Witsup Scholarship Ambassador, Janine Kaye, checks in with us 15 weeks outside of her first iron-distance race – Ironman Western Australia. How is she coping with training through winter and keeping focused on her long term goal?

Text by Janine Kaye | Photos by Witsup


As I write this, there are 15 weeks to go until I toe the line at my very first iron-distance. Typing those words makes me giddy with nerves and excitement, and I get a few extra heartbeats of fear thrown into the mix too!

I am getting asked quite a lot how my training is going and to be honest, that’s a tough question to answer. It’s quite a weird feeling training for something so big and unfamiliar that you can’t quite get your mind around it. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by it and get stuck in the vastness of the unknown ahead. Instead I am trying to follow the “How do you eat an elephant?” scenario. Answer – one bite at a time. So I have been working on making sure I am enjoying the process and trying my best to stay consistent. I have written out a checklist of all my sessions and stuck it to the fridge to make myself accountable. I am trying to focus on one session at a time, ticking each box as I go and getting the work done.


“How do you eat an elephant? … One bite at a time.”


I am honestly really enjoying my training at the moment. I have been swimming with Swimsmooth three days a week for the past two years, so nothing has had to change with that. It is an easy routine to fit into my life and they are always sessions that I both enjoy and challenge me.


My run and cycling training so far has been all about building my aerobic base, working on my strength and endurance rather than speed … Slow and steady … which is good, because “slow” and “steady” feel like my only available fitness options right now!

Unfortunately my lead up to starting my iron-distance training was far from ideal. I developed plantar fascia issues a few months back and I have been undergoing treatment for that, which of course included NOT running – doh! I have never been a natural runner and it is definitely the biggest challenge of the three disciplines for me to conquer. I only started running consistently again two weeks ago so everything is aerobic and time based at the moment. Time on my legs ensuring I focus on my technique, breathing, and staying injury free! I have also been diagnosed with adrenal stress so I have had to take a long hard look at my lifestyle and adapt some things with the guidance of my naturopath and awesome coach Kate Bevilaqua (GKEndurance).


“When I am solo parenting, I really struggle to put myself first … or second or even seventh!”


Add to the mix, my hubby Brad has been away for work for several weeks so my normal juggle of life/home/work/training steps up a notch without his help around the house and with the kids (plus we all miss his awesome cooking skills!) My training plan had to be rearranged while he was away to ensure my kids didn’t miss out on their weekend sporting commitments while I still got my sessions done. My mother guilt definitely kicks in harder when I am solo parenting and I really struggle to put myself first … or second or even seventh! A pep talk from my coach was much needed this week to get me back on track and focused on the end game. I suck at asking for help but her words reminded me that an iron-distance is actually not a solo endeavor and I need to rely on my support crew, who are amazing and very willing to help. My kids have been awesome too and very understanding of my tiredness and juggling requirements.  Having such a flexible job helps as it means I do have time to get my training done during the weekdays. Although I must admit I do get a little lonely/stir crazy doing a bazillion repetitive loops of Kings park for three plus hours on a Tuesday for my long ride. But I figure I am building great mental strength along with leg strength too! Sidebar – I am too much of a scaredy cat to go into the “real” hills on the road by myself!


Winter training has never really been that much fun for me either. I am not a fan of being cold, I am not an overly  “happy to wake in the dark” type morning person, and I have a terrible relationship with my wind trainer due to my easily distracted nature. Having people to meet up with for organised sessions has helped get my butt out of bed, plus I have just about bought out my bike store in warm cycling gear which that has definitely helped get me out on my bike in any weather. My full-length thermal knicks are the BEST thing ever invented! Thankfully we haven’t experienced too much rain on my early session days, and having a crappy old treadmill in the garage has been a saviour for making sure I still get my runs done. Oddly enough, I don’t mind riding in the rain but I am not hard-core enough to run in it!


“I am going to spend a lot of time telling my mental monsters to shut up!”


At the moment Ironman Western Australia still feels like some long off distant dream. 15 weeks feels both like a long time away and not long at all. It feels hard to wrap my mind around how much longer/harder my training is going to get, and how soon that will happen! My end goal is to make it to the start line feeling fitter and healthier than ever, and to make sure I try to have a whole lot of fun along the way.


I have lots of work to do to make sure I prepare myself to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge ahead but I am really looking forward to the adventure and sharing it with the people I love. I know consistency will be everything and I will require plenty more pep talks from my coach and help from my husband and friends, plus I am going to have to spend a lot of time telling my mental monsters to shut up! Wish me luck, they are noisy little buggers…


Janine’s top 5 ways to stay motivated in winter and focused on long term goals:

  1. Organise to train with friends. The possible guilt will make you show up.
  2. Be prepared for any weather. Don’t skimp on warm clothes.
  3. Make a checklist of all your sessions and put it somewhere for the world to see! Marking them off is kind of fun and very motivating.
  4. Break things down with smaller chunks of time and work on being consistent within that block. Don’t overthink or look too far ahead
  5. Don’t make any decisions to stop a less than stellar session during the hardest part. Everything always feels worse going “uphill”. Push through to the “downhill” and then access if you have more to give.

3 Responses

  1. Beth Menna

    Hey Mrs, I’ll ride the “real” hills with you on a Tuesday, if you like ;)

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