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Tri-Me Tape 107

Mindset, motivation and multiple sports, the Tri Me Tapes are the audio journal of an amateur athlete, Abi Dawson.

Seeking a new challenge and an opportunity to improve her mindset Abi made the commitment to try new sports and compete.

Initially, she identified triathlon as a true test of grit, physicality and most importantly mental fortitude.

Join Abi and her partner in crime Matt as they discuss the journey to competition, the highs, the lows and lessons learnt along the way.

In this tape of Tri-Me Tapes Podcast, we review the 16 - 18 weeks of training. Looking at weight management whilst ensuring nutrition is on point for endurance training. How food, recovery and increased workload leads towards anxiety, self-doubt and criticism of Abi’s ability in the sport.

If you are a new listener to The Tri Me Tapes, we would love to hear from you. Please visit our Facebook Page and share your athletic adventures!

In this episode, we discuss:

01:06 Accountability & supporting those that are new to triathlon

01:50 Kit guide for beginner triathletes

03:49 Riding in extreme weather conditions

05:54 Kids size crash helmet top tip

07:02 Weight and nutrition update

08:57 Sugar & fueling the body for endurance training

10:00 Sleep, recovery & taking control of your nutrition

13:13 Accountability for your own diet

14:17 16 week review of training, mindset & progression

17:48 Anxiety, mistakes & high expectations

21:10 Training alone and the effects on the mind

22:40 Rest week & recovery - the dangers of burnout

23:51 Training plan overview

25:29 Negative & Positive effects of tri-training

28:54 Data Vs Body - What to listen to?

31:24 Advice for starting your fitness journey

32:13 Booking the first event! Woo Woking!

34:01 What is a Brick?

38:48 Summary of 18 weeks of training

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Abi: I went to the gym today. Shock.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: Did a little bit of dealifts, Little bit of pulls, and a little bit running. I haven't got any aches and pains.

Matt: No?

Abi: Yet.

Matt: No aches and pains at all?

Abi: Nope.

Matt: Any pains in your shins?

Abi: No.

Matt: Interesting.

Abi: I think I'm robust.

Matt: Do you?

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: You think you're robust now?

Abi: Yeah, because I did like 500 double-unders yesterday and didn't faze me.

Matt: Didn't faze and didn't faze you?

Abi: No.

Matt: Hard as nails.

Abi: Hard as nails.

Matt: Welcome to the Tri-Me Tapes, an audio journal of an amateur athlete. I'm Matt

Abi: And I'm Abi.

Matt: And we're here to discuss Abi's athletic adventures.

Abi: What tape are we on?

Matt: Tape seven.

Abi: Tri-Me Tape Seven.

Matt: Tri-Me Tape Seven. Obviously, we're doing these in the future and looking back, working out where she was at, what she was doing with her triathlon training, your accountability, isn't it?

Abi: A little bit of accountability. And I think, sharing experiences I think it gives people a little bit of support, especially if they're doing something that's maybe on their own and they don't haven't got any experience beforehand of like where to go.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: I was quite lucky. I had a coach and so he like guide me a little bit more, but if you're literally going at it by yourself, you don't have a team or anything, then you don't know where you're, like what to buy or

Matt: Where to go.

Abi: Where to go.

Matt: So tape seven. We are going on a little journey now, cause you've been doing it a while. Yeah. We go through all the motions in this episode, there's all sorts going on.

Blog kit, kit more kit is a really comprehensive blog about everything you've bought. And we've discussed that in other podcasts. When you were writing this comprehensive list of all the kit you bought, it's obviously designed to really help newbies, like you said, get into it.

How are you enjoying the triathlon training at this point, when you were sort of writing this huge kit list out?

Abi: I think there's obviously some point in the training that's a little bit of relief when you're giving people advice on things that work for you. So especially like with the seat, for example, if you've listened to the previous podcast, then you know that I've had issues with like trying to find the right seat, which everyone would go through because everyone's different. So then when you finally get one that actually doesn't hurt. It is just

Matt: So you were pretty pleased with your findings kind of building this blog then?

Abi: Yeah. And also sometimes it's nicer to have a blog that's a little bit more direct because I know that I can babble on a little bit and I might just talk about my own opinion or my own emotions. Some people might be like, Oh God, we get it, right. Whereas, if you want to know straight to the point, like, what did help here you go, this is it.

Matt: So what did you buy that you do not use anymore? Any regrets purchase buyer's remorse?

