T u r ia P itt: Ag ai n st A ll O d d s MAR/Apr 2016 ISSUE 23.3
d r o f h c t Bla Running Free
CervĂŠlo Athlete: Caroline Steffen, Winner Melbourne Ironman 2014
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Photo: Korupt Vision
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40 tech talk
Ultraman stalwart Craig Percival takes us through the multi-city tri feat he is prepraring for.
This month’s installment roadtests, key products and shines the spotlight on all things tech.
44 1 giant mind
We speak to the inspirational Turia Pitt about her journey thus far and upcoming triathlon plans.
AT discovers the benefits of meditation in the sporting realm.
52 sirius musings 26 famous faces Mark Beretta stars in the first installment of famous tri faces.
Siri Lindley shares the secret of success with us.
56 sexton’s scribble 28 ‘tis the off season Megan Evoe gets the off season intel from the pros.
Brendan Sexton talks about the art of the negative split.
58 Words with willy 32 instapics Spot yourself or a friend #ATSummerLovin it up!
Discover the best training destinations in AT’s newest section.
Liz Blatchford – Winding down after her Kona podium finish, Lizzy B tells us like it is on all things triathlon and life related.
Dan Wilson waxes lyrical on the need for sleep.
60 follow the swallow Jodie Swallow gives her take on new year resolutions.
68 Performance 64 health kick AT’s resident doc covers all things heart related in this edition.
AT’s Tim Reed looks at nature vs. nurture.
80 nutrition AT’s nutritionists dissect the advantages of a Mediterranean diet.
34 Cover: Liz Blatchford Photography: Korupt Vision
| Australian Triathlete
WANT IT MORE THAN ALL-NIGHT PARTIES ASICSaustralia VV28403
Happy New year H appy 2016 everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic festive season and got to enjoy all that this beautiful county has to offer during the summer months. I love this time of year – it’s about family, friends, the smell of BBQ in the air and the sun staying out that little bit longer (at least in Melbourne anyway!). I am beyond excited about the year ahead. For any sports lover, the year of an Olympics is a special year and for us Aussies we are also being spoilt with holding the Ironman 70.3 World Championships on home soil making this one helluva year for triathlon in this country and I cannot wait! In our first edition of 2016 we feature former ITU and Olympic hopeful-turnedIronman star Liz Blatchford on our stunning cover (shot by her hubby and our photo genius Korupt Vision) and she talks about the epic journey that has been her tri career to date. Failed Olympic campaigns, a move to long course and two Kona podiums shows the roller coaster that can be professional sport – read all about her journey and what’s ahead on page 8. Speaking of inspirational people, we talk to three people who could all have fitted into our new feature #INSPO. First up, we talk to Craig Percival who is about to embark on his 8in8in8 mission - eight Ironman races in eight days in eight states all in the name of fundraising for the John McLean Foundation. It may be a little cray cray but if anyone can do it, it’s Craig! Read our interview with Craig on page 18.
And then there is Turia Pitt. If you haven’t heard of her you should have. This amazing young woman has gone against all odds (in life and sport) after being caught in a horrific grass fire in WA while competing in an ultra-marathon back in 2011. She is now getting ready to compete in her first Ironman at Port Macquarie and her interview is on page 22. We also catch up with Tour De Cure board member and Channel 7 identity Mark Beretta (page 26) and look at how the pros and age groupers in the country enjoyed their summer on (page 30). Another new feature making its debut in the mag is our Destination spotlight (page 34). We kick things off with a look at the Canary Islands and why it is the go-to place for most Europeans during the winter and why it could be the location for your next active holiday. All our regular columnists are back - Dr Mitch, Brendan Sexton, Dan Wilson, Jodie Swallow, Siri Lindley and Tim Reed. And we have all your training tips and all the Tech Talk you can handle! Enjoy!
| Australian Triathlete
PUBLISHER Ross Copeland EDITOR Aimee Johnsen deputy EDITOR Manveen Maan ART DIRECTOR Andy Cumming Photo EDITOR Korupt Vision Advertising manager Aimee Johnsen Production, Administration & subscriptions Gina Copeland
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Ironman 70.3 Set for China
I YEPPOON TRIATHLON is back 6 - 7 AUGUST 2016
ow in it’s second year, the Yeppoon Triathlon Festival is a weekend full of great opportunities for competitors, families and the community to celebrate all things sport (triathlon) and everything that the Capricorn coast has to offer. The open water swimming races, 5km fun run and a FREE kids aquathlon on the Saturday are the prelude to the Olympic and sprint distance triathlon races held on Sunday the 7th of August. With a $6,500 prize purse form open male and female as well as a $4,00 bike package to be raffled
off mean you could be going home with a new bike just for competing! Escape the winter blues of down south and head to the coast that boasts idyllic temperatures in the mid 20’s in August. The calm ocean swim and super fast and flat bike course makes this a perfect race for beginners or those trying to beat a personal best. Registrations are now open and close of July 14th so head to the event website and add the Yeppoon Triathlon Festival to your winter race schedule!
RONMAN recently announced the addition of a new IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlon in China, which is scheduled to take place on October 16, 2016 in the Anhui Province of Hefei. Hefei is an iconic capital city with great access to scenic venues and entertainment options. This is the second IRONMAN 70.3 race announced for China after Xiamen which will be taking place on November 6. The IRONMAN 70.3 Hefei triathlon will offer 50 age-group qualifying slots for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA and 15 qualifying slots for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i. Course information will be forthcoming. Registration opens on February 2, 2016 at
Get Coached by Iron-distance Star Gina Crawford
iwi star Gina Crawford has become an accredited triathlon coach and in 2016 opens up her wealth of knowledge to others following their own triathlon pathway. The Ironman Certified Coach will continue to race throughout 2016 as one of the premier long distance athletes in the world. “I have decided to combine my love of teaching and sport! I have now completed 37 iron distance races and counting and have learnt a wealth of knowledge over the last decade in the sport which I now want to pass on. I will be coaching a small, select number of people. I offer a personal, individualised service of forming training plans around your individual schedule and athletic goals. On top of this I have a wealth of knowledge to guide you through all areas of the sport, be it race day logistics, SBR technique, mental
| Australian Triathlete
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| Australian Triathlete
Longevity The Secret To
Cementing her place as a serious world class performer on the triathlon circuit, Liz Blatchford has gone from strength to strength and this year earned a second podium finish at Kona in just three years. AT catches up with the formidable athlete and finds out what’s in store for her in 2016. Interview by AT | photography by korupt vision
THE BIG ISLAND You podiumed at Kona once again – congratulations! What was your plan going into the race this time? My plan was basically the same as previous years. To swim with the front group, ride strong with the front group as long as it was within a reasonable range for me and then to run with whatever I had left with our going too hard early in the marathon. No special tactics and this is what I did. All was going to plan and I was nicely planted in the front group until around 80km on the bike when Daniela was on the front and pushing the pace. I made the decision to drop off the group and ride a more controlled pace within my own limits. After 20 – 30 km of solo riding, I began hearing the time gaps and started regretting that decision, thinking I should have hung in the group for longer. I got off the bike in 9th with some big gaps to the girl in front and
thought I was out of contention. It was the hottest Kona of the three I’ve raced and a lot of the girls up front who had taken the decision to ride hard ended up paying for it on the run. I stayed super steady, not trusting myself to push too much in such crazy heat but still managed to move into 3rd before half way on the marathon. From there on it was all about hanging tough and getting home in one piece. I was slowly catching Rachel (Joyce) in second but never got close enough to have a real crack. We now know you were experiencing Plantar Fasciitis issues going into the race – how concerned were you and your team that this would effect your race? I’d been struggling with it for months leading in but it had been manageable. Taping, icing, anti-inflammatories, massage and needling were keeping it
bearable and I was able to do most of my normal run load. However 12 days before the race I did my last hard interval run session. By this point, I’d already started to freshen up so the faster running came easily to me that day. I could feel my foot throughout the session but thought it just the same as the past few months. However, as my body cooled down my foot got so sore I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day. I took some painkillers and kept it iced for the next three days without running. I was worried by this point but also knew how focused I was on getting though Kona and would probably race if there was any physical way! From that point on I managed 3 x 30 min runs until race day, each very painful but enough to assure myself I’d get through. And I did. I’m almost certain that I tore my plantar in that run session but I don’t have any regrets.
Australian Triathlete |
| Australian Triathlete
Three races on the Big Island, two podiums and a tenth is a seriously impressive CV – what do you think about the race suits you? I’ve always said that if I could design an Ironman course to suit my strengths, Kona would pretty much be it. Non-wetsuit, warm ocean swim, rolling bike and run plus the extreme heat and humidity all suit me. That coupled with it always having a strong field brings out the best in my performance.
© ITU Media
© ITU Media
On race day do you just block any concerns like that or is it a constant thing in your mind (especially throughout the marathon?) It did enter my mind a few times. For example when I was suffering in the last hour of the bike. I thought, “I better be able to finish this thing, I’m not going though this much hell to not finish!” But ultimately I would just push it out of my mind and stay focused on the present.
© ITU Media
the secret to longevity
Where it all began You started out doing triathlon at a very young age. How did you get into it and what about the sport appealed to you? I started out doing nippers (surf club) and Little Athletics so I had the swim and run part covered. I did my first tri at age 14 and had success. I think ultimately most kids like winning (well I did!) so once I became better at triathlon, it took over! You turned pro at a young age and headed off on the road – was that a scary prospect? What did your parents think? I turned “pro” at 21. I think at that time I wasn’t so scared, just excited. I moved from Perth to the Gold Coast with three of my best friends from school so it was all a big adventure. I’d told them I wanted to move to Queensland to train and they all decided to join me. They weren’t into triathlon at all so it was a funny household, balancing four 21-year old girls, who wanted to party all week, with my training. I was also studying at uni so it was all just fun and not scary at all. Mum and Dad were great, they’ve always been big believers of us learning by our own mistakes. Who were your role models then and now? Back then I would say the older Aussie girls who were racing well at the time Loretta Harrop, and Nicole Hackett. As I moved up the ranks some of my training partners and best friends became my role models in a way - Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffat for sure.
You started university, but decided to pursue triathlon full time. What were your motivations back then? Did you ever imagine now in your 30s you would still be making a living off this sport? To be honest in my 20s I didn’t really give much thought to the future. I very much lived in the present. When I began training under Brett Sutton and spending half the year overseas my uni studies had to take a back seat. I recently managed to finish that degree; I think it took 13 years or something ridiculous! But no, if I had taken the time to stop and think, I probably wouldn’t have imagined I’d still be going. I didn’t even know what Ironman was back then! You were a successful short course triathlete. Why did you feel the need to switch to long course? Do you think it’s a natural progression with age to have to switch to long course to extend your career? I did 11 years of ITU racing and went through three unsuccessful Olympic cycles. I was chosen as alternate twice. That coupled with the politics involved with federation racing, meant by 2012, I really needed a big change to stay in the sport. I do think there is definitely a natural progression into long course with age. The strength endurance comes on with years of training plus the mental side.
You didn’t get selected for the Great Britain team for the 2012 London Olympics. What impact did that have on your career and you as a person and athlete? I was left pretty bitter after that process. I felt it was unfair at the time and still believe the Olympics is no place for domestiques, given the spots are so limited and coveted. This accelerated my move to long course. Perhaps if I’d been to the Games in 2012 I may have felt fulfilled and retired then and there. However I didn’t want to finish on a low and still loved the pure racing and training outside of the politics. So I gave long course a shot. And here I am still going and still loving it.
IRONMAN RACING Your first ever Ironman (Cairns 2013) came with a win, a feat very few in the sport achieve – did you have any doubts ahead of that race that IM racing may not be for you? Yeah sure I had big doubts and I don’t think you would be human if you didn’t! Ironman is very daunting no matter who you are. I knew I was a good all round triathlete but having seen so many great athletes before me crumble over Ironman was enough to instill some serious respect. Australian Triathlete |
the secret to longevity
If so, that result must have thrown any doubts out the window? Somewhat. It for sure surprised me but also motivated me to chase a Kona spot that year which I’m very glad I did. Do you go into different races with a base strategy or do you wing it? Each race’s strategy is slightly different depending on fitness, field and importance of the race. But definitely some winging or adapting goes on too. You’re one of those athletes who is seriously solid over all three disciplines, as opposed to those who are clearly dominant over one leg to the others and can then blow up. Have you always felt that was an advantage? Yes for sure. I’m grateful of that strength and I believe it comes from my years of ITU racing. You
| Australian Triathlete
cannot afford to have a weakness in that style of racing. Having said that it would also be cool to be known as a super fish, uber biker or crazy fast runner! What is your favourite place to race and why? I love racing in my home state - Queensland. I raced Mooloolaba 11 times as an ITU race and obviously love Cairns. I also love Kona. Anywhere warm and tropical does fine! You’ve been a triathlete for almost 20 years now – what is the secret to the longevity of your career? Learning from my mistakes. It took me a while but knowing your own body’s capabilities and working to your own best potential. For years I tried to do the run training of Emma (Snowsill) and while she excelled I spent more time injured than running. Finding a good life
balance is also imperative. My husband Glen aka Korupt Vision has thankfully made a career that complements what I do, meaning we can travel together for the most part.
PROUDLY SUPPORTING TRIATHLETES
Tom arranged our mortgage 3 years ago, when the banks were saying no. Since then Tom has sponsored me as an athlete, supporting me to do what I love. Top guy and brilliant at what he knows best. Go see him if you are in need of a home loan or financial planning.
Being a Professional athlete and the nature of our income, it was never going to be easy getting a home loan. Our bank said no, then we met with Tom. He made the whole process so easy, and now we are living in our dream home in Noosa.
Luke & Beth
SPECIAL OFFER For all loans, you receive a $500 gift voucher to your favourite tri/bike shop PLUS 10 minutes with either Liz, Luke or Beth.
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the secret to longevity
OFF THE TRI TRACK You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you’d like to eventually be a school teacher and start a family (aside from fur baby Buttons!). Is this on the cards still? Well I wouldn’t mind a family of doggies but that would make travelling even more difficult! Yes I am looking at doing my teaching diploma part-time so I have something to go to post Tri. And yes, a non-fur family at some point for sure! As a female athlete having a family (or not) is something you have to consider (over the male athletes). How have you managed the competing goals and the athletic progress vs desire to have a family balance? It is definitely on my mind. Both of those “competing goals” as you say have time limits. It is fantastic seeing some of the pro triathlete mothers in our sport doing so
| Australian Triathlete
well. Gina Crawford always inspires me. No nonsense, just gets on with it and obviously does a great job at both racing and being a mother. To this point I have always been fully tri focused but i think in the next few years my focus will change. Your husband Glen Murray aka Korupt Vision is fast becoming one of the premier photographer/videographers in the sport. How great is to have your number one able to work in the same sport and travel with you around the world? It’s really fantastic. Without sounding too soppy I’m super proud of him and he constantly amazes me with his creativity and work ethic. The fact it enables us to do our things together is even better. I doubt I would still be competing if Glen and I couldn’t do it all together.
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the secret to longevity
What’s your favourite food to eat while training, and your favourite off training? Carrot cake ticks both of these boxes. Some of my favourite long rides, both at home and in Boulder include carrot cake stops. In fact now that I think about it, that may be why those rides are my faves! But carrot cake goes down well anytime. So does pizza, good crusty bread, banana bread, croissants -basically I love gluten! Aside from triathlon, what does Lizzy B do to chill out? Anything beach related - surfing, SUPing, taking Buttons down to play. I also love reading, cooking and eating. What’s left on the bucket list? So much! Get way better at surfing, have kids as mentioned, swim to Rottnest, live sustainably, lots more travel - Africa, South America, more of Indonesia and India. Foster lots of dogs. Obviously these things complement each other so well… eeek haha.
