Earlier this year, Women’s Health launched the I Support Women In Sport campaign. Their aim was to help promote positive female role models and encourage more women to participate in sport. The campaign has attracted a huge amount of support from female athletes including Banzai experts, Caroline Buchanan and Jenny Owens.Triathlon NSW is well ahead of the game already. This year was the fourth time they’ve run the Trishave Women’s Triathlon Camp, a 3 day camp in Foster NSW. The camp is aimed at women of all abilities to learn about the different elements of triathlon including training, coaching, nutrition, gear, physio and most importantly, socialising.
Triathlon NSW coaches, John Hickey and Mick Maroney, are extremely passionate about empowering and supporting women in triathlon. They are acutely aware of the different training needs of women over men, and worked together with camp organiser, Kristy Craft, to structure sessions addressing these needs. With the help of professional triathletes Nicole Ward and Lisa Marangon, Olympic cyclist Michelle Ferris and expert coaches Mel Cockshutt, Bern Ward and Chris Thomas, we were in extremely capable hands.
The camp was not only an invaluable way to improve my own confidence and skill in triathlon, it was a great opportunity to make new friends (hi Kate and Jo!) and enjoy a fun girls weekend away.Here's a quick wrap up of the camp:
So, why do you need a 'women's only' camp?
As the saying goes, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus - really. This became increasingly obvious with each session. Here are just a couple of observations from the camp:1. We ask questions...a lot.
Tell a male to do a 20km cycle followed by a 2km run, and he’ll jump on his bike and do it. Tell a female to do it, and she’ll want to know why. Females are curious creatures, and need to comprehend the reasons why before (and after) taking action.
The biggest lesson learned was to speak up. If your coach won’t take the time to listen, then maybe he or she isn’t the right person to help you realise your full potential.Related Links:
BLOG: Nicole Ward talks about the Female Tri Camp
VIDEO: Michelle Ferris explains a 'wind trainer'
2. We’re more conscious of our weight and image
I dropped 5 kilos after changing my electrolyte drink!
It was this sentence that nearly caused a standing ovation and a flurry of credit cards to be hurled at the speaker, as he retold the story of an athlete who switched nutrition products. As women, we’re conscious of the way we look and let’s face it, for many amateur athletes, weight loss is often one of the main reasons we exercise and train for an event.
I’m training for a marathon right now, and of course, the overwhelming sense of achievement and satisfaction will be there on race day. But right now, 3 weeks out from D-Day, all the girls and I are whinging that our bums and thighs have got bigger, and our boobs smaller.
Could you imagine a boy worrying about this? They wouldn’t verbalise it, anyway. At an all women’s camp, the nutrition sessions could address these female skewed concerns, and provide an open forum for discussion without eyeball rolling from our male counterparts.3. We need to learn about balance
We were lucky enough to meet Mel Cockshutt, who is not only an incredible running coach, but a mother of three, 7 x Ironman finisher, is training for the Coolangatta Gold, and holds a full time job as a lawyer. We also chatted with professional triathlete, Lisa Marangon, who works as a fitness instructor, has an 8 year old boy, and is training hard to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
How do these women do it? When there’s a choice between picking up the kids from school and doing a 10k run session, it’s not hard to guess which one will take priority. Here were a few of their tips to juggling motherhood and training:
- Most importantly, be organised. Plan ahead and stick to a schedule that includes training.
- Ensure your partner is supportive of your training and goals
- Multi-task. Mel often does her run session at the field where her son has soccer training.
- Train smarter. A 1hr interval session can be just as effective as a 3hr session if done correctly.
- Invest in gear such as a wind trainer, so you can train at home and be round the family
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