Abi: The bike shoes, obviously the clip-on shoes. They were a waste, but they weren't very expensive, so they weren't particularly comfortable, but I didn't wear them as prescribed when I did wear them, like going outside, because it was about, it was this time, last year, really that I did start wearing them. Oh my God, my toes, they froze death, which is why people wear overshoes. So like, I know somebody who's a really keen cyclist and he just said he cuts holes in the bottom of his socks.

So he doesn't buy official overshoes. He just buys, just has socks over the top of his shoes and then cuts holes. And so he can clip in and out. But yeah, toes were frozen. I remember getting caught outside. It was like blistering winds. It was actually sleeting. I'd gone completely the wrong way, and I'm not very confident on the road.

So I was trying to go back roads. Which were crappy anyway, especially on a road bike, because it's got no give, like, it's got no suspension

Matt: No suspension.

Abi: And the tires are thin as anything

Matt: Paper thin.

Abi: And there's ...

Matt: No grip

Abi: and there's hills everywhere. And the brakes are not,

Matt: You can't reach the brakes.

Abi: They're not amazing. So that was tough in itself and then I got on this main road and I was just thinking sh*t, I put my head down and I was like, my thing in my head that just kept saying was "I'm alive!".

Matt: This is me living my best life. I'm alive. Damn it.

Abi: I feel alive. And then every time that the wind got a bit harder, it's like in the moment, like, you know, you get sleet in your face. You're like, Oh yeah, come on, bring it on.

Matt: Like Lieutenant Dan and the crow's nest

Abi: Exactly like that. Thats how I felt. I'm a fucking hero.

Matt: Getting lost. It brings me on to one of the quotes from this is about your Wahoo Element bike computer. "This has turned out to be a lifesaver, my confidence to get up and go on the roads and commit to a ride has grown so much because of this gadget." How would you feel about going out for a ride now, without that gadget?

Abi: I think it'd be fine.

Matt: Yeah?

Abi: Yeah. I think I've got confidence in my fitness more than anything, which I didn't have back then. And so I know that I could go out, it could be hours on end and I'd still be fine and I could get up hills and things. Whereas, before if I found that I like come up to a hill, that was just never-ending I'd think, shit I've got to get off and walk. And especially if I was in those clipping shoes, I'd just feel a little bit like stupid.

Whereas, now I don't really, I'm not really all that if I look stupid.

Matt: Would you get lost?

Abi: Yes, I got, I used the wahoo. I was talking about this story. I used it and I still got lost. I ended up on a main road.

Matt: The last thing I like about this blog, what is your top tip for buying a helmet? If you've got a small head. And you said, "now the measurement of my head puts me in the lowest end of an adult head size category. Stop laughing. It's in proportion." Oh.

Abi: It's not really because actually they just get, the actual middle part of the helmet fits, especially, you know when you get children's helmets and they get that tear off velcro padding, that you can get that you just get thicker and thicker and thicker. The middle part fits, but then there's just masses of space in between that middle part and the outside. And I just looked like an absolute twat. So, yeah, I got to get kiddie's helmet.

Matt: Kid's helmet, no VAT, absolute bargain.

Abi: Yeah. I think also with that, definitely look to get something proper. I mean, like your head's invaluable, isn't it. If you get knocked off your bike and got a head injury because you didn't either wear one or it's not good enough, or it's had a little crack in it and you didn't replace it, like just get one.

Matt: However, it does sound like you had an accident in your next blog.

Abi: Go on.

Matt: InBody. Opening gambit, after my shocking post-Christmas check-in weighing at 61.6 kilos. Not particularly

Abi: Can I just jump up in there? Like I'm like 64 to 65 kilos now.

Matt: But you're so disappointed in it.

Abi: Oh, God, I think at the time when you think that you are training and you've got a fuel that training, it's so frustrating when you don't have the right balance, which I think most people get pissed off about, to be honest. And it can be that you're under fueling sometimes that you kind of get that body fat layer, depending on what food you're eating, depending on the intensity of the exercise.

Matt: Yeah. I mean, you seem pretty pissed off, if i am honest that you put on fat and lost muscle mass.

Abi: Also, I think going back then, if I was to go on the scales now the same InBody scanner, which is one that basically tells you your body fat percentage, your muscle mass, and then can dictate it like how much water you've got in the body, et cetera. Yeah.

If I was to go on it now, it wouldn't piss me off so much because the small changes of the number doesn't really mean anything, especially when you're a woman and your hormones change all the time, you got higher water retention at different points of your cycle.

