On the blog this month Im lucky enough to feature the amazing Ellen Guiney. El is a 22 year old triathlete that is about to compete at WORLDS for ironman.
I find Ellen very inspiring, she is out there smashing goals with a huge smile on her face. She is down to earth, strong incredibly athletic and god-damn gorgeous.
Who is El & What does she do?
Ellen is a triathlete who specifies in Olympic and 70.3 distances. For those of you who don’t know. Olympic distance is 1.5km swim 40km bike and a 10km run. 70.3 also knows as a half iron man event is a 2km swim 90km bike and a 21km run.
Since taking up the sport and starting to compete in Triathlons 7 months ago, she's managed to have success in both the Olympic distance and 70.3 events over the past six months in Australia. El won enough qualifying races to enable her selection entry into the Australian team. First racing in Switzerland, Lausanne for the Olympic distance ITU World Cup event. Six days later racing in France, for the 70.3 Ironman worlds event final. The events are happening in 6 weeks.
I believe what makes someone happy tells you allot about them. Questioning new people I meet on their mind set and what makes them happy excites me. Below El Tells us what makes her happy and the personal mantra she uses to support her self in training and life.
What makes you happy?
I’m pretty excited a lot of the time, but nothing makes me happier than having a good training session. It puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day and anything that gets thrown at me I take in my stride like a boss bitch haha crazy what a good training session can do for your head.
Do you have a personal mantra?
Some personal mantra's or positive self-talk I use throughout training and racing... There are lots, and sometimes they are all different but here are a few:
‘who are you? You are Ellen Guiney, who is she? One of the strongest women I know.’
‘You were born to enjoy this pain; you are a machine, keep pushing.’
Over to EL...
Hi, my name is Ellen Guiney - a twenty-two-year-old - who enjoys living an active life in the outdoors of Newcastle. I grew up in regional Victoria and the Northern Territory. I’ve been living the Novocastrian life for two years now and working as a Nanny for three beautiful baby girls.
I was fortunate to spend many of my earlier school years within a remote indigenous community in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. These years enabled me to have a lot of childhood freedom, and the outdoor living nurtured my passion for endurance sports. Some of my greatest childhood memories are driving in the outback with members of my local swimming club. Here we would drive 729.0 km along the Central Arnhem Highway to the Annual Swimming Carnival. We had many adventures travelling along unsealed roads, through open savannah woodlands, crossing many clan lands, creeks and buffaloes.
Moving around a lot as a young child was difficult, but I always connected through the medium of the sport both at school and within the community. When I enrolled in Melbourne Girls Grammar, I had the opportunity to row in a sweep team. Here I was centred by the stability of routine, discipline and experience camaraderie as well as having fun.
Following school however, I yearned for more adventure and decided to travel around Europe while employed as a Nanny. Upon my return, I was faced with yet another challenge and a brand new city. Ultimately I was unfulfilled and unhappy. Some months later, at my lowest point, I remembered what had always bought me such joy and fulfilment, which was the vehicle of sport.
So where to? I knew what I needed but was undecided as to which sport to pursue? A fortuitous Instagram invitation from a friend to his tri group swim squad was the push that I needed. I vividly remember the light bulb moment during the fourth lap, the familiar surge of emotions and knowledge that this is where I belong. That same week I purchased my first bike and commenced training for a sprint distance. My first triathlon race ignited something inside of me, and I knew that everything is possible.
Weekly training routine
I like to train early morning with the exception of the double session on Sunday.
Monday - recovery open water swim
Tuesday - hard bike session with a mix of hills and shorter fast efforts
Wednesday - track run, tempo work
Thursday - gym strength work
Friday - hard swim set
Saturday - long run generally 21km
Sunday - morning long ride around 130km with hills mixed in
Sunday - afternoon longer swim set typically around 4km
FUEL ,DIET & training nutrition
One banana, two pieces of toast with honey and peanut butter.
Anything over 1 hour I fuel with ‘GO FAR’ powder I put in a bottle mixed with water. On a long ride, I will have dates and cliff bars as well.
I will eat two boiled eggs with lots of green veggies and a protein shake
My daily diet includes lots of colour, vegetables and fruit. As well as rice, pasta, greek yogurt, lots of nuts/seeds, I like to incorporate salmon and tuna. I also eat a fair amount of ice cream and chocolate in-between. I believe staying balanced in my diet and not restricting foods is key. I ensure I’m eating from all the five main food groups to optimise fast recovery and fuel my body. Adequate nutrition makes sure I recover ready for the next session.
I optimise rest and recovery by getting a minimum of 8.5 hours of sleep every night and regular massages. I also use a foam roller and compression socks on my hard days when my muscles are sore. Radox baths are also an excellent recovery method that I use.
My best advice staying motivated would be to remain consistent, even on the days where you don’t feel like training go and do it. Staying in that routine and weekly training rhythm is how you stay motivated. Keeping your goals in mind, I use a lot of visual techniques with my main goals in my room where I can see them and be reminded every day.
Train with a reliable group, keep it fun!
Tips for a beginner
Tips for someone thinking of starting triathlon, or even just beginning to swim run or ride a bike, would be to start slowly increasing training load.
Make sure, to begin with, small sessions and then build, for example, start with 3km runs-, 500m swim sets and 20km bike ride’s, slowly increasing over a month to prevent injury, enjoying those PB’s and continuous improvements, every small gain counts.
Some things that I’ve learnt since training and racing triathlons... I’ve learnt A LOT, but some main ones are that you need to be patient, success doesn’t happen overnight, sounds corny, but it takes months of consistency in training. I’ve learned that the numbers on your watch in training can be completely irrelevant, Some days you won't hit the numbers or times you usually would or should be because you're tired and that’s ok as long as you are putting in 100% effort then that’s all that matters.
I’ve learnt that all things in lifestyle are related, sleep, eating and training. If one of those things are out of balance, for example, if you are overtraining or you aren’t sleeping enough, you won't hit those key sessions. It’s so important to recover well to keep reaching those training goals and improving.
The biggest thing I’ve learnt since taking up triathlon is that your mind drives your body and its more powerful than you would ever believe, Strong self-talk is so essential with endurance sports. Your body will do anything if you tell yourself to and if you genuinely believe it. Don’t let your mind limit you. Pain is only temporary. Victory lasts forever.
One of the biggest things is taking it day by day, it’s a simple quote but taking it in your stride, taking it minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. When you get too far ahead of yourself or set goals too far in advance, you can lose the focus. When I get out there every day, I set specific little goals and then those branch out into weeks and months that then lead into bigger goals, but it’s just day by day.
If you want to follow El's journey make sure to add her on Instagram , this girl is going to take overt the world!