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  • Writer's pictureMatt Fisher

Broken Triathlete

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

Jeez, nearly six months since my last update. Hard to know where to start. My daughter is now close to six months old and is developing a personality; I’ve had a career change which has thrown a lot of things up into the air and foot issues have caused no end of confusion (and pain) when it comes to trying to set goals for 2019.

After the end of the 2018 triathlon season, I was glad to take a break from running. As I’ve reported before, my ankles have been really suffering and I’ve been experiencing other issues which I liken to plantar fasciitis (although that’s self-diagnosis, nothing official). So, I stopped running and focused instead on the bike and swimming, and spent a lot more time in the gym lifting weights.

Although it’s difficult yet to say whether the weight lifting has had any positive effect on my athletic performance, I found myself really enjoying the sessions and probably doing too many, sacrificing my time on the bike and in the pool.

I resolved myself to not being a triathlete in 2019. The plan was to focus on time trialling, using the swimming as cross-training and competing in the occasional aquabike (swim-bike) race. But then in January, it dawned on me. I’m a crap time trialist and I’m not ready to give up on being a triathlete.

So a few weeks ago I started to run again. Nothing mad, just 5-8km per session on the treadmill, maybe three times a week. I did a few benchmark 5km runs and got my time back under 21 minutes. Laughably slow, but for someone that’s taken three months off running (and wasn’t exactly in great running shape anyway) I took it.

Embarrassingly, I had lost the run trainers I had bought towards the end of the 2018 season. Ridiculous, I know, but I simply couldn’t find them! So I paid a visit to Liam at Run Swindon and we set about finding a pair shoes that would work with my dodgy ankles and feet (I have quite distinct issues on the left and right feet, which makes finding a pair of trainers that suits both quite challenging).

After trying some shoes from On and Saucony, we settled on a pair of Brooks Ghost. They seemed to offer the stability my left ankle needed without over-correcting the right.

So I wore them for a 5km on the treadmill on Sunday morning. And by Monday I was crippled again. Ridiculous heel pain. A week later and it feels like I might finally be able to give it another try, but to be honest I’m not expecting much.

Meanwhile, all that gym work has eaten into my bike and swim training and I’m way behind where I should be (and probably also a bit heavier than I should be!). Hopefully the weights have made my legs stronger (I’m certainly lifting more now than I was in October), but I’ve yet to realise those benefits on the bike (I can finally break 1,000 watts for five seconds in a sprint, for what that’s worth…).

To kick my ass into gear, I’ve started to enter some time trial races. It’s a little early in the year and I haven’t even sat on a TT bike (let alone held an aero tuck) since 2018. So it’s gonna be messy, but necessary.

Having set 10, 25 and 50-mile PBs in 2018, obviously one goals (or three…) is to better these in 2019. But I also fancy having a go at 100 miles. Just to see…

Meanwhile, training time is definitely down since baby Darcie and the job change. I’m struggling to get 10 hours a week at the moment. All the more reason to stop the ‘vanity pumping iron’ in the gym and knuckle down to some serious quality training. With the exception of the 50 and 100-mile distances, there’s no good reason I can’t make use of an hour in the morning or evening for a solid bike workout and then fit my swim training (and run, if the body lets me) in around that.

I’ll report back after my next run. Fingers crossed I won’t be crippled for another week!

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