It can be what you've eaten over the weekend. It can be that you've had a bit more carbs, which means that you hold more water or there's so many variables. And if it really wouldn't make much difference looking at a person, it's just how you feel. And I probably felt a bit flumpier then, and I don't, I think I was probably eating quite a lot of carbs because

Matt: Yeah, you say here is that every session for each discipline was physically demanding these longer duration compared to my usual resistance weight training left me feeling fatigued. Which resorted to me, looking for sugary foods to binge on.

Abi: Yeah, it's a cycle. Isn't it? When you get tired, what do you want to? Do you want to comfort eat crappy foods?

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: And I've probably already fuelled myself for that training, especially if I'm in sort of that zone of the fat-burning zone where your heart rates not mega high, or even if it was like, you're still doing an hours training. It depends on what you're doing for the rest of your day. Like I am a personal trainer, but sometimes, your days can be just coaching. So it's not exactly demonstrating a lot. I could be standing, but not moving around and then yeah.

Matt: You said here that you felt that the increasing intensity combined with your choice of foods left you feeling lethargic and needing afternoon naps after the long days, or to get through the long days. Do you think these are like just symptoms of a bad diet?

Abi: Can be. Can be over-training. I did probably, I think at that time I did think I was over-training. I don't think I was very good at sleeping. And when you are getting into the sort of over-training stage, your body needs to sleep, to recover. But for some, I don't know about the scientific reasons why you don't, but in during the night you get like disruptive sleep, which then again is into that, like that cycle of just being tired.

So you'd go into training, you think you're doing well, but you might be like half-assed, but you're not putting in your effort because you're tired. Not fueled enough because you think, Oh God I've eaten too much. So I'm just going to cut back a little bit today, which is stupid because then you won't be able to train efficiently.

Matt: Yeah. You got to keep fueling it.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: Consistency is more important as opposed to like, Oh, I've trained hard, so I need to eat differently as to days when you're not training hard or days when you feel tired.

Abi: Yeah. And I think as well, just before that scan, I'm pretty sure I had conversations with people. I was like, I'm not into the sort of physique at the moment, I'm into performance. I'm not really too bothered about what I look like. And then actually, by doing that scan it put me back into that negative headspace about what it looked like, which again like

Matt: Do you feel that's a bit superficial?

Abi: Yeah, it is. And I think any woman feels like that.

Matt: Your response was to track your food?

Abi: I think there is a benefit to that, especially if I wasn't getting something right. And maybe that, like that whole tiredness, it might be coming from just eating processed sugary foods that are just giving me that quick burst of energy, but it's not sustaining my training and not sustaining my energy throughout the day. So tracking your foods can be good to just identify what you're putting in, how many calories that you're eating, but I wouldn't do it for a long period of time.

Matt: So it was a two-pronged detector. You can see what you're eating as to like, whether it's good or bad, but then there's also the accountability that because you've got to put it in an app, you might not pick up something to eat if you know that you've got the write that in the app.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: You know, it's true.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: I think when people track, it might change how they eat because they don't want to admit in the app that they've done it.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: And then when they stopped tracking those cheeky little munch bars come back into play because there's no one holding them accountable for it.

Abi: I think as well that app is available for anybody, isn't it? But if you don't know anything about nutrition, they give you a number to hit. And they don't care about how you hit it. Sometimes, where you might differentiate of the fats, the carbs and the proteins and distribute what, like your whole foods throughout the day, but people don't know what's a good carb. People don't know what's a good fat. People don't know what, you know, how much protein they should be eating a day, depending on their activity level, depending on like their body type, as well.

So if they don't have the information, I don't think maybe I wasn't as clued up as I am now, then it's just a bit like you're just filling the gap with whatever you think is okay to eat. Not that I was stupid, not, I was like, okay, I'm going to choose a cookie over like a meal, because I'd rather that than the meal. But I would put it in if I had it and then it might be over my calories and then I'll know that like, okay, well I did that maybe four times this week, that's probably where I'm going wrong because I keep eating that sugary food that I just forget about.

Matt: It is interesting how guys and girls really respond to numbers like that. Do you think that your kickback reaction is part like, maybe like self-loathing because you were training hard, but you knew you were eating sugary goods, but you were training hard? So it kind of justified it, and then Christmas on top where everyone eats cheese, chocolate and beer and wine and stuff. You came out of it and you got a result that kind of said, you've spent the last four weeks eating sugar.

Abi: Yeah. It's naive I think, as well it's a thing that, you know, you're going to be ripped the whole year-round. You're not, you're probably only going to look your best, like just before you compete or just after, and then the rest of the time. You're trying to fuel your body to get through the training. So like putting in good foods and then not worrying about sort of, whether you've got abs or not.

