Triathlon training and a full-time job take their toll

Aileen Flynn on zen and the art of replenishing lost calories after a hard session

“Any time I am slack with my recovery food, I pay for it the next day.”

“Any time I am slack with my recovery food, I pay for it the next day.”

 

Training for a triathlon takes time . . . a lot of time. During the week, there are morning swim sessions and evening run or bike sessions. At the weekend, there are longer run and bike sessions. It takes an organised schedule to fit it all in around a full-time job, not to mention family and relationships.

There are a lot of bags to be packed and clothes to be washed. And that’s before you get to the food prep, necessary recovery time and body maintenance in the form of Pilates or gym sessions.

Having a coach really helps me as this takes the thinking out of training. This year I am training in a group under the expert eye of Eanna McGrath with the Base2Race academy, and am progressing well. We swim together four mornings a week for 90 minutes, usually starting with swim drills and moving to a main set of anything from 2-4km, depending on the day. I then have a quick bite to eat post-swim with the group before I head to work in Beacon Hospital in Sandyford, Co Dublin. I find that training in the morning sets me up for the day ahead. I usually arrive at work full of positive energy and ready to take on the world. Then I get to 11am and am racing for a coffee.

Missing a session

I try to be as efficient as possible in my training and if I have a session that can be done at lunchtime, I will try to do that. However, as I am training for Ironman that doesn’t happen too often. If I can get some strength and conditioning work done on my lunch break, that is a big help.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that missing a session here and there happens and there is no point in squeezing it into another day to make it up. That ship has sailed so draw a line under it, bid it farewell and get ready for the next session.

I love my food and will always try to eat fresh nutritious food to fuel my body for training. When training hard, it is really important to get good food on board quickly after a session to replenish lost calories and restore your body for training the following day. Any time I am slack with my recovery food, I pay for it the next day with a lack of energy or reduced performance in a training session.

Recently I have started using Gourmet Fuel for my meals. They are a company that provide calorie-controlled fresh, healthy meals for anyone who is serious about a nutritious diet but may not have the time or talent to prepare adequate meals daily. Since availing of this service, I have more time on my hands so life is not as hectic as usual. I am sleeping better, feeling zen and am seeing a leaner body as a consequence.

  • Aileen Flynn is a clinical specialist physiotherapist in musculoskeletal care at Beacon Hospital and a triathlete. She is competing in the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii on October 14th.
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