Army triathlete Captain Katrina Matthews is back to full training after the lifting of lockdown restrictions allowed a return to open-water swimming.
The Wiltshire-based soldier is preparing for her bid to feature at next year's World Ironman Championships in Hawaii.
Cpt Matthews is scheduled to compete at Ironman Austria later this year where a good performance could see her qualify for the show-piece event in Hawaii.
The idea of competing at the World Championships is an exciting one according to the Army physiotherapist.
She said: “It is one of those goals that is achievable but it’s aiming really high because I know that I’m good enough to be competing in that situation in Kona.
“It gives me goosebumps.
“I’ve just got to get there. I’ve got to complete what I know I can do.
“It’s really motivating and inspiring because it is so exciting.”
“For me, it is a testing day. I’m looking at heart rate, power and speed.
“There is also obviously the competitive nature and I would like to be challenging the guys for those top spots definitely.”
The lockdown restrictions had caused the triathlete to stop training her swimming, but the recent changes mean training is being ramped back up.
She said: "I’m lucky with my physio background that I’ve been able to adjust my strength and conditioning side of things.
“Obviously, we lost the swimming pools quite early on.
“I’ve been using some resistance bands quite early on to work on some muscle activation. I think that was more psychologically to keep me in the game.
“Actually, starting swimming again now, that has really helped.
“With the cycling, I do a lot anyway on the turbo trainer.
“I’ve had to do a few longer rides and the running has been staying the same.
“I’ve just been cracking on with some really good base endurance running.”
Cpt Matthews trains while also working as a physiotherapist in the Army, but still finds the time to get in enough exercise to improve per week.
“I’m really fortunate at the moment that the Army Sport Control Board and my chain of command are allowing me to train full-time.
“I’m continuing my competencies with my job role as a physiotherapist in the Army, but my training schedule at the moment is allowing me around 20-30 hours a week of physical training.
“It really supports the endurance lifestyle, gives me time to recover from those sessions and really prioritise the key sessions during the week so I can make the fitness and adaptation gains that’s required for a really long endurance event.”
She also stresses the importance of self-confidence and a supportive team in a sport such as triathlon.
She said: “I think in a sport like this you have to have some sort of ingrained self-confidence to say actually, I am good enough.
“It’s really hard and does not necessarily come naturally but having a team around you that can pull you up when you are not necessarily feeling so confident or strong, that’s really supportive.
“That comes from the community of triathlon as well which is really nice especially within the Army Triathlon Association.”