Matt: Okay. Pushing on, which is the name of the next blog.

Abi: Oh ,I like what you did there.

Matt: Segue.

16 weeks. So this is quite a sort of midpoint for us in the grand scheme of things. And you say here, "Wow, what a journey so far. I've learned so much, technique, perseverance, fatigue, all rolled into one." Another line here, "Those days where you commit, even though you feel like you have nothing left at the most important to me."

So 16 weeks we're into the end of February now. So you've been going pretty strong since October.

Abi: Yeah, I think that probably comes from some of the training sessions that I did when I was pushed for a certain time period, that I'd been able to complete something. So for example, if I was going swimming, the pool was only open at certain times of the day and also quiet at certain points of the day. And with all the bloody equipment and the different sort of strokes that I'd have to do, I wouldn’t want to get in people's way. And I wouldn't want people to get in my way.

Matt: Because you could be quick doing one drill and then the next drill you could be painfully slow.

Abi: Yeah. So I have to keep skipping through lanes. Sorry. I'm slow now.

Matt: Doggy paddle.

Abi: That was one.

Matt: Was it?

Abi: Yeah. So it was like fighting with myself to get up at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to make sure that I get in the pool and I get my hours training. And I've said about the confidence on the bike. It was just like screaming at myself in my head to get up and I'd have arguments with myself in my head to be like, just do it, just get up and do it. And there've been times where I give in and I'd feel so bad for it that I'd try and do something else. So maybe squeezing in a different type of training just to make sure that yeah, just to make sure that I've done something, but there's only so many times that you can do that.

And it's like, that's probably why I think a lot of trainers wouldn't program themselves to do it for like, for their own training, because they would always pick what their favourite thing to do is avoid the thing that they dont like.

Matt: But I mean, 16 weeks, what you're saying there is, you are overcoming just that sort of real beginner thing of just showing up. Just sticking to the plan. At 16 weeks, were you like assessing yourself in terms of like development in strength, speed, ability?

Abi: Yeah, I think I needed like a little bit of check-in time. I don't know. I can't remember when I actually went to the {tri} club for the first time. I don't know if I've wrote about it, but anyway, just by being involved with other people, it just gives you that little bit of light of competitiveness back that you are on the right track. You have got some talent, you have got some fitness and

Matt: Cause up until this point the only real ... unless you're doing that with a club, you've only got the measurement markers of what it says in the app. From when you do workouts.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: At which point you need to do an identical workout,16 weeks on to see progress.

Abi: Yeah. And don't get me wrong. Like we I'd have chats with Jimmy every week. We'd have long old chats about how I felt about something. And, but I always feel that if I don't know a person completely, I don't know if they are being completely transparent with me. So they might just be really nice and just say like, Oh, you're just doing really well. And I'd be like, no, like lay it down. What am I doing wrong?

Matt: Right.

Abi: And where can I improve? Because I need to know the guidance.

Matt: Yeah. This blog, you also talk quite a lot about anxiety. "Anxiety is an issue in so many of us and it is now recognized and encouraged to be spoken about to help overcome feelings that make us just want to crumble and hide." You've been showing up. You've been doing the training sessions. You've been seeing improvement, but you've still got anxiety at the forefront. At this point, were you finding like revelation in getting over anxiety or was it still there like what you've just said, like, is someone being honest with me? Am I training well? Am I wasting my time or am I progressing?

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: Cause it was one of those things in that one that you said, Oh, I don't want to feel this sort of niggle that I've done something wrong or,

Abi: I think it was probably still relevant. I think it's still there. I think he probably still is now, like there has been some challenges that I've done now where, where it stopped me, where I don't want to do it because I either don't want to hurt myself or I don't want to look stupid. I think I just said in the last podcast that I don't care if I look stupid, but it's not that I don't want to look stupid to other people. I just don't want to have that something else for me to analyze, because if I make a mistake, like I sit there and I think about

Matt: What you've done wrong

Abi: What I've done wrong.

Matt: And how you can make it better.

Abi: Yeah. And maybe like that sort of body experience of being like of watching yourself do it and just thinking, Oh God, you are a twat.

Matt: You talked about exploring and sharing stories can be inspiration for someone else to try something new. Like the blog, this podcast is made so that other people can find solace in you suffering anxiety and your experiences.