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| Australian Triathlete
| Australian Triathlete
The Ultimate Challenge Ultraman stalwart Craig Percival is set to take on a mammoth challenge this year. AT finds out the motivation and the training behind the 8in8in8 concept. You’re attempting to complete 8 Ironman races in all 8 states of Australia, in 8 days. Sounds like a tall order! What is the motivation behind doing this? “8in8in8” is the culmination of 30 plus years of athletic endeavours. I’ve loved sport my entire life, and have been fortunate to be pretty competitive at swimming, triathlon and endurance events. I always like to push the boundaries of what can be achieved – whether it’s for myself or the athletes I coach – and once I started thinking about the challenge of completing 8 Ironman races over 8 consecutive days around Australia, I knew I wanted to be the first person to do it. My wife and two kids are my greatest motivation, and they’ll be what I think about when I hit the inevitable hard times during the event. Along with, of course, the big goal of raising over $80,000 for JMF (the John Maclean Foundation).
How did this idea first come about? How has it evolved from the initial brief (if at all)? I first thought about the 8in8in8 concept on the flight home from Hawaii in 2014, just after finishing second at the Ultraman World Championships (Craig led the race for the first two days, only relinquishing his lead during the double marathon on the third and final day to miss top spot by an agonising 5 mins over 23hrs racing). I knew that I wanted to create a unique challenge for myself that wasn’t necessarily an existing race or event, and I wanted to find a way to give back to the community in my own way. From Ironman to Ultraman, multiple Ironman races within a week seemed like a logical progression. By the time we landed back in Melbourne, I’d written down the plan for 8in8in8. The only thing that’s changed from the original brief is that I had initially thought about doing a prologue ride from
Melbourne to Perth. Once I started mapping out the logistics, and talking with people such as Mitch Anderson who have ridden the Nullarbor, I decided that a 3,500km ride may not be the wisest warm-up for 8 consecutive Ironman races. So I’ve put that one on hold for the moment.
You are also raising money for the John Maclean Foundation. Why did you choose this particular foundation? I was first inspired to do Ironman back in 1995, after watching John become the first wheelchair athlete to finish Hawaii. He has gone on to do a whole lot of amazing things, and he really embodies that notion of ‘no limits’. Like many triathletes, I’ve been aware of his foundation for a long time now, but it’s only over the past couple of years that I’ve realised just how much he has been able to change kids’ and families’ lives through providing wheelchairs as well as other support such as house and car modifications.
Australian Triathlete |
8in8in8 Itinerary Prior to Ultraman Hawaii, my average for the 8 weeks leading in to that race was just 15 hours per week. I certainly hope to bump that number a bit in the final 4 weeks before 8in8in8. I’ll look to do some key sessions that simulate closely with what will happen in March, namely late night long runs finishing at 10-11pm then be back in the pool at 6am for 4-5k swims.
How important a part does nutrition and recovery play?
How many athletes in the past have completed several races over consecutive days? The best known would be James Lawrence, the “Iron Cowboy”, who last year completed 50 Ironman races in the 50 US states over 50 days - absolutely phenomenal! A handful of people have finished the Epic 5 challenge in Hawaii, which is made up of 5 Ironman races on the 5 Hawaii islands within a week. As far as I know, no one in Australia has completed multiple Ironman races over consecutive days. The distances between cities really increases the logistical challenge – there have definitely been some moments where we thought it would be much easier if we had our own private jet!
How many triathlons have you competed in thus far? What has been the most gruelling race for you to date? I lost count of the number of races a long time ago, but it would definitely be into the hundreds, across all distances. Without doubt, the most gruelling was Ultraman Hawaii – closely followed by the Ironman World Champs in Kona.
What is your training schedule like now, in the lead up to this event? I wish I could say that I was training like a full-time athlete, with a perfectly structured and planned program. The reality is that, like most age group athletes, I have to fit my training around my other commitments – family, coaching, our business, and the occasional catch up with friends. School holidays have added an extra challenge, especially as it’s the busiest time of year for Aquashop (Craig’s wife Lindell runs the Aquashop in South Melbourne).
| Australian Triathlete
It’s an Ironman cliché, but nutrition really IS the fourth leg. It’s one of the most critical pieces of the whole project. If I’m not adequately fuelled right from the start, then I won’t make it. It’s that simple. I’m working with Amanda Meggison from Tarian Pantry for my everyday nutrition, both in the lead-up and during the event. Amanda specialises in guiding consumption of high net gain foods for athletes, through using organic whole foods to maximise energy and recovery. On her plan, I know I’ll be in the best shape possible when I start 8in8in8. For training and racing, Daryl Griffiths from Shotz is my go-to man. He has worked with some of the world’s best endurance athletes, and he’ll be overseeing my race day fuel and hydration plan.
How did you work with that over the Christmas period, and how has it changed now? For me, it’s really important to stay relaxed and keep some balance. I enjoyed a few drinks over the holiday period, but for the final six weeks I’ll steer clear of alcohol. In terms of food, the biggest challenge for me at the moment is eating enough to get through those longer sessions.
How are you mentally preparing for such an epic race? Every session I visualise myself somewhere different around Oz but without a doubt, every run I think about my kids running with me on that final lap of Melbourne’s iconic Tan track. I consider not just every session I do in this prep, but every session I have ever done as money in the bank that I will cash in over those 8 days.
Sunday 6 March
Monday 7 March
Tuesday 8 March
Wednesday 9 March
Thursday 10 March
Friday 11 March
Saturday 12 March
Sunday 13 March
What logistical difficulties are involved with organising a race this widespread? Do you have a team working with you? I could write a book about the logistical challenges with 8in8in8! I’m lucky to have a great team around me, who are assisting with everything from fundraising and media to the logistics involved with travelling with all the equipment you need to do an Ironman. I’m never going to be in one city for more than 24 hours, sometimes much less, and 10-12 of those hours will be spent racing. So there’s not a lot of room for error – we really need to make sure we’ve thought through all possible scenarios in the lead-up.
Will you have a support team with you the whole way through the races? If so, who will it be made up of? Lindell will be with me from beginning to end of 8in8in8. That was always a non-negotiable, although I’m not sure that she’s exactly looking forward to it. It’s not what you’d consider a relaxing getaway! Triathlon Australia and the state associations have been a huge support, and we’re working with them to ensure I have a ‘go-to’ person in every state, someone who can assist with bike set-up and pack down, meals for myself and Lindell, any local media, that sort of thing.
What do you hope to achieve as you cross that last finish line? When I think about crossing that final finish line in Melbourne, I hope for two things - to have my family with me, and to have smashed that $80,000 fundraising target for JMF. If we can pull off those two things, then it will have been worth every minute.
What are the 8 cities you will be competing in? I’m getting the big travel distances over with at the start, as they pose the greatest risk in terms of flights. So it will be Darwin, then Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and finally home to Melbourne.
To donate to Craig’s amazing challenge & support the John McLean Foundation head to:
Against all Odds Turia Pitt’s inspirational journey is a tale that’s been much documented. Manveen Maan speaks to this courageous athlete and finds out how she overcame seemingly insurmountable setbacks, and conquered her fears. I n t e r v i e w b y M A n v e e n M aa n | p h o t o g r a p h y su p p l i e d b y T u r ia Pitt
hy would I spend energy changing something that can’t be changed? If you really want something, you will find a way to make it happen” echoes Turia Pitt. The acclaimed motivational speaker, athlete and former model speaks with conviction when recounting her journey from student model to inspirational athlete and aspiring Ironman.
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Starting out as a student at the University of New South Wales where she earned a double degree with honours in Mining Engineering and Science, Turia worked as a model before landing her dream job with Rio Tinto at their prestigious Argyle Diamond Mine and moving to Kununurra with her partner, Michael. Interestingly enough, it was landing her dream job that first propelled her into the world of ultra marathon running. “At the
time I was working as an engineer at the Argyle Diamond Mine. I found my job really stressful so I used to run after work every day. Sometimes I’d go for a four hour run after work, and I’d get back and the shops were shut (for dinner) so I’d just go to bed!” she says. “It’s pretty interesting how I came to be in that Ultra Marathon in September 2011. I registered my interest but the entry fee was about $2,000. It was too much money at the time so I forgot all
about it and then a few weeks before the race I got an email, asking if I wanted to go in it for free.” She set out to compete in the event in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, however in a horrific turn of events, Pitt’s life was turned upside-down. During the course of the 100-kilometre marathon, she was trapped by a grassfire and suffered severe burns to 65 per cent of her body, and had four fingers from her left hand and her right thumb amputated The long and arduous recovery period in the hospital gave Pitt plenty of time to contemplate her next move. “In hospital I was told that I’d never run again, and I thought that I’ll show everyone by doing an Ironman one day,” she recalls. “That was the best motivation for me. My mum and Michael, would come in to my hospital room each morning and say ‘Come on, get up, it’s time to get training for Ironman’ and I’d get up and get stuck in!”
Time to celebrate: Turia and partner Michael, post race - Challenge Forster, 2015
Incidentally, Ironman was her biggest motivation to bounce back. “I’m not a huge believer in affirmations or anything, I just knew that if I put the work in the outcome would be worth it,” she states. Always one to set realistic goals, Pitt says she has set her initial sights on finishing the race. “To me this is the ultimate challenge to prove that I’m stronger, fitter and faster than I was before the fire.” Her training schedule is certainly one that displays her tenacity to accomplish all that she sets her sights on, beginning with prep for her first Ironman at Port Macquarie. “Today I started with a swim training session that had a 300m warm up, 300m kick with fins, 300m with pool buoy, 12 sets of 150m and a 200m swim down,”
she says. “The run portion of my training is a 10 minute warm up, a few run throughs, eight 1-minute runs up a hill at 85% and then a 20-second walk at the top, a jog back down, followed by six 10-second hills and a 10 minute jog to cool down.” Although Pitt clearly has the discipline to conquer the Ironman challenge, she is grateful for the support and guidance of her coaches. “I work with the most incredible coaches – Bruce and Christina Thomas from Energy Link. Bruce is a four-time Australian Ironman Champion and Level 2 triathlon coach and Christina is also a former Australian Ironman Champion and Level 2 triathlon coach. They are absolute legends and I can’t express just how fantastic they are,” Australian Triathlete |
Photo: © xxxxxxxx
she says. “The best thing about having a coach is that the programs are really specified. On my own, I would never think to do hill intervals. I wouldn’t consider speed and variation in the swim. I’d probably just do a 40-minute run or I’d just slog out a straight 2.5km swim. Not only would that be boring, it would only get me to race long and slow.” Not one to shy away from a big dream, Pitt is forthcoming when asked about her ultimate goal in triathlon. “I’d love to do the Kona World Championships,” she states, matter-of-factly. Pitt may provide inspirational fodder for thousands around the world, but who does she look up to when she’s in need of an aspirational boost? “There’s an extraordinary Aussie bloke who I find incredibly inspiring - Sam Bailey. He had a motor vehicle accident in his early twenties and was left a quadriplegic. Now he is not only a farmer, but also a motivational speaker and will be the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter. He is an absolute legend!” she exclaims. “I also love reading A Life Without Limits – Chrissie Wellington’s memoir. Chrissie is a total inspiration and this is the book I turn to whenever I need to feel re-connected and re-motivated in my training.” Adding to the long list of accolades she’s steadily racking up, is the NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year in 2014 – no mean feat in a pool of very talented women in the country: “That was so surreal and a huge honour. I ended up missing the awards ceremony because I was coming back from a trip to Laos with Interplast (the reconstructive surgery charity of which she is an ambassador of). It was amazing nonetheless.” Writing is another passion in Pitt’s life. Her memoirs published in 2013, Everything to Live For, is the story of her survival against extraordinary odds, and a testament to Pitt’s astonishing human spirit. “The publishers actually got in contact with me after seeing my story on 60 minutes and I thought it could be a really cool project. It’s a pretty factual account of what happened on the day of the fire,” she explains. Her next book, Life is a Gift, is due for release in April and this time around, Pitt aspires to showcase more of herself in the narrative of the tale, and hopes to make a
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Book Launch: Turia, at the signing of her first book, Everything to live for.
I also love reading A Life Without Limits – Chrissie Wellington’s memoir. Chrissie is a total inspiration and this is the book I turn to whenever I need to feel re-connected. difference to her readers. “I decided to write this book so readers could gain a little more insight into me and what makes me tick. The first one, as I mentioned, was more of factual account of the fire and this new one is a little more reflective,” she says. “It’s more about the strategies I’ve developed to cope with challenges and insight into my life. I hope people read it and are inspired to take some positive action with their life.” Despite all the hardship that has come her way, Pitt maintains a philosophically uplifting view on the path she’s come to call her own. “You know I’m really lucky. I get to meet so many people every week who are open to hearing my story and taking on board some of my insights,” she says. “I’ve had so many people tell me
that because of my story they’ve stopped smoking, or have run a marathon, or left an abusive relationship. I hope I can continue to empower people to create positive change in their lives.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that Pitt has understood and lived by the need to constantly evolve in order to stay relevant, as well as true to herself. “I modelled to help pay my way through university and I ran to help deal with stress in my job as a mining engineer. Now I’m a motivational speaker!” she laughs. “I guess it really comes down to the art of reinvention. If you’re not prepared to change, the world will move on and leave you behind. You’ve got to keep changing to be part of it, to be present.” And you can bet that’s what she’ll keep doing.
PRESSURE IS NOTHING MORE THAN THE SHADOW OF
JAN FRODENO 2015 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPION
WORLD BEATING SPEED ADVANCED FABRIC TECHNOLOGY TRIATHLON PERFORMANCE MULTIPLIED 2XU.COM/TRIATHLON
Mark Beretta The Channel 7 sports man reveals his love for the tri world – from his first foray into it years ago, to his connection with Tour De Cure and the Australian Super Corporate Triathlon series. Interview by AImee JOhnsen | photography by tourdecure.com.au
AT: Hi Mark or Berett’s as we call you at home, you are one very busy man – a husband (Rachel), dad of two (Ava & Daniel), you’re part of the number one morning show team Sunrise weekdays on Channel 7, a board member of the Tour De Cure and an ambassador for the AustralianSuper Corporate Triathlon series – do you sleep much?!!! MB: Not enough!! Whilst it seems like a big work load, Rach and the kids are completely accommodating. Family always comes first, I am just so lucky that Rach and the kids are so understanding and join in so much of this with me. AT: How do you juggle all the hats you wear and the responsibilities of being a parent and family man, with the public life and career and your athletic goals in terms of cycling and triathlon?
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MB: Family absolutely comes first, everything else falls in around Rach and the kids. But the best part is, they are involved in lots of my loves. For example, with Tour de Cure, Rach and the kids would never allow me to stop doing it! Every year they vote for me to do it again, they genuinely enjoy lots of the stuff I get to do. And the best part is, the kids are ready to start doing their first triathlons too so it is something we can all enjoy together as a family. AT: You’re clearly a naturally gifted athlete as a former 10-time Australian water skiing champion. Has it always been that way? MB: Absolutely not! I have never felt gifted at anything. Anything I have a go at, I feel like I have to work harder than most. But I enjoy the challenge of trying to
improve, the process of learning. I am never afraid to fail and love trying to get better. With cycling, its now like an addiction – I just want to keep becoming a better rider all the time. AT: When did you first develop a love for cycling? MB: Channel 7 sent me to cover the Herald Sun Tour years and years ago, back when the likes of Robbie McKewan were racing. I just loved it! Then my little brother Paul opened up a bike shop in Geelong, so I thought I ought to support him and buy a bike! AT: You’re getting ready to embark on your seventh Tour De Cure, do you get nerves thinking of the distance to travel (1470km) over just 10 days or is it just second nature now?
founded Cure De Tour. The generosity and passion of Australians to find a cure for cancer is real, so it is fantastic to not only be able to raise this money but deliver tangible results.
