Pain is temporary; achievements are forever.

As some of you might know I do love my running
nearly as much as my photography!

Through the woods, around the lakes here in brussels, one of Europes greenest cities it’s great getting out and about for nature photography but also running. 10 k, 20 k I absolutely have to run and these distances seem to be good for me.
I have however always wanted to take it to a new level by trying a triathlon but seem to get daughted by the abount of time training that has to be done around work, kids and play.
A friend of mine has however found the solution and I thought I’d share how…Thanks Hildi !

How to be Superwoman.  The idiot’s guide to fitting it all in.

Waiting outside the gym studio for a step class to begin about 18 months after having my second child, someone commented that they hadn’t seen me there for a while.  ‘I know,’ said one of the other ladies, ‘It’s just so difficult to get back to fitness after having a baby, isn’t it?  Mine’s two and this is my first time back as well.’  I didn’t want to make her feel bad so I didn’t explain that I was actually taking it easy after doing my first Ironman triathlon the month before.

Sometimes my colleagues and Facebook friends call me ‘Superwoman’.  Why?  I guess it’s because I work 4 days a week managing a team of 27 staff at a local school and being responsible for the wellbeing and progress of 80 special needs kids, am doing a postgraduate qualification (my third), have two children, am a school governor (two schools), help run the local swimming club, and do triathlon (to relax).  I don’t feel super, I just feel fit – and sometimes a bit achey.  But in a good way, you understand.

So how do I fit being an Ironman in?  It’s actually very easy, but only if you decide to make it a priority.  For my husband and I, it’s never a question of ‘have I got time to train?’, but ‘when can I make time to train?’.  Two principles govern my training regime.  First, there is always a choice.  Second, be flexible – life happens.  Oh, and a third belief which is helpful – that TV is basically shit.  So, here’s my idiot’s (and perhaps I am) guide to being Superwoman.  Good luck – you’ll sleep well 😉

  • The average person watches about 25 hours of TV per week.  If you spent 25 hours a week training you’d be able to do almost any event you wanted!  OK, realistically, some of that is in bed as you’re dropping off to sleep, some of it is with the kids (‘cos you’re a good parent and you know you need to monitor what they watch) and some of it is because you’re babysitting, the weather is rubbish, it’s dark and who wants to run out in that anyway? So, get a turbo trainer.  You can put your bike on it and get some winter mileage in while catching up on House, Glee, or whatever your partner hates watching.
  • Any journey is a potential training session.  This goes back to principle 2.  I hate my new job because it’s not far enough away to cycle!  My colleague moved 12 miles away to make her daily commute worth it.  Maybe there’s a fourth principle here too – you don’t smell nearly so bad after a workout as you think you do!  And babywipes and dry shampoo are really amazing.  I once arranged with my husband to drop me in Milton Keynes so I could cycle the rest of the way to Bedford for a weekend with his family, and our friends 20 miles away in Cuckfield now expect one of us to arrive by bike and ask to use the shower when they invite us for lunch.  I’ll let you into a secret – we once even did a swim to work day.  4km in the sea might be a bit much for everyday but, boy, was that fun!
  • Follow the mantra ‘On days when you can train and don’t want to, remember there will be days that you want to train and can’t’.  If OFSTED announce a visit, or the kids are poorly, or your partner is away for work, then make that week your rest week.  The Ironman programme I follow works on a 3 hard week/1 easy week cycle.  It’s just that sometimes I have to take my easy week when life tells me to.  Cheaper than a coach, although probably not as effective.
  • Carry run kit and swimming kit with you whenever possible.  You might get a chance to run on the way home (once you get home you may not get out again), or to swim at lunchtime.  I used to take my bike in the car once a week and do an hour ride up Ditchling Beacon and back.  If that meeting finishes early and you have half an hour before you have to be at the childminder, you could do a hill rep set and a few stretches instead of having a biscuit in the staff room.  The day after my second Brighton Marathon I was at a conference opposite the West Pier in central Brighton.  All morning I was dreaming of cold water on my burning legs.  At lunchtime I persuaded my colleagues to join me in the sun on the beach, changed into my cossie, put on my goggles and did a quick swim.  I don’t think I have ever loved a swim as much!

So, if you want to do a triathlon, or a marathon, or a 10km (swim, bike or run), don’t think you don’t have enough time.  You do.  You can choose to.  Choose to miss the endless reality TV and the bad news from the global news corporations.  Choose to have friends and colleagues that think you’re crazy (but love you anyway).  Choose to have hair that’s slightly frizzy and your eyebrows tinted instead of putting on makeup in the mornings.  Choose to be amazing.  Choose to do something most people think they can’t do.  Choose health, choose fun and most of all, choose life!  Oh, and get a jogging buggy.

Ironman UK, 2008, Photo, Official race photographer
Swashbuckler Half-Ironman, 2009. Photo, Official race photographer, Race Newforest