One month (and a Day) in Australia

There’s something about easy weeks where my mind seems to relax and rather than having loads of time to get on with everything I drift along. No pressure to train hard equates to just no pressure at all. So much as I thought I know, I’ll post a months review exactly 1 month into my trip here it gets slightly delayed.

But here it is.

So far so good… The positives massively outweight any negatives I might have. During my big week with the additional stress of fitting in long hours of training and just keeping going I’ll admit there were times I missed my home environment. Without the added stress all of that just goes. When it comes down to it I’d much rather the stresses of endurance training than office life anyday too!

Whilst it’s more than a month since I left work and became an athlete, it’s only since I’ve been in Australia that I’ve fully been ‘living the dream’. As a lifestyle I love it, my time is my own to manage (note to self – need to get better at this), I spend many hours outdoors and I get to eat loads! Sure I also spend a lot of my time worn out, suffering on the bike as mates put in attacks or staring at a black line on the bottom of a pool.

Day to day life is pretty easy, partly because of the excellent homestay I have here. When I’m not training there’s the usual things that need to be done, but a lot of concerns like food shopping are taken care of! I help where I can, but when others go off to fulltime jobs and I have many hours of the day free you can’t help but feel a little guilty!

My life really does come down to just swimming, biking and running. I don’t see this becoming boring anytime soon. In part this is what the recovery weeks are for, it’s not just my body that needs to recover, but the mind too. Stepping away from obsessive tracking for a week and indulging a little allows me to reset ready for the next big block of training. Once I’m in that block life is a little monastic, leaving the house to train otherwise simply eating or resting. I love being in that highly focussed state, working towards my goals. I love logging the workouts and tracking results and slowly seeing (and feeling) the effects of training. Probably the greatest return from this lifestyle is the sense of achievement when hard training translates to greater fitness.

It’s not all isolation and vows of silence though. I was fortunate enough to meet some great guys on my last trip out here and to have a fast track to training groups. I love training with others, especially if they’re a little bit stronger than me. It pushes me along and keeps me honest. When you ride with somebody else you don’t want to be holding them back so I’ve been dragged up the side of mountains when my legs didn’t really want to go. Then again I also enjoy the lulls that occur where you chat whether it’s just more training talk or something else. Riding 500km a week solo gets boring at times whatever the scenery.

Gold Coast - looking south

Of course one of the reasons I chose Australia was the scenery, you have the beaches and the bush. All of this with a nice sunny climate so I could leave all those UK layers at home. Whilst last week presented a few more grey skies than I like to see largely it hasn’t disappointed. Things are still warming up too, summer is only just arriving. I am considered a bit of a freak by my family for my love of hot weather; I can’t wait for the temperature to reach the 30s!

If I’m going to mention negatives here than it has to be the glass on the roads. It’s a bit of a Gold Coast thing, but it’s everywhere here and sooner or later you’ll puncture. On a personal level the affinity mosquitos have for my blood and my reaction to their bites is a pain too. And there’s the Magpies, how could I forget them, I’ve even had the pleasure of an attack as I walked back from the coffee shop. I guess I should be pleased that so far I’ve not encountered anything venomous or that can eat me.

Whilst I’m a big fan of all things Australian one conclusion I have reached is it doesn’t necessarily have to be in Oz. In terms of my training the most important aspect of this trip is removing myslef from the distractions of my old environment. More than anything else this has facilitated the changes necessary to train to the best I can. I’m not wasting time on TV anymore and the internet is still time consuming, but nowhere near as much. I sleep longer hours getting to bed early and up with the sun. It’s hard to make these changes if you stay in the same environment as before, moving away makes them seem trivial in comparisson. I’ll be back in Europe next year and I hope that good training habits will stick and some long training camps abroad will keep things going.

To save you all from too much rambling I’ll draw things to a close. It’s going well, training and life in general. I’m loving every minute of it and feel very fortunate to be in a position to do this, especially as you watch the news of recession and economic crisis. I don’t think about it too much, but right now it’s hard to imagine returning to an office job sometime in the future. Discussing it over massage yesterday I know realistically I can’t reach the level of a top pro, I’ll never make money from just being a triathlete. It’ll be interesting to see how close I can get to the pros when I live and train like them though. I’m not going to regret taking the chance on finding that one out.

P.S. New race shoes!
New race shoes