MB: Bit of a healthy mix of both. I am very respectful of the distance. Having done six I know what I have to do and the training I need in order to achieve this. The week before I always rest up, that way I am in the best position to really enjoy the adventure. And it really is such a tremendous adventure, made even better by sharing the experience with others. Always daunting but always exciting! AT: You must be enormously proud of what you’ve personally been part of over the last six years and as part of the board of an organisation that over the last ten years has been epic - $20million raised which has led to 18 cancer breakthroughs – that is amazing! MB: It really is so incredible, I think this year we will hit $25 million. This has gone well beyond the dreams of Gary who
AT: What sort of training time goes into your preparation for the tour? MB: Lots and lots as I am not really a natural rider. The training is tough but I like beating myself – constantly setting myself new benchmarks and challenges. Coming from a water skiing background, I love the comradery and friendships which are made along the way with riding. There sure is a lot of time to chat when on the road! Riding is also such a great way to switch off whilst engrossed on a long ride – no ipads, computers – it is such a good opportunity to escape day to day life. AT: When did you do your first triathlon? What was the distance? MB: My first triathlon was a small one, part of the BRW series around ten years ago. Since then, I have done lots of small ones although once I road the bike leg of the Melbourne Iron Man. Another memorable tri was one I did with Dan McPherson and Nathan Buckley. Bucks wasn’t an AFL coach at that stage, but the day before the race he made us walk the entire course together. That was when I knew he was destined to be an AFL coach!! AT: What is your favourite leg of the triathlon? MB: Got to be the bike, least favourite the swim. If I could put on some skis I would be a lot happier!
AT: So who is in your Channel Seven team for the series? MB: Oh that is a tightly kept secret, all will be revealed in good time! AT: Any future goals to compete in longer distance triathlon, perhaps an Ironman?! MB: I would love to and am now probably at a point where I can seriously put it on the radar. AT: What’ your... -- Wetsuit? Don’t wear one, bare chester all the way! Although when I was water skiing, it was a Tarantula. -- Bike? - Specialised new tarmac with DI2 and disc breaks. -- Running shoes? ASICS.
To find our more or to enter the AustralianSuper Corporate triathlon in your state, head to www. corporatetriathlonseries.com.au
donate to tour de cure To make a donation or get involved in the Tour De Cure, head to www.tourdecure.com.au
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Liz Blatchford Before Kona, I had already made the decision that I wouldn’t race for the remainder of the year, so the holidays started immediately post-race. We spent the week after the race in gorgeous Maui before heading home to Australia, which was our first time home in 4 months. After a few weeks at home, I headed up to Noosa for the Tri-Festival weekend to take part in a team and enjoy hanging out. Soon after, I was on a plane to Bali to join my hubby for 12 days of surfing and relaxing Indo-style. I soon headed home for another week, but was still not ready to train. We then headed up to The Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island for a week of four-wheeling, camping, and beaching, which was complete bliss. Those seven weeks flew and my off-season is now over and it’s back into things as usual. I am feeling a bit out of shape, but nicely rested.
Kelly Williamson My off-season entails not so much regimented training, but exercising and enjoying family, friends and slower paced days. I go crazy without any exercise! It’s all about a healthy dose of movement each day, usually 60 - 90 minutes of activity, rounded out with more downtime. I don’t really change what I eat much in the off season, so I am not tempted to splurge on sweets, burgers, or beer because I enjoy those year-round! There are far fewer early mornings in the off-season and a few more late nights.
Enjoying the holiday season is a rite of passage when it comes to triathlon training and the pros are no exception when enjoying some seasonal shenanigans. From surfing to sunbathing and sledding to wine-drinking, Megan Evoe finds out how your favourite pros are packing in some big-time fun into the small window of their much-needed off season!
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Tim O’Donnell In the “Car-Donnell” household we are serious about our off season! We have at least two weeks of absolutely no working out whatsoever. Even looking at a bike, goggles, or running shoes is not allowed. Our priorities include catching up with friends and drinking red wine! After the first few weeks of off season, we’ll do some light training, but activities that sound like fun. Mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and one-on-one basketball are some of our favourite activities to do during the off season. Of course, they are still prioritised below friends and wine-drinking during this part of the year!”
Linsey Corbin Linsey Corbin First, I always take some time off and “away” from triathlon. Depending on the year I have had, this can be one to three weeks. I think of this time as an opportunity to physically and mentally reset. I usually take the first week off of all exercise, and the second and third weeks include activities that I don’t normally get to do during the season like yoga, mountain biking, skiing, dog hikes, and fly-fishing. Then I try not to take off a crazy amount of time as I think consistency is key to progression. With that said, I also don’t train with a strict schedule or specific workouts for about a month. I do what feels fun! If I am tired, I skim the workouts. If I am feeling good, I add on. If I want to go out with friends and not worry about getting up early for swimming, I go for it!
Timnell O’Don Callum Millward My off season started post-Kona where I took two weeks very chill in Noosa, Australia where I spent plenty of time at the local cafes and enjoyed some sunbathing. I tend to ride the trainer more because we have a devil bird similar in size to a crow, named a Mapgie. Basically it goes postal on everything and anything that comes within a few hundred yards of its nest. It will swoop and attack your head when you ride past, which sounds funny, but it’s terrifying. After those first two weeks, I don’t take much of an off-season as the endless summer living allows me to continue racing and really take advantage of the end of the season races. In past years, I typically lie on the couch and get plenty of TV time and eat plenty of sugar. This year, I replaced the couch with saddle time and prepared for Ironman 70.3 Taupo (2nd place).
Tim Van Berkel My off season is a good chance to let my body and mind have rest. My Kona prep took a lot out of me and to my bad result was pretty disappointing, so it’s been nice to be back in the real world. I like hanging out with family and friends, having a good time, and not worrying about racing and training for a while. After my off season, I’ll be refreshed and ready to get back to work in the new year!
Paul Matthews My past off seasons in Australia’s summer would mean having a bbq at the beach, playing cricket in the park, and enjoying the magical beaches of the Tweed Coast/Gold Coast. I might have even had a sleep in or two. My off season is a little different these days while living in Colorado with a one year old. Instead of hanging at the beach, we’re hanging at the park going sledding in zero temperatures and decorating a real Christmas tree in front of a fire instead of a fake one wearing just board shorts. We’ll enjoy the white Christmases for now, but hopefully one day, my daughter Emerson will also be able to experience Santa surfing and his 6 white boomers!
Tim el k Van Ber Paul Matthews Australian Triathlete |
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Olympic great Beth Gerdes (left) and the heavily pregnant laps over for Emma Snowsill (right) hit the pool togther summer in Noosa.
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Ben Allen took girlfiend Jacqui Slack on a surprise pre xmas trip to Bali & popped the question.
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Luke McKenzie got his pa’s Land rover out of the garage after a decade & plans to get it back on the road.
Emma Jackson was on training cam on Canary Island Fuerte p with coach Joe Filiol ventura, Spain.
Tri couple Brendan Sex ton & Cha enjoy some down time rlotte McShane on the SUP.
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For some, like Tim Van Berkel it was about prepping for the coming year including some max testing.
‘Captain Awesome’ Guy Crawfo question to love Kate rd popped the Bevilaqua.
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#ATSummerLovin We put the shout out on Instragram to see how the countries best and brightest enjoyed the summer months, using the hashtag #ATSummerLovin - these were our favs!
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Australian Triathlete |
Canary Islands text by AT | photography by korupt vision
cluster of five islands off the coast of Spain, the Canary Islands are considered part of the Spain despite being located closer to the Moroccan border. The islands include Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and have long been a winter escape haven for many European families as they experience year-round warm weather conditions with an average 8°C temperature change between winter and summer. Generally, summers are warm and sunny with temperatures range between 25-30°C. Even though winters are warm, sunshine is not quite guaranteed, even if the temperature sits between a balmy 17 and 22°C.
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The Canary Islands are often referred to as the “Islands of Eternal Spring”, as they have the perfect climate for exercising in the great outdoors, amongst stunning scenery, all year round.
Athlete’s Heaven The two islands that are considered the go-to for most European athletes are Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Both islands house world-class sports resorts Club La Santa and Sands Beach Resort on Lanzarote, and Playitas Resort is located on Fuerteventura. The who’s who of world triathlon choose these resorts for winter training camps and for amateur athletes it offers an opportunity to star gaze at breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to
mention the world class training partners you see out on the road and in the lane beside you. Names like Sebastian Kienle, the Raelert Brothers, Javier Gomez, Michelle Vesterby, Helle Frederiksen and Liz Blatchford (above left with BMC team mate Sofie Goos right) all spend time in the region preparing for the year ahead. From swimming in the amazing Olympic standard pools, to world class gym facilities or perhaps even attending any number of group fitness classes like Pump and Pilates – whatever your sport scene is, you’ll find it here. You can train on some of the toughest climbs in the world and while your children have a whale of a time - all three resorts offers loads of kid-friendly supervised activities. Perfect acclimatisation for Kona!
Club La Santa Offers three - yes three - 50m eight lane swimming pools for all your swim training and is the worlds largest active holiday paradise, with over 40 activities with associated facilities and equipment, training from competent instructors and fun tournaments are at your disposal and most are already included in the price. There are offers for all generations and levels, and a very popular activity club for children from 3-years-old.
Playitas The Resort boasts an extensive range of sports facilities where guests can take part in a wide variety of activities. The facilities at Playitas Resort have been designed with both top athletes and amateurs in mind, as well as active families. You’ll also find restaurants, large gardens, a mini-club, 18-hole golf course, an eight land 50m Olympic standard pool - everything you need to enjoy a great holiday with the whole family. The Playitas Resort hotel comprises of 223 rooms while there are an additional 114 studio and 96 apartments and 24 villas that have their own private pool for those looking for that little bit of extra luxury.
Sands Beach Active Sands Beach Active is nestled on its own seawater lagoon on the eastern edge of Costa Teguise. Offering a blend of first class sports facilities and nurturing environment in a luxury, tropical setting caters for families, active individual and groups. On site facilities include an internationally accredited, 25 metre swimming pool with eight lanes, a depth of 2.2 metres and heated to 26º C; a fully equipped gym with treadmill, rowing machines, weights (free and machine) and a multi-gym; Stand Up Paddle, windsurfing and a wellness centre for pampering and recovery massage.
Swim If you’re at one of the sports resort you need look no further than the glorious multi-lane lane pools on offer. The beautiful North Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the resorts and the islands is a perfect place for the open water sessions. Unlike Australian beaches you will find rock rather than sand and it can be quite rough. Tip: Be aware of the rocky bottom and potential rough seas when heading into the open water.
Alternatives Aside from the resorts, you will also find any number of private villas for rent – check out Airbnb.com, which has many reasonable choices. Another privately owned triathlete-friendly accommodation on Lanzarote is at Daz and Debs house TriSports Lanzarote (www.trisportslanzarote.com) With seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms as well as a 25m pool, a personal coach (Daz) and cook (Deb) onsite, this offers a more homely environment and is the home-away-from-home for the likes of Yvonne Van Vlerken and Per Bittner as well as Brits Lucy Gossage and Joe Skipper. With prices starting at 550 Euro for a seven-night basic package this is an affordable option for many.
Bike The climbs are big and long and can be brutal but isn’t that how we like them? The Canary Islands are known for having some of the windiest conditions, which often takes first timers by the surprise. Plan accordingly and make sure you leave enough steam to get home. The high winds can often cause sandstorms especially during the months of January – May, so don’t worry the world isn’t ending! The road surface will be rougher than you may be used to. Tips: Don’t forget siesta is between 1pm-3pm so pack enough snacks and hydration, as there will be no Coke and donut stops.
Australian Triathlete |
Destination: Canary islands
Run The warm and barren climate means you can get a long uninterrupted run in just about anytime, anywhere on the islands like Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Although there is not much to any protection from the sun, the sparse environment means you can explore the islands and get an off-road type experience without getting lost - you can pretty much always see you route home. Tip: Don’t forget to cover up from the sun as the lack of shade means it can be a brutal environment on your skin. Drinking water from taps is not advised so again make sure you carry enough hydration with you.
If you are staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts all your meals are taken care for but that doesn’t mean you cannot get in to town and experience life like a local. Traditional Spanish cuisine is the flavour and offers a cheap eat option. You will find plenty of your usual European favourites at the local supermarkets, which open early and stay open late (outside of siesta hours). Fresh bread, baguettes and fluffy pastries are easy to come by and drinking bottled water is a must.
The best way for Australians to get to the Canary Islands would be to fly into Madrid, Frankfurt or Barcelona where you can easily catch a direct ‘domestic’ flight to any of the islands.
“After a 3-week training camp on the island of Fuerteventura at Playitas Resort I can easily see why triathletes from all around the world flock here for camps. With the 50m swimming pool and ocean for swimming, flat and hilly roads for cycling, trails and road for running plus a gym right at your doorstep it really makes training easy. The year around mild sunny temperature is also a positive, as it never seems too hot or too cold for a session. There are days with plenty of wind however which will ensure you leave the island a lot stronger athlete and appreciating the term windy.” Challenge and Ironman franchises both offer racing options Challenge Family holds half iron-distance events in Fuerteventura in April and Gran Canaria in September. Ironman Corporation runs Ironman Lanzarote in May and a 70.3 in September. There are also smaller events on Lanzarote such as the Volcano Tri held in May, and the Ocean Lava Lanzarote event in October, giving you lots of options to combine a training holiday with a race. There is a distance to suit all level.
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Emma Jackson - Trains at Playitas Resort “For me it is perfect. I’ve trained in other sports resorts on Lanzarote but Sands Beach is different, whilst it caters for almost every sport it is in very close proximity to the town of Costa Teguise so it means there is a good mix of general tourist and athletes. I enjoy the ability to feel like I am not on a concentration camp and surrounding by athletes at every turn. That all said when you want to dial in and have your space you get it because the complex is so big. It was here I did all my prep for Challenge Bahrain in 2014 and it worked perfect as a race prep location.”
Helle Frederiksen - Trains at Sands Beach
IMAGE OF THE
MONTH photo: Korupt vision Sunrise views from Lanzarote make those early training starts worth it.
