After a drastic change in my plans for next season, and switching my from sprint distance triathlon to an ironman, I have now been working my arse off for a full FIVE weeks, so I thought here’s what I have learnt so far:

1. Consistency is key.

I cant count how many times I have heard this saying, and how annoying i found it at times, when, lets face, being consistent can be pretty draining, boring and tedious when things gets TOUGH. However, I have confirmed once more that there is nothing quite like it. No cutting corners in training, no slacking, and there is nothing like being motivated all the f*ng time. Discipline, perseverance and ticking training off one day at a time, outweighs any sporadic peaks of motivation. So here’s to another 33 weeks of remaining as consistent as I can.

2. Something is better than nothing.

Have you ever felt the pressure of thinking “either I’ll tick this training perfectly or I won’t do it at all?” Cuz I’ve been guilty time and time again. Over these five weeks, I’ve come to terms with the fact that training wont be perfect, and doing little and often when a lot and perfect isn’t on the cards is a much better option. I’ve implemented this “mantra” every time that I just haven’t feel like it, and guys… it works!

Linked to my previous learning point, when I haven’t had the capacity to get out of bed at 0600 to swim or zwift, I’ve kept telling myself that ‘something is very than nothing’. In my multiples attempts to swim as often as possible, I came to the conclusion that even if I swam “just” a mile every time that I was struggling to train, it would still accumulate to at least 5 miles a week, which is amazing for me. Unfortunately, when adding all the training load + a full time job as a firefighter, a bad night can throw any perfectly scheduled plan out the window. That's why this ‘mojo’ has been keeping me grounded and consistent so far.

3. Routine is a grace for the body/ Organisation is crucial

Anyone who knows me a little, will know I am an organisation freak. I have diaries and agendas all over the places (daily, weekly, monthly and a big calendar). This really has come in handy for endurance training. Having time to catch up with friends, working, training and pretending to eat healthier than I do, is haaaaaardddd!! My God it really is. However, planning things in advance, communicating with my coach and friends and meal prepping, has been crucial to having time for everything and still enjoying both my training and private life.

4. Listen to your body! Don’t underestimate the power of a nap.

Disclaimer: I’m tired, a lot!! My days are packed with training, family/friends and working, so sometimes wiggling all that, can be HARD. I wasn’t naïve enough to think that I wouldn’t be, but these past few weeks I’ve eaten more and had more naps than I could account for, and both things have worked wonders. 20-30 mins on the couch before a hard core sesh, breaks up my long days, and gives me that natural boost of energy that I sometimes lack. It might not work for everyone but it really has made a positive impact for me.

On the other hand, this is the first week where I have been poorly and I have had to skip a few training sessions. I know full well that in any other circumstances, I would have just tried to power through the training until I was physically completely unable. However, I pride myself with my newly learnt mentality of just listening to my body (and my coach lol) and STOPPING when I need to. Training with an injury or when the body is just screaming for time off has never given any productive results, but taking the time off and resetting when necessary, really has. Like someone wiser than me once said ‘f you don’t make time for your wellness you’ll be forced to make time for your illness”, and I’ve taken it totally on board.

5. Company goes a long way.

This is my biggest learning point, and probably one of the most important ones for me. I started triathlon training because I ‘thought’ that it was an individual sport! How wrong I was. If training for an ironman is hard, doing it completely alone can be tough as f*k. I do all my swimming sessions alone, mainly because I have to fit them around everything else, but running or cycling alone, in the pissing rain or in the dark/cold has been a major test of character (and this isn’t even the worst weather yet!!!). Zone 2 with friends has been LUSH. Doing both catch ups and training at the same is totally wonderful. I’m very lucky to have friends with similar abilities in these disciplines or that are willing to slow down and accompany me on the rides. It’s been incredible to feel so supported from everyone around me, either providing me with their time or knowledge to make me feel that little bit more ready and confident.

There is a lot more that I still need to learn. 33 weeks is a long time for anyone and many things can change. I’m just grateful, proud and happy of how far I’ve come in this short period of time of tackling such a major event, but I’m equally excited for the journey ahead.

And if in doubt, just TRUST the process ??

#ironmanvitoria2024 #soundbodysoundmind #asicsfrontrunners

written by

Arame Tall

Firefighter from Stalybridge

Age group: 26

Coach: Graham Rands

10k olympic distance triathlon