This is a guest blog post from Trish Deykin.
I have managed over the years to listen to my body. This does take some doing and I used to quite often ignore the warning signals which backfired. Part of listening to my body was understanding that I have most energy in the morning. With this in mind I confine all my training to the morning and always finish before 12 noon so that I’m back home for lunch and a good rest.
When I first started competing in triathlons I had a very good coach. He taught me a lot about training/nutrition and rest. I was part of a good team with training on Saturday and Sunday mornings and evening sessions during the week. Due to my MS times have changed and I now train myself. I find this works better as I am unable to stick to a written training plan, in case I’m having a bad day/week. Luckily I have friends who also compete and are qualified coaches whom all have given me pointers over the years.
The two distances I compete in are Olympic (1.5k swim/40k bike and 10k run) and sprint (750m swim/20k bike/5k run. The past two years Europeans have been Olympic distance but next year I have qualified for the Sprint distance as I find it difficult to perform well in the heat and next year it is to be held in Turkey.
A typical week of training consists of five or six mornings training (if I’m feeling well!) followed by one or two days recovery or rest days where no sport is done. My training can be a combination of one of the following each morning: an hour of swimming, a spinning class, running and bricks as well as going out on the bike – but only if my balance is ok. Bricks are drills where you are on the bike followed by a run. This is to help prepare your legs for the transition between to the two disciplines. No brick work and it feels like running on jelly legs, so an integral part of training!
The week before a race I tend to ‘taper’ reducing the amount I train to hardly anything at all as well as carbing up on lots of rice and pasta. At the end of the week I feel like I cannot eat any more pasta, but it is crucial to have enough carbs in your body in order to race.
I find training and competing in triathlons help my MS. Swimming especially is brilliant for me, once I’m in the water all pain and balance problems are gone. I also think that swimming helps my co-ordination which has to be a good thing! I also spend time talking to people in the gym and making new friends. By keeping myself active I believe I am calming my MS down. Yes, I have bad days where any idea of training is out the window but I also have races where I win and nothing can beat the satisfaction and feeling of crossing the finish line of a triathlon as well as knowing that you’ve earned your glass of wine later!!
The MS Trust have been brilliant. They have encouraged me and shown their support for my races. When I was first diagnosed I stuck my head in the sand – I didn’t want to face up to the fact I had MS but over the years my denial has subsided. The books and information sheets as well as a very informative and up to date website the MS Trust supplies are brilliant. I wish I had known more about the MS Trust when I was first diagnosed, I think talking to someone who understands what you are going through would have been so beneficial and would have made it a far less lonely experience. Being a charity the MS Trust needs as many supporters as possible to keep up the valuable job they do for MS suffers as well as their friends and family. To help promote the MS Trust I always wear an MS Trust T-shirt when collecting a prize at the end of my races, the biggest so far being the British Aquathlon Championships last year. This consisted of a 750m river swim followed by a 5k run to which I won a silver medal for my age group.
So don’t be shy, sign up for the London Triathlon and help support the MS Trust – if I can do it anyone can!!!
Watch a video clip of Trish training on the BBC website.