardment of information and instant messaging and notifications.

We’re available 24/7.

But our mind can only really focus on 1-2 things at a time.

Did you ever play the old Victorian parlour game when you were younger? On the tray you’d lay out 15-20 small objects from small marbles and coins to scissors and jewellery. You’d then cover it all up with a tea towel and when you uncovered it, you had 30 seconds to memorise as many objects as you could. Most people would remember 5-7 things.

This is because our mind can only focus on a few things at a time. When we try to multi-task we really half-ass it. But when we focus on one thing and be present to it, we whole ass it.

So how you can minimise your distractions?

A brand called Folk Rebellion are encouraging us to unplug from our tech and plug into the real world, whether it’s going back to vinyl records, setting yourself tech boundaries like banning phones from the bedroom, or banning TV when you’re getting the good stuff, only looking at your email at certain times during the day or turning your phone off for the weekend, to name a few.

What could you do?

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6. Meditate

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Do you ever feel stressed, low or frustrated?

Focus on the breathe.

I LOVE meditation and it’s one of the most powerful ways we can change our mindset and re-wire our brain.

Instead of overanalysing situations, our feelings and thoughts, worrying about the future or stewing in what just happened…Take a moment out of your day, whether it’s the morning or evening or at another time and sit or lie down somewhere, quietly, close your eyes and breathe those slow, deep, belly breathes.

Count your breathe to really feel the calmness wash over you.

I teach my clients to create a place in their mind where they can go to relax. A serenity palace if you like.

Go back to a time when you felt really really calm and relaxed and notice everything around you; sounds, the ground, the colours, the temperature, how it feels… And really be in that place, embodying those feelings of calm and relaxation.

If thoughts come in, just observe them. Don’t judge or evaluate them or try to change them.

See them come and watch them float away, as if you were cloud spotting or star gazing when you were younger. 

By being present to your breathe, you are able to re-wire your mind for calmness and relaxation and really strengthen these neuropathways, so instead of feeling stresses most of the time, you’ll start to feel calm and relaxed and therefore more present to your life.

[If you want to understand how you can re-wire your mind in a easy to understand way, read The Number 1 Secret that high performers now]

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Did you like these 6 ways to be more present? Let me know which ones you love by sending me a message via my red messaging bot.

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5 Steps To Developing A Mindset For Success

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If you have lost your motivation and confidence in achieving your goals, here’s a 5 step process to developing your mindset for success.

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1. Do you have the foundations of a successful mindset?

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Simon Hartley is a sports psychologist who has spent over 20 years studying and working with world class individuals, teams, leaders and organisations. Simon believes that the key to a successful mindset is consistently doing the basics excellently.

Most coaches will tell you that everything you do starts with your Why; but, Simon believes the foundations of a successful mindset starts with your Why AND Focus.

(Read my article on How To Avoid Negative Thinking to find out what happens if you let your focus slip)

By working with world class people and organisations Simon has discovered that’s important to keep the end in mind, such as winning that Gold medal, becoming the CEO or winning that international recognition award.

However, the key to greatness and success is working and focusing on performing the daily processes consistently and to a high standard.

For example, Formula 1 Driver Lewis Hamilton recently won the Spanish Grand Prix. Hamilton didn’t smash the race because he was focusing on the end goal – first place. He smashed the race by focusing on executing each corner and part of the race to the best of his ability.

As Simon says, it’s not where the ball goes, but it’s HOW you hit the ball.

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2. You Need Positive Evidence

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Once you start focusing on the right thing at the right time and performing these activities to the best of your ability, you will begin building a mountain of positive evidence that shows you that you can do this.

It’s important to use the right kind of positive evidence – evidence that you have influence over.

For example, if your positive evidence was being consistent on Instagram by posting one high quality picture a day with 20 #hashtags and a short caption and 5 stories a day for 3 weeks and you nailed it, this shows you that you can be consistent and create great content, which builds your confidence and encourages you to do more.

You don’t want to use outcome based evidence e.g. number of followers on social media, feedback from people, first place etc., because you can’t control the results. You may put in 10 hours of hard work on Instagram in 1 week and only grow by 20 followers; subsequently, you lose your motivation and confidence and are likely to stop because you didn’t achieve the results you wanted.

