After completing my virtual Latin American pentathlon throughout the last year, I have been giving some careful consideration to what my next personal challenge could be. As I have been learning more through the coaching side of my business about how we should adapt our training I have been keen to 'walk the walk' and demonstrate the principles in practice here. I do love a goal to work towards too!
Studies show that moving through the perimenopause and menopause stages of our lives, women maintain their ability for endurance, but start to lose power and resultant speed. With this in mind I have been adapting both my own training, and that of the female athletes I work with, to include more HIIT type workouts to maintain fast-twitch fibre action and a really strong, fast muscle contractions. I decided to target a couple of shorter multi sport events this year (sprint distance duathlon and triathlons), but also wanted to demonstrate that this type of training doesn't mean our inherent endurance suffers.
So what's next?
Enter the '24 Hour Aquabike' as an idea that I dreamt up on a long bike ride.
The plan is to take the model of a standard distance aquabike event (1500m swim followed by a 40k bike) and repeat the process over a 24 hour period. Subject to final logistical arrangements, this personal challenge will take place in the Teddington/Richmond area of London where all of the activity will happen outside, yes, no turbo or indoor cycling here, and I will do all of the swimming elements in the Thames. Appropriately enough, I plan to undertake this challenge close to the summer solstice in June, and I am sure that it will certainly feel like the longest day!
I'm no stranger of course to endurance events, having undertaken the likes of my Andes cycling challenge back in 2017, or the London to Brighton or Caledonian Challenge 100k walks, but the challenges for a multi sport endurance event like this will be many:
An additional motivation
I also decided that I wanted to use my challenge as a fundraising opportunity. After years spent creating challenge events for charities, I wanted to give something back to a charity that has become close to my heart. The pandemic had a significant impact on my events business, but due to being approached to help Carers UK and Carers Scotland to deliver a series of events for them virtually, my business has been able to survive. These events brought together members of the charity and speakers from around the country. Speaking with the people the charity supports, the carers, had a massive impact on me. As part of my series of video conversations about resilience and challenge, I also had the privilege of speaking in depth to a good friend of mine Shäron about her caring responsibilities, and it really had a profound effect on me. To hear the full interview, go to my YouTube channel via the link below.
Doing the aquabike on my own for 24 hours will be an unrelenting physical and mental challenge, but after 24 hours it’s finished. Being a carer doesn’t finish after 24 hours and without support it can be lonely and scary. There are no medals and often very little recognition for the important role that carers have in families and in society. Having met so many people during the virtual conferences their love for the person they care for and their selflessness, strength and kindness were so obvious. Thankfully there are people with their strength and courage to care, and organisations like Carers UK, to help these remarkable individuals. If I can raise some funds for Carers UK and Carers Scotland, it will be an added incentive for me to keep strong when the going gets tough.
To read more about Carers UK, and to sponsor me, go to my JustGiving page here.
I will be posting updates about my training and fundraising progress via this blog post and my social media channels.
Denise Yeats is a coach, event producer, endurance athlete and avid adventurer.