Eat, train, sleep - I'm on holiday

23:59, Jan 17 2013

It's wonderful to be on holiday. For a start, there's those 12-hour sleeps.

We're at a small place called Pounawea in the Catlins - the coastline to the east of Invercargill.

We'd imagined a sunny idyll, where we would do a bit of swimming, lying in the sun and so on with daughter and granddaughter - a nice family holiday.

There hasn't been much of that. It's been quite cold and, seemingly as in the rest of the country, there hasn't been much sun.

Apart from the swimming disincentive, I don't mind the weather much. I'm happy to sleep 9pm to 9am while the three females of the group gossip the night away. I can even snatch a post-prandial nap in the early afternoon.

I'm in a three-week gap between races, so this week has been one combining recovery with preparation for the next race.


It can be confusing deciding on which session to put where in order to balance these two.

That's where I love having a coach. Lionel Padial tells me exactly what I should be doing each day - distances, intensity, duration and so on.

On Tuesday it was an easy one-hour out-and-back ride at low intensity on the undulating roads of the Catlins highway. I had trouble turning myself around - I was feeling fresh and frisky and just wanted to do another hill for the pleasure of it, not to mention the fact that it would lead to another fast downhill.

As always, I had my phone in my back pocket, just in case of emergency.

When it rang, it was Lou Perkins, someone who is getting precisely the coaching benefits I'm so pleased to be receiving.

Along with his wife, Justine, and friend Suzi Hume, Lou has entered the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon and the trio won the draw for a free training package during the two months leading up to the race on March 2.

During our conversation, Lou mentioned how well their first swim session with Lionel had gone.

I wasn't in note-taking mode as I stood on the side of the road near the town of Owaka, but the gist of it was that he and his team-mates had felt that they were among a group of people who couldn't swim well and that they were doomed to stay this way. That changed when they got together with a professional coach.

Now nothing seems impossible. According to Lou, his first coaching session had made him feel that he could become a swimmer after all.

Justine felt the same in an email: "We all thoroughly enjoyed our first session with Lionel and were amazed, especially Suzi and I, that we could actually swim so far after over a year of no swimming!

"Lionel's knowledge is fantastic and his teaching style easy to understand and very effective instantly. We are all enjoying it so much more not having to huff and puff and strain our way through a few laps. To think we have all been swimming uphill for the last 30+ years."

Suzi feels the same: "With our first lesson with Lionel I learned so much but it's putting it all into practice which is the challenge. It is exciting that I may be able to swim 300 metres of freestyle instead of resorting to breaststroke. This is definitely the most exciting part of the challenge for me.

"Prior to this, running was starting to give me some aches and pains so I knew I had to diversify. I had given up on the fact that I may be able to learn to swim freestyle but I know this will be good for my health."

The team has plenty to work on before its second swim session with Lionel.

In the meantime, it's had the first of three sessions with triathlon coach and personal trainer Nigel Burgess.

This one focused on running and we will see how that went next week.

Justine's also been making use of the third part of the training package: "My weakest link now is running, as I am nursing an ankle injury. I've started seeing one of the physios at Sports Therapy, which has been helpful so far."

In the meantime, entries for the Nelson Mail Team Triathlon are rolling in. It's time to be getting your team together. While that's going on, take a look at the training programmes compiled by Jon Linyard, which give you a programme to work to week by week as the event approaches.

For these programmes, entries and other information, check out the website at