Back to the drawing board…

October 23rd, 2015 by



I hope everyone had a fantastic season and you were able to enjoy a nice long break afterwards to recover!

If you’ve not been following me, I wrote off the last half of the season as I was getting burnt and racing wise was no good to anyone in the end. My Psychologist made the decision in the end to pull the plug on the year and take what was essentially  career break. Otherwise I’d have probably taken a week and carried on ending up in a worse place. I’m pleased I did now, It gave me the time and the space to think and reflect and my body feels much, much fresher and I’m certainly way more motivated to reach my best level yet.

I didn’t do much exciting on my break, to be honest all the time that I used to train was replaced with doing my bit looking after my son and spending time with family. Which to be fair is much harder then training! I was so busy I didn’t miss training that much and it took me a long time to feel fresh again because it’s not that easy chasing after a toddler. However I did escape to Ibiza for 5 days for the usual end of season blow out and tell you what…once you go there, 3 days later you can’t wait to get back on the bike smash around in the Charnwood Hills again!

So I’ve been back into it for the best part of 6 weeks now. I spent 3 weeks hovering around 10hrs a week getting the legs moving again after the long 12 weeks lay off and now back into the routine of training properly again. It feels good to be back fit and healthy again. I’m really motivated after such a long break and fired up after watching all the big races of the year happen on the screen instead of being there racing myself so in a good place right now to push hard for the season.  Normally I’d aim to start back by November the 1st, its a strange feeling being raring to go already with 3 decent weeks under my belt but I have to be patient and stick to the plan! It’s still a year till the big dance and if I push hard now I can easily be flying by January!

In other news I’ve been a coach slut again… I’m now working with Luc Van Lierde. (he’s a bit of a legend, Google him…) I wasn’t looking to change at first but my Uplace BMC team manager managed to persuade me that this would be a important move and an amazing opportunity to learn from one of the best Ironman athletes ever and already a proven coach. We’ve met up a few times in Belgium, once for Lactate testing and I’m really, really impressed and positive that it was a good move. There is also an obvious link with our Belgium based team so all support can centralised. Only thing I need to work on is my Flemish I guess…

I want to thank Mark Pearce for his support this year. He’s a super coach, great guy and one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable coaches around. I really rate him and don’t think he had a fair run at coaching me in the end.

I’ll keep you updated!

Enjoying the time off

August 5th, 2015 by

poppy ride pic

I’ve enjoyed this first 4 weeks away from sport. Nothing that exciting so far, just hanging out with my family and I just payed a visit to legendary Irish Triathlete Conor Murphy and family who’s also been struggling this year, thanks to shitty coaching and support. Nice to compare notes! Slowly but surely I’m starting to get bored and more and more determined to get back into it but that’s not for a while longer yet.

I have to say it’s really nice to be able to step away and take the time and gain perspective to analyse all the little things I’ve been struggling with that led me to need a career break. 

Triathlon is quite tough and I’ve had my foot firmly on the gas ever since I was a junior, rejuvenating the mind and body again is really important if I want to go on for another successful 5/6 years. When you’re in the thick of racing and training you’re so focused on the work that it can be a struggle to notice the aspects you could be doing better in your life to become more successful. I’m recovering by taking the rest of course but also working with my psychologist to change my mindset going forward.

On my slow return, as well as all the little things I can be doing better such as bike set up, training tweaks the most complicated change is balancing my family life with my sport life and with the new addition to my family 20months ago life is not as simple as it once was! I’m still learning to handle that massive part of my life better in order to be the best I can be in sport but also as a family man. My son definitely is not the most patient guy and doesn’t care if I’m only getting 6hrs sleep a night!

I also want to thank my sponsors team Uplace BMC (going on next year as Etixx BMC). They actually are the guys who really pushed me to find answers and supported me the whole way. New sponsors Xhale and Indurance, have been awesome. I’ve picked up a handful of new athletes who are all doing great and loving the software. Indurance have been offering fantastic support from blood profiling to motivational book advice!  I promise I’m working to turn it around for the best. I’m not interested in staying at this same level, I firmly believe that if you want to be the best you can be you have the time to step back and make the necessary changes.

Anyway, I hope all your seasons are going well so far.


Taking some time out

July 9th, 2015 by

Biking in the hot Canary Islands sun!

Well it’s been an interesting and un-expected end to this first part of the year that’s for sure. I knew that things were not going well for me this year for some reason. I felt like my training was going quite well, perhaps quite inconsistent but on the whole I didn’t see much problem with my fitness. Which left me and my team baffled when I was posting results like 30th in Dubai, 8th in Lanzarote Ironman, 4th in Staffordshire 70.3 and then a DNF in Norway 70.3. Coming from someone relatively consistent, that’s a bad start to the season!

You’ll usually blame this on your training and race form. If you’re strict with yourself you’ll knock off a race or two and take a week off to freshen up the body before building back probably with even more effort then before!

After Norway 70.3 I wanted to cancel my plans to race in Bolton Ironman, I just couldn’t imagine the idea of getting around that race. Ironman isn’t a joke. It’s a massive investment mentally and physically and you have to be ready for that.  I wasn’t there anymore. On my last session I went running to Bradgate Park. I was trying to do a 2hr build run to kick my arse back into shape after 2 days off post Norway. I ran out at 15kph average which is solid I guess and after 15k’s I got to Bradgate, sat down for 20mins and then walked all the way home! On that 15k walk I had a lot of thinking time.

When I got home I spoke to our Psychologist we’re working with. Told him about my run, and my feelings that I had been having and he told me straight away that I’m approaching athlete Burn Out and I need to take 6 weeks off which is what it takes to recover from Parasympathetic Overuse.

I’ve done the Triathlon for 14 years, been competing in sports for 22 years. I take a month off at the end of every year but never have I had a break in the middle of the season when it feels like really there is nothing recognisably wrong with me! Certain personalities are much more likely to get burn out. I invest so much of myself into Triathon and I have done for so long. I freak out a lot if things are not going like I want (ask my family). In Rudy’s words I need to let go of the self critical complex and perfectionism.

I’m not writing this because I am looking for attention (ok maybe a little bit, everyone loves attention;). Lots of people came to me after my Facebook post who felt that they could relate and find comfort in my experience and I wanted to share to everyone.

I’m lucky that I get to work with a great psychologist. There are not many out there and even if you wanted to work with one you’d probably struggle. Burn out is certainly way more common then you can imagine in Triathlon. I’m sure with work, family demands and trying to keep motivated for sport burn out will happen to almost all of us but you probably won’t realise it and keep pushing on till you crack.  We got into this because we love it and it’s fun, if you’re struggling like I am then I encourage you to take a big step back, do something different and I promise you you’ll come back stronger then ever.

I’m not frustrated about this. Of course it sucks for 2015 but I know this is a great investment for the future, I’ll never win big in this sport unless I take a step back now, re-charge and re-pair. I know what some time away can do for you and I’m 100% confident I’ll be back better. I’m looking forward to getting some blood work done by my sponsor Indurance who’ll profile my blood and we’ll work to get back to 100% before the end of the season.

Thanks to my team Uplace BMC for supporting me in this decision, my family, Mark Pearce for scratching his nuts over this for ages and friends for support.