Thursday, 20 June 2019

Fuelling for Blenheim Triathlon

Fuelling for a Triathlon is about finding what works for you and your body. Not every athlete is the same when it comes to digestion, many athletes can digest food, whereas others struggle to absorb a gel without their stomach performing circles during a race. I am going to explain in this post what works for me - hopefully, this helps anyone struggling with their fuelling.


My first tip is to practice your nutrition, you never go into a race without training so why would you go into a race without testing what you are going to consume to help your body perform to its maximum potential. So a few weeks before racing try taking a gel 10 to 20 minutes before finishing a training run. Then you can judge the results - how do you feel? Did you have enough energy? Was your stomach settled?


Depending on the time and distance of your event, this will have a huge effect on what you must consume. At Blenheim Triathlon, I will race the Sprint Distance Triathlon - the distances are an 800m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. This means I will be racing for 1 hour, so my body will need approximately 60g of carbohydrates. So I need to be careful not to over-fuel as well as under-fuelling.
My race will start at 8.30am, so at around 6am I will have my usual breakfast of porridge, this will give me plenty of time to digest it. Throughout the morning, when warming up and setting up transition, I will be sipping an SIS carbohydrate orange drink.


In transition my bike will have a 500ml bottle of SIS carbohydrate drink, this contains 47g of carbohydrates, then taped to the top tube of my bike will be a SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel which contains 22g of carbohydrates. Having both of these on the bike means I know if I finish them both I have more than enough energy to get me through the 5km run. One hour before the start I will take a SiS GO Energy and Caffeine Gels.


The benefits of having this gel are:

"Caffeine acts centrally on the brain to lower the perception of effort, which is particularly noticeable in longer events. In distance events over 90 minutes, mental tiredness, as well as physical fatigue, plays a large role in determining performance as the event progresses. Caffeine can help to maintain physical performance in this situation.


Depleting your carbohydrate stores during exercise is one of the major causes of fatigue. Delivering the additional carbohydrate provided in SiS Energy + Caffeine Gels during exercise can help improve performance, race times and delay the onset of fatigue."

Source: https://www.scienceinsport.com/

Just as important, is your post-race recovery, warm down and fuel. The body will need protein and carbohydrates - I always have a drink made up SiS REGO Rapid Recovery, again a personal choice.

These three forms of energy are enough caffeine and carbohydrates to fuel my race. I do not always get every race spot on with fuelling, but I try my best, it is very trial and error. I would recommend working off the 60g per hour of carbohydrates when you're racing. Always consider the race duration and plan your nutrition around this, but always try before you go into the race

Five Reasons To Try Cross Triathlon

When competing in triathlon you can get stuck in the same cycle and things can become repetitive - so why not mix things up and try a cross triathlon? A cross triathlon, or off-road triathlon, consists of a lake/sea swim, a mixed terrain bike course with a higher degree of technicality and a run that includes dirt trails with natural obstacles (for example stair, sand, logs and more). All these aspects can enhance your standard triathlon skills, and you'll have fun doing so - here are five reasons to enter your first cross triathlon.

Adventure

When training for off-road triathlons, every session can be an adventure in which you go and get lost in nature and find trails and routes you have never been on before. There's also no need to worry about traffic when you’re on country routes. Take in the landscape and enjoy the change of scenery.


Location

Every race has an exceptional location - you'll visit the best of the British countryside and even across the world. For example, I'll be competing at the Xterra Cyprus later this year. These events are very attractive due to the amazing locations, but whether it's your first event or you're a pro athlete everyone is there to support you and have a good time. Always make sure you fuel correctly as these events take nearly twice as long as the standard Olympic distance triathlon.

Improves Bike Skills

Racing and training on a mountain bike will improve your handling skills on the bike - this will make you a more confident rider. Through the winter you don’t need to worry about ice on the roads as you can go out all weathers meaning you’re not stuck on turbo. I often compare MTB to a computer game, there is a hurdle to get over, and you try until you complete the challenge - then you level up. You'll notice your skills improve as you progress levels.

Challenge

Every course is different and a challenge to complete; even if you do the same course a year apart, it wouldn’t be the same, often due to nature changing. One year the course could be really boggy and the next it could be completely dry, this makes the course entirely different. You don’t know how hard the course will be until the day of the race as the weather can change the dynamic and difficulty of the route.

Improves Fitness

Mixing up training, going out on the mountain bike and trail running uses different muscles and puts your body under different stress. If your body isn’t used to this, you can get a significant benefit from the training then doing the same practice each week. So why not challenge yourself and go for a run up a mountain or around a forest and enjoy the different types of training you can do.

Make sure you go try a cross triathlon!

