I'm knee deep into winter training now and I am starting to feel like my running and cycling legs are back. After salvaging what I could from the 2017/18 season, I was pleased when I could finally put my feet up and reflect on what was a roller coaster year.
With the support of my coach Dave Newport, I have been focusing on building a solid endurance base over the past few months. He is a massive advocate of winter racing and so my training plan is jam packed with cross countries, cyclocross events, and road running races. It can be hard to stay motivated in the winter months, especially when competition season seems so far away and the summer kit is replaced by base layers and waterproof running jackets, but having some low key races in the pipeline has enabled me to set smaller goals and keep my training on track.
I started my winter racing off with the Midland Cross-country League... What a shock to the system! I haven't raced cross-country for over 8 years and soon realised that running downhill takes far more technique than anticipated. Getting my running form back after a bike crash and fall earlier this year has taken longer than expected but I'm finally starting to see some real progress and finishing 16th on the day was a pleasing result.
Any season should be planned out well in advance and I'm currently in the process of finalising my plans for 2019. At present, my main focuses are the major Duathlon Championships and the French Grand Prix Series. I am still looking for additional races to bulk up my season and debating whether to hit the track in the summer and see if I can secure a 5km PB, although the thought of running 12.5 laps around the track doesn’t fill me with too much excitement.
It’s been surprisingly difficult to transition from triathlon to duathlon training after the decision to focus on the latter for the upcoming year. Although I now only swim twice per week, the added loading on the legs is definitely taking its toll. The decision to drop triathlon was due to multiple reasons but mainly as a result of my selection for the GBR duathlon elite team and wanting to see just how far I can progress in the duathlon field (keep your fingers crossed for me!).
I hope you all have a great Christmas and wish you the best with your training and racing endeavours!
About the author: Laura Smith is a Team GB Age Group triathlete and Sundried ambassador.