IN THE FIRST of a series of columns, last year’s Triathlon Ireland Super Series winner Aidan Callaghan will talk us through 2016.
The Letterkenny native is broadening his horizons further this year, with the aim being completion of a full ironman.
“I was delighted with winning the super series in 2015,” Callaghan, a Co-Ordinator at Donegal ETB Lifford, said. “As well as the Super Series I also performed well in the Irish Middle Distance Championships in 2015, and this for me is where I will be putting all my efforts for the 2016 season. I aim to compete in Aix-en-Provence 70.3 in May, from there I will go to race the Ironman distance in Bolton.
“I came into the sport at a late age and am delighted with my achievements so far. This blog will tell my story in the coming year, the good, the bad and ugly – a year which I hope will be every bit as successful as the last.
“I intend putting another big effort into training and racing and seeing how far I can push myself to achieving some good results. If it happens, excellent if it doesn’t, cant say I didn’t try!”
Everybody loves January …
It’s always nice coming to end of January; the days seem to get that little bit longer and I get a little sense of excitement in the hope that the longer evenings are coming soon, which in general puts everyone in a better mood.
From training perspective the stretch in the evenings are very welcome, we can start to venture out, get off the turbos and treadmills and get some fresh air into the lungs. There is only so long you can stare at that wall in the gym, or look out that window into the darkness..!
From my own perspective, I’m glad to get to the end of January for more than this reason, to say it was a start-stop month would be an understatement.
I came out of the Christmas holidays, with a lot of ambition and a little regret with the amount of training that didn’t get done and the amount of chocolates, pringles and alcohol that did get done!
Although training didn’t exactly go to plan over the holidays, I did venture out on a few occasions. Mickey Black, TI’s development officer for Ulster also decided to try and get me into a bit of mountain biking.
Great idea I thought… Off we went on Christmas eve morning with a group from Letterkenny. Everything was going well, although at a somewhat slow pace, (mountain bikes are heavy) until we ascended what is locally known as the bridal path in Glenvegh National Park. The path is essentially a sheep trail up the side of a mountain. We were half way up, when all I can describe as a blizzard of biblical proportions landed upon us and disseminated the group.
It was like a scene from a movie with bodies all over the side of this mountain looking for cover from the elements. We decided to ring for back up and got local legend Adrian Wasson to come pick some of the group up at the top of the hill as they had begun to shiver violently and were threatening to kill us!
As we crested the hill, help had landed. Most of the group jumped in the van, while myself and a few others braved the elements for another while and headed back to the cars. Needless to say I think the mountain bikes will be put away for another year – Christmas eve, pre snow storm.
So first week back straight into training, going well and glad to get back into the routine. Second week going well, starting to feel good and hit training targets and numbers.
Towards end of the second week though started to feel a bit poorly on the Thursday. On the Friday I went out for a long run; I was only running an easy @7.30 mile pace and struggled very hard to keep my heart rate below 150.
I ended with an avg of 148 which is very high for that type of pace and could only manage the hour.
Worried, I headed home and hoped against hope I’d be OK. Sure enough Saturday morning woke up and I thought someone had stuffed my mouth and nose with cement or something during the night, I found it so hard to breathe and felt extremely tired: “No training today!!”
I contacted Anna at Wholegreen and described the symptoms, she told me to get as much ginger, water, lemon and honey into me for the next three days and see if it passes.
This seemed to work and on the Tuesday I felt good enough to go back training, only by Wednesday to be down with sore throat and nasty cough. Enough was enough: “Doctor, gimme an antibiotic.”
So I have been on antibiotics for the past five days. I’m feeling better and have been doing very small bits of easy aerobic work since Sunday, trying to keep heart rate as low as possible.
I will continue with this programme for the next few days and hopefully come the weekend or beginning of next week will be back to 100% and ready to get stuck into some sessions and the guts of my programme.
In the grand scheme of life these issues don’t mean much and I’m very aware other people have much greater and bigger problems and issues in their lives.
Athletes hate change, at least this one does! Very much a creature of habit and routine when it comes to training, which is funny because in my daily life I pay very little attention to either.
I suppose when you make plans and set targets for training and races in the beginning it’s hard to get your head round having these plans altered by something which is so out of your control, anyone can pick up a bug or virus at any time.
I find being able to adapt plans and being confident in your ability to deal with change and formulate new goals and targets if and when necessary takes your mind of the fact that you’re not training, or not getting to the gym and puts positive images back in your mind set to concentrate on and hopefully get over the bug, flu, virus or injury.
It will get better, it has to get better, onwards…
The human body is a great at letting you know what it wants, if its bollixed it will tell you, listening to it in the short term will hopefully pay dividends in the long run!
Aidan Callaghan is the current Triathlon Ireland Super Series champion. He took up triathlon originally in 2010 and in 2013, hired a coach.
Now 32, in 2016 Aidan is targeting the longer 70.3 and Ironman events. He aims to compete in Aix-en-Provence 70.3 in May and from there he will go to race the Ironman distance in Bolton, the city in which he studied. Then, it’s onto the Irish Middle Distance Champs in Kenmare, Co Kerry.
Aidan will write a column here ‘The Iron Road’ on Donegal Sport Hub on his preparations, participation and performance. His website is aidancallaghantriathlon.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @aidan_callaghanTags: