What tips would you give to people who are thinking about taking on a long-distance triathlon or any other sporting challenges?
If you’ve got an event you want to try or a triathlon dream, just go for it. That’s my main advice. Once you start planning to do it and you book a race, then you realise you can. You start breaking it down and taking small steps towards achieving your goal. If someone had said to me I could swim for 16 hours before I took on this challenge, I wouldn’t have believed them. You start by swimming for an hour and as you train your horizons get so much bigger and you have faith in your ability. I’d definitely say it’s important just to go for things.
It’s also important to get a really good support crew. If you’re doing a marathon, it might be difficult to spend as much time with your children at the weekend. Speak to your partner, your parents or friends and make sure you’ve got a good support network in place. Also, make sure you pay attention to the basics: sleep, hydration and nutrition. Sort all that out and you’ll be in a good place to move forward.
So with the Arch to Arc challenge firmly under your belt, what’s next?
A lot of people have asked me this; the answer is that I’m getting married. That is my next big focus – it’s probably an endurance event in itself!
Looking a bit longer term there are the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Spain on July 29, so I’m hoping to use the Arch to Arc as a qualifier for that. It’s not very specific, they recommended using a Half Ironman as a qualifier but I’m going to write to the team manager and perhaps see if I could use the challenge to compete for GB. It would be great if I could do that.
What does your fiancé think about you competing in ultras? Did he mind you spending so much time in training?
He definitely put a time limit on it. He gave me the two years leading up the Double Ironman and then the year following that for the Arch to Arc. He said, “Do whatever you have to do in those two years to achieve something you really want to, then it’s my turn. I want to play golf on a Sunday, I want to spend normal time with my partner.” So now, most of my goals have swapped to the shorter distance events. I’d love to run a fast, fast for me anyway, half-marathon. If I could run it in 1:45 that would be a great achievement for me. It’s not on the same scale, but it’s still about finding a new goal and adapting training to hit that target.
Can you pick your highlight of the Arch to Arc challenge?
I think finishing the swim and making my way to the shore after 16 and a half hours. It’s really tricky with the swim because you can see France and it seems really close for about 4-5 hours, but it feels like you’re never going to get there. And sometimes with the movement of the tide you’re actually not progressing at all, so it really plays on your mind. That moment when your hand actually hits the surface feels just incredible. My parents were there on the beach as well which was lovely because they don’t get to come to all the events that I do and they made a real effort. When I realised the swim was over and there was only the cycle to go, that was definitely a memorable moment.
Check out an inspiring photo slideshow of Rachael’s Arch to Arc feat.
Find out more about the Enduroman Arch to Arc event.
Rachael was sponsored during her challenge byHerbalife. Visit their website for more information about their nutrition products.