Abi: I think that's so true because don't you feel? I know I do. If I watch somebody who is okay at something or good at something and they make the mistake, it makes you feel human. It makes you feel like, or them human and makes you feel like it's achievable. Something is achievable. And if you do make a mistake, it's not the end of the world.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: But because of what we're surrounded by, God we're going down this path, but like Instagram and everything of you get that perfect picture all the time. You always see the perfect lift. You always see the, like the best races. And so it's just, you're constantly having that high expectation of yourself to be something that you don't need to be, you don't need to be perfect.

Matt: Yeah. The pro, doing, starting. Doing the process to find perfection.

Abi: What's practice, like practice, is just you repeating something until it gets better.

Matt: You have to do it wrong to learn.

Abi: You have to do it wrong you learn, but or you set a marker don't you. And you've done it once. And you say, okay, well, I'm going to learn from my experience this time and maybe push a little bit hard or like hold back, which is another sort of learning experience in itself, isn't it? When to be like, okay, well, I push too hard here, so I haven't got that in the tank. So pull back.

Matt: What were you most anxious about sort of 16 weeks in? What were the things that were giving you regular anxiety?

Abi: Probably getting out on the road for my bike.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: I like training on your own anyway, was I think it was just starting to cut, become sort of grinding. It didn't matter so much in the pool because once your heads in the pool and I had so much to think about in the pool, but yeah, whenever I was doing any sort of bike training or running. It was just felt like I was just on my own. There was no feedback. I didn't know whether I'd done it okay. And if I'd come back, I have a little bit of a niggly injury or

Matt: Just push yourself a little bit too hard.

Abi: Or like my time, like if I saw someone had written something like a really quick 15K and they'd never done any sort of training before and mine was way longer. I'd have been like, for God sake like, I'm the one who's training and I'm not even as good as those people, but they could have had it to completely different systems, for numbers. They could be completely different with their fitness, as well like don't compare yourself to other people it's going to, this was the whole point is that I wanted to see what I could do without having to compete.

Matt: And that's how you finish the blog, "I'm learning the most important thing so far is the ability to listen to myself and choose how I respond. Deep man."

Abi: So deep.

Matt: So deep. So you would just fight in those like resistances in the mind. You were pushing pretty hard in some training sessions and you were getting niggles and you were getting tired. We're talking about sort of your diet after Christmas, you were having naps. Would you say you were finding the training ever more difficult as we head into your next blog, which is the rest week?

Abi: Yeah, I think once you start getting the hang of some of the skills, so for example, with the swimming, and it's not focusing on the balance point in the water and things like that, then you're just looking at trying to increase the distance, which is then more endurance, which is then obviously more taxing on body and the mind. And then with my job as well, though, quite long hours and different hours. So balancing the two, yeah started taking its toll. And no matter what training you do, you'll probably always have some sort of de-load week where you just back off and lower the intensity so that your body has a time to, you know, revamp, recover.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: But at this point, I think I was doing,

Matt: You sound rereading from this. You sound burnt out because your opening line is, "Hallelujah! Rest week. You know, in the movies were an adventure, isn't it hot deserted place. And they're desperate to find water. The Mirage blurs the town that is so near, but so far, this is how I've felt for the last week. Running on fumes, trying to get the best out of my last program sessions."

What sessions were you doing? What did the week look like?

Abi: So I would be doing two swims.

Matt: Yep.

Abi: About 5,000 meters in total. Two runs starting to build up a distances now because my injury had started to subside. So it'd be going for one minute on one minute off, and then increasing the time of doing that as well.

I would completely recommend that by the way, if you are a beginner runner or you have an injury. Is just by working through time and your body has a chance to get used to the impact and rather than you trying to push for a distance where you might then overrun or you might yeah push through a niggle that then turns out to be a bit more of an injury.

You get a chance to improve as well.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: Two indoor bike session, so on the concept2 bike static bike in the gym. And they would have been between 45 minutes and an hour trying to hit around about 25 K in each session, so 50 K on the bike. And then I'd want to get out a weekend for one day. I'm doing an endurance ride that would last from an hour and a half to two hours.

Again, there would be about 30 to 35K and then two strength and conditioning sessions, which were about an hour. But like I said, lowering the intensity of any weight, but working on core stability and building strength with still doing compound moves, but yeah, just lighter.

Matt: Busy girl.

Abi: Was tough.

Matt: Do you think all this training prior to this rest week was it affecting your sleep?

Abi: Yeah, it was affected my sleep when I was getting a bit snappy.

Matt: Yeah. What other parts of your life do you think? Cause triathlon, it's interesting. The excitement at the start, I'm doing something for myself, I'm doing something that's gonna challenge me. I'm gonna do something that's gonna better my mindset. And that's going to make you all round better person. For the people around you and what you do in life going forward. There's that excitement then there's the learning, the disciplines. And then you're kind of seeing progress. And now we're getting to this point where it's hard work.

