Life As An Athlete By Laura Rose Smith Triathlete
Laura Rose Smith was hooked on triathlon after just one week of training, she tells us about her journey and how she trains to be the best triathlete she can be.
Why do one sport, when you can do three?!
Sport has always been at the forefront of my life and from an early age I immersed myself into training and competitions. Whilst my background is in dancing and long distance running, starting university in 2014 seemed like the prime time to try something new.
A week training with the University Triathlon Team and I was hooked on a new sport that could offer so much in terms of variety, training and competition. I haven’t looked back since.
Take your marks. Get set. GO!
Competitions are unquestionably the reason I continue to train consistently and I revel in being able to cross the finish line knowing I put everything into the race.
For me, the best races are often the ones that I can learn from and use to improve my performance for the future. Of course, taking home the win isn’t a bad feeling either.
I will never forget my very first race as a training triathlete… BUCS Duathlon 2014, a complete preparation nightmare. I had been training for just over month and before realising that I lacked a bike and any experience, I had paid my entry fee. My Dad has always been an advocate of ‘winging it’ and saw no harm in buying a new bike that would arrive the night before the race. I still have visions of sketchily riding my new bike up and down the road in the pitch black attempting to learn bike handling, using cleats and more importantly staying upright. Despite all odds I completed the race unscathed and left the venue with a new found cycling obsession.
Triathlete in training.
Within my first year of triathlon, I predominately focused on the transition from a single to multi-discipline sport with a slow build-up of training volume and intensity. It was a challenging year and one of the more difficult aspects of acquiring an additional two disciplines was ensuring that my training programme was balanced and manageable alongside my studies.
I now train around 22 hours per week with Birmingham University Triathlon Squad including a mix of pool and open water swims; bike rides; turbo sessions; running training; aqua jogging; strength and conditioning; and yoga.
Running is my strongest discipline, however, my cycling is getting stronger and the combination of TT’s (time trials), hill climbs and cyclocross races have helped with my biking ability and handling… Who says triathletes can’t ride a bike?
My swimming has always been an area in which I have had to focus on. In the beginning I used to dread my 04.30 alarm for morning training. I definitely did not want to dive into a cold pool and put my body through 90 minutes of intense training that early. Morning training will always be a struggle and I don’t think ‘feeling fresh’ is a term that will ever be used. But, I have had a breakthrough with swimming and now actually enjoy smashing out lengths in the pool (wow, I never thought I would ever type those words!).
Eat. Sleep. Train. Repeat.
Fuelling training sessions and getting adequate rest is key to being able to train multiple times a day. I’m really lucky to have the support from the High Performance Centre at Birmingham University, who help with all aspects of sport nutrition, physiology and psychology.
Diet wise, I tend to opt for natural healthy foods; stay hydrated; and use sports bars and drinks to help with fuelling when time is tight.
Goal setting is integral to training and performance but ultimately every one of my aims and objectives is geared to one ultimate goal… Be the best triathlete I can be.
My admiration and dedication for triathlon continues in my part time work. I teach regular spin sessions and I have set up a triathlon club within David Lloyd Solihull. I hope to encourage the participation in Triathlons at all levels and use my enthusiasm and love of the sport to inspire others.
Still to come…
Racing season is not over for me yet. I’m heading to Cozumel at the beginning of September for my A race of the year, The Age Group World Championships. I also plan to race in the Stoke triathlon before taking my end of season break.
Focus for the autumn/winter months will on building fitness and strength with the 2017 triathlon season in mind. I will fuel my competitive flame by competing in duathlons, running races and cycling events including the National Hill Climb Championships in October.
I am lucky enough to have been awarded a sports scholarship for my next academic year at Birmingham University. With added help and support, I can’t wait to see where the next 12 months will take me.
I’m a Sundried Triathlete.
I was drawn to the attitude that Sundried displays for the environment when manufacturing and producing its goods. Triathlon has taken me to some amazing places and I am a great believer that we should do what we can to look after our world.
The design of the products is great too and I can’t wait to start wearing my new kit and working as a sponsored athlete with Sundried.