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Australian Triathlete |
tech talk Tri Products
IsoWhey Wholefoods Superfood Snack Range Snacking choices can be hard to manage and it’s often the naughty bite sized snacks which take favour over a healthy whole food option but with the IsoWhey Wholefoods Superfood Snack range you can get the best of both worlds. The small ball shaped snacks are easy to pick up when tired or on the go and contain at least 40% organic ingredients as well as being gluten free, diary free, and soy free. They contain ingredients like nut and seed mix, chia seeds and gluten free whole grains like buckwheat, millet and puffed brown rice. Coming in flavours like Cacao + Sea Salt, Coffee + Raspberry, Kale + Lime, Mixed Berry + Pomergranate and Maca + Walut there is a something their for all tastes. Retailing for $9.95 per bag with 5 x 120g snacks per pack. www.Isowhey.com.au
ISOWHEY Sports Creatine + HMB IsoWhey is an Australian-owned premium health and wellbeing brand which is sold in more than 3,000 pharmacies and health food stores across the country. Providing a scientifically formulated range with high quality, un-denatured protein, IsoWhey offers innovative products with added nutrients. Starting out as a health and wellness supplement, IsoWhey has branched out to the sports market with their IsoWhey Sports range. IsoWhey Sports recently announced the launch of a new product Creatine + HMB to their range. Designed to help improve resistance exercise by increasing peak power output and repetition during high intensity workouts. Used for: • Pre-workout loading to enhance strength and lean body mass • Increasing capacity for high-intensity exercise • Energy reserve and preventing muscle breakdown • Protein synthesis support RRP: $39.95 www.isowheysports.com.au
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SOS Rehydrate A relatively new brand in the Australian market, SOS was founded in 2013 in the USA, with its key product being the doctor formulated hydration drink which boats a tag line of ‘The Drinkable IV’. SOS is free of artificial additives with three times the electrolytes of the average sports drinks with just one sixth of the sugar. A new Mango flavour has joined the Berry and Citrus flavours in the range. We will be giving this a road test throughout summer! RRP: $21.95 for a 10 pack www.sosrehydrate.com.au
xlab Torpedo Kompact 100 RRP: $74.95 Available at www.echelonsports.com.au Swiftwick Socks The ASPIRE™ Line is thin and light for serious runners and cyclists, yet still perfect for athletes of any sport. The Managed Compression™ prevents bunching and hot spots by supporting all three arches in the foot. Our Linked-Toe technology prevents blisters by eliminating bunching in the toe-box. The result is a sock designed to fit your feet perfectly while helping you do what moves you. Available in 10 bright, on trend colours including pink, purple, cool mint, hi-vis yellow and back there is a colour to suit all.
www.echelonsports.com.au | email@example.com | (07) 3902 1155
RRP: $19.99 Available at www.swiftwick.com
Road Ring RoadRing is a highly visible flashing indicator/turn signal for cyclists worn on the hand like a ring. It enables fellow road users to clearly see your turning intentions and is easily activated bio-mechanically by simply extending your hand. The weather-resistant device is fully adjustable, suitable for all ages and hand sizes and can be used with or without a cycling glove. As we all know cycling can be hazardous, especially in built up areas and times of reduced light. RoadRing enables cyclists to clearly show their turning intention to other road users. Be seen and be safe. Special Offer: just $19 these are a must have for all riders! Grab a set today at www.roadring.com Australian Triathlete |
Product Tested: Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS
text by Margaret Mielczarek | photography from Endura
s a female triathlete one of my biggest pet peeves when cycling has got to be, having to go to the toilet in the middle of a ride. Not because I have to stop, potentially slowing my average time on Strava, but because it generally means that I have to strip off every possible layer before I can finally use the toilet. Yes, it means effectively sitting on the toilet in the nude. Freezing temps make this worse in winter, and generally mean you’re peeling off 101 layers, from your wind vest, then your jersey, followed by your undershirt, and hoorah! You’re finally at your knicks! What a process! Exhausting just thinking about it. I’ve never been one to opt for nonbibbed knicks. I much prefer bib knicks because they’re much more comfortable, in my opinion. I’ve had a few fun adventures with different styles. From men’s knicks, which while comfortable have never really sat as nicely or were as flattering to the
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female form as most women’s specific bib knicks are, to female specific bib knicks with mesh bibs that crossed over the bust area (your boobs!) in some sort of porn-inspired design. Not to mention the aforementioned toilet factor. So when asked to try the new Endura Bib short DS, with a drop-seat (DS) I was instantly excited! That’s right – A. DROP. SEAT. This is effectively an inner zipper, which sits across your lower back, allowing you imply to unzip the drop-seat when you need to go to the toilet. Ladies, say goodbye to peeling off every piece of clothing before being able to use the toilet. Finally, a very clever answer to our toilet issues! To road test the knicks, I wore them during a few of my long training rides. My main goal was to test out the drop-seat. I was also keen to check out the comfort factor too. Just imagine, if knicks that allowed you to go to the toilet in comfort, while also being comfortable, supportive, durable and flattering – sold! Where’s my credit card?
I’ll admit, heading out on that first ride in the knicks made me a little anxious. A zip anywhere near the nether regions when you’re commando underneath is a little nerve wrecking. I was worried there would be a full moon out! I did also say a little prayer for the zip not to catch or get stuck during a toilet stop 30km from home, but the knicks are quality.
The Drop-Seat (DS): This is one of the best features of the knicks. In fact, why hasn’t somebody thought of this sooner? You wonder if the zip catches and gets stuck or if it pinches your skin. Well, I’m happy to report the inner zip is hidden, cleverly disguised and unobtrusive. In fact, just looking at the knicks you can’t tell that there’s a zipper there. The zip also sits higher, across your lower back. This means that it doesn’t move while you’re out riding so there’s no friction and chaffing. What’s more, the zipper is so well made that it doesn’t cause
chaffing on the inside near the seam and has a flap of soft material at the end of the zipper, which keeps it from rubbing. While I haven’t pinched my skin at this point when using the zipper of the drop-seat, common sense and care needs to prevail when zipping and unzipping the shorts. Clearly, if you’re not taking care, you may pinch your skin with the zipper but only a minor potential issue.
The Shorts/Knicks: A non-cycling or triathlete friend once asked me – ‘why do cyclists wear knicks?’ My answer: ‘comfort’. When you’ve got hundreds of kilometers to ride, you want to be comfortable. There’s a reason knicks were invented. If things didn’t get nasty out on the bike sometimes (hello welts!), we’d all be wearing gym gear. When looking for knicks, comfort is one of the most important factors I look out for. Who hasn’t put on a new pair of knicks, with a new, well-padded chamois and felt amazing? The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS does not disappoint in the comfort factor. They are also not too short. I find knicks that are too short unflattering especially when I’m in peak training and my thighs have become muscly machines. They fit well, the broad silicone leg grippers aren’t too tight around the thigh and are flattering; there are no unwanted lumps and bumps and blood circulation does not get cut off - perfect for the female rider. Next to comfort, another factor I look for when buying knicks is durability. The stretch fabric feels durable. It’s like you can wear it and put it through the washing machine time and time again without it sagging, fading and common wear and tear. This is great for anyone cycling multiple times a week! I’ve had knicks before that have fallen apart only months after purchasing. A quality garment is so important. Not only for comfort but also for durability. When you pay a hefty price for a product you expect it to last. After
multiple uses and washes, these knicks are still like brand new. Well-done Endura!
The Chamois: While most new chamois are comfortable, sometimes they can have poor stitching, too little or too much padding and they might not be positioned right. I’ve had knicks that came with chamois positioned largely to the back. I mean really, who needs that much padding back there, unless you’re sitting up for the entire ride? This then meant as soon as I was in my TT position I was left with very minimal padding at the front. Ouch! According to bicycling.com a ‘good chamois should prevent chaffing, moving with you on the seat (so it should stay in place – fit well) so your skin doesn’t rub’. The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS certainly meets this criterion. The site also suggests that the ideal level of chamois thickness “depends on
good amount of padding both at the back and the front. Lastly, the seamless stitching means that there is no potential cause of unwanted rubbing and chaffing. It may also mean that the knicks will potentially last longer too.
The Bib: The bib is lightweight with a mesh upper, making it super comfortable. It has a high cut back, which helps the straps stay in place, which means the bib is secure. The straps are positioned down the side of the torso, over the arms and don’t cross the bust. I find this much better and more comfortable compared to bibs that cross the bust. It’s also a lot more comfortable and flattering to the female form. The bib armholes are bound with Lycra. This adds to the comfort factor and prevents the material cutting-in or chaffing. I certainly found this to be true.
how you sit on the bike. Prefer an upright position? Look for a multi thickness pad with extra rear cushioning. If you ride more stretched out, try a pad with even thickness and multi density foam”. The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS chamois is almost like a panel of padding, meaning that there’s padding in places you’ll need padding, and no padding where you don’t need any. This further adds to the comfort factor - the chamois doesn’t rub or ride up inappropriate places and there’s also a
Looking good on the bike is just as important as feeling good – right? While some cycling kits available on the market are a little, unflattering to say the least, the design of the Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS is fashionable and sleek with neat reflective logos on the thighs. I think they look great! I paired the knicks with Endura Wms FS260-Pro Jetstream Jersey in white (also comes in red). It’s lightweight, wind blocking and fits well. It has good-sized back pockets for gels, spare tubes and canisters. One pocket is zipped – a great, secure place to put your keys! This jersey is goes perfectly with the knicks. So really, I’m a fan! The Endura Wms FS260-Pro Bibshort DS have become my new benchmark for cycling knicks. The design is great; the shorts are sleek, flattering, comfortable and fit well. Best of all, there is no more peeling off 101 layers to go to the toilet! RRP $152 at www.endurasport.com Australian Triathlete |
tech talk Road test
Product Tested: 1 Giant Mind App
The (Brain)storm t e x t b y ma n v e e n maa n
’ve tried many approaches in the pursuit of a stress-free life. As a child of the tech generation, my life is one of constant planning, trying to balance the intricacies of life, work and a burgeoning social life in this “I’m so busy” day and age. So when I was first approached with the idea that an app, of all things, could help ease some of that stress, I was skeptical to say the least. After all, it’s streaming out of the very
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device that we’re told to stay away from past a certain time of night. And how could sitting down and breathing possibly help when I have a million things to tick off my to-do list? Pushing all pre-conceived notions aside, I delved a little deeper into the world of meditation and discovered a host of scientifically backed evidence proving the benefits of this zen approach to life. Besides the numerous health advantages,
what stood out was the positive effect it had on athletes and how they train and prepare for competitions. As any sportsperson can attest to, the biggest battle is the one that goes on inside your head. At the top of any sport is a 90% mind and a 10% physical capability split. The mind plays the biggest role in the wining edge, so it comes as no
Reviewed by: Manveen Maan
surprise that meditation is used by thousands of top athletes around the world to give them that edge. Renowned Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, has been using meditation for years with his players – and he won 11 NBA championships, namely with one of the most revered sportspeople of all time, Michael Jordan. Days after NFL champions Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2014 in a nearly flawless performance, it came to light that their head coach, Pete Carroll, encouraged all his athletes to meditate and even hired a sports psychologist to teach team members mindfulness exercises. Deena Kastor, Olympic Bronze Medalist and American record holding marathon runner, revealed that she has been practicing meditation for more than two decades. Luckily for us mortal beings, the price of sports psychologists doesn’t need to be included in monthly budgets. Not-forprofit organisation 1 Giant Mind has created a free ‘Learn to Meditate’ smartphone app that aims to inspire millions around the world to take up meditation and live more fulfilling lives, free from the negative impacts of stress. The natural state of our minds is like a drunk monkey: curious, easily distracted, and a little sloppy. Jonni Pollard, creator of 1 Giant Mind has a surprisingly simple solution to this dilemma. “When your mind wanders, gently recognise that you’re away from the breath and focus your attention back to the breathing. Inhale, exhale,” he says. “Distractions are totally normal and it is imperative not to force the meditation practice.” In 2014, according to the Stress and Wellbeing Survey of Australia by the Australian Psychological Society, one in four Australians reported moderate to severe levels of distress; almost two in five Australians reported experiencing some depression symptoms; and more than one quarter of Australians reported experiencing at least some anxiety symptoms, with 13% reporting severe to extremely severe levels. On top of that, a whopping 72% of Australians say stress has an impact on their physical health. The stats may seem daunting but Pollard believes the app will set a new benchmark in helping to alleviate anxiety and depression related health issues. “We have made learning to meditate easier than ever before, and after completing the 12 sessions, you will know exactly how to
meditate and be experiencing great benefits immediately that will support reduction of stress and increase happiness and mindfulness,” says Pollard. The benefits of meditation have been well documented, from increased immune function, better brain function and improved emotional resilience and stability, to greater energy and vitality and feelings of happiness and wellbeing. However, it isn’t just the mind that gains the benefit of meditation. With the right technique, meditation enables the muscular system to recover rapidly through activating the relaxation response. It also helps to cope with pain - high endurance sports (triathlon included) do a number on your body and meditation has been shown to help people cope with pain. Alongside that, meditation is also known to strengthen the immune system. The outcome is simple - if an athlete is sick they can’t perform or compete, so it makes perfect sense to help prevent an outcome that could put you out of business for a while. Of course, the goal is to obtain a sense of clarity, but expecting the mind to become blank the moment you sit to meditate is akin to expecting a six-pack the first time you complete some crunches. The mind, like the body, must be trained, and like any type of workout, meditation takes discipline. The gains however, are plenty. As a fairly active person, I saw the app as a challenge. Could I quieten the mind in a mere 15 minutes each time? I can do anything I set my mind to, right? After all, I’m a regular yoga class devotee, breathing and meditation is a central part of my workout! Unsurprisingly, my mind had other plans. My first foray into the world of app-fuelled meditation saw me sailing through the first 15-minute session in a relaxed and happy manner. I was distracted a few times but managed to stay on course despite some shallow breathing refusing to leave the party (hey anxiety, I think it’s time for you to go home!). Subsequent attempts resulted in my mind wandering off to planning
meetings and other work commitments, but luckily I was able to return to the moment and enjoy the relaxing park setting I had chosen for this particular session. I was getting the hang of this so quickly! Nothing like taking things to the next level to bring you back to reality. The next session had external noises and inner voices joining forces to create the ultimate distraction, and there was a fair bit of effort involved going back to the mantra (the app provides you with one, however you’re free to choose another if you’d like). I left that session feeling like I had lost that round – an astute reminder that you can’t win it all and sometimes, you just have to let go, move on and focus on the next step. With that thought in mind and renewed vigour for combatting difficulties, the following sessions were a step up from the previous ones – my mind wandered but there was no judgement involved; a pivotal part of the meditation process. I wrapped it up feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, happy and focused on tackling the next task with ease – otherwise known as meditation success! Although there’s no question that champions in any sport attribute their wins to great leadership, intense training, and pure athletic talent, the top players also recognise the power of meditation. Over the course of a few weeks, it was apparent that the results of my mid-work day ‘zen’ break did wonders for my mental well-being: there was a sense of calm, an awareness of my surroundings, and an overall feeling of clarity and stability. You can bet I’ll be continuing this positivity streak in the months to come.
1 Giant Mind The 1 Giant Mind meditation app is available at the App Store and Google Play. The free app includes video, Q&A, meditation journal, library and a 30-day challenge. Visit www.1giantmind.org for more information.
Australian Triathlete |
Product: ASICS MetaRun
SICS are not a brand that introduces new technology or styles on a regular basis. Instead they are renowned for consistently being the industry leader in quality and reliability. Let’s face it every multisport athlete and runner has at least heard of, and most have at some stage used a pair of shoes with one of these iconic names - Kayano, DS Trainer, DS Racer, Nimbus or GT3000, they rule the roost at most races and have been around forever. So, when ASICS releases a new style and in the process introduces not one but five new technologies, it’s pretty exciting times. In a sense, the MetaRun, which is the name of this shoe, is like a prototype bike or car. A model designed to show case future technologies to be used in updated ranges. However, in this case the MetaRun is a fully functioning shoe, ready for purchase, one we were lucky enough to test over the last six weeks. We’ll be the first to tell you this isn’t a completely different shoe design. Asics haven’t re-invented the wheel here but refined the best features of their past shoes to create a better platform for all future models. So first up, what are these new features and what do they mean for you the athlete? Shoe companies all have their own jargon and names for the same things so we will try make it all simple. First up is:
AdaptTruss This is a carbon fibre reinforced bridge in the sole. The idea here is to reduce the impact of the medial forces on the foot. Most of us have some form of natural roll through the foot as it strikes the ground, rolls through the stride and pushes off. While it’s hard to say if this works the shoe did feel quite flexible while also feeling very stable which we believe is the objective here.
