This month we're celebrating a HUGE win for one of our superstar clients, Nicole, who participated in the half IRONMAN 70.3 in Mooloolaba. We are so proud of all the hard work you've put into your training, rehab and self-care Nicole. You are an inspiration to us all. We wanted to get some insight into Nciole’s IRONMAN journey and were lucky enough to ask her a few questions recently. We share all the inspiration below…
Why did you decide to enter the Half Ironman?
After a great 2018/2019 season with Southbank Tri club, including smashing my Olympic distance triathlon by 10 mins in March 2019. I decided to take on a half IRONMAN at Mooloolaba (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run) with some of my club mates and train through the winter to also keep motivated.
This was your first Ironman, what did your training regime involve/how long have you been prepping for it?
The body and motivation was high from March 2019 and the body was recovering well so in May 2019 I was able to step up and train consistently for 3.5 months averaging approx. 10 hours of training a week. This was compared to average 5 to 8 hours a week. Preparing for this versus any other race meant a lot of long rides and long runs. Sometimes this meant training on your own, with mates and for long periods on the weekend. I also was very thankful that the tri club provided a training plan and guidance at training sessions to assist athletes training for this event.
What impact did the training have on your body?
My training didn't just include the swim, bike and run, I also included Pilates, strength and massage and a lot of stretching and rolling! This was very beneficial to help work on the muscles groups that don't function so well for me and ensure you are giving you body some recovery in other sessions. This did mean that some days I would train for an hour or two before work and then an hour or more after work. So preparation and structure was key. Most weeks I was training anywhere from 10 hours to 12 hours a week, that doesn't leave much time for socialising or late nights. You are generally are in bed by 8pm and up again at 4am or 4.30am to train before work. You can get tired and fatigued but that is also part of building the endurance to you need for long races. I was surprised by how well I got up and trained in the cold and dark mornings in winter. However, as it got closer to race day I panicked I wasn't prepared enough and changed some things on my bike setup and tired to fit some more hours in, this had an effect on my body and a number 1 lesson in triathlon is don't change anything too close to the race! Overall training with my tri club was very positive and motivational, it helps keep you accountable to turn up to training. Also having a program via training peaks (online app) that has a structure and reminders each day helps. This is also monitored by the coaches and adds another layer of accountability.
Did you have any physical niggles or issues leading up to the event?
So I did pick up some niggles, my body started to react to the training about one month prior to the race. I was feeling physically tired, irritable and needed rest. As part of that, I also picked up a hip flexor injury after changing the bike setup, which is not good when most of the race is riding and running. Alex was amazing as always. Alex and I have trained together before and she has been involved in my prep for many races over the years and she knows that often I push too hard too soon and don't allow enough time for the body to recover and force the rest days when required. So when Alex said to me “Nic do you really to run before your race”, my usual reaction is OMG yes, I gotta know if I can run. We came to a mutual understanding that I was only allowed to try a 3km to 5km run if there is no pain. The forced rest leading into the race ended up being probably the best for my body, as it came to race day I was definitely ready! Since then my body has recovered really well I enjoyed some well-deserved sleep-ins and holiday.
How was the experience, did you achieve what you set out to/gain any learnings from competing?
In training for a long event like this, you learn many things. Like changing my bike setup was a valuable lesson learnt. It got fixed in time for the race. These long races are as much a mental game as a physical one. I knew I would be out there for a long time (my training showed my times for each leg would be long for my ride, my strengths are the swim and run) With half IRONMAN distances they have strict cut off times to complete each leg and whole distance, which is 8 hours. My goal was to complete the race in 6.30 to 6.40 hours. I completed the race in 6.23. I was stoked but most of all I had fun. The support from fellow triathletes especially your tri club is valuable, as are the tips and tricks you learn along the way. The main thing about taking on a challenge or experience like this is to have fun and enjoy the process/ride along the way, and that in the end of the day that got me to the finish line! :)