You're exhausted.

Abi: I think whenever I'm given something to do, I will pretty much always try and complete it. Like I think I started right at the beginning of the blogs where I had a system on Training Peaks that it turns red if you don't do the session.

Matt: Yeah I remember that. Not an amber!

Abi: But yeah. So if it's not completed, then I have that red and then it's, that's basically what it feels like in my head that I've missed something out and I would give it my all. So I would commit to the training sessions, but it would be like, it would start being like a burden to do. And it would be that, it would be like an argument between maybe you and I, where it'd be like, Oh God, it's all right for you. Like, you don't have to do this, or, Oh, I've got to do, I've got to do this ride on the weekend.

Not that I get to, not that I, it's going to be chilled or that we can get time to spend together. It's like, it's another thing that I've got to do. It's got to, I've got to fit it into my life. Whereas, if you're enjoying your training, it shouldn't feel like that.

Matt: No. Is that what it feels like when you're running on fumes? How would you describe to someone feeling like you're running on fumes?

Abi: Yeah, I think it feels like that. It feels like

Matt: The things you chose to do become a chore.

Abi: You wake up tired basically.

Matt: Yeah. You say here that it's taken some dedication. Do you think at this point, this is something that you've been the most dedicated to?

Abi: For sure. Yeah. I think I'm committed to those training days entirely. But like I said, getting up to go to a training facility. So the swimming pool or the running track or its hard in itself to get motivated to go out and do that. And then to complete the train sessions as prescribed, takes a heck of a lot of motivation and dedication, which I don't think I would have ever done before, because previously my experience would have been with hockey or weight training.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: And even with hockey, like when I was playing for Crowborough, I'm not as much East Grinstead, but when I was playing for Crowborough. I'd miss out training sessions. Like, it'd be like, well, it's raining or I'm tired or it's really cold. I'm not gonna, I'm not going to do it. And then like, it would impact the weekend for sure.

And then when I'm there as well, I love it. It's just that hurdle that it's like, you don't

Matt: Gotta get up and go and do it.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: That's the biggest, that's the hardest part. And it's interesting, like you love the hockey, you didn't train, you were just doing it for fun. So you didn't always train because, you know, it's just for fun, but in all honesty, this is just for fun in the grand scheme of things. I know it's got bigger meaning, but at this point, it felt pretty serious.

Abi: Yeah. I've said that I was going to do it, so I'm going to do it.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: That's why like East Grinstead worked out better. When I played there for hockey, cos one, it was a lot of money, so my money was on the line. Yeah and two, I wanted to get better. I wanted to prove myself that I was worth being in certain teams in that club. And if you didn't train, you didn't get into certain teams so.

Matt: Yeah. That's fair enough. You talk here about training peaks that you've just mentioned. It claims that your fitness level was at 68 and you started at zero. You were talking about your fatigue levels ranging from 80 to minus 20. And you write here, this clever a kit tells me I'm tired. I am tired. When you were going through all of your triathlon training, how important were the numbers to you on that app? I mean, if this told you that you weren't fatigued. And it, you got programmed a rest week. Would you have looked at the numbers and emotionally responded to those as opposed to listen to how your body feels?

Abi: I think one I'd always do as I'm told. So if someone knew better for me and knew that at this point in the program, it's better to come off the pedal, take a chill week and then go back on. Especially as I'm personal trainer. Like I know my shit. No, but

Matt: But more for like people out there that are just doing this on their own. They've listened to this podcast because they haven't got a coach. They like it. They've bought 220 magazine. Right. I'm going to do a triathlon. I want to find something for amateurs out there. They've got the training peaks app and they've like had maybe like someone just programming some stuff, but then not getting the check-ins that you are. They might not even get like a rest week.

Abi: And I think like, listen to your body, basically, like I knew I was tired. That system knew I was tired, but the good thing about that is that it came up with a graph to show that I had made progression, which is kind of.

Matt: So as a gift and a curse.

Abi: Yeah.

But you get that with anything, like, you know, if you're progressing in the gym, like with the members in the gym, you could say the same. That I know for a fact that over certain periods of the year, people get really bloody excited about going back to the gym and they'll. Yeah, and they'll come in every single day. They'll cry, they moaned about aching and how they're so tired. And they won't put in their top effort into the session because they can't, they physically can't because they just need to have a rest day and they don't. It's not always so understanding that if you take a day off, it's more beneficial for you than if you just keep trying to push through.