Meta Clutch FlyteFoam Said to be 55% lighter than the ‘Industry Standard’, and with organic fibers impregnated into it, which is said to return to its original shape during each stride. The idea being that cushioning is increased. While it can be quite difficult to notice differences between model updates it was immediately noticeable just how cushioned and plush the ride was in the MetaRuns.
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Basically an x-shaped piece of plastic that wraps from the inside to the outside of your ankle bone and gives firm fit. There is nothing worse than a shoe that slips at the heel while in full stride and thankfully the MetaRun is not one of those. They are actually very comfortable around the back of the foot and seem to hold the heel securely without being overly firm. This is a real win over some of the earlier Asics that we found can sometimes dig in around the Achilles tendon attachment.
X-Gel Is an update to the Gel technology which has been a staple of ASICS over the last couple of decades. It’s been refined and is now placed is specific areas where cushioning is needed. This helps keep the weight down and seems to be quite effective in cushioning on all surfaces.
Jacquard Mesh A new single layered fabric which aims to reduce friction between foot and shoe, and improve breathability - a big win for the athlete training and racing in a variety of hot/cold and wet/dry weather conditions.
Reviewed by: The Test Lab Craig McKenzie and Patrick Legge are The Test Lab. Two guys with an obsession for trialling all things related to swimming, riding and running and telling anyone who will listen what they think. Having 20 years each in the sport, they’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but always loved the innovation triathlon brings to the world stage. Craig raced as a professional triathlete, winning 4 National Duathlon titles, and has worked as an exercise physiologist, osteopath and coach, while Pat has built a career running a personal training, massage and coaching business, working with State, Australian and World Champions, including Australian Olympic and Commonwealth squads whilst competing himself.
The big questions are ‘How does the MetaRun perform and who is it suited to?’ Well we put some good kms on them over a variety of surfaces from gravel to bitumen, to rubber tracks, concrete paths and also trails. Straight out of the box they fit like a glove and although they look heavy, probably due to them being black, they are actually much lighter than the flagship Kayano. The first run proved a plush ride as the MetaRun really do seem to absorb a lot of shock and give you a little back on the rebound. The fit was snug without being tight and felt very supportive. One of us tends to hit his heels first on descents especially on looser gravel roads while having a mid foot strike when running on flatter and undulating courses, and this is where he noticed some differences. He found the normal flatter ground to be great in the MetaRun, the shoe felt like running on a cloud, but anytime he landed heel first the ride was a bit firmer and didn’t feel like there was as much cushioning. This isn’t a big deal but if you are a heel striker you may want a more forgiving shoe at the rear. One of us is more a mid-fore foot striker and felt that
the shoe might be too cushioned during an initial jog but found that the ride firmed up nicely with a bit more speed. The features that we really liked about the MetaRun were the MetaClutch, you just feel so secure in the shoe and it is a feature you notice straight out of the box. Also the FlyteFoam, it just gives a great ride without the heavy shoe feel that some other cushioned runners have. One other notable feature of the shoe is that despite its great cushioning properties it still remains very flexible at forefoot.
This was really beneficial when it came to running on steeper ascents; the shoe remained snug around the foot at all times. We’ve noted some other trainers that have motion control features don’t allow the foot to keep its natural movement over varied terrain but no such issues here. The ground never feels harsh and you really feel like you get some return from each stride. For what it is worth, after six weeks, there hardly seems to be any wear and tear, so they are well built as well and appear to be hard wearing. So what type of runner do they suit then? Well pronators and anyone who likes the Kayano will love these but also the DS Trainer wearers amongst us will love them to. They give a fair bit more then the DS Trainer and could quite easily become a real all rounder shoe. Good for long runs but also equally at home in shorter and faster sessions. At the moment they come on black with gold trim and while personally I don’t normally like black, mentally I think they look heavier, with their Gold trim these shoes are pretty slick. To be honest the colour grew on us the more we ran in them and in the end we quite liked the bling of the Gold on Black. While I won’t say the MetaRun is a shoe revolution, we do think they are very good and have some great features that will make impressive upgrades for the rest of the ASICS range. If you jump on the MetaRun train you won’t be disappointed.
Australian Triathlete |
tech talk Sound Off
It’s not about the bike fit, it’s how you sit on the bike! text by jordan blanco | photography by korupt vision
s an amateur triathlete, one of the post-race emails I dread most is the one from the oncourse photographer. I open the email wondering which embarrassing race moment they captured this time: the one-eyed scowl as I attempt to tear off my wetsuit while running out of the water, the mid snot-rocket face contortion while clearing my sinuses on the bike, or better still, the run shot where both my feet appear planted in cement, when I believed I had been running with perfect, MirindaCarfrae-esque floating form. Though I may hate browsing through those post-race candids, New Zealand cycling coach, Paul Buick, considers it an essential part of doing his job. As a bicycle fitter, coach and all round cycling guru to professional and amateur athletes alike, Buick finds tremendous value in reviewing race photos: “In the first 30 miles of an Ironman race, you see a large majority of the field in relatively good positions on their bike.” But what astounds Buick is reviewing athlete photos during the final 30 miles of the same race, noticing a large number of them appear to have changed their position on the bike. He sees athletes with hands choked back on the aero bars, backs arched, pelvis tilted backwards, and sitting further forward on the saddle. He goes on to say: “These athletes didn’t stop at the halfway point and adjust their saddle height or move their bars, it’s just that they are sitting on their bike differently!” Even professional athletes are guilty of fidgeting around on the bike during a race, as recent Ironman Western Australia
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Champion, Sarah Piampiano, confesses: “Before working with Paul [Buick], I always rode on the nose of my saddle, and had an extremely closed arm position. I also moved around a lot as I was never completely comfortable in any one position!” You’ve spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars getting the perfect aero bike with all the best equipment, but all that could be wasted if you can’t comfortably sit on the bike for the duration of a race. Finding the right position on the bike for a triathlete should start with an awareness of how you interact with the bike at the three points of contact: saddle, aero bars, pedals. Buick always starts his bike fits by helping athletes select an appropriate saddle. However, he underscores that when testing the saddle, you also have to
The key for Piampiano has been to f nd that sweet spot where she is not moving or adjusting much on the bike.. keep in mind the “saddle – bicycle short – athlete combination”. As Buick points out, “switching from a thicker chamois in a training bib short to a thin chamois in a triathlon race kit can have the effect of lowering the seat height of the bike by several millimeters!” He’s astonished that so few people take this in account when dialing in the bike position for training and racing.
Expert: Paul Buick Paul Buick is a cycling coach and technical advisor for purplepatch fitness, and works alongside Matt Dixon to assist in the development in the skills and technical development of the purplepatch professional team, as well as a large number of amateur purplepatch athletes. He has acted as technical advisor and assistant coach to athletes such as Meredith Kessler, Tim Reed, Jesse Thomas, Sarah Piampiano and many others. www.purplepatchfitness.com
Australian Triathlete |
tech talk Sound Off
© Jordan Blanco
To Illustrate: Professional rider Sarah Cameto, firstly “Hands choked back on the aero bars, back hunched, pelvis rotated backwards” and secondly, “Fingers wrapped around bar end shifters, flat back, hips rotated forwards”.
Moving around on your saddle or pulling back on your aero bars can quickly distort a biomechanically efficient position fi as your body compensates accordingly. The next step for athletes is to be aware of where they sit on the saddle and whether they are fidgeting around during long rides, moving forwards or backwards on the saddle. While your bike fit should be established to be biomechanically efficient, if you cannot maintain the bike position with good cycling form for the duration of the ride then that efficiency is compromised. Buick notes that there are several great bike-fitting tools and protocols on the market these days but that, at the end of the day, there’s an element of individuality. Piampiano agrees: “What Paul has taught me is that, just like a training plan or nutritional plan, no two people are alike. Everyone’s position is going to be different.” The key for Piampiano has been to find that sweet spot where she is not moving or adjusting much on the bike. She also finds that the position that is consistently comfortable is where she ultimately generates the most power. When it comes to the front end of the bike, Buick recommends that your forearms rest on the arm pads of the aero extensions with your fingers wrapped around the aero shifters. “Start by getting your bike fit in the ball park and then test what works from there”, advises Buick.
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“Your body needs to be in sync and skeletal angles somewhere around 90 degrees or slightly more open typically create a good load bearing structure in the aero bars.” Moving around on your saddle or pulling back on your aero bars can quickly distort a biomechanically efficient position as your body compensates accordingly: “Choking back on the aero bars usually creates a narrower angle between the upper arm and the torso – less than 90 degrees – so the body adjusts by arching the back,” says Buick. However, he points out that arching the back also tends to tilt the pelvis backwards, which can add stress that interferes with digestion and breathing, as well as adding tension that could be carried into the run. So far, we’ve talked about two of the three points of contact – saddle and bars – but what about the pedals? Buick encourages athletes to pay attention to their foot angle, in particular, he advises athletes to “avoid dropping the heel in the aero position since with the pelvis tilted forward, a lower heel will increase hamstring tension.” Buick approves of triathletes including road bike rides consistently throughout the season to help with bike position
awareness as well as improved postural fitness. He explains: “You add skeletal support when you ride in your aero bars but because you don’t have that support on the road bike, the different position can help develop your postural fitness.” If you don’t have a road bike, you can simulate a road bike position on your triathlon bike by riding in the base bars. “Athletes should take advantage of riding in their base bars as much as possible in urban environments; it’s not only safer but practicing good base bar posture will also strengthen your lower back and relieve tension in your neck.” Buick adds. “Only when you get in an environment conducive to aero position protocol should you drop to your aero bars.” When riding in aero position, Buick likes to see athletes with their head down and eyes forward, looking through the top of the eye, rather than cocking the head upwards which not only puts pressure on the neck, but also is an inferior aerodynamic position. As Piampiano affirms: “The key is comfort. We all want to be as aerodynamic as possible, but if you are not comfortable, you will end up moving around on the saddle, and give up any aerodynamics you may have gained from the position!” She recommends finding a bike fitter like Buick who encourages you to ride outside and test the position: “Riding on the trainer without road movement and dynamics doesn’t give a true sense of fit… the best way to test how the position feels is to ride out on open roads.”
tech talk save/spend/splurge Save Product brand Keo Easy Pedals The Look Keo Easy is a simple and reliable pedal system designed for anyone starting out in cycling or wanting a cheaper option to begin with. They will secure your feet in well and will help improve your performance and pedalling technique. www.lookcycle.com
Spend Time RXS Carbon Road Pedals Time’s road pedal range is a good choice for riders who require rotational and angular float and lateral movement. It’s ideal for road, time trial or triathlon use. www.timesport.fr
Shimano R540 SPD SL Excellent value SPD-SL compatible road bike pedals for a secure interface with your cycling shoes. Supplied with 6° float cleats and sporting a wide profile, Shimano PD-R540 are the perfect introduction to performance road cycling pedals. www.shimano.com.au
Shimano Ultegra 6800 SPD-SL The short carbon fibre body construction offers low weight, is super stiff and offers efficient power transfer. The PD-6800 features many of the same technologies as the flagship Dura Ace pedals with the PD-6800 only weighing 8g more. www.shimano-lifestylegear.com
$1033 Look KEO Blade2 Carbon ProTeam Edition TI The Keo Blade 2 is the result of a long process undertaken by Look engineers to optimise all the innovative concepts which were developed for the Keo Blade Carbon. The Kéo Blade 2 is a more reassuring, more stable, lighter and a more powerful pedal. www.lookcycle.com
Speedplay Zero Titanium Nanogram Pedals The Nanogram Zero shares the same race-proven, tried-and-true technical benefits of Speedplay’s lightweight Zero pedals, but has been completely re-engineered for weight reduction and totally hot-rodded to maximize performance. www.speedplay.com
Australian Triathlete |
M US I N GS The Secrets of
Success W hat determines success in life? How do you define success? It can be as simple as having a passion, and living out that passion. Couldn’t success be defined as being true to yourself? Following your passion, living authentically? Let me start out by saying that I do feel that living authentically is the basis of personal success. Living authentically, being who you are in essence, leads to an inner peace that I find extremely valuable. This inner peace helps one to “succeed” in all that they are doing in their lives by removing barriers that come from having to pretend to be something you aren’t, or the barrier of having to do things you don’t want to do. Regardless of how we define it, success can feel like a fleeting and often elusive target. It takes confidence, passion, and great drive to accomplish your goals and to recognize success when you have achieved it. I have studied a lot of the top entrepreneurs in our world, and it is so interesting to hear how they describe success. Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft, has often spoken about success as being “a lousy teacher. Seducing people into thinking they can’t lose”. I have to agree with Mr. Gates in that as awesome as success is, you don’t learn
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very much through achieving it. Instead it is the failures, or the times when you don’t achieve the goal you had set for yourself, that teaches us the most. That is why it so often happens that failure is followed by great success. That is only if the person who fell short of their goals, decides to learn from failure, and use what they learn to help do it better the next time. Mark Cuban is an American businessman, investor, film producer, author, television personality and philanthropist. He lists his keys to success as doing the work, out working everyone else, out-thinking everyone else, outselling your expectations, and knowing that there are NO SHORTCUTS. How true is he? Wow, he hits the nail on the head as far as my beliefs. In working hard to achieve your goals, there are definitely no shortcuts. You must do the work, and you must leave no stone unturned. How do you stay ahead of the rest? Keep learning. Keep working. Once you reach your desired target, set a new one, work harder. Be smart, and do everything that you can to be the best that you can be. That is what leaving no stone unturned means. For an athlete: do the training, both physical and mental training. Recover properly with nutrition, hydration, massage and all things aimed at keeping the body
flexible, strong and healthy. Cover all your bases, train your weaknesses but also train your strengths. Study your competitors; study the courses that you plan to attack. Listen to your body. Manifest success. Peter Andreas Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, and social critic. Thiel co-founded PayPal and served as its CEO.
Siri Lindley A world champion athlete herself and now one of the most revered triathlon coaches in the world, Siri enables athletes to become the champions and the people they were born to be. With an ability to see things in people they cannot see in themselves, Siri is driven by a unrivalled passion for triathlon and the people within. http://siri-lindley.com
Siri Lindley © Shutterstock.com
I never lose. Either I win or I learn. No shortcuts: You need a lot of hard work to succeed. Failure is all part of success. With failure you learn to become better, stronger, quicker and gain the wisdom to outsmart the rest. This is when you have the potential to become the leader of the pack!
Thiel says “This is, I think, the big problem with competition: it focuses us on the people around us, and while we get better at the things we’re competing on, we lose sight of anything that’s important, or transcendent, or truly meaningful in our world”. What does he mean by this? I try to make this point everyday. Yes, in order to beat your competitors you must find a way to be better than them. You must
train yourself to be stronger, fitter and faster than they are. But, in doing this, you cannot lose sight of what matters most and that is you. Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing? Because you love it, it inspires you, and what drives you is that desire to continue working at achieving excellence within yourself. If you focus only on how to beat your competitors, you lose sight of what really
matters. What really matters is that which inspired you to get started in the first place. That which motivates you every single day to be the best that you can be. When you focus on this, and not on your competition, it will bring out the very best in you. The by-product of this will be out racing your competition without that even being the focus. Yes, competition is good. That is why Australian Triathlete |
we race. We crave the battles, the rivalries, and the challenges. But, if the competition is the flesh of the apple, hold it all together with what is at the core: your passion, your internal motivation and your drive. Stephen Wozniak is an American pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970’s. Wozniak is an American inventor, electronics engineer and computer programmer who singlehandedly developed the 1976 Apple I, the computer that launched Apple. Steve says, “If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach. And it’ll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build.” This is the basis of my philosophy as a former athlete, and as a coach. If you want something bad enough, and are willing to put in all the work necessary to make it happen, then, anything is possible! I truly believe this and I am living proof of this ideology. What you put in is what you will get out. The magnitude of your goal, will determine the effort necessary. No great thing was ever achieved without hard work and total engagement, and full on commitment to making it happen. Mind, body, spirit, it truly does take this full package to make the great stuff happen in your life. So don’t be afraid to go “all in”. In my opinion this is the only way to achieve
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success that will mean something to you! Mark Zuckerberg is an American computer programmer, Internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the chairman, chief executive, and co-founder of the social networking website Facebook. Mark has said “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…in a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” You know the saying everything you’ve ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone? Well that is so true. As an athlete, when I first went to coach Brett Sutton, my goal was to improve my swim, to be good enough to make the front pack in the ITU World Cup races I was focused on. He told me I needed to try harder, go harder. I was so angry when he said that, and replied, “I am going as hard as I can!” He told me that once I figured out how to go “harder” my swim would start to improve. I guess my “hard” was as hard as I was comfortable with. Once I realised that this wasn’t going to be good enough, I started experimenting with pushing my comfort limits. In the process, I discovered a whole new level of pain, which I didn’t know existed. It was this continually progressing relationship with pain that led me to reaching all new levels in the swim. I began living in this place way outside
my comfort zone, and that agony rewarded me, with a couple months later, exiting the water with the top swimmers in the ITU at that time - former Olympic swimmers, and collegiate dominators, swimmers that I had always seen as completely out of my league. Had I not taken the risk of going too hard, and blowing up, I never would have realised my full potential. I believe is a critical ingredient in anyone’s quest for success is loving what you do. Not necessarily loving the pain that is involved in working hard, but loving the fact that there is a recipe for success. Loving the fact that you are mixing together all the ingredients beautifully, taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, leaving no stone unturned and always staying connected to why you feel so passionately about this endeavor. All this is what will lead you to success. And how do you define success? You will KNOW, you will feel it. The absolute exhilaration of hard work resulting in an incredible feeling of satisfaction that comes from being the best that you can be, and accomplishing goals that you have set for yourself. Take it all in and be proud when you have achieved it. There will be setbacks along the way, and these are the things that provide us with the most growth and thus potential for eventual success. Nobody said it would be easy, but I tell you, it will be worth it!
Sign up to train with Siri Lindley in Boulder, CO at her training camp June 16-19, 2016. Check it out at www.siri-lindley.com.
Finishing strong – the art of the negative split
acing is about giving your all, leaving it all out in the water and on the road. Surely the only way to finish a race leaving no stone unturned is to give it your all from start to finish, even if it means crashing and burning, right? Wrong. You can pace a race so that you finish faster than you start… and it can lead to your best results. A lot of triathlon coaches will encourage their athletes to devise a race plan for any given event. This plan will be constructed based on ability, the athlete’s goals, recent form and the individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This plan will often divide the race in question up into sections (other than the three obvious disciplines) that can be related to more easily by the coach and athlete when the race plan is being discussed. By mentally dividing up the race with foresight smaller sections of an event can be given specific goals and cues. For example, if an athlete who is concerned about not consuming enough nutrition has a race containing a three lap cycle leg the coach and athlete can foresee that the athlete will require a gel both at the beginning of laps 2 and 3 and should be drinking liquid every half lap. This plan will ensure the right amount of fuel is taken on board and is consumed at regularly spaced out moments. Another advantage of breaking down a race plan is from a mental perspective.
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© Rich Cruse/ITU Media
With the right planning, a strong finish will give you reason to cross the line with your hands in the air!
By viewing a challenging event as smaller separate stages an athlete can use these sections as something of a videogame check point. At any given moment of a race they merely have to focus on what they are doing for the small “stage” ahead of them before beginning the next separate section. By approaching a race in this manner they can continue to tick off stages until, before they know it, they’ve taken on the Big Boss of the final stage and crossed the finish line.
Getting it right: Richard Murray (RSA) out-running the current ITU World Champion Xavier Gomez (ESP)
This mental deconstruction of a race has benefits in strategic planning towards an athlete’s specific goals. An athlete can use their pre-vision checkpoints to monitor their condition: assessing pace, heart rate, power, or just how they are physically feeling. Every athlete will have different cues that they can monitor depending on their race plan and certain decisions can be made mid-race. Deciding that their condition at a certain point is worse or better than forecasted the athlete can decide to back off or ramp up their effort to avoid over cooking themselves and finish with their best possible average pace. In my experience it is always better to have the option to push harder mid-way through an event than have to make the call to ease up in an attempt to avoid “blowing up.” For me to negative split a race I basically go faster in the second half of the race than in the first. Of course in a triathlon you can look at an event as three separate races that can be negatively split. It’s not an uncommon practice for elite level athletes in swimming, cycling and running to plan and execute top level races in negatively split times. Current marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto built through his 2014 Berlin Marathon to run the back 21.09 kilometers 33 seconds faster than the first half of the race off the start line. Former marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie also employed strong finish, negative split tactics on his several history making runs. By preparing and training to run their events with either a
constant build or progressively stepping up their pace these tacticians will be racing knowing they have the ability to keep up with pace pushing competitors and the strength to increase tempo leading into the finish. You may have skipped over the terms “preparing” and “training” with little thought but these are the key points that are essential to mastering the negative split. By implementing negative split sessions into training and experimenting different approaches to these sessions an athlete may better define their physical boundaries while surprising themselves at how vast those boundaries actually are. A wider knowledge of an individual’s pacing can be sought by introducing negative split targets in both smaller, in-sessions efforts as well as across a whole training session. For example, I can swim a set of 400m repeats where in each rep the second 200m is faster than the first 200m. I can then enhance this session so that while negative splitting each rep I also aim for a five sec improvement from one 400m to the next. An increased amount of thought and concentration will be required but these kinds of pacing techniques will undoubtedly give an athlete a greater understanding of their own abilities as well as giving them stronger confidence leading into target events (as well as learning how to use a pool pace clock while swimming!). In competition an athlete will be forced to learn patience and pacing to stick to a negative split plan. Ask any experienced triathlete about going out too hard too early because they felt good. The stories of woe would rival that of a beauty pageant with low wattage bulbs in the dressing room. Keeping in mind that we do three sports in vastly different positions that don’t necessarily complement each other. Building into the cycle and run legs mean you give your body time to readjust & “reconfigure” the specific muscle firing patterns after slogging it out in the water or pushing the pedals for kilometers. With the right planning a strong finish will give you reason to cross the line with your hands in the air!
Brendan Sexton As a youngster, Brendan’s life ambition was to be the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. That didn’t quite pan out. But triathlon did. A decade on, he’s still at it. www.brendansexton.com.au @kung_fu_sexton
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The Nocturnal Essential
leep. Man it’s good. There are few things I (or most triathletes, for that matter) covet more than lying down at night after a big day of training, feeling every muscle relax and being asleep before my head hits the pillow. It’s usually early. Early enough that when faced with indignant inquisition as to the lack of response to post-8pm text messages, my usual response is an embarrassed silence, a shuffling of the feet, and a weak attempt at an explanation, usually involving faulty telecommunication towers, rather than a bedtime more akin to a toddlers. A high training load has a sleepinducing effect far more powerful than any tranquiliser, and my ability to sleep at a moment’s notice has provided much bemusement to many over the years, especially the time when I feel asleep whilst playing the guitar, and then woke myself up when my finger slipped off the string and played an E minor. The 30-minute train trip home from the gym I worked at as a youngster was a staple siesta-ridden mode of transport. My shift at the gym would finish in the wee hours of the night (9pm i.e. late by triathlete standards…), and after a tough day’s training, quickly became a stalwart of unintended respiration. My typical modus operandi was to sit down, put on the headphones to my Discman (yes, this was a few years ago now…), pull out a book, and fall asleep before I’d read more than a paragraph. Over time, given the amount (or lack thereof) of progress I made reading the book, it became more of an affectation, like a walking stick or monocle, than a practical conveyor of literature.
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Aside from the occasional snort, my dozing drew little malice from my fellow passengers. However, one night I awoke to an elderly woman, who by her parlance and appearance, I wouldn’t mind betting owned enough cats to warrant being described as the Cat Lady. The Cat Lady had taken severe umbrage to the volume of my Discman, and was demanding to a Queensland Rail employee that I either turn down my music, or be thrown from the train. Her complaint had grounds for merit, aside from the fact that the batteries in the Discman were flat at the time, but my current fatigue levels had meant that I hadn’t had the energy or inspiration to remove my headphones. Thankfully, the QR employee also seemed to be mentally estimating the number of cats the lady was going home to, leant close to me and declared that I was listening to ABC talkback, which was a fine station in his regard, and that she should enjoy the informative broadcasting. On this occasion I feigned sleep for the rest of the trip to avoid her malevolent stare. On another occasion, I was drifting on the threshold of cognisance, when what could only be described as a ‘hooded youth’, leant down and grabbed my wallet, which in a moment of flagrant stupidity, I
Dan Wilson had left sitting on the seat next to me. He then scarpered though the still-open doors whilst we were stopped at the station. Now, I knew for a fact that there was in excess of $3 in the wallet, plus a Subway card that was only two visits away from earning me a free 6-inch sub, so I didn’t hesitate in chasing the hooded bandit off the train. At this point, given both my running form and the youth’s physique, I had no doubts that I would soon catch him, but what was beginning to cause me some trepidation was what I intended to do once I did. I feared if push came to shove, it could easily turn out that I would be fleeing from him, due to the lack of confidence I had for the outcome of any physical encounters. I pleaded for the return of my belongings in a prompt and respectful fashion by yelling “Hey!” at the top of my lungs. I would have liked it to sound like a deep, booming command full of menace, however my aforementioned trepidation had it coming out distinctly whining and nasal. Nevertheless, it did the trick, and he threw my wallet on the station and kept running, and I managed to retrieve my wallet, re-board the train, which was yet to leave the station and continue my journey. My only regret was that I didn’t have a witty, action-heroesque comment to quip to my fellow passengers, however, I probably still had a bit of sleep-drool on my chin.
About Dan Biomechanically denied his dream of becoming an NBA superstar, Dan Wilson has been racing the ITU circuit for over seven years representing Australia at Junior, U/23 and Elite level. His results have ranged from winning a World Cup to finishing only with the aid of glow sticks. When not “at work” training three times a day, he incompetently plays the guitar, competently sips short blacks, and fervently studies the underground metal scene. http://www.danwilson.com.au/ and Twitter: @ dan_wilson_
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ho doesn’t love a new year? Despite the damning statistical likelihood of our inevitable ‘New Years Resolution’ failure I still feel that we can all manage to last at least a few weeks concentrating on self-improvement and positivity. Why are resolutions so difficult to keep? I think resolutions fail because we miscalculate the effort and change needed for our current situation to achieve the desired end result. Sometimes we are incapable of that change, of the magnitude of sacrifice; sometimes it is unrealistic; maybe, in fact, impossible. I read a very good article the other day in The Guardian by Emer O’Toole, titled ‘How to be a Moderately Successful Person’. It presents a brilliant satirical account of how to be a happy and achieving human whilst not aiming to be extraordinary, live an infallible lifestyle or sacrifice too many comforts. In contrast to the many links that appear online that eulogise ‘SUCCESS’ as wealth, winning and net worth, I began applying the premise of the article to age groupers’ goals in triathlon. There seems to be a skew assumption in the media that all age groupers are aiming for excellence. This inaccuracy influences much of the available triathlon coaching and has even altered the culture of an otherwise very inclusive sport. Triathlon is an extreme endurance sport, and as such, the ‘archetypal triathlete’ is probably a ‘moderately successful person’ (perhaps a very successful one), with cash to spend, chasing self-improvement and wanting to get faster and better.
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There is nothing wrong with such resolutions - in fact there is much right. I only question the extent to which that desire will realistically fit into an already packed busy lifestyle. I question the propriety of articles encouraging additional dedication, focus, drive and determination and the feasibility that athletes are able to give more, or should in fact be giving any more. Age groupers have jobs, families, businesses to run. Their limiting factors are not will power or training methods, they have a prioritisation issue. Some age groupers, most in fact, only have time to become ‘moderately successful triathletes’; they should be tailoring their resolutions and training in light of that reality. Coaches and columnists need to stop handing out ‘marginal gain’ tips to people with huge capacities for ‘massive gains’ - if they only had more time. I am not the person to be writing a prescriptive, ‘how to succeed in triathlon’ column. I could write that article but if it was honest it would prove me a very far from balanced, or sane, person. I may be a successful triathlete but the reasons I have attained success, I would probably consider highly inappropriate for casual reading. Many other ‘very successful triathletes’ I know are borderline insane, consumed by triathlon speed and unable to switch off. I get the impression these notorious, innominate ’highly successful people’ we read about may not gain their success without disproportionate sacrifice or privilege. Is it such a crime to aspire to be ‘a moderately successful person’? Far from it. For those that still strive for the top here I’ll give you the secrets of ‘highly successful triathletes’.
Talent and hard work are the prerequisites, with talent to work hard over riding most other traits. They have spent hours before/during/ after school in the pool/track/road and established a lifetime talent in one or up to three of the sports. They have learnt technique through decades of repetition. They train for over 30 hours every week
Jodie Swallow Jodie Swallow is a world champion, Ironman champion and Olympian. Not one to shy away from an uncomfortable but necessary conversation, Jodie Swallow is guaranteed to keep you thinking. Follow her at www.ifollowtheswallow.co.uk
Jodie Swallow consistently. They have up to three weeks off a year but in all probability train for ten hours still during those weeks. Every minute of every workout is used as an attempt to get the maximum from the session. Sessions are in order and can’t be moved for convenience/weather/ sleep/travel. They are perpetually either training or resting or tired. They sacrifice a balanced home life, for years. They can sacrifice their health. Most successful triathletes are extreme. Many are extreme obsessives.
Vomit, tears, pain and boredom are daily occurrences. Sometimes after races I pee blood. I’m afraid it might even be easier to try and be a successful person than a successful triathlete. You already knew that though. There are no secrets. We all know it already. The premise of balanced sporting participation, realism and appropriateness is one I have been focused on for a number of years. Retrospectively, it is one of the main reasons I have been reticent to advise age groupers on their training and
improvement. I don’t want healthy, lovely people to obsess, I don’t want them to pee blood. So, if like me, you are beginning to feel quite cross with the in narcissistic sermons of ‘the elite in life’ then try a different goal this year. These ideas revolve around maximising your well being away from triathlon yet still being ‘a moderately successful triathlete’.
Resolution 1 Find a group to swim with. Swimming can be boring. I know that is negative rhetoric but if I have earned the right to declare anything about anything then it would be swimming. Swimmers do not train without squads or coaches. That shared session gets you to the pool on time, it prescribes your distance and speed and it creates dialogue and humour on even the dullest of distance sets and dire of days. I would send an athlete to swim squad over prescribing any individual swim set every time. I would quiz a swim squad coach about technique and tactics over any triathlon coach. The best thing about swim squads? You’re done by 7am and can be home for breakfast.
Resolution 2 To race locally. There are some awesome local events held across the world. From park runs to open water swims to full Iron-distance, they offer a perfect opportunity to compete and your have friends and family supporting and investing in your goals. Triathlon does not have to endorse ‘the loneliness of the long distance runner’, it can involve everyone. By keeping it local you can invest in your triathlon community, be at work come Monday and take the kids out for a spin on their bikes on Sunday afternoon.
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© Paparazzi On The Run
Resolution 5 To keep a balance
Took longer than you thought? So what! Have fun and enjoy these moments!