I believe it’s helpful to talk to a supportive friend, family member or coach about the kind of evidence you want to use. If you have any questions shoot me a message via my red messaging app on my website.

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3. Next Comes Confidence

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By focusing and seeing your positive evidence building up, you will feel more and more confident. This is a very resilient place to be, because it is you who is influencing your level of confidence

If you let outside stuff influence your confidence, such as subjective feedback from others, profit or the amount of social media followers, you inhabit a very vulnerable and fragile place. This is because you have no or little influence over the outcome nor what people are going to say to you.

It’s critical not to judge your positive evidence, but to evaluate your positive evidence objectively and honestly. This will help you understand what you need to do next to take your confidence levels even higher.

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4. Motivation Follows

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Your motivation will come from the positive evidence and confidence that you’ve been building, by focusing on the right tasks and performing them to the best of your ability, achieving your small goals along the way.

Motivation also comes from your Why, which we’ll talk about creating now.

What is your ultimate goal and why does it matter?

For most people, their Why is earning money, but this isn’t enough.

If money is your only motivator and you experience a dip in your income and/or the economy experiences a downturn, will you then lose your motivation, confidence and focus? Most likely – if it’s your only driving force.

You need a tripod or pyramid of Why’s that will empower you to weather a storm, such as a financial downturn, and get back up again when you’ve been knocked down.

What will make you get out of bed on a cold, dark and rainy wintery day?

This is my Why:

My Why is to ADD VALUE to the lives of others by helping athletes and ambitious men and women to transform their lives, achieve their dreams and be the best they can be, by teaching them how to change their thinking and install helpful habits.

This starts with achieving everything I want in my own life, living my best self and never settling for anything less than I can be, do or have, so I can pay it forward and learn (through experiences, others and courses) how to help others achieve everything they want.

(In my article, How To Achieve Your Dream Goal, I share with you an effective 3-step method to help you create and achieve your ultimate goal).

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5. This is where you take off!

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Once you have these 5 things (focus, why, positive evidence, confidence and motivation) your mindset is set to help you achieve the levels of success you dream of. You’ll start to love living outside of your comfort zone and reach new heights.

Remember to continue to focus on the small things, because by performing these small daily processes to the best of your ability, you will be able to achieve your goals. If one of these things goes amiss, even for a short time, this will impact your results.

Remember your Why and stay Focused on the Right Things at the Right Time! And Good Luck!

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If you want to find out we can work together or have any questions, drop me a message via my red messenger on my website or send me an email to adelaide@lillywild.com

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How To Achieve Your Dream Goal

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Do you want to achieve your dream goal, but are tired of failing, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start? This unconventional 3 step method will help you start your journey to achieving your dream!

How is this any different to other goal setting and achieving method? Read on and find out.

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1. What is your dream goal?

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The biggest mistake I see people making is attaching their dream goal to a result, such as I will earn £100,000 a year by 31st December 2018.

This outcome-dependent goal places you in a vulnerable position as you can’t influence the result of the hard work you put in. However, you can influence your performance.

Simon Hartley, a sports psychologist who has spent over 20 years studying and working with world class individuals, teams, leaders and organisations, helped turn former British Olympic breaststroke swimmer Chris Cook’s career around when they worked out exactly what Chris’ dream goal was.

Chris’ dream goal wasn’t to be world champion for his event or win an Olympic gold medal. Surprising right?

His dream goal was to swim 100m in breaststroke as fast as he could. When Simon and Chris worked this out, Chris went from barely making it as a professional swimmer to becoming a double gold Olympic medalist and competed for England in the World and European Championships, and Commonwealth Games.

(Read my article on 5 Steps To Developing A Mindset For Success to find out the 5-step process to creating a mindset for success that will help you achieve your dream goal).

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2. Do the things I’m doing now help me achieve my dream goal?

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Now knowing what his dream goal was, Chris started asking new revolutionary questions: Does this thing I’m doing now help me swim the 100m in breathstroke faster?

Chris ended up ditching two thirds of his training and creating new strategies that enabled him to swim the 100m faster.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing now that IS helping me to achieve my dream goal?
  • What am I doing now that is NOT helping me to achieve my dream goal?
  • What do I need to keep and what do I need to ditch?
  • What 20% of my actions are giving me 80% of my results?

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3. What are the top 5 things you can do that will have the biggest impact on you achieving your dream goal?

