This month brought some big changes. We finally moved down to Cornwall to continue our training. We were one of the lucky ones that managed to keep within the rules and still manage to see family on Christmas day so we enjoyed a couple of days of off season. That meant we ate what we wanted, did no exercise and drank alcohol Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Dry Robes were a very welcome Christmas gift as the cold weather followed us down south.  As much as we enjoyed every second, both of us were also pretty happy to get back to normality by Boxing Day.

Last year we completely let loose in Bali over Christmas/New Year. We ate and drank to our hearts’ content for about 10 days. It was amazing at the time to be so indulgent after our strict training regimes but we felt so bad afterwards that we agreed we would never do that to ourselves again. It probably took 2 months for us to lose the weight we put on over 10 days and regain the fitness lost. With our current goals, we had worked too hard to let Christmas ruin us again.

Since then we have both been settling into new routines down here. We tried out our local pool and started swimming daily. We set up our turbo in the garage and created our own Cornish pain cave. We managed just under a fortnight of swimming and gymming before Boris brought lockdown upon us once again on 4th January. So back to the cords and home workouts we went! Both of us felt obviously disappointed but more prepared to deal with the disappointment 3rd time around ( or 4th?! Lost count!).

We live right by a beautiful beach and as tempting as the sea looks, it is just too cold for us to contemplate sea swimming over British winter. Even with wetsuits and all the gear, both of us agreed it would be unbearable. Instead, Rich has been enjoying running the coastal paths and sea views to keep him company whilst Sophie has been enjoying cold water therapy for her hip by going in for a dip in her swimsuit. (This includes zero actual swimming so doesn’t count towards training.)

Both of us have been consistent with our turbo training and seeing results. Rich repeated his FTP test and it has increased to 284 watts. Meanwhile, Sophie’s power has increased too (although she is waiting for the all clear on her hip to do the full test and prove it.) We are both cycling 500 virtual kms a week and will continue the large cycling volume until the end of January.

We have been training at home using body weight, resistance bands and a pair of dumbbells.. Not being able to run has allowed Sophie to focus on some of her weaknesses. Strength and conditioning is usually bottom of the priority ladder under swim, bike, run but her injury has allowed her the time to focus on it and prioritise it. She is also using the time not running to study and complete some triathlon coaching qualifications which is really exciting.

We succumbed to building an indoor (dry) swimming pool using bits of wood, a yoga mat and some swim cords. It’s not the same as swimming but at least we feel we are doing something towards it and not giving up completely.

In February, we are excited to start our Mallorca-specific 3 month training plan. Mallorca is our first 2021 race at the start of May. We will train towards it even though we have no clue whether it will take place or not. It will continue to be our motivator even if we cannot predict the chances that it will go ahead. If it does, then we will be ready. If it doesn’t, words won’t be able to explain the disappointment, but we will soldier on. Our resilience has already been tested and tested and tested. Although the unpredictability of the year ahead is a difficult concept to deal with, we are taking it step by step and staying positive and grateful for our health and the health of our friends and family. 

To most people (and in the grand scheme of things right now) being able to race this year may seem unimportant. I guess we have sacrificed a lot to chase our dreams so being able to race is our everything right now. We have given up our salaries, independence, our life in Singapore and are relying on our parents for a place to live. We are training day in, day out in the hope that it could pay off one day and we might be able to build a career from our love of triathlon.

In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe, happy and healthy! Let’s hope 2021 will bring some semblance of normal life again. Never again will I take company for granted! I’m dreaming of a swim squad session, a wedding, a group bike ride or a cheering crowd down the red carpet of an Ironman 70.3 race. 

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