Resolution 3 To train more specifically The difference between full time runners and full time triathletes is basic mileage. A runner and a triathlete probably do similar amounts of hard running in a week. Swimmers will complete longer warm ups, technique sets and prep work but probably swim the same distance at race pace. As a busy person you have to select the important training and limit the junk miles. Keep sessions as short and as sharp as possible. Start on time, leave on time. Brick runs are very effective at cutting down training based time consumption. I would say they limit double showers and
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changing but unfortunately it is more because they are bloody hard. Running after swimming is particularly grim. But it definitely gives you more bite for your buck and will free up your evening for kiddies/ movies/work or lovemaking.
Resolution 4 To save money Family finance can be tricky. Just don’t be a dick about it. It is one of the best feelings in the world to out perform an ‘all the gear no idea-er’. Let the legs do the talking not a bike, compression socks or a fancy helmet. Rather take your partner to Paris instead.
You can get good basic triathlon with an hour a day. You will not break world records but you’ll be fit, your life will be enhanced from being fit and you will be in a position to either ease back your triathlon commitment or get more serious as life and its unpredictable scenarios play out. Don’t miss family engagements for triathlon, don’t scrimp on family time and don’t predominate holidays with training requirements. Don’t eliminate food groups from your diet in attempts to be race weight. Don’t talk about gluten/dairy/ carbohydrates/fats as being the devil unless you are really fast. Balanced people don’t care to talk about such things in depth. The art of being an age group triathlete is about adaptability and enjoyment; not just for you but for the people around you.
Resolution ‘F**k it’ I am totally jealous of this most important resolution. I would love to be able to say this from time to time (daily). When it’s going wrong; when you are injured; stressed; tired; busy; arguing; when the balance is all wrong - you have to be able to say ‘f**k it’. Throw all training, racing, watching, dieting plans out of the window, grab a bottle of wine, miss training and get tipsy. If you regularly turn up to training with a hangover and/or sore legs from dancing on an evening. If you think you might be a ‘Mamil’. If you choose to wear a reflective safety vest over Rapha cool. If you are sometimes willing to ride a little slower so your cycle group is bigger and everyone safer. If you can say ‘f**k it, it’s only triathlon’ it sounds like you’re on the right path and you know what? You’re probably a ‘moderately successful triathlete’.
AHRAN R P , R E PET
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Hearts Healthy Concerns t e x t b y D r . M it c h A n d e r s o n | I l l us t r a t i o n b y s h u tt e r s t o c k . c o m
eart disease kills more Australians each year than any other disease and athletes aren’t immune. The recent heart related death of Frenchman Laurent Vidal (aged 31), who finished fifth in the London Olympics before suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest in 2014, brings this fact into sharp focus. February is home to a campaign to raise awareness and financial support for heart research in Australia. So what good are we doing by exercising? And should we be doing more or less? One of the most memorable Simpsons episodes (for me, being a medico) contains so many truisms about cardiac health and communicating with patients in general is shown in the following scene. Dr Julius Hibbert is trying to consent Homer for an operation in his medical rooms. Dr Hibbert: “Homer, I’m afraid you’re going to have to undergo a coronary bypass operation.” Homer: “Say it in English Doc!” Dr Hibbert: “You need open heart surgery.” Homer: “Spare me your medical mumbo-jumbo…” Dr Hibbert (exasperated): “We’re going to cut you open and tinker with your ticker.” Homer: “Could you dumb it down a shade?” Homer’s response is typical of a patient being given bad news. The internal monologue is going wild and it’s hard for rational thoughts to take control. He’s undoubtedly thinking (hilariously) “Why me?” In Homer’s case, he has many unmodified risk factors: terrible diet (“I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees); high alcohol intake (Duff); and little to no exercise (Can’t somebody else just do it?). Most of us can’t relate to these issues but we should. At the very least, getting a good plain language explanation of your risks is worth a visit to your sports doctor or GP. Many athletes can wind up with heart problems, even if they exercise and train
© Delly Carr/ITU
My main worry had become, “How much exercise and intensity should I superimpose on top of my stressful/busy work life?” especially in the context of hitting forty years old!
Physiological vs Pathological
Gone too soon: Laurent Vidal passed away November 10th 2015 in his sleep.
regularly for triathlon. Cholesterol, blood pressure and genes are all a part of heart health. And if we exercise too much, that can lead to tricky tickers too. Knowing your own limits is important, in the context of both health and disease. For instance, having familial hypertension requires regular checks and may medication or a reduction in exercise intensity to ensure your heart isn’t overloaded.
My Ticker After doing thirty Ironman and countless halves, I started to worry a bit. I had participated in Andre La Gerche’s “Ironhearts” trial, but relative normalcy hadn’t put my mind at rest. I had an athlete’s heart (as expected), which had grown in size and wall thickness after years of heavy endurance loads. I worked out that I had spent a full year worth of weekends (over a period of twelve years) riding (200km+) and running (2hr+) long.
So the question is, what is a normal physiological response to endurance exercise and what is pathology? The response of an athlete’s heart is to build up the pump, both in way of increased chamber size and wall thickness of the heart muscle. This means more blood can be pumped with less beats during exercise. At some point however, this tips over to problems. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one such example, with endurance athletes facing a 5.3 fold greater life time risk. A lot of research is being conducted in the stress of exercise on the right heart, rather than focusing on the main side of the pump, the left ventricle. Mechanisms to explain this link (endurance training and AF) are proposed from genetic all the way through to training load, but have not undergone rigorous long-term investigation.
Too much of a good thing? Dr La Gerche is kicking goals for athletes world wide, becoming an internationally renowned sports cardiologist- he has recently taken up as an Associate Professor and Head of Sports Cardiology at the Baker IDI. The Baker IDI is the preeminent Heart and Diabetes research centre in Australia. His work has included triathlon as a focus for many years, which relates directly to his sporting participation. He finished 3rd place (18-24) in his first and only participation in Kona, and has run under 2:30 for a flat marathon. His advice or moreover current interpretation of the data is that ”endurance exercise most likely increases your chance of living longer but may increase your risk of some arrythmias (La Gerche and Heidbuchel 2014).” This great paper (which Australian Triathlete |
is free online) goes through a number of cases and makes the case for continuing to exercise, not stopping for fear of a cardiac problem. “Exercise, including intense endurance exercise, offers a plethora of population health benefits that likely exceed any excess risk of arrhythmia.”
Health check: Do yourself a favour and get checked out. Better to be informed than in the dark.
What can you do? For starters, be sensible. If you’re tired, then rest. Half sessions will help you maintain fitness, rather than lose it. Consider reducing the volume and intensity of your sessions to allow your body to recover. The heart is like any muscle - it can remodel and strengthen with work, but it needs a chance to do this with rest. And keep in mind that it’s always relative rest for the heart - it’s active every minute for the whole of your life!
Check out yourself Will Walker (ex-elite cyclist who suffered career limiting arrhythmia) and Matt Keenan (@mwkeenan, elite commentator) are both heavily involved with promoting cycling and heart health through the Baker IDI - a very worthy cause. The Baker runs a free heart health check which comprises: a lifestyle and medical questionnaire; body height/weight/blood pressure check; and a cholesterol and resting blood sugar measurement. You can Google them, or punch in the reference provided. Additional resources are available from Heart Research Australia, which funds first-stage research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Additionally the Australian Heart Foundation run terrific campaigns like Jump Rope for Heart (300 000 participants) and Livelighter (achieve and maintain a healthy weight). They also have an informative and interesting site.
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Dr Mitch’s Top ticker training tips: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Exercise is good for you (to a point)- so don’t avoid it! Never train when you have a virus (at least 3 days rest). Take one complete rest day per week Commuting is a great daily exercise Half sessions (halve intensity/volume if you’re tired)
Dr Mitch’s Top ticker lifestyle tips: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Urgent attention if you have any chest pain or palpitations Unmodified cardiovascular risks are dangerous Shoot to eat good fats , low simple sugar, high-fibre diet Regular (annual) GP check ups (BP/lipids/HR/weight), especially over 40 y.o Ingest lifestyle drugs in safe amounts (caffeine, alcohol)
For more information and resources visit these websites: www.redfeb.com.au www.heartfoundation.org.au https://www.bakeridi.edu.au/healthy_hearts_clinics/
Questions for Mitch? Email him firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet/Insta him @drmitcha
113 IRONMAN FINISHES... All your triathlon questions answered: Sports Medicine, Physiotherapy, Exercise Science, Massage, Rehabilitation, Coaching & Nutrition.
Image: Delly Carr www.sportshoot.com.au
www.shinbonemedical.com 2/96 Macaulay Rd North Melbourne Vic 3051 Appointments: Julie 9-5 Tues-Fri: 0393295454
Dr Mitchell Anderson M.B.B.S., B.Physio. (hons), B.Sci. (hons), Dip. Surg. Anat. Jason Shortis B. Ex. Sci., Grad. Dip. Ex. Phys., Level 2 Tri coach, Level 2 Strength & Conditioning Charlie Bottero (Masseur)
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Nature or Nurture t e x t b y tim r e e d | p h o t o g r a p h y b y I T U M ED I A
hat does it take to get to an elite level in sport? On the few occasions I’ve been asked this question, the very simple answer I’ve used is ‘at least 10 years of training, a sprinkling of talent and an addictive personality’. At times I’ve pondered whether that flippant response is indeed true and if so, what ratio of talent, hard work and the right competitive psychology is necessary. As an avid follower of many sports, the media often gives the impression that when a new name first makes headlines that they’ve seemingly come from nowhere. ‘A meteoric rise’ almost entirely due to supreme natural talent. I always roll my eyes when I hear such hyperbole as my own experience and observations is that no elite level success comes without sacrificing a few metric tonnes of sweat over many years. For sure, athletes can gain success in a new sport very quickly, however I’m yet to
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find an athlete that does so predominantly because of freakish talent. It nearly always turns out that there is a very strong background of training in other sports that have hugely contributed to their success in their new sport. If I reflect on my own growth to a professional level, it would be easy to say that it’s been a rapid rise given my relatively late start to triathlon after university. However, the reality is that a typical training day in high school would consistently involve pre-season rugby training for 90 minutes before school, school basketball training in the afternoon followed by rep training at night, regularly completing 3-4 hours training a day. My training history was there even if it was a little more obscure then the many professional triathletes who lost their childhoods swimming up and down a black line for countless hours. I decided to do some light
research into the great champions across various sports to see if there were any common themes, and whether what I had noticed in triathlon seemed to be the key ingredients, not just for professional athletes, but for those who have truly reached the highest level in their sports. To start in triathlon Javier Gomez, Alistair Brownlee, Gwen Jorgensen, Simon Lessing, Emma Snowsill, Jan Frodeno amongst many more appear from my limited reading or knowledge to be classic examples of athletes who who grew up participating in triathlon specific sports and began triathlon in their teens. Obviously, thousands of athletes have done that over the years but only a few reach the top so it can’t be early training history alone. Enough talent and the right mindset to not only complete all that training over many years but to push the body to the limit when racing also has to be there.
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Supreme athletes: Anti Clockwise L-R. Gwen Jorgensen, Emma Snowsill, Alistair Brownlee Javier Gomez and Jan Frodeno
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Talent?Training History?Mental Strength?Genes? What determines an elite athlete? Other triathlon champions I find a little more interesting are the likes of Mirinda Carfrae, Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington who were much later starters into triathlon and yet all have reached one of the pinnacles of our sport, winning the Ironman World Championships, numerous times. Especially in regards to Chrissie, the media made out that she came from nowhere to world domination in the blink of an eye. While a little reading into her past would show that there was actually a very solid history of training and possibly mental training (if it’s not inherent) prior to dominating on the tri course. Aside from being a sporty kid, including a decent swim background, there were several
years spent living in Nepal completing a lot of hard MTB and running training while often throwing some brutally hard cycling expeditions into the mix involving several weeks of riding crossing passes over 5000m in altitude while dealing with all the weather conditions that come with that. Possibly harder training than she ever took on during her triathlon career. When I asked Craig Alexander about his childhood training history he replied “Lots of sport as a kid, mainly soccer. Two to three training sessions a week plus a game for nearly 15 years. Also cricket, water polo, hockey, tennis, golf.” Combine that with another 10 years of fairly hardcore triathlon training before Crowie started dominating races around the world and you’ve got a fairly enormous back catalogue of training there behind a talented machine. Carfrae is not dissimilar, racking up hundreds of kilometres going up and down a basketball court before venturing into triathlon. All the champions mentioned clearly have the mental tenacity and competitive nature required to get the most out of their training history and talent. Take one of those elements out of the mix and I find it hard to see any triathlete reaching the top of the sport.
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Switching to some mainstream sports, the pattern is very similar except that perhaps, given a greater number of participants increasing the difficulty of reaching the top of their sport, the athlete’s training history and starting age seems to become even more important. Don Bradman, the greatest test batsman ever, began his training history as a young lad honing his batting skills through incessantly hitting a golf ball with a cricket stump rebounding off an unpredictable water tank creating incredible hand eye coordination. His mental fortitude was also on display early on when he declared to his Dad while watching a test match, “I will never be satisfied until I play on this ground”. Perhaps a great example of the possibility that natural talent is not as important as an athlete’s psychology and training history is that Bradman, while still regularly hitting centuries, tested to have extremely poor eyesight. One athlete whose natural talent is indisputable is 11 x world champion Kelly Slater. Speaking to pro surfer turned triathlete, Clint Kimmons, he described Slater’s natural talent as absolutely supreme with the ability to pick up other sports besides surfing with uncanny ease. Regardless, Slater began surfing at age five and won his first world title at 20 years of age. That’s still 15 years of of surfing many hours per day before reaching the top of the sport. Given Kelly is now 43 years old and still competing at the very highest level that is evidence alone that there must be an incredible drive and motivation to continue to compete for the top titles. As well known for being the king of a sport for a very long period of time is Tiger Woods. Crazy talent or was it the fact that
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Champions of Triathlon: Mirinda Carfrae, Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander.
he was swinging a golf club from the age of two? Of course talent must play a part but imagine how many Tiger Woods there would be in the world if everyone started playing golf at two years of age! One more example to exhaust the point is the early childhood is Haile Gebrselassie. Just to get school Haile had to run, school books in hand, 10kms to school and 10kms home. Knocking out 100km running weeks as a child is a pretty phenomenal base of endurance to draw on for when he decided to rake running ‘seriously’. Scrolling the net reading about the champions mentioned I couldn’t help but think back to the 10,000 hours of practice concept that you’ve heard thrown around. The concept refers to a paper written by Anders Ericsson, a professor at the University of Colorado who looked at violinists who all began playing at five years of age. At 20 years of age, the best performers had all averaged about 10,000
hours of practice, while the less able were closer to 4000 hours of practice. Playing an instrument likely requires less specific physiological traits to become elite but regardless it’s still fascinating that amongst the elite players the 10,000 hours of practice was the link that joined them. Surely if talent played a bigger role the range in hours of practice would have been a lot greater. Its hard to argue against a minimum of 10,000 hours to reach an elite level in sport. To break that down, 10,000 hours is about 3 hours of training a day for 10 years. It’s very difficult, to find elite athletes that don’t have that sort of training history behind them and I would claim impossible to find a champion at the top of their sport without at least that in training completed. Accordingly, completing 10,000 hours of practice or training in anything requires a certain mental tenacity and drive that is rare to find. So perhaps the right psychology and a person who has the logged the necessary training history is not surprising. So, what is it? Nature or Nurture and in what ratio? It’s obvious that a combination is necessary but I would argue that training history and an athlete’s psychological make are biggest determinants for athletic success with talent the icing on the cake. So, there’s hope for all of us that don’t feel unbelievably talented. We just have to find 10,000 hours of time to train to see whether the talent is enough to complete the elite performance equation.
