Winter sun

11th Feb 2015
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It’s been an eventful start to 2015.  Despite it only being the start of February, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been a month since I left my desk job and embarked on life as a full-time athlete.

Just before Christmas I spent a week at Club La Santa in Lanzarote to give me a high volume week of training to carry into the Christmas period and give me a sound base from which to start training full-time in January.  The weather was typical of Lanzarote – windy, and not so typical with a few rain showers. However it was still preferable to training at home at that time of year when it’s necessary to spend 15 minutes putting on layers of clothing before each training session.

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It was the first time I had visited Club La Santa since the new pools had opened.  I thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the new 50m open air pool, with not only a lane to myself but, at times, the whole pool! I was certainly spoilt!

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I returned to Lanzarote in the middle of January for a two-week camp with the British Paratriathlon squad, this time at Sands Beach resort in Costa Teguise, on the south of the island.  The timing of the camp could not have been better with the arrival of snow and ice in the UK.  It was great to train with the squad and I was very pleased with my block of work, putting in a solid mixture of consistent miles and good efforts.

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Sands Beach put together a great little video of our camp, which you can see here.

It was a shock to the system returning home to temperatures barely above freezing and has made getting myself out the door to run and bike tougher but at least I can now do this in the daytime rather than squeezing in sessions before and after work.  Something I keep reminding myself when it would be easier to stay warm and cosy indoors.

Just before travelling to Lanzarote in January, I was fortunate to be able to collect my new training bike prosthetic, funded by ArcticOne and made by Pace Rehabilitation.  The arm is made specifically to fit me and give me a firm grip on the brake hoods and drops when riding my training bike.  Made from carbon fibre and covered with a Union Jack design, not only is it functional but looks amazing too.  The arm was certainly put to the test during two weeks of hard riding in the wind and hills of Lanzarote  and I can honestly say that I have never felt so stable on the bike in those conditions.  The arm also attracted a lot of attention :)

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Whilst in Lanzarote I met up with local professional photographer, James Mitchell, for a couple of photo shoots.  The first was in the pool in my Zone3 Victory D wetsuit.  It was the first time I have had professional photos taken whilst swimming and James took some stunning photos from under the water.

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The second shoot was for Pace Rehabilitation, focusing on my new bike prosthetic.  It was a fun morning and I’m sure the photos will be fantastic.

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My final piece of news is that I am delighted to announce that I am now a fitnaturally ambassador.  fitnaturally’s values are built on the foundations of eating delicious, natural foods and using the natural environment for training and exercise. They offer nutrition advice and plans to athletes and people looking to adopt a healthy lifestyle.  I have been working with Sally Pinnegar since the end of 2011, learning how to best fuel my training and trying to optimise my body composition for competing in triathlon.  I have had great success over the past few triathlon seasons with Sally’s help and so I am thrilled to be an ambassador and to continue working hard with Sally to optimise my performance and general health.  Sally’s plan and fuelling definitely contributed to me being able to bank consistent training in Lanzarote, despite high volume and tough training conditions.

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It may only be February, and for many the triathlon season is still a few months away, but this year I have decided to do an early season race in South Africa on 1st March.  This provides a good opportunity to secure some early season ITU ranking points but also to race in conditions similar to what we could experience in Rio de Janeiro, such as a potentially choppy sea swim and warm, windy weather.  Being early season I can test how I am faring under my new training regime and experiment with my preparation and race execution so that I can gain some important learning ahead of the main triathlon season and in particular, racing in Rio.  It will also help break up the winter training and provides another reason to escape the cold British winter for a few days!

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