After a brief hiatus from our BLOG entries, due to Covid-19. We hate saying it and reading it as much as you. We know almost every individual and business has it rhymed off now that any and all excuses can be just put down to...Due to Covid-19. It was however the harsh reality that while we love being able to bring you some fun, light reading from our BLOG, we had to focus on what was important and our main priorities first, namely bringing you all some amazing cycling kit to wear.
So, enough of the mumbo jumbo as to what was going on. We are back with a new BLOG entry, this one from our ambassador Rachel. Similarly to our ambassador Maddy, Rachel comes from a Triathlon/ Ironman background. Having previously lived in Oman and being home for the best part of a year now, Rachel has been kind enough to document and share her recent experience in relocating to Dubai.
Like most Irish people I dreamt of living in a hot climate, however, training in temperatures of 38-40 degrees in slightly more extreme than imagined and makes things that little bit more difficult. That's not to mention the other factors that need to be considered - heat stroke, heat exhaustion, sunburn, dehydration and so on.
During my first run in the desert I looked at my watch and was shocked when I saw my pace and heart rate. Given the extreme change in climate I had obviously been prepared to run at a slower pace with a higher heart rate but I think I was holding out hope that the change in numbers wouldn't be too drastic. Seeing my zone 2 run pace at almost a threshold heart rate is not the most motivating sight...immediately making me question - did I overestimate my fitness?
Lockdown training at home was great, I was really happy with the work I'd put in and the improvements I'd made in my biking and running. I couldn't help but compare these stats with what I had just ran, even though I knew it was pointless and useless comparison...but anyway! I gave myself a few evenings to sulk about it but I've finally accepted the fact that I've pretty much reset my numbers and can now only compare with sessions done since I got here. Each session is definitely becoming that bit more bearable and doesn't feel as taxing. It's strange having to adjust your expectations so much and leave your ego at the door (took a while...haha), but that's what needed to be done. Although now and then I still do have to stop myself comparing with my 'Irish stats'
1. Drinking more throughout the day and increasing salt intake in general.
2. Training either really early before work or later in the evening when it cools down a bit. I start work at 07:30 so if i'm training in the morning it needs to be quite early. Luckily I finish at 16:30 so have some time in the evenings.
3. Slowing down.
4. Indoor runs are an option but I find these too boring so I've opted for early/late runs.
The actual sessions I've been doing have been mainly heart rate based rather than pace/power number, which I had been focusing on back at home. In the first few weeks I was doing lots of short, easy runs and cycles just to get used to the heat. I've now started picking up the intensity a little bit and i'm looking forward to another couple of weeks of seeing how the sessions go.
The biking facilities over here are insane. There's an 87km designated cycle track literally in the middle of the desert which is every cyclist's dream. They also have another 9km cycling track which has a running lane too. Cycling on the wet, bumpy and windy roads of Ireland most definitely toughens you up and it's a real treat to be able to train on these kind of facilities.
I think everyone is sick of hearing about Covid-19 and of course it's affected us all hugely. In terms of sport it's of course disappointing for athletes who had been training for specific events. For me, that was the 70.3 World Championships in Taupo New Zealand in November which has now been rescheduled to next September in Utah United States. I was obviously disappointed when it was called off but when it's put into a bigger picture of what's actually going on in the world, it's relatively easy to see that this isn't exactly a major problem. I got over it pretty quickly and like many others, I've learnt a valuable lesson from the pandemic - to live in the moment and not take anything for granted (including training sessions)!