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Program Design Series Part 1: Introduction to Program specificity
t e x t b y K r i s s h e n d y | p h o t o g r a p h y b y S h u tt e r s t o c k . c o m
eing a multi-discipline sport, triathlon gives athletes the opportunity to shine in their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. It is obvious that we are all individuals when it comes to our swim, bike and run prowess, varying between training partners and competitors. The majority of people spend time, effort and money on doing whatever they can to make the best version of ones self come race day. Training requirements and its effects, like many other things, vary greatly from person to person, and there is no ‘one size fits all’, what works for one person may not work for others.
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If you’re including any gym or strength work into your training week, the chances are you are following a basic structure; you’ve been given a few exercises and then filled in the gaps. However I wonder how many of you have planned your gym sessions considering exercise selection, periodization, variation of exercise, monitoring of rest periods or time under tension?
This is Part 1 in our series on ‘Program Design’, where we aim to highlight and explain what you should expect to see in a Strength Program and the key variables involved in its design.
With this information you’ll be able to better understand whether your current or future training programs are best suited to your personal goals. As far as gym programs are concerned, the main problem is that too many of us simply keep doing what we’ve always done. We follow a generic template, consisting of 3 x 10 reps of every exercise, perform it twice a week, follow it half-heartedly (while still expecting results) and not see the results we desire. We then become frustrated and follow the process with a different training program, often just jumping in on someone else’s (a mates) session.
strength and conditioning Warm Up The majority of athletes training at a gym will do 5 minutes on a cardio machine and consider it as their warm up, simply because that’s what the resident PT instructed at their gym induction…6 years ago! The issue with this is that you aren’t preparing your body specifically enough for what you are about to do (exactly the reasoning for a warm up). Performing a dynamic warm up routine will not only help to develop your flexibility and mobility but also prepare you for performance. This type of preparation is certainly a requirement with all of our athletes. It aims to improve joint mobility by targeting “trouble spots” such as the glutes, hips, and lower back. It also prepares the body for movement by stimulating the central nervous system in readiness to handle the more dynamic nature of resistance training. Our athletes have be taught to use it as an “early warning system” to detect any minor niggles or tight spots that might need specific attention. Comparing this to the typical warm-up that most people do (five minutes cardio followed by static stretching), and you can immediately see how a dynamic routine is far superior and specific.
Your sessions should be no longer than 1 hour, with the majority of our athletes on programs with a 30-45 minute design. The reason for this is that it is highly likely that you will be performing your strength work before or after another training session. Due to the neurological demand of strength work, any longer and you will greatly reduce the effectiveness of both sessions. Note: Someone who has done gym work for a number of years may be able to deal with more strength sessions in their training week, due to already being a ‘conditioned athlete’.
Define Your Goal
It is a common occurrence that people generally tend to train the muscles that are the most fun or easiest for them. These are generally exercises taken straight out of a magazine or based around improving looks rather than performance. We can all be guilty of training our “beach muscles” and as a result, can end up causing more imbalances and poor postural habits leading to shoulder and lower back pain. There are a number of factors that therefore have to be considered when designing a program, with the main elements being summarized below.
When dealing with athletes in any sport there are generally always goals in mind, a competition or race and are often categorised into long and short term goals. The same concept should be applied when we strength train. The overall objective of any good workout design starts with setting goals and we tend to define these as primary and secondary. First you must determine the primary goal of your strength training, whether it’s to increase power, reach optimal race weight or rehabilitate an injury, the goal/s need to be established. Next, you will need to determine your secondary goals. These will be the ‘stepping stones’ towards your primary goal, e.g. competence and form when performing a particular exercise under a specific load. For example, increasing leg strength is an excellent secondary goal to support a primary goal of developing more power
Integration The next step is to consider the integration or scheduling of your strength sessions into your current training program. This is particularly vital when dealing with athletes with high volume training weeks, as sessions will need to be short and effective (we talk more about this in part 2).
Warm up: (‘Elbow-drop lunge’ one of many exercises that should be included in your Dynamic warm up Pre strength session)
Exercise Selection What should be the most obvious and important factor in program design is unfortunately the most common downfall - exercise selection. With the vast amount of information that we have readily available to us through the internet, magazines and YouTube videos, it’s not surprising to see people trying a variety of weird and unique exercises. Whether you are the ‘try an exciting new exercise every session’ sort or a ‘been following the same program for years’ type, both have huge issues. Neither of these mindsets are specific and neither will be helping you achieve results or your primary goals any time soon. Every exercise in your strength program should have a purpose and be tailored to your specific needs. Australian Triathlete |
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, - A.Einstein but expecting different results.
Below is a small summary of how important exercise selection is depending of the Individuals needs. Note that history, current condition and future aspirations are key considerations to this process.
Program Design (Part 1): Athlete scenarios:
Middle- aged female with a competitive cycling background and average running ability but (in comparison) new to swimming.
20-year-old male, very strong swimmer with natural cycling and running fitness but needs a lot of improvement to hold his position in the group through bike and run phase of a race.
Approach: Maintain relative/current strength, but look to focus on developing core and upper body strength for her swim stroke.
Summary of Program Design: • Flexibility and Mobility drills to improve range of motion through the body (due to time spent on the bike) • Shoulder and Back Strength – developing shoulder stabilisers to prevent risk of injury (due to increased swimming volume) • Plyometrics- to reduce the impact and stress associated with increased running volume. • Functional core training will assist stroke development and optimal technique.
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Approach: Potentially highly mobile through upper body, look to develop whole body strength through functional movement patterns with a focus on developing power for the bike and run.
Summary of Program Design: • Functional strength training focusing on Olympic Lifts and Leg work • Single side strength exercises to distribute power evenly • Functional core strength to assist overall performance, lower body biomechanics and ultimately injury prevention
strength and conditioning Order of Exercise It may come, as a surprise to some of you that the order in which we place exercises during a strength program is actually designed specifically, and how well this is done will determine how well our bodies respond. For example ‘technique or technical work’ should always be performed first when the body is fresh and most efficient at learning due to the high neurological demand. Trying to learn new exercises in a fatigued state is far from optimal (unless you already have excellent technique and are working on improving it in a fatigued state, this will come much later!). After technical work, next come any dynamic, speed or plyometric exercises (again depending on your individual requirements). If your program and exercise selection has been designed well enough, the inclusion of a “core finisher” shouldn’t necessarily be required. The majority of ‘whole body functional exercises’ will all demand a high level of core activation. The common ‘ab blast’ at the end of a workout is purely superficial and commonly due to habit. Another way of looking at this is that you want to perform the compound,
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Core: Multi-joint exercises like squats are preferred as they engage the largest muscle groups.
multi-joint exercises that use the largest muscle groups (squats and deadlifts) and then progress to the isolation work that focuses on individual musculature (such as glute bridge). Stay tuned for the next 2 parts to our Program Design Series: Part 2 - Sets/Reps & Frequency and Part 3 - Intensity, Load & Recovery
Seeing the need for better athlete education and understanding with regards to Strength & Conditioning for the Endurance Athlete. Kriss works with a variety of athletes from Age Groupers to Professionals developing specialized programs that support and heighten their endurance performance. Kriss is based in Byron Bay with his wife (professional triathlete) Polly Hendy. He has large client base that use his distance (online) coaching. For further details or to contact Kriss, visit: www.krisshendy.com Instagram: @ krisshendystrengthandperf Twitter: khendy3 YouTube: Kriss Hendy Strength and Performance
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1. Legs up the wall What? This is a recovery technique I use religiously after training, or at night before bed. How? Simply lie on the floor, a couch or even in bed and place your legs vertically up the wall. Relax for 5 â€“ 10 minutes. Why? The process of elevating your legs above your heart allows for the circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid. This improved circulation can help you recover from workouts/ training as well as lowering cortisol levels - the stress hormone, produced from physical (or mental) stress. (Cortisol is your enemy, so trying to lower this is key).
5 Top tips for everday recovery t e x t b y S A R A H GROVE photography by s h u tt e r s t o c k . c o m
s triathletes, we are forever pushing the boundaries of our bodies. We train harder and faster week after week to see how far and how fast our bodies are capable of going. Whether you are working towards a race, to keep up with a training buddy, or simply to stay fit and healthy, if you train your body, you cannot forget about recovering your body. A body adapts to the training loads during a recovery phase or recovery period. If you donâ€™t allow your body to recover, it wonâ€™t adapt and you will eventually become stagnant and risk injury or burn out - either through over training, or under recovering - or a combination of both. This is where an effective training program including periodisation is important for you to continue to improve and to remain fit, strong and healthy. However on top of a training program, there are a number of daily techniques you can use to aid recovery from your training, and therefore increase your performance and minimise the risk of under recovering.
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3. unplug What? We are forever connected to a digital
2. Nutrition What? A highly underestimated form of recovery is nutrition, and most importantly nutrient timing. There are numerous forms of nutrients that can help aid recovery through reducing inflammation, fuelling the body and allowing your body to become more efficient. How? Keep it real and keep it simple. Our bodies are designed to process real foods, foods that are as close to nature as possible. Think fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils and proteins. Our bodies are doing enough repairing themselves post-training that they don’t need the extra stress of having to try and breakdown and digest highly processed foods that lack nutrient density. I recommend working with a sports nutritionist or naturopath to determine a food plan that works for you, your goals and your body. Why? If you treat your body well and fuel if with wholesome nutritious foods it will be able to function at its optimum so you can train harder, but more importantly recover more effectively
world. We scroll social media upon waking, we check strava segments and garmin data after training, we work all day on the computer, we communicate via calls and texts, check news, read blogs. And for most of us, before bed the last thing we do is sign off from the digital world. If you stop and think about how much time you actually spend in this digital world, you may be horrified! How? Refrain from ‘logging on’ within 15 minutes of waking, and 1 – 2 hours before bed. Leave your phone, iPad or computer in another room. Unplug yourself from the outside world and bring yourself back into the present. Why? The ‘blue light’ from phones and computers disrupt your melatonin levels and play havoc with your sleep. The photons from your devices are basically telling your brain to stay awake, not to secrete melatonin (your sleep hormone). Although you may be able to fall asleep straight away, you will find that you won’t have a restful sleep and won’t wake up feeling refreshed – like you should after a good night’s sleep. And remember that when we sleep, our body recovers. The better you sleep, the better recovery your body will have. So try it for a week, and see the difference.
4. Yoga/Pilates What? There are many forms of active recovery but I love the use of yoga, pilates or simply stretching.
How? If you are new to yoga/pilates you are best to find a studio near you and join in structured classes. Once you advance you can include simple techniques at home for maintenance. Why? There are many proven benefits of including yoga/pilates techniques and principles into your training. Each has their own specific benefits and it can also depend on the type you choose, but in general they help to lengthen and align the body, improve posture (perfect for triathletes!) while developing sound breathing techniques, improving circulation and increasing relaxation and decreasing stress levels. So give yoga/pilates a go and find one that works for you. You may be pleasantly surprised!
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recovery 5. Calm down What? Many athletes are told to ‘slow down’ the problem with this is they don’t respond to the word ‘slow’ as we live fast-paced lives, and don’t know how to slow down (myself included). We train fast, we eat fast, we work fast. So we use the analogy, ‘calm down’. You can calm down, without having to slow down. How? Start your week off calmly. If you train on a Monday morning, use it as a way to recover from your weekends training and build into your week. Walk, easy recovery jog, ocean swim. Just don’t rush. I also recommend using mindfulness or breathing techniques 5 – 10 minutes a day to help bring yourself back to the present. Why? Calming down allows the body to rejuvenate and go back into its natural rhythm. So often the body is living in a constant state of ‘flight or fight’ mode. In this state, cortisol levels remain high, we remain alert, and our body truly doesn’t get the chance to relax (and recover!). By ‘calming down’, we can help naturally lower cortisol levels, and find that balance where our body performs and recovers at its optimum. So if you find yourself ‘rushing’ all the time, even just 2 minutes of relaxation can work Sarah Grove wonders. If you are able to Sarah is a triathlon performance coach with Holistic Endurance and competes implement these small tips into your competitively at all levels of triathlon. As a coach, Sarah works with athletes of all every day lives, then you will be well abilities from beginner to Ironman athletes, with a passion for developing, guiding on your way to living and training and supporting athletes from the ground up to help them achieve their triathlon and healthier and maintaining longevity in lifestyle goals utilising holistic principles for optimal performance outcomes while your chosen spot. So, take the time maintaining a balanced, nourished and happy life. to unwind. www.holisticendurance.com.au
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Eat for a Healthy Heart - Exploring the Mediterranean Diet. t e x t b y M a r g a r e t M i e l c z a r e k ( A PD , A N , A CCSD ) p h o t o g r a p h y b y s h u tt e r s t o c k . c o m
id you know that heart disease is Australia’s number one killer and that one Australian is killed by heart disease every 27 minutes? This may not be something we typically think about as triathletes, because we generally feel we’re pretty fit and healthy and tend to live active lifestyles. But it should be. Whether it happens now or in the future, heart disease could affect each one of us. So often I hear stories of athletes eating healthy and training almost obsessively leading in to a race. Then when the race is over, that healthy active lifestyle goes out the window and
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unhealthy habits sneak back in. It’s almost like we go from one extreme to the next. While down time after a race, especially after a big race such as an iron distance event or after a long triathlon season, is important for balance, it’s important to maintain those healthy lifestyle choices. Keeping fit and healthy shouldn’t just be about getting to the next race in the best shape possible. It should be about our long-term health as well. What we do now, and the food choices we make can greatly impact on our long-term health, especially our heart health. So, how do we keep our hearts healthy? What are the lifestyle choices we
can make to make sure we stay healthy both now and into the future? One of the biggest impacts on our heart health is our lifestyle choice. That is, amongst other things such a not smoking and being physically active, what we choose to eat and drink can have a significant impact on our heart health. Unfortunately, however, with an increasing number of diets on the market and so many differing opinions there seems to be a lot of confusion around what constitutes healthy eating. One diet that perhaps isn’t quite as popular as the others, and yet has been around for years, with many supported
health benefits such as preventing heart disease, is the Mediterranean Diet. So, what exactly is the Mediterranean Diet and what are the health benefits? And is there any evidence behind the claims? And most importantly, can you incorporate it in to your lifestyle easily? I recently came across the book, The Mediterranean Diet by Dr. Catherine Itsiopoulos (PhD, APD), which explores, well as the title suggests, the Mediterranean Diet. It explores the key components of the diet and the health benefits. It looks at the evidence behind the claims and includes easy-to-follow, healthy and delicious recipes to help you put the theory in to practice. Itâ€™s a must-have addition to your recipe book collection.
Some of the key features of the Mediterranean Diet include:
What is the Mediterranean Diet? According to Dr. Itsiopoulos there are about 30 different types of Mediterranean diets, which stem from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. However, the basic premise of this diet is that it consists of a high intake of fresh vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables and tomatoes and fruit, whole grain cereals, olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, cheese (mainly goats cheese) in moderation and small portions of meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken). It also includes a moderate amount of red wine, drunk with meals.
Plant foods: Vegetables, fruit, nuts, and wholegrains. All excellent sources of fibre, B-vitamins, vitamin E, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats.
What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet? Research shows that the Mediterranean Diet, as explained by Dr. Itsiopoulos in her book, helps to protect against heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). The Mediterranean diet also aids in weight loss, and is protective against cancer, Alzheimerâ€™s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the highest quality