Matt: Do you see these waves of people? January, you see a wave of people. When the weather changes around April, May and the sun starts coming out, people take their top off in the garden, they realize they're pasty and they've got no abs and they all of a sudden appear back in the gym. As a personal trainer, and as it like as a soft tissue therapist, what's your tips for sort of not getting carried away or trying to overtrain in a short period?

Abi: Start at the minimum. Start at the minimum. Like you find the volume that works for you. You shouldn't really be coming away from the gym every time with horrendous DOMS, like muscle fatigue. To start off with anyway, you just need to ease yourself into it. You don't get fit whilst you're training, you get fit from the recovery from it and grow muscle from the recovery of it. So yes, you are like doing the training. Yes, you are creating that muscle damage, but then all that muscle growth comes from you refuelling, you from recovering.

Matt: So the recovery and refuel needs to be programmed just as much as the training itself.

Abi: Yes.

Matt: I like the end of this blog because. Bup bup, bup, bup. She booked an event.

Abi: I did.

Matt: This is it. Week 17 of your training, you finally booked an event.

Abi: So that was coerced by Jimmy who had kept giving me options and said, have I booked anything? Cause it's so much easier for him to program in. What we should be doing at certain points of the year, so that we're ready for the events. And then obviously once you get them in, then you could be a little bit more specific. I chose this one because

Matt: Woking, you chose.

Abi: Woking, because it was specifically not for beginners, but it was like,

Matt: It was a good barrier to entry.

Abi: Yeah

Matt: Low barrier to entry.

Abi: Yeah. And it wasn't open water swimming as in a pool.

Matt: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Sure.

Abi: So.

Matt: Working relatively flat? Did you see the course?

Abi: Relatively flat? Yeah. Yeah, the rum was under park. So I didn't want to get lost. And yeah, so it'd be a good one to enter it in and it wasn't too long a distance either.

Matt: But yeah, you paid for it. It obviously got cancelled because of COVID.

Abi: Postponed actually.

Matt: Postponed. So, you're going to do it when it comes back around?

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: So season two, everybody. There is going to be a cheeky triathlon.

Abi: Pulled my hammy, week before. Watch this space.

Matt: Abi has seen into the future.

Abi: I can feel it.

Matt: She can feel a hamstring going of solid six months in advance.

Abi: It's tight now.

Matt: Is it? Talking about hammies, your last blog that we're going to talk about in this tape is what the fuck is it brick? I think I should just leave this up to you. We've got some audio of this one, which we'll share with you.

Abi: I just did my first brick, 21K bike, which took me an hour and 10 or one hour and 11, if we're going to be specific. And I just did a two-kilometre run. So that was my first experience of a transition. I like felt like jelly. My toes took a little while to warm up. But all in all, not too bad.Well done me.

I wrote the title like that because that's basically what I thought when I saw it on my training schedule. And I had it wasn't until a few days, but I got in contact with Jimmy that I clarified what it actually was.

Matt: She's learning to clarify with her coach what he's expecting of her.

Abi: Hey, that was mean.

It's basically the transition between the two disciplines. So ...

Matt: Which two?

Abi: We were doing, it can't be any, but yeah, we were doing the bid part and the end part was what was programmed for me. So it was starting to get the feeling of putting your bite back as quickly as you can changing your shoes, if you needed to help me, I was already ready. See?

Matt: Flat pedals, everybody. Don’t need no clipless!

Abi: But yeah, straight into just a shorter distance run to start off with getting the body used to the transition.

Matt: Yeah. How did you find that kind of change on your legs? Cause we've been carrying this little injury since October. How was getting off the bike? What were you doing on a bike? Like a 90-minute bike ride and then going for a little jog?

Abi: Yeah, it was hot. It wasn't bad of my injury, but it just felt like my legs was so heavy and because I was training winter time, my feet were cold.

Matt: Yeah. You said I could not feel my toes

Abi: Overshoes, everyone overshoes. No, as soon as I got off the bike, like yeah, just try to wiggle my toes. Trying to shake out any lactic acid that sort of built up in my quads. That just felt like they were heavy as hell. It was tough.

Matt: Yeah. How many bricks did you do?

Abi: Three or four?

Matt: Three or four?

Abi: That had been my first one. I thought I'm talking about that one.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: Hmm. So triathlon would have been booked for ...

Matt: The triathlon was booked for the 5th of April.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: We're kind of like a month away. You started doing Bricks. How you, what was your mindset at this point? You were like doing those big sessions?

