So, people often ask me how I manage to fit in everything in my life, training for triathlons, marathons and other events, working full time, having horses, a dog and generally not being a zombie.
Having spare time is not a luxury I often experience and therefore I completely understood the practicalities behind the active skin care range that Charles James Skincare created in collaboration with the Bianchi Dama cycling team.
I was invited to attend the launch of this product, and let's be serious, I wasn't going to pass up on the opportunity to ride some of the incredible Bianchi bikes. Plus, my own skincare routine is appalling so it was probably a good idea to go along and hear how easy good skincare can be...
I got to ride a Bianchi Specialissima bike. For anyone who's not familiar with this model it's incredible! It was super light, handled like a dream and felt amazing on my short trip around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the ladies from the Bianchi Dama team. I absolutely must try and book a proper trial on one of these bikes. I was reliably informed by the Bianchi Dama mechanics that JD Cycles in Billericay should have some in that I can try, but apparently these bikes really come into their own for hill climbing so I guess I'd better get a weekend trial booked and go hill hunting?
3 girls from the team were at the launch: Tasha, Bethany and Becky and during the interviews they had some great tips for fitting all their training in and keeping their energy levels high.
They mentioned that they see each other as close friends, which helps when they have had a bad day or a bad race, they find each other supportive, they have real friendships, and therefore are able to really enjoy the experience even when things don’t go well.
For me this is a really important point. I'm massively socially motivated and therefore try and do a lot of my training with friends. Squeezing in runs before work, lunchtime, after work, with friends and colleagues, then cycling in the evenings and weekends with my local cycle club - RomfordCC. Here I agree with the girls from Bianchi Dama, being surrounded by people you genuinely want to be with helps the training sessions go quicker and is also motivation to get out and get it done. I even attended this event with my friend Lisa Thake from FatGirlFit- and we were snapped by the photographer getting pictures of each other with some awesome street art!
My jersey is the Primal Europe Fringe Couture Jersey and now winter is coming I have purchased some matching arm warmers so I don't need to stop wearing one of my favourite jerseys this winter!
They mentioned that time goes quicker out with friends whether you are out early before work some days for an hour or 2, then 4/5hrs at the weekend, it all passes quicker if you are out with people you like, that is something I absolutely agree with. The thought of getting up at 5am to run doesn't motivate me, knowing I'm meeting a group of friends to do that run with me makes me get up and head out. Workout and socialisation done all in one hit.
The girls talked about their average training load, mainly consisting of 2 long rides at the weekend, as many of them are working full time they are then cycling 3 nights a week and making the time on the bike really count, short fast efforts during the shorter sessions and fitting the training in when you can.
Through the winter they start to add in lots of gym work on their strength and core which is important for sprinting and climbing some of them are also starting to run one night a week. The strength and core work are absolutely something I need to add into my schedule and as soon as my last few events of the year are over I will be back in the gym building a good strong base for next year’s challenges. But I will be keeping up my evening rides too as I quite enjoy winter night riding. Especially with my wheel lights lighting up me and my Bandita Gilet.
The CJ Active Skincare range had a tough brief to fill. A simple 2 step routine designed for top sports athletes. Light, easy to use. Able to use with or without water, and overall quick and not onerous.
Charles James Harley Street created Active Cleanse and Enhance and Protect. As their titles suggest, they cleanse and then protect. These products are designed to be able to use immediately after an event in a car park if necessary, Enhance and Protect is even SPF30 and the Bianchi Dama team reliably informed me that it doesn't sweat into your eyes during a tough event.
Here I need to confess that I was gifted some samples, but I haven't actually tried them yet! When I got back from Ironman Italy my skin was not in a happy place, the combo of sun, salt water, suntan lotion, sweat and stress had not been kind, and it didn't seem like a good time to try them as the results would not have been a true reflection of how the products worked for me! Therefore, I am going to wait till I return from Ironman Langkawi 70.3 before I try and see whether this quick and easy skincare can fit into my daily regime.
So how do I fit in all the training? Like the Bianchi Dama team I need to work around the key elements of life such as my full-time job and my horses are also a pretty key part. Then with those elements in place I try to plan as many sessions with friends as I can, doing most of my cycling and running with people I love spending time with, this stops the sessions feeling like a chore and doubles up as socialisation (even if this is crazy early in the morning or very late at night). Il take the dog with my on my recovery runs too, gets the dog exercised at the same time and he is quite happy running round the park, or charging round the field as I ride my horse.
It's not easy, but if you want something enough you will find a way to fit it in. Surround yourself with positive like-minded people, get organised, focus on your goals but be kind to yourself at the same time. If you are super sleepy one evening, don't feel bad for taking an evening off to nap and recover! It's good sometimes to remember you are still human... (and it's ok to rub noses with the dogs on the cool street art)