John reveals how he plans to get his training mojo back.

John is part of our in-house dream team aiming to take on the Virgin Active London Triathlon this July with the support of Team Carbon – official bike supplier, Tenn Outdoors – official kit supplier, Saucony, Polar, Zone 3 and Limar. To find out more about Team Triathlon Plus click here.

John (and the rest of the team) learning the correct swimming technique at a Zone3 training day

I don’t know about you but exercise to me is like a drug, an addiction. And like any drug, the more I do it, the more I crave it. Looking back now on last summer when I was training for the Haute Route sportive, it came close to consuming me. It was all I thought about, 24/7. Riding my bike harder and harder each day, and making slow, steady improvements, overrode everything else.

In the days after the event, I remember fretting about taking so much as a day off, such was the rush it gave me and my concern about even the slightest drop-off in fitness. The same is true in reverse, though; go without something for long enough and you’ll forget the effect it had on you. It’s the point I find myself at now.

Long-term injury (a knee problem picked up in November) has meant my off-season is still going on into May, and work commitments have meant I’ve spent much of the last month either on planes, in airports, hotels or press rooms (I write this from Istanbul airport, waiting for a connection to Baku, Azerbaijan, having just returned from Marrakech). Finding time for anything close to a regular training routine is hard.

This lack of routine has killed the one thing I always relied on in training: momentum. For me, a good training session is only good if it’s backed up soon after and recently, while the quality of what sessions I’ve done have been really good they have been too sporadic.

I need to see and feel changes in my fitness levels to motivate me and move me forward but I feel like I’m right back to square one each time I ride, run or swim. Initially it was a cause of frustration, which then turned to concern. With the London Triathlon just three months away, it’s now panic.

Momentum isn’t just limited to my training – it’s everything that can have an impact on it. It means the food I’m putting into my mouth, the frequency I get sick, the injury niggles. When I’m at home, my diet is far more balanced than it is on the road. I eat more fruit, cook more meals and drink less beer.

The routine of eating well is a momentum builder, so I’m less likely to eat fatty, stodgy foods. This goes out the window when I’m working away. I mean, what’s one more pizza when I’ve already had three this week? And things I’d never dream of buying at home – the family-size bag of mint M&M’s in an airport that get gobbled down in a flash. Avoiding illness is much harder, too, and I rarely get home in a better state than when I left.

What I need to realise, and fast, is that the routine I enjoyed last summer just isn’t going to be there this year. I need to work around it, just like the millions of others who fit their training round busy home and work lives, otherwise I’m simply not going to be ready.

I’m going to have to improvise more and see the free time I get as an opportunity rather than pass it up with lame excuses. And for once I’m going to take my own advice, starting tonight. There’s a gym in the hotel I’m in tonight and I’ve packed my running shoes. Before breakfast (where I’ll take the fruit salad and muesli option rather than the croissants and pastries, of course), I’ll go for a spin on the static bike and start, once again, to build up some steady momentum. I need to remember just how much of a positive impact training has. It’s time to fall off the wagon again.

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