As a PE teacher you have to be pretty resilient and it is not just going out in the British wind and rain that have its challenges. Summer comes with the iconic ‘PE teacher tan’; sock and t-shirt lines are tough to work with: Just the mentality needed for Aquathlon training!
Aquathlon is for the Triathlete with a puncture, for those who are not keen on bike rides or simply do not like having freezing hands and feet for such a long time. I would put myself in the first or third category, I have no massive eversion to cycling, I just prefer off road and much shorter things where you don’t have the time to realise how painful everything is. The swim, run and transition sections are pretty much the same. Swims tend to be open water; even ocean based if you are feeling brave and as for sprint distance, runs are a nice 5km just like the Triathlon. All in all in my opinion the perfect event!
Training for any multisport event comes with its questions and is always a difficult one to get spot on. Focus all your efforts on one disciple and the other suffers, try and split your sessions between both and you don’t improve at the rate you’re hoping to. I have tried something completely new this season and I love that’s it is paying off. The majority of my sessions each week have a high intensity interval training (HIIT)/circuits style focus with some specific run and pool sessions thrown in to keep the balance. These session are all outdoor, whatever the weather! Something about working in the mud and rain adds a comedy factor, you have to laugh at yourself doing chest down burpees in a muddy puddle…if I don’t, I think the other option would be to cry.
I truly do love doing these sessions, I have always thought that swim training and long runs are so dam boring and I thought this was how it just had to be if I wanted to improve. As a child I would always be in the pool with the swimming club and the best part about each session was before and afterwards catching up with my mates. It is so important that training is fun, regardless of if you are working towards the Olympics or simply to stay healthy, it has to be enjoyable or else you are fighting a losing battle.
The circuit sessions combine everything in one go and are by no means easy, sprints to improve lactate threshold play a major part and feature in large blocks. Your lactate threshold is the point where your muscle begin to react to the lactic acid in the blood stream, increasing your cells resistance to this allows you to work harder for longer. This is understandably vital for most athletes regardless of the disciple but especially for those in multisport or endurance events.
Glute and Hamstring conditioning is another favourite of my coaches’, not so much of mine as this means a killer session and jelly like legs. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, kettle bell swings, and weighted runs all require explosive power from these muscles. Combine this with a starter of sprints and you really do have a tough workout on your hands. Throughout the winter season after races have finished my focus is always on strength, weight training in the winter leads to increased power and speed in the spring. It is combining this power with the muscular endurance from the lactate work that will allow me to push that little bit harder in the summer months and races.
Nutrition plays a large part in training and is often the aspect people forget about. How I train in the day affects what I eat in the evening as well as for breakfast the next day. Each and every day starts with a protein shake, Whey Better Cookies and Cream is my all-time favourite however I have mixed it up at bit recently and gone with choc mint which I am loving!! If my evening session has been cardio heavy I will have depleted glycogen stores these can only be replaced by having a carbohydrate heavy meal. Attempting to train with depleted stores is like training when you have a cold, everything is 10 times harder and you feel as if you never really have the energy to get going. If I have had an unusually hard session or am feeling run down after work I will have a second protein shake after my evening session to replenish my body ready for the onset of work and training the next day. Training properly has to go hand in hand with eating properly your body cannot function without the energy it requires, if you are asking it to increase its exertion levels you have to provide it the fuel to do so. Being a full time teacher and training seriously every evening I cannot afford to forget this, it is so important to give your body every fighting chance.
To find out more about Stef check out here ambassador page.