Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Crossfit turned me into a better triathlete.

Crossfitting triathlete @ Challenge Regensberg 

Challenge Regensberg was to be my 4th long distance triathlon. I have always followed a strength and conditioning program seeing I am a personal trainer and sports massage therapist, I am only too aware of its benefits.  Every year I would take on at least a 24 week training program but after opening my own gym, my training time reduced considerably and if I am entirely honest all those long hours of cycling and running became boring when I discovered Crossfit.  I became totally obsessed with it and in 3 months I found I was fitter, stronger and more flexible than ever with an increased mental attitude towards life and training.

Then I realised that I only had 8 weeks left before the race.  With hardly any triathlon training I entered straight into a middle distance race the Immortal and totally smashed it and third in my age cat, 3 weeks later I completed the Bosk man which is a little more than a middle distance.  In the few weeks that followed I squeezed in two 100 mile rides and ran no more than 16 miles.  I did however continue to do Crossfit at least 5 times a week.  My posture has improved and made me a faster swimmer and being a triathlon coach  I  know that swimming regularly does improve swimming so how did it work that I was swimming only once a week but still getting stronger and fitter.  My core strength had doubled allowing an improved posture in the water with strong arms and shoulders and new strong legs improved my hill climbing. 

The swim didn't go quite as planned, even though it was a small wave of elite, women and men over 60.  I got punched early on in the swim which totally threw me and I ended up with some anxiety issues so rested on the paddle boat for a short while.  It was here that my swim started to go wrong. My googles kept continuously steaming up and it was increasing difficult to sight anything and ended up going of course. Luckily for me there was an Australian exit so I took that time to sort out my googles.  They didn't steam up on the second loop but they were leaking and I was shocked to find that I still managed a PB on the swim course.  It made me think what I could have done if the swim had gone a lot more smoothly.  

The bike course was a little cheeky, a nice flat start and then hills started. It wasn't just one hill it was a constant climb but you were rewarded with some nice fast descents especially on the second loop when you knew the road.  Most of the roads had been closed and there were bands and huge support on the hills.  I was so glad to be off the bike as my ass was numb. 

So just a marathon to complete.  I ran the first 2 loops so about 12 miles and the temperatures soared.  It was over 28 degrees and energy levels were fading.  What I noticed in the last stages of the marathon was the odd body shapes that people were displaying as they ran, torsos pointing one way and leg another.  My posture however remained strong and I started a run walk  plan. I ran 100 steps and walked 25.  This increased my min mileage considerably and started to cover a lot of ground.  
When I finally saw the finish line I literally walked down it milking my finish and enjoying it.  My total time 13.35.   I was really pleased with this time off a 8 week training program and without a shadow of doubt I know that Crossfit made me a stronger, faster athlete without all those junk miles.  The short intense workouts in Crossfit kept my aerobic levels there and the renewed flexibility and strength increased my performance.  
Another factor I noticed was my recovery.  After Lanzarote last year I felt fatigued for few months.  This year after weeks recovery I was back on it and feeling fine.  

Now I know Crossfit is a personal thing  but after doing regular strength and conditioning programs for couple of years trying to make myself stronger did help to a point but Crossfit changed my body like nothing had before.  

I am proud to be a Crossfitting triathlete and it worked for me.  Why not give it a go