TOP TIPS FROM AN ULTRAMAN FINISHER
This time last year Chloe became one of our 2017/18 ambassadors and we were super excited to support her in her training towards her biggest goal to date, a 515km race (10km of swimming, 440km of cycling and 84km of running) over 3 consecutive days for Ultraman Australia.
Chloe and her coach had to master the art of training for her longest endurance race ever whilst working full time, which they did and Chloe went on to cross the line in a impressive time of 28hours 23minutes. If you missed it you can catch up with our first chat with Chloe here. Today we find out how she managed it all....
How many hours were you training during a typical week?
I trained anywhere between 15 and 20 hours, I think I maxed out at about 23. I worked full time throughout Ultraman training so we really focussed on quality sessions and maximising the time I had.
Did you remain injury free in the lead up to UM, if not, what were your issues?
Yes! One of my goals going into the race was to remain injury free and I did. A couple of niggles appeared throughout but I got onto them early and nothing became a big deal. I can honestly say the Strength For Endurance exercises played a huge part in this, also thanks to Kriss letting me in on the benefits of a deep squat... They were my secret weapon to preventing and treating lower limb pain.
You admitted your biggest hesitation was the 84km run? Was it as bad as you thought?
No! It was actually the highlight of my 3 days... Well the first 64km of it anyway. The last 20 was pretty bad... I have never been in the situation where my body was literally giving up not my brain. EVERYTHING hurt, all I wanted to do was finish strong but I felt like I couldn't, I felt like I was running fast but I was barely shuffling it was so hard and so painful. But the rest of the run was way more enjoyable than I expected, I had friends with me the whole way, we ran, laughed, sang and the kilometres just ticked by. I ended up finishing the 84km run in 9 hours 7 minutes so was pretty stoked with that.
Once you started the strength work, what were your noticeable weaknesses?
Unevenness (which I already expected) was the big thing, apart from that I didn't really notice my overall weaknesses until I felt myself getting stronger.
One area of focus when you started with us was improving your glute strength, do you feel this has improved?
Yes but it's ongoing for me. Days (and weeks) where I am diligent in my pre-training exercises I feel my glutes sore during running or riding (and have a little celebration, that means they are working). But I am only human and sometimes slacken off when everything is fine... Which inevitably leads to it being not so fine. So yes, it has improved but is a work in progress.
How did you schedule strength sessions into your week? Did you coach designate specific times or was is more of a ‘little and often’ approach and just part of your daily routine.
Little and often definitely. At first I had scheduled sessions but then time became rare and more valuable than anything. I found it a lot more feasible to do 10-15 minutes a couple of times a week, than even 1-2 long strength sessions. Trying to fit in three sports is hard enough especially with endurance training, add in the fact I don't really LOVE going to the gym (typical triathlete who needs the adrenaline rush to make it feel worthwhile) I just went with the prehab beats rehab theory and did 10 minutes most days.
Did you struggle to stay motivated with the SFE sessions? If so how did you overcome this?
When I was really tired the thought of a wee bit extra sleep may have trumped SFE sessions some days... But most of the time I knew if I just followed one of the programs it was only 10 minutes and I would feel better for it. If I was really pressed for time I would just do what I could whilst brushing my teeth or checking social media... Glute bridges scrolling Instagram, squats whilst brushing... You can make it work if you want to.
What benefits, if any, do you think it’s had to your swim, bike, run performance?
I definitely think it kept me uninjured, for that I am eternally grateful! As well as making me stronger it helped me make the most of each session, before I did any SFE work I would just jump out of bed, get dressed and be running within 5 minutes (after sleeping for 8 hours). So surely activating/warming up the muscles before going must have made those sessions more valuable.
Do you think your body (and mind) has fully recovered from the race?
Yes, it has now but it took a while. The first week or two post race my body was sore (as I expected) but the thing that surprised me most was the fatigue that set in after that. For a few weeks I struggled to get through most days, feeling genuinely exhausted, I struggled to get through a day of work. After a month or so I started trying to exercise but each session felt like a chore, so I really listed to my body and did bits and pieces until I felt good, swimming and walking kept me sane.
What advice would you give anyone racing Ultraman in the future?
Don't underestimate yourself. The enormity of the event and all of the unknowns may be overwhelming, but hold the vision, trust the process and it will all be worth it. Also if you thought the entry fee was steep... Be prepared for the grocery bills... The amount of food you need to consume to meet the demands of training is humungous.
Whats on the cards next?
I'm going to chase a Kona spot... The holy grail of Triathlon.