'You have to know you can be on your feet for at least 17 hours,' said the bright blue-eyed Human Race coach and three-time Ironman finisher Marsha el-Hage when she explained how to train for a triathlon. Sure, I can do that, I thought. I did waitress my way through university at a buzzing 24-hour French bistro in New York City. My legs would feel like rubberbands at the end of a shift. Might be time to revisit that feeling. Not by having to serve countless dishes of coq au vin and steak tartare for hours but this time to run, and bike, and swim. Very far.
The Ironman is a triathlon competition that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run, without a break. Intense. When I was told Marsha was coming in from RG Active, a company of coaches who offer everything from 1-2-1 triathlon training sessions to open water swim lessons, I was immediately intrigued. My last two personal fit tests were a marathon last May and the Survival of the Fittest obstacle course that was clearly designed for men. I mean, what kind of woman would be totally fine with being squeezed horizontally through rotating lorry tires? After a ticked box and a smashed chest, I let up on the training for a bit.
Today I realised it's time to change that. Marsha and another coach Emma took the #ELLEFit crew out to monitor our running form ("Stop heel striking, Christina!"), to skip and run grapevines to strengthen our legs, and to get more comfortable knowing our running pace without a watch. After the session, I, a pretty well-seasoned runner, learned a few new things about the correct way to run, how to get faster, and the particular exercises to hit the smaller muscles around my bum, if only to look smoking in a bikini.
While my modus operandi is to train for life in general, it's always good to have a goal. 'You can only commit to yourself,' said Marsha when I asked if she was ever so exhausted that she wanted to give up. Good point. It's time for me to put myself first, once again. I'll probably start with the Half Ironman, though. At least all the training will keep me out of trouble and away from the wine. Wait, no wine? Do I really want to do this?
Thanks for a great session, Marsha and Emma! You've inspired ELLE Fit and I'm sure you will continue to get anyone to want to sign up for an Ironman, like you told me you would when we first met.
For more on the Human Race, click here.