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Simon and Chris uncovered that he only needed to work on the following 5 things to achieve swimming 100m in breathstroke as fast as he could:

  1. Fast start
  2. Fast and efficient 50m swim
  3. Quick turn around
  4. Hold speed for 50m
  5. Touch wall with both hands at the same time

For the rest of Chris’ career, this is all he and his team focused on and he became an unstoppable force.

What are your top 5 things?

Once you’ve written out your 5 things, score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each one, with 10 being you’ve reached the best you can be and there’s no room for improvement and 1 being you have a long way to go.

(Read my article on 7 Steps To Setting Effective Goals That Improve Your Performance to discover how you can set the right goals that will help you take your top 5 things to the next level.)

Invest all of your time and energy relentlessly and consistently in getting to a 10/10 for each of your 5 things.

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If you want to find out how we can work together or have any questions, drop me a message via my red messenger on my website.

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10 Great Ways to Overcome Post-Race Blues

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Feeling a bit lost or melancholic following a big race, like the London Marathon? Here’s how you can get over the post-race blues, as inspired by my article for Red Bull.

Have you ever returned from a race and felt a little blue? All your hard training and work has ended and you have nothing tantalising on the horizon?

The good news: this is perfectly normal. Whether you’ve been training for 6-months, a year, 2 years or more for a race, the blues can effect anyone and here are 10 ways to get over them.

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1. Begin planning your next race!

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When you can’t live in the moment of the training or event, it’s best to live in the anticipation of the event!

Research by psychologists Gilovich, Killingsworth and Amit Kumar has shown that the anticipation of future experiences, such as planning a race, is just as enjoyable as the experience itself.

Anticipation for an experience, really is a driver of happiness. Don’t book a rebound race just for the sake of quickly filling a hole though – get about planning something huge for you!

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2. Live in the athlete mindset

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When you return to reality, you don’t have to leave your sporting lifestyle behind.

You don’t need to be training for a race to live in the mindset of an athlete. While you rest after your race, focus on recovery and try something new at home that is fun, but not too intense. I’ve taken up Yoga and gone on adventurous weekends after races!

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3. Invest your time in other parts of your life

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We sacrifice so much when planning and executing an adventure and now is the time to make up for it.

Invest the time you would’ve spent on your adventure, on other parts of your life that you want to improve and simplify.

When I completed my Ironman journey, I really focused on my business and enhanced my skills by attending online courses and live summits.

Just be careful not to do everything at once, so put your energy into one or two things.

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4. Exercise + the outdoors = instant mood boost

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If you’re feeling low and lacking motivation, get outside or in the gym and release those endorphins!

Be aware not to over train, as I’ve said, you want to focus on recovery, but why not try some fun exercise like dancing, walking or hiking in the UK!

The North and South Downs are my playground, I love long walks along the Chantries and St. Martha’s. Besides, why worry about your next race when you’ve got some beautiful British countryside to explore…

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5. Start Journalling

Journalling is a really great way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings and go deeper. To share the things that excite, interest and scare you.

Writing your journal by hand is very cathartic, as it slows you down, releasing stress and helping you to get past anxious emotions.

It can also help remind you of who you are, your ambitions and desires, and whether you’re living the life you really want.

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6. Go with the flow

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If you’re feeling low on energy or finding it tough to mentally push through challenges at work or elsewhere in your life, this is a sign of fatigue.  It’s ok to relax once in a while, particularly following a big race (hello, Netflix)!

Don’t put pressure on yourself and push through it. Take time to enjoy life’s other pleasures, too. Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, or for a quick happiness boost, listen to your favourite upbeat song, connect with somebody or do a good deed.

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7. Gratitude Practice

When we come back from a race, we often focus on how different our reality is to our amazing adventure. We need to change this and see all the positive things in our life.

A gratitude practice is my favourite way to do this.

Each morning I write down 3 different things I’m grateful for and in the evening, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for that happened that day, from a great latte to access to clean water.

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8. Spend time with family and friends

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Our friendships and relationships are so important and yet time with them is often limited when we invest in our training.

Now we’re recovering from our race, it’s essential that we spend time with our friends and family, developing our relationships, supporting them and enjoying each other’s company.

