An evening with Chrissie Wellington

“The only way we grow in life is by pushing ourselves and testing ourselves.”

Sue was lucky enough to attend an event with four times Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington last week as she was announced as the new ambassador for sports nutrition brand 33 Shake (that’s Chrissie of course – not Sue!)  
Sue’s been a big fan of 33 Shake products for the last year, using their fabulous natural Chia Seed gels for her endurance events. 
Here are the top 15 tips Chrissie shared at the informal event with customers and the media:
1.  As an amateur athlete you’re often trying to combine training and racing with working and family etc so remember to be kind to yourself. Keep things in perspective and consider any success you have in triathlon ‘in the context of your life’.
2.  Focus on the quality of your training rather than quantity, even if you’re training for something like an Ironman event. Once you have an endurance base, there’s little value in doing lots of ‘junk miles’. Better to focus on intensity with interval training and tough brick sessions.
3.  Don’t be scared to change coaches. And remember it’s better to have no coach than a bad coach.
4.  Using the treadmill can be a great addition to training – especially to help increase cadence for the run which is key, especially off the bike.
5.  Find ways to make sure you can fit your training into the time you have. Using a turbo trainer (*or Wattbike!) for a cycle means there’s no freewheeling so an hour on the turbo can be worth two outside. Chrissie also recommended a 20 minute fartlek workout from Steve Moneghetti – more details here:
6.  Realise that everyone gets nervous. Spend time training your mind in the way you would train your body. Chunk down a race into achievable sections – think about getting to that first buoy, or the first 20k on the bike or think of the marathon a 4 x 10k with a little more.
7.  Practice disassociating your mind from your body and taking it to a happy place. Chrissie has a soundtrack that listens to in training and she associates different tracks with different stages of the race and then has the songs in her head during a race.

8.  Keeping things in perspective also helps you cope with the pressure. If you fail is the world going to fall apart? Probably not.
9.  Every triathlete should be doing strength and conditioning training – but make sure it’s targeted to your sport and overcoming your weaknesses. Chrissie realised her speed always tailed off at the end of the marathon because she needed more strength in her hamstrings and glutes.
10.  The sign of a good race is how well you overcome adversity. Don’t go into a race expecting everything to go smoothly. The key is overcoming the imperfections perfectly.
11.  Try to switch off a bit before the race. Don’t get yourself overly nervous by hanging around in your wetsuit in the transition area for too long and feeding off other people’s nerves. Chrissie takes herself off somewhere to listen to music and relax.
12.  Accept that no one ever sleeps well the night before a race so don’t expect to, and don’t stress about it if you don’t. The key is to bank good sleep in the weeks before an event.
13.  Eat a balanced diet and try to eat food that’s as close to the source as possible - lean meat and fish, complex carbs like quinoa, spelt and wild rice, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and veg.
14.  Holding ice cubes in your hands can be a great way to keep your core temperature down when racing in hot places.
15.  Think of a triathlon in its entirety. For example, how well you take on fluid on the bike can dramatically affect how dehydrated you are on the run.
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