Abi: I think, you’ll hear in the tape that I was actually quite pleased, my effort that I didn't feel horrendously bad. And it was nice to get that sort of experience under my belt of changing from one to the other, knowing that I had the fitness levels, but just maybe needed to tighten up at certain points, like getting off the bike and where it goes. Obviously, in an actual event, there are transition places and stations and rules, and like, limited kit of what you can have and stuff.

Matt: Were you worried about that really? I mean, was your first one where you just going to sort of turn up and see what happened?

Abi: I shit in my pants. Cause you come out of the pool and I would have been in my triathlon suit, which I did buy, I bought like a two-piece. One a top and some like shorty buttons, which had a little bit of a little bit of padding for the bike ride. But yeah, shit my pants like even wearing that in the pool. Cause it's so different to like just wearing a swimming costume. Like walking on gravel with bare feet, knowing where to go cos I just get really scatty when I'm under pressure.

Matt: So these things are running through your mind now you've booked it. And now you're doing these like transitional.

Abi: It's making me nervous now. I don't want to do that. What I mean, I haven't, I've never done, the brick with the other way round. I've never got straight out the pool into a bike ride.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: I have done sessions where I've got the pool, got dry, you know. Put on my running shoes and then got out for a run. So again, the fitness is, was there, but it's more of the stress and the pressure of getting everything right.

Matt: Right. First time, don't only get told off by a marshall.

Abi: It doesn't matter. It doesn't.

Matt: Well, it doesn't. I mean, that was the idea. It was just get woking done and then work out

Abi: It be quite funny like, me fumbling around putting my helmet on backwards. I need to program my wahoo cause otherwise I go get lost.

Matt: Before you booked it we sort of like, look at some of the stuff we talked about across this tape, like you were shattered, you were disappointed in your sort of eating habits, which you looked at and then addressed, but that was a pressure and a stress. You were still suffering anxieties. About the training and what you were doing well enough, you were giving yourself these resistance points of just getting up and going and training. Rest week comes where you wholeheartedly admit you were absolutely shattered. And then on the back of the rest week.

Abi: Can I just say as well, the rest week is no rest.

Matt: Why?

Abi: Some training, like when you do, when you have like a de-load or a rest week, there are some training involved, so you don't go from a hundred to zero. So it was still sort of just getting on the bike, but just like a light, lighter spin. But I felt that they were still tough. But like, you know, sort of when you, if you're into weight training and you have been used to that, like heavy lifting, and then you go back and you start lifting like maybe like 75%. And you're like, Jesus Christ, the world was on my shoulders here. Like I could lift way more than this 25% more than this, like a couple of weeks ago.

But this week, I just feel like absolute crap.

Matt: So that was a challenge. That was like a mental challenge, as well as that de-load week.

Abi: I think I'm almost angry that I had to do it because it was not only my body that needed a rest. It was my mind. So then I was frustrated that it was just like, I've still got to try and fit this in. I've still got to think about doing it. It's still, there's still numbers involved. I've still got to hit certain threshold and it's just like, nah.

Matt: I'm just restful as you want.

Abi: I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to go out for a long run. Like I just wanted to stop and it probably, you probably could do it and you just completely stop and it wouldn't really affect your training.

Matt: No. But you got yourself. Put your big boy pants back on the next week. You booked the race, and then did you feel at that point that there was a shift again, back towards positivity towards the training because you booked that landmark moment, like I'm going to go there and I'm going to do a race.

Abi: I think it was also like the endpoint, like to see where I was at.

Matt: Yeah.

Abi: So yeah, it was like it's coming to an end, no matter what happens. I will be a little bit more clearer of where I want to go from there rather than training on my own. And not

Matt: Use that race as your proper benchmark. Can I do it? One, one race? Do I enjoy it? Well, I try and do a season?

Abi: And that's exactly what it was. It was a benchmark and that was the goal for the whole training. Anyway, I didn't think it would be so soon. The competition, from when I first started the training, but I know why it was advised that I did it then and I need it.

Matt: Crack on and see what happens.

Abi: Yeah.

Matt: Well that's tape seven. Tape seven, press the button.

Abi: *Click*.

Was that good?

Matt: Yeah good little click, I like that!

Thank you for listening to the Tri-Me Tapes. Don't forget to subscribe, to hear the rest of the tapes. If you'd like to give us a review, please head to or to share your athletic adventure. Join us on Facebook at

Abi: That's the start of the news, not the end.

Matt: It can be the end. If you want it to be the end, you're gonna make up an end one.

Abi: No.

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