I love catching up with friends near and far on the phone, via Skype, for a meal or fun activity, like walking round Petworth Park or seeing Aladdin the musical!

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9. Recharge your batteries

It’s paramount that you get in some really good sleep and eat nutrient-dense food.

In an ideal world, you want to have all electronics switched off two hours before you go to bed, so the blue light doesn’t disrupt your sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and be asleep by 10pm, for a refreshing minimum of 8 hours.

Fuelling your body with nutrient dense foods, minimising junk food and caffeine will aid your recovery and boost your mood. We could all do with this now and again.

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10. Remember your race

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Family and friends may not be too interested in a minute-by-minute account of your race, as I’ve discovered! However, this doesn’t have to stop you from remembering your race and basking in your achievement.

I’ve framed my favourite pictures, hang my medals proudly, assembled a photo album, written a short story and about to release an audiobook. Find your own way of joyfully remembering your awesome race. Good luck!

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Let me know if you need any help getting over your post-race blues by sending me a message via my shiny red bot!

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How to use mantras for sport performance

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Do you struggle with doubt and distractions when going after your goals? Then read this blog to discover how mantras can help keep you calm, focused and positive.

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What Are Mantras and Why Athletes Use them

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The Sanskrit word ‘mantra’ translates to ‘instrument for thinking’, as they are a powerful way to direct your mind towards positive thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Mantras are a selection of short, positive, instructive and actionable words that address what you want to think and how you want to feel – not the challenges you want to overcome.

Repeat your mantra to direct your mind away from the unhelpful thoughts, feelings and distractions and to focus your mind on the helpful thoughts, feelings and experiences you desire.

For example, when you are running and you start thinking ‘This hurts and now I have a stitch, and my legs are feeling heavy and tired, and there is still so far to go… etc.” These negative thoughts start to snowball.

A powerful mantra would focus your mind away from thoughts reinforcing pain and discomfort, and towards positive thoughts and feelings.

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When Athletes Use Mantras

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Mantras have become a very effective and popular practice with athletes to enhance their performance and to help keep them going when things get tough.

Positive, motivational and inspirational self-talk has been helping athletes win for decades. Athletes  use mantras;

  • During their training, to strengthen their mental game and keep themselves motivated
  • Before a race or game, to build up strength and confidence, to get pumped and their energy flowing
  • During their race or game, to empower them to stay focused, on target and positive

“This is what you came for.”

SCOTT JUREK, one of greatest runners of all time running, feats include running 166 miles in 24 hours and the Appalachian Trail speed record, averaging nearly 50 miles a day over 46 days

“I’ve got this”

— LAURIE HERNANDEZ, American gymnast who has won an individual silver medal and team gold as a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team

“You’re tougher than the rest.”

SARAH REINERTSEN, Paralympian who holds World Records in the 100m, 200m, 400, 5km marathon and marathon distance races, and is the first above-knee amputee woman to complete the Ironman World Championships.

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How to create powerful mantras

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1. Keep it short

You want a quick and powerful one-liner that’s less than 8 words.

2. Keep it positive

You are ONLY allowed to use positive words and you’re NOT allowed to use negative words. This ensures you will fire and strengthen the positive pathways in your brain – not the negative.

For example, instead of saying “I do not want to feel tired”, repeat to yourself “I feel power, I feel energy, I feel awesome!!”.

3. Keep it energised

Use powerful and strong verbs and adjectives that evoke energy, like ‘tough’ ‘fast’ ‘calm’

4. Keep it actionable

Use your mantra as a mental reminder for what you are capable of, how you want to feel or what you plan to do.

“Easy, light, smooth, fast”

— CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL, author of Born To Run. Chris uses this simple mantra to focus on his form when he starts to struggle during a run

5. Keep it at the forefront of your mind

You want to use your mantra(s) when you need to direct your mind away from unhelpful feelings, thoughts and actions and towards helpful feelings, thoughts and actions.

This could be when you’re reaching for that snooze button, craving sugar, entertaining the idea of a Netflix binge or tempted to go easy in a training session.

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I would love to know what powerful mantras you already use and what new mantras you come up with – send me a message via my red bot or find me on Instagram @adelaidegoodeve.

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Here’s one of my favourite one below (and I have a tune for it!)

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8 Tips For A Positive Marathon Mindset

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I am often asked: What did you think of during the race [Ironman Barcelona] to drive you on?