Friday, 26 October 2018

8 Christmas gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again time to wrap up warm and get them winter bikes out. As Christmas is just around the corner, I have decided to put together some Christmas gift Ideas for you to buy your fellow cycling friends for Christmas.

Giant Surelock Air Loop: The air lock is a super little stocking filler for the festive season. Everyone loves a coffee and cake stop on winter rides. Most importantly you need to make sure your bikes are safely locked when you are enjoying your Cappuccino and Victoria Sponge. This lock is light weight, small and easy to carry. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/giant-surelock-air-loop

PourFast EverCool Bottle : A liv pourfast evercool bottle is a must for winter rides as its insulted to keep your drinks warm in the winter and also cool in the summer. This helps with winter ride hydration as it is easier to drink something warm in lower temperatures. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/pourfast-evercool-bottle--600cc--liv

Race Day Wind Vest: Personally I would never leave the house without a gillet, having the option of adding another layer is a must. When you have just started your ride, finished your coffee stop or have to fix a puncture you can just add the lightweight, windproof layer. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/race-day-wind-vest-2019

Liv Signature Neck Warmer: Great versatile piece of kit, either add to the neck to keep the cold winter chill away or dress the head to keep the heat in. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/liv-signature-neck-warmer

Passion Womens Long Finger Gloves: Personally I’m not a fan of big heavy gloves, my hands get to hot and irritated and so these are perfect for me. These gloves are light weight, comfortable and have palm gel padding. A handy feature is the smart phone operable big finger tips. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/passion-womens-long-finger-gloves

Liv Quick Fix Kit Road: Keep your friend safe on the roads, making sure if they have any problems with their bike they can fix it with the liv Quick Fix Kit both for road and MTB. This pouch is suitable for under your saddle, in your back pack or back pocket. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/liv-quick-fix-kit-road

Rev (MIPS) Womens Road Helmet: Probably the most expensive item is the liv rev helmet a must to keep your family and friends safe. In traditional Liv colours and made with cutting edge technology plus 12 month helment crash replacement service. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/rev--mips--womens-road-helmet-2017

A Liv bike: For that someone special take a look at the best range of female bikes, too many to choose from, the new Envie disc range is a good place to start. https://www.liv-cycling.com/gb/enviliv-advanced-pro-0-disc-2019

Bring on Christmas

Friday, 19 October 2018

WINTER CYCLING ESSENTIALS


Cycling in the winter isn’t always the most enjoyable part of an athlete’s life, with high winds and showers, those miserable days can be made more comfortable and more enjoyable with the right equipment. So here are a few of my cycling essentials when it comes to cycling in the winter.


My number one piece of advice is to carry a rain jacket - I always carry one, even if it looks dry, as you can never trust a weather forecast at this time of year. I chose the Liv Delphin rain jacket as its light, breathable and has a snug race fit, so it doesn’t flap in the wind like a lot of other rain jackets.



The second piece of equipment that I think is a must when winter riding is a set of mudguards. They help you and your bike stay clean, and protect other riders if you are in a group. Now not all road bikes suit certain mudguards, the Speedshield Avail fenders fit perfectly as I don’t have the holes to fit normal mudguards. They are easy to fit and reusable but also look great and don’t move or make any noises, no rubbing too.





Finally, I would never go without a puncture repair kit and tools as it’s more likely at this time of year something will go wrong, with all the dirt and debris on the road. I always carry a spare tube and stickers, tyre leavers, gas canister and mini tools. I choose to carry all these in a bottle as it looks nice and tidy on the bike, but when it comes to the long rides I find you always need two bottles to stay hydrated, so a saddle bag is the best way to carry puncture kit and tools. I suggest the Liv Quick Fix Combo Kit with Mini Pump - a great product with everything you need to stay on the road and off the pavement at this time of year.





So if you don’t have these sorted yet, make sure you get prepared before the bad weather really hits


x

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Swimming Drills For Triathlon

Here are some swimming drills to help you improve your stroke over the winter. Ready for tracing next year

Below are some frountcrwal drills that you can put into every swim session for example (4x50 as 25m drill, 25m swim)( 4x100 25drill, 25 swim x2) When doing this only think about one drill at a time.
Skull 1:

  • Improve catch and feel for the water
  • Scull with both arms symmetrically just wider than your shoulders and back into the middle, changing angle of hands, keeping pressure on the water, fingertips about 30cm below surface and lower than wrist lower than elbow lower than shoulder, with pull buoy to isolate your arms


Skull 2:
  • Focuses on the phase of the stroke between the catch and pull through, under the head, helps correct a wide S shape or straight arm pull through.
  • Scull with both arms symmetrically just wider than your shoulders and back into the middle, changing angle of hands, keeping pressure on the water, fingertops about 60cm below surface face forward or down, with pull buoy to isolate your arms.
  • Elbows stable

