Meet Ambassador Ash - 10,000 Steps, Fairies and Dreaming of Green and Gold
We all know that training and racing, can be a huge commitment and when thrown into the mix of “life” anyone who can maintain a healthy balance is onto a winner.
Strength For Endurance is designed to help athletes who don’t have time on their side, so when Theatre Nurse and mum of two Ash McNulty sent in her ambassador application we knew she’d fit the mould.
Even though Ash’s husband works away a lot in the army, she prides herself on being consistent with training and isn’t afraid to set her sights on some awesome goals.
Like many others she admits “strength is always on the agenda to do as a home workout, but at the end of a busy day it kind of gets pushed aside as I don't have a set plan or really any idea on what I should be focusing on”.
With her goals for 2018 including qualifying for the Age Group Olympic Distance World Champs on the Gold Coast and then completing her first full Ironman at Busselton next December her main focus now is to build strength on the bike and remain injury free throughout the year.
We caught up with Ash to find out a little more about her life, training and how she manages to cope with fitting everything in. Strength For Endurance Coach Kriss Hendy then shares his thoughts on how Ash can best approach her training.
SFE: Did you grow up playing sport or is this something that has come to you later on?
AM: I grew up always playing sport. I used to play netball both socially and competitively, as well as swimming at a state level.
SFE: You have a very busy work/family life, what tips and tricks do you use to make sure you stay on track and keep everyone happy?
AM: When I first started Triathlon, I tried to keep everything separate, so I would get in a few good weeks of training and then my husband would go away with work for weeks on end so my training would come to a complete stop. After a few goes of this, it really got me down; having to stop and start all the time. It wasn’t like my life was going to change, so I needed to come up with a way that it worked for everyone. I bought a wind trainer and a double pram. The days I didn’t work, the kids and I would head off in the pram, I could get about 1.5 hours out of them before they started to get bored, so I had to be very prepared. I had food organised the night before, videos on the iPad, colouring pencils and books or if we were running around the river, we would go through the 'enchanted forest' and have to look for fairies etc. I had to be very imaginative. The kids loved our run days, as it would usually end at the pool for a swim afterwards. I trained for my first half ironman with the kids and I’m so glad I did. It makes it much more enjoyable knowing I’m doing it with the kids and not taking time away from them but its also setting them up in the future for a healthy lifestyle. My 5 year old has just started doing Parkrun with me! This makes me very happy! My husband is an ultra trail runner as well so we can’t wait for the day when we can take the kids out running together.
SFE: Have you suffered from many injuries in the past?
AM: Touch wood, I have been injury free. After babies I really need to work more on my core strength. Also, since I’ve had the kids in daycare, they have bought home all the coughs and colds as well, so sometimes that all catches up.
SFE: What jobs have you had in the past and what do you do now?
AM: I was in Property Management straight out of school and then I started working at a Gym whilst I was studying nursing. Currently I work as an Anaesthetic Nurse which means all day on my feet. In a normal day I can clock up to 10,000 plus steps. On the days I work, I find it really hard to go home and go for a run/ride or do a workout. After being on my feet all day and then knowing I still have to do the dinner/bath/bed routine (usually on my own), it’s very hard to find the energy to do anything. I had to set limits for myself which includes on workdays I do a strength session and its only 15/20mins max. That way it is achievable. My job is not only physical it is also mentally draining some days too, so a quick session helps clear the head to start the next part of my day. It also works well for the family too as the kids will usually get their bikes/scooters or jump on the trampoline while I workout. Burns off a bit of energy for them too.
SFE: Do you have any previous strength training experience?
AM: Not really, whilst I worked at the Gym I either did a Les Mills Class, an RPM class or just some of my own free weights.
SFE: Your favourite and least favourite thing about doing Triathlon.
AM: Hands down the Triathlon community. Although it is generally an individual sport, it is very supportive and I have met the most amazing people from Triathlon. Least favourite has to be changing a tyre hahaha!
SFE: Your first goal is to qualify for World Champs on the Gold Coast. What is your plan to get you there?
AM: Plan is to stay consistent! I work with Des Gooda from Des Gooda Coaching and he is amazing. He takes in my circumstances and works a program out around me. The best part, he still realises I need to have a life. It is the perfect balance and he is the best guy for me and my needs.
I have completed one qualifying race in Townsville already and my next one will be in January at Robina and then Coffs Harbour in March. So consistency will be the key over the next few months as we are about to uproot our lives and move to Brisbane for my husbands work. If I achieved my goal, it would be a huge achievement. To show all the mums and other time poor people that you really can do it. You just need to be smart and find a way that works for your family.
My favourite quote is "if your determined, there is a way" ALWAYS!!…..and to wear that green and gold would be a massive privilege.
Coach Kriss says……
Due to being on her feet all day at work along with training, Ash’s strength training needs to be simple and effective, short in duration – focusing on 3 or 4 exercises. This is where her StrengthForEnduranceKIT and Strength Units will come in handy.
Although she isn’t immediately post natal, Ash still needs to focus on good technique and control with every exercise, especially those challenging her core. She has been fortunate not to suffer from too many injuries so her exercises will have a full body focus performing functional movements such as the squat, lunge and row. Completing her first Ironman next year is a great goal and being a year away she has given herself plenty of time to progress at a controllable rate. Her main focus will be building resilience within her body to be able to cope with the longer distances and larger volumes. Like any of my clients we will look to create a great base first through general conditioning, we can then build upon that to create some more power and speed that will translate across to her performance.
Stay tuned as we follow Ash's journey, you can also follow her on Instagram @teammcnulty and @trimumsaus