 

With the London Marathon just 2 and a half weeks away, I wanted to share with you 8 tips from podcast guest Margaret Schlachter and myself, to help you develop a positive marathon mindset and run your best marathon.

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Mindset Tip #1 Acknowledge and sit with negative space

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No matter how fit, experienced or strong you are, there comes a point in a race when you enter a negative space. This is usually brought on by pain or your inner critic, such as “What do you think you’re doing?” or “Why do you think you can do this run?”

(If you want to find our how you can change your inner critic to be a positive powerhouse of encouragement, read this blog: 3 Steps To Improve Your Inner Voice)

I want you to know that this negative space will pass, it’s just a natural phase of training or racing. Similar to meditating, sit with the negative (but not for too long), acknowledge it, embrace it and let it float on by – you can even visualise yourself swiping it away!

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Mindset Tip #2 Think of an even worse scenario

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Sometimes this temporary negative mood can be a little harder to get out of, one trick is to create even more negative situations – think up the most ridiculous scenarios that would make you laugh or greatly appreciate your current situation.

For example, when I was running my marathon at the end of my Ironman and I saw other people running off to the finish line when I was on lap number 1 and 2, I thought “at least I’m going onto lap number 2 and I wasn’t disqualified”.

Or perhaps you’re out running and it starts raining and as Margaret says, instead of thinking: “this sucks, I still have 15 miles to go” think >> “At least I have a raincoat and will stay relatively dry, could be worse, I might not have a raincoat or lose a shoe in the mud etc.”

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Mindset Tip #3 Red Light/Green Light

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I really like this method of Margaret’s, I use something similar with my coaching clients.

This method allows us to recognise when we are changing moods, what that feels like and how we can change our mood to feel our best in a certain situation.

We want to visualise and write down the following moods;

  1. Green Light: What’s the perfect [marathon] you could possibly race? Take a moment to really visualise what that would be like – what can you see, hear, feel and smell? What are you thinking?
  2. Yellow Light: Think of the moment when you’re running your marathon and things start to become a little less fun – again what can you see, hear, feel and smell? What are you thinking?
  3. Red Light: Now think of a time when you’re running and things are not going well – what can you see, hear, feel and smell? What are you thinking?

Once you’ve written down these 3 scenarios, you can recognise and identify what physical and mental reaction your body and mind has when you are entering and moving between these different moods while running your marathon.

So when they start to come up during your marathon, you can take time to change your mood from red to yellow or yellow to green.

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Mindset Tip #4 Take in your surroundings

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When you’re starting to feel low, look up from plodding along and take in the sights around you. Notice how beautiful, amazing and hilarious your surroundings are!

On the London Marathon you’re going to pass some spectacular buildings and structures and there are going to be people dressed up in hilarious costumes. You will be surrounded by an incredible crowd of runners and spectators too, so drink it all in and smile.

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Mindset Tip #5 Take on the role of the observer

Another great method is to take on the role of the observer while you’re running. Think of yourself as a pigeon flying over and looking down at the scene or if you’re racing in the London Marathon, think of yourself as one of the spectators.

What do you look like from the outside? What are they thinking of you running?

The pigeon maybe thinking; “This person is crazy, ‘coo’! Why are they running in a sea of people, and why so far, ‘coo’! I could never run that far, flying is so much easier, ‘coo’!”

Or the spectator will be thinking, go go go! You’re doing so well! You’re so fit and strong, being able to run so far! I wish I got my place this year, you’re so lucky, keep going!

It’s a fun game to play, distracts your mind and it really helps to see yourself from another perspective.

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Mindset Tip #6 Meditate

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As we touched upon Mindset Tip #1, just let your thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them and then swipe them to the side or see them floating away.

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Mindset Tip #7 Count to 100

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Thinking how far you still have to go can be overwhelming and depressing, so it’s really important to have a couple of techniques that help you focus and concentrate on doing the best you can in the moment. I love counting to 100 – over and over again.

It breaks down how far I have to go into tiny pieces, 100 steps is easily achievable and I can lie to myself – “You just have to do 50 more steps” and then when I get to 50: “Well done you did so well, you can totally do 50 more!” And off I run![/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]

Mindset Tip #8 Don’t care what anyone else thinks

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From interviewing hundreds of women on her podcast, Dirt In Your Skirt, Margaret has learnt that the number one common trait of a positive mindset is, not caring what anybody else or society thinks of you. This enables you to truly embrace your unique self and this is where success lies.