Skull 3:
  • Developing the final phase of the arm pull through, saving up a bent elbow exit from the water (150° approx.) and prevent elbow pain when swimming freestyle
  • Use a pull buoy, face in the water, keep your elbows fixed by your side and push the water with alternate arms from underneath your shoulders back to your hips, using your hands and forearms, recover under the water

Doggie Paddle:


  • Powerful for developing feel for the water and bent elbow catch, rhythm and timing and keeping hand in line with shoulder throughout catch and pull phase
  • Using pull buoy, alternate catch and pull strokes through to the hip, recovering underwater, extend and catch in line with shoulder by putting the wrist and bending your elbow, no pauses
  • Reach and roll
  • Kick on side
  • Helps you develop good posture, alignment, catch set up and rotation
  • Kick on your side rotated to 90°, drawing your shoulder blades together and back, keeping hand in line with shoulder with finger’s below wrist below elbow
  • Shoulders back, chest forward

6/1/6:

  • Helps develop your alignment, posture and catch set up potion while introducing a stroke 6 kicks on the side, stroke and rotate, breathe and 6 kicks on the other side 6 kicks-strokebreathe-6 kicks
  • 6/3/6
  • Both developing your posture and alignment in the water as well as rotation, catch set up position and full stroke arm aiming 6 kicks on the side, take three strokes and breathe, 6 kicks on the other side 6 kicks-3-breathe-6 kicks

Friday, 17 August 2018

Lactate threshold Cycle Sets


Below I have put together some cycle sessions which I use to prepare for Triathlon races on race week. These are perfect to get your body working hard and also understanding what race pace is. These sessions are in total around 60-70mins long so perfect to do in your lunch break for after work. The aim of these sessions is to get you ready for race season by working at your race pace.

Key:
Cadence:(or pedalling rate) is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute; this is the rate at which a cyclist is pedalling/turning the pedals.
Race Pace: The average speed or power you will hold in the required distance of your race

Week 1
Effort Cadence Minutes
Warm up
80-100

15

Prep set

Steady

90

2
Easy 80 1
max 100 10s
Easy 80 1 Prep Set x3
Main set   Race pace  90 3
Easy 90 2
Hard 90-100 1
Easy 2
Main Setx4 
Cool down 15
Total time 68



Week 2
Effort Cadence Minutes
Warm up
80-100

15

Prep set

Steady

90

2
Easy 80 1
Max 100 10 s
Easy 80 1 Prep Setx3
Main set  Race Pace  90 5
Easy 90 2
Hard 90-100 1
Easy 2
Main Set x 3 
Cool down 15
Total time 66

Week 3
Effort Cadence Minutes
Warm up 80-100 15
Prep set Steady-160HR 90 2
Easy 80 1
max 100 10 seconds
Easy 80 1 Prep Set x3
Main set Just under Race pace 90 2

Just over race pace
90-95 2
Easy 80 2


Race Pace 90 6
Easy 80 2

Race pace 4 Main Set x5

Cool down

Easy 15
Total time 69

Week 4
Effort Cadence Minutes
Warm up 80-100
15

Prep set Steady 90 2
Easy 80 1
Max 100 10 s
Easy 80 1 Prep Setx3
Main set
Just under Race pace
90 1
Just over Race pace 90-95 1.5
Easy 80 1
1st section Main Set x5
Race pace 90 6
Easy 80 2

2nd set x 2  
Cool down Easy 15
Total time 69.5

 

Hope these sessions help 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Castle Howard Triathlon

At the beginning of every season, I sit down with my coach and plan a race diary. Some of the races are local, some team races and some international. I recently had to change my schedule which left me with no race for four weeks, so I decided to race Castle Howard, an Olympic Non-Drafting triathlon; the race was in 4 days’ time so no tapering. I could see from the start list there was a talented field of athletes. Normally for this type of non-drafting race, you would use a TT bike, but I was happy to have a go on my Liv Langma Advanced Pro 0 .

The race took place in the stunning castle grounds: 1500m lake swim, 45km hilly bike followed by a 10km hilly off-road run. This series is definitely worth taking a look out.

I had a strong swim with a time of 18:57; I was 4th going onto the bike. I attacked the bike leg and managed to finish in 5th. I know I was at a disadvantage not racing with a TT bike, but I still produced a good time on my Liv Langma. The run was a 10.5km rolling off-road course; I took each kilometre trying to hold my position but was overtaken by another athlete on the last half kilometre - I didn’t have anything left. I was very appreciative of the water stations as it was a very hot and humid day. Overall, I was glad I raced. It gave me the opportunity to try a different distance, experiment with drinks and gels, and most importantly gives me plenty to work on.

My next race is the team relays in London