Meet FitrWoman Brand Champion and Irish Triathlete Ailbhe Carroll

Daily routine and daily rituals – the life of a triathlete.

Ailbhe Carroll is an elite Irish Triathlete who brings an extra edge to her training as she embraces the ups and downs of competing at the highest level. Last year Ailbhe had some impressive performances at National, European and World Championships. She is among the Irish hopefuls for Tokyo 2020 and we are excited to be accompanying her along the way!

Chasing the dream

Triathlon for me is a lifestyle, a passion, and something I couldn’t imagine not doing. I am not a full-time athlete; I work part-time (20 hours a week) but my dreams and aspirations are big and I find it really amazing that something you love to do could also be considered a job.

Triathlon started for me many moons ago – back when I was 16. I am now 27. I found myself very quickly wanting it to be my life and I wanted to do well on an international stage.

That was the dream. I have had anything but a smooth pathway since then, but the drive and determination I have to make my dreams a reality never waiver. It is that stubbornness that has got me to this point. I am still not where I want to be (but are we ever?!) Don’t we always want more?! But I am closer now than I was.

Moving back to Ireland

I have moved country a couple of times chasing this dream – moving to a set-up which I thought would make the difference. But it is my last move, back to Ireland last March, that has really made the difference and I know this is the one that will make me get to a place I am content with. The set-up I have here in Ireland is a set-up I have dreamed of having for a long time. Having coaches and squad mates that care for you and do things to help you is what every athlete should have and it is what I have here now that I am back home.

Triathlon is an individual sport but we train as a squad and as a team. It is the squad sessions that drive us on and make us better. I am under a coaching team called HupHup – based in a beautiful seaside town called Greystones in Wicklow. We are right by the Wicklow mountains which give us so much opportunity to build bike strength and run strength. We have a world of open water available to us for outdoor race-specific sessions. We have all we need and when the weather plays ball – there is no place you would rather be for triathlon!

The only thing that could be slightly better is if the price of coffee was that of the Spanish training bases – then we would be laughing and high on caffeine a lot more than we already are!

A typical week

Well, let’s jump right in here! We have early morning swims, which I love because you leave the pool at 8 am and you already have a session done – some people are still sleeping at that point!


Monday

Alarm at 5.15 am for coffee and pre swim activation exercises.

6.30-8.00 am swim.

In to work for 10 am until 3 pm.

Home and get my evening run in before dinner and bed by 8.30 pm.

Tuesday

A similar start to Monday.

Alarm at 5.15 am for coffee and pre swim activation exercises.

6.30-8.00 am swim.

In to work for 10am until 3 pm.

Then either an indoor bike session inducing a lot of discomfort and pain, or an evening bike criterium race, also inducing an incredible amount of discomfort and pain – but it is such a fun format!


Wednesday

Alarm at 5.45 am for coffee, a later alarm as with the criterium race being so late on Tuesday, I don’t get to bed until later.

6.30-8.00 am swim.

No work for me on a Wednesday as I do a long bike ride.

10 am long group bike ride, usually 3-4 hours.

Home for a nap before an evening run on tired legs.

Thursday

This is very much week dependent, so sometimes it is another early morning solo swim and sometimes it is a sleep in!

Work from 10 am until 3 pm.

Track session in the evening.

Friday

Alarm at 5.30 am. Track finishes late on Thursday so I take 15 minutes extra to sleep but, as Friday is always hard, I like to activate before going in to make sure my tired body is a little less tired!  

6.30-8.00 am swim.

I tend to have Friday afternoons off to prepare for a big weekend.

Saturday

This usually includes a long bike session. It could be anywhere in the region of 3 to 4 hours with 60 to 90 minutes worth of hard work. This is often preceded by a run off the bike, anywhere in the region of 40 to 70 minutes. It’s a long session but when you are done by lunchtime, it almost feels like you have the evening off.

Sunday

Sometimes a long aerobic ride for 4 hours.

Sometimes a chilled 2 hours in the morning and a long run up to 2 hours in the afternoon.

And then we go again the following week! My days are jam-packed and full to the brim, but it works.

Setback

Well, I started off this winter by banking the best string of winter months I have ever had. I felt like I was flying. Along came February and with that, I picked up my first disruptive injury in about nine years. I had a sore foot. As I had lost my menstrual cycle for the first time ever at the end of last season, and during the months preceding this injury, I was instantly scared that my sore foot was going to be bone related.

To my relief, it wasn’t, but after some time in a boot, waiting for MRI results and moving country at the same time, I had other problems that followed. The boot created quite a leg length discrepancy and this offset my back. I then had back pain. A full eight weeks passed with no running worth mentioning of before I was finally back on a programme involving all three of my sports. I had been able to ride for about two weeks, then my back was sore on the bike so I left the bike alone. I was able to swim but not push off the wall with both feet because of my sore foot. All three sports were compromised in some way shape or form and so the eight weeks was a mentally draining time.

What’s next – it’s getting exciting!

It is time to start thinking about racing again. I am chomping at the bit to get going and, of course, I want to go straight back to international races but I have some small steps to take before getting there. My first three or four races will be small, low key domestic races to get me back moving and give me a bit of confidence in knowing I can go hard again. I have found myself struggling over the past few months with confidence in training. I could finish a session that I have never done before and still walk away disappointed – or I could have done a lab test and completed it to a level I have never done before but still be left a bit disheartened.

It makes sense to me to always want more of course, but there is definitely a time where we have to accept that what we are doing in the here and now is something to be proud of and celebrate, not quite champagne popping but a little ‘wuhoo’ goes a long way!

Why FitrWoman?

When I came across FitrWoman and learned about what they do and what they are all about, it was a no brainer for me to reach out. I had just lost my period for the first time and it was absent for six full months before getting back into some form of a groove. This scared me. I wanted to learn. Reaching out and speaking with other FitrWoman ambassadors and the scientists behind the app and movement itself was amazing.

The fact that the app now links to Strava and enables us to look at patterns and log symptoms is just fantastic. We all do our sport because we are competitive down to the very last centimetre. We want to be better at this, that and the other. So why wouldn’t we take it one step further and go that extra mile to make sure that all our efforts to be better are made in the most constructive way possible and done at the right time of a cycle or in the right training zone for that part of the cycle? For me, like I said, it was a no brainer. Pretty simple!

The FitrWoman team went up another level recently when they launched the FitrCoach platform, allowing your coaches an insight into your menstrual cycle and what works and doesn’t work. It is a match made in heaven when to comes to health and performance!


To find out more about Ailbhe, you can follow her on:

Instagram @ailbhedoodle

Twitter @ailbhedoodle


To learn more about FitrCoach check out:

www.fitrwoman.com/coach

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