So if you want to run in a tiara as it makes you feel like a princess, go for it.

If you want to run in make up, go for it.

If you don’t want to run in make up, go for it.

If you want to run in a unicorn costume, go for it.

Don’t change your actions because you’re worried about what someone else might think. Align your actions with your true self, run in what’s comfortable and run in a way that works for you.

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You can listen to Margaret’s episode here, to discover her story of becoming the first professional female obstacle course racer and how she continues to get out of the funk when running marathons to insane races!

If you have any more questions for me, send me a message via my red bot 🙂

 

You can also Find Margaret Here: Website | Instagram | Twitter

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10 Things I Will Do Differently For My Next Ironman

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If you’re doing an Ironman this year or thinking of doing an Ironman, then read this blog to avoid some of the pitfalls I made!

I was asked by a listener what I would do differently the next time I did an Ironman – yes there will be another one!

This year I’m training for the Braveheart Triathlon – 1.2 mile sea loch swim, a 56 mile road cycle, and a 13 mile hill run to the summit of Ben Nevis and back!

My 3-4 year goal is Norseman, an extreme triathlon based in Norway!

So here are….

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1. Know how to change my bicycle tyre before 2 weeks to go

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I trained for 6 months on my road bike without knowing how to change a tyre and learned how to do so just 2 weeks before Ironman Barcelona!

I put it off for so long because I find bike mechanics such a puzzle and learning it off Youtube was too difficult.

Luckily a very kind guy from Wyndy Milla showed me how a couple of weeks before race day and then I went home and practiced like crazy!

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2. Know my sweat rate for training and Braveheart Tri

Until I met triathlete coach Mark Kleanthouse, founder of IronMate Coaching and competitor of over 1,000 worldwide events – including some seriously insane events, I had no idea about sweat rate and how important it was.

Listen to my episode with Mark on how to work out even more on how much you need to drink during race day and training.

Did you know that a 2% drop in body weight from fluid loss can result in a 10% decline in your performance?

And dehydration during long training sessions, especially rides, can weaken your immune system and cause you to become sick.

By finding out your sweat rate, you will know how much you need to drink per hour during your training and race. This allows you to keep your performance and recovery levels maximised.

Once you know your sweat rate, it’s important to practice how much you need to drink for race day during your training, to see how much you can comfortable absorb at your race effort.

Also be aware of sodium loss through sweating, as you will need to replace this with electrolyte drinks and salty foods to prevent cramp.

During training and on race day, you don’t want to drink too much plain water as this can result in hyponatremia, which means you’ve diluted your the sodium levels in your body by too much.

If it wasn’t for Mark’s knowledge here and a nutritionist called Sophie, I wouldn’t have become an Ironman. Rest be sured I will be nailing this for my Braveheart Triathlon.

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3. Calculate how many calories I need to eat every hour

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By calculating how many calories you burn in an hour you can calculate how many calories you need to replace, as Mark explains in his blog here.

We dive into on my podcast how to work out how much you need to eat during race day and training.

I prefer to get my calories from natural sources, but this is challenging when you’re going abroad for your race (and you have no kitchen due to renovations like me!) and as I left it too late, it wasn’t possible for me.

However, I found some great alternatives that worked brilliantly for me. I used Nakd Crunch Bars, Primal Pantry Bars and High5 IsoGels.

During my training, I ran into some trouble with my nutrition as I really dislike eating early in the morning, so I either fasted or didn’t enough before training sessions, and also during. I also didn’t eat enough glycogen or protein post-recovery as I’ve now found out.

This resulted in a weakened immune system and sickness.

For me, this is still my weaker area and the area I’m focusing on strengthening the most. Already I’ve noticed a vast improvement in my energy levels, performance and recovery – and if I don’t follow my nutrition guidelines, I notice a difference.

Remember, never try anything new on race day and always make sure your nutrition is tested and trusted by you!

Here’s an insight into Mark’s A-Z of Sport Nutrition and there’s so much on his site!

I also found Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive very helpful and Rich Roll’s Plantpower Way cookbook is my go-to for delicious recipes packed with nutrient-dense food.

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4. Order your kit months, not weeks, before your race

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For about 6 months I trained in my cycling, running and swimming kit.

However, I didn’t attach tri bars to my bike until a couple of days before my race, as the stories and experiences I had read in the Ironman Facebook groups scared me! So I put it off and put it off until I had no option!

So Ironman Barcelona was my first time using tri bars properly – not the smartest move!

I would like to stress here that tri bars are not scary and really great once you get to used to them.

Finding a tri suit that fitted and was comfortable was very difficult for me, as I have a large chest measurement and they tend to be made for women who are sticks.

I had tried to find a suit a couple of months before my race, but that task proved fruitless and became too demoralising.

So 2 weeks before my race it was now or never. I had to find a suit otherwise I wouldn’t be racing – Wiggle were my savior: free delivery and returns! Yay!!

I ordered at least 40 tops and bottoms and I found 1 pair of shorts and 2 tops that were perfect!

I wore a Castelli top for swimming and cycling (this could have been a man’s) and Zoot, as they didn’t have a built in bra (who uses these?! If you do and they give you enough support, I’m very envious!), were flattering, comfortable and looked pretty!

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5. Practice taking snacks/drinks from people while cycling

Mark suggested this. It was something I had never thought of.

So a week or so before the race, my dad and I practiced on the road. I would cycle past him and take bottles and snacks from him!

This was really helpful, as I was confident when it came to race day that I could re-fuel without falling off.

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6. Really understand what the morning of the Ironman entails

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I knew roughly what to expect, I had racked my bike the evening before and walked through the swim to the transition area to my bike and then from my bike to transition area.

This meant that when it came to race day, I knew the quickest path to my bike and didn’t become confused as to where I was going.

I wasn’t 100% sure what else the morning entailed, apart from checking my bike, adding final touches such as my Garmin, changing into my wetsuit, dumping my street bag etc.

We were going to do everything as a group, but when we got there we all dispersed to do final checks and handle race nerves in different ways.

I was feeling slightly nervous at this point because it was passed the agreed time, no one was here, I didn’t know what to do and race time was approaching!

Luckily one of the guys was very tall and I spotted him in the crowd, so we put our wetsuits on together and headed to the water to warm up – I don’t think he realised how much this meant to me!

Again, I wasn’t 100% sure what I should do for a warm up so relied on the others.

For the Braveheart Triathlon, I will have this down to a fine art and be independent. Just to take out a layer of worry and be more relaxed about the entire process.

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7. Woman with a plan

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I fastidiously worked out my pace for each leg based on my estimated pace and also the minimum pace I would have to do as to not miss the cut off times. So if the worst happened, I knew what I would have to do to become an Ironman!

I laminated and taped this to my handle bars, as this is the leg I was most concerned about regarding making cut off times and I places a copy in each transition bag and my run food pouch.

This helped me to really relax about race day, as I could see that my training had really paid off and that if all went to plan, I could walk the marathon and still finish!

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8. Quicker Run Time

The run was my weakest element of the Ironman, so this time round I’m working on improving my core strength, endurance and speed, so my pace quickens.

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9. Practice transitions

I kind of did this and wish I had done it properly.

I visualised doing my transitions and had practiced during training, so I knew exactly what to do for each transition.

However, it was suggested to me to lay out my clothes in my bathroom for transition 1 (swim to bike) and transition 2 (bike to run) and practice running in out and changing.

I never practiced transitions in this way and wish I had because although I was super speedy in transition 1, I was not in transition 2 – as I also had to also change my sports bra.

I was in transition 2 for 20 MINUTES!!! If only I had practiced, maybe I could have shaved a juicy 10 minutes off my time!

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10. Kit list for each bag and packing list

I love excel sheets, so I had a column for general packing and each kit bag: street, swim, run and bike.

As I packed my suitcase for going to Barcelona, I put a tick next to each item and as I packed my kit bags the day before the race, I put a tick next to each item and took a photo of the kit I would place in each bag.

This put my mind at ease, as I knew I had packed everything I needed and that I was 100% ready to race and become an Ironman!

I will be doing this again!

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So these are the 10 things I would differently (and a couple I would do the same!), I hope this helps with your half Ironman, Ironman or race endeavors!

Let me know by sending me a message via my shiny red bot!

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