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Fighting postnatal depression with triathlon

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Alison Foley used exercise to help overcome postnatal depression and, having been introduced to GO TRI, has truly caught the triathlon bug.

“I suffered from postnatal depression after giving birth to my first child,” Alison said. “So, after having my second, I was conscious to prevent it from happening again. A friend recommended I join a local running club and, despite being hesitant at first, went along as I had nothing to lose.”

Postnatal depression is a form of depression that affects 1 in every 10 women who give birth and can also affect fathers and partners. According to the NHS, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are effective forms of ‘self-help’ and should be considered alongside seeking professional support to treat postnatal depression.

For further information on postnatal depression you can visit the NHS website.

After joining Morley Running Club, Alison soon got to know people who took part in triathlons: “I’ve always been active but never thought I’d get into running or triathlon in a million years,” commented Alison. “Roll on autumn 2019 and I’d heard about this thing called GO TRI.”

GO TRI is British Triathlon’s entry-level programme and is tailored to introducing new people into the sport with accessible and affordable events, as well  as GO TRI Active Sessions and the GO TRI Gym Challenge.

“The more I heard about GO TRI the more interested I was,” continues Alison. “It wasn’t long until I was signed up to my first GO TRI event. I was buzzing but thought that once I’d don’t it, that would be it. Box ticked. Done.”

For Alison that was far from the truth as she ‘caught the bug’ and was soon signing up for her next event and getting involved with swimming sessions at Morley Triathlon Club.

“Before I knew it triathlon was a key part of my life and I was thinking about beating my times, what kit I needed and how I could enter more races,” Alison says. “I decided that 2020 would be my year and entered the Sprint race at AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds in June.”

AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds is the British leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series and takes place over the weekend 6-7 June. The event will bring together Olympic hopefuls for the last time on British soil before Tokyo, as well as see age group triathletes battle it out for the British Championships and give first-timers the opportunity to give the sport a go.

“As well as gearing up to race in Leeds, I’m also a British Triathlon member and have signed up to a Level 1 Coaching Course,” Alison comments. “My mental health has never been better; I had the most amazing time on maternity leave thanks to my training and have made lifelong friends.

GO TRI has changed my outlook on so many things and I am not hesitant to try anything new. I’ve learned loads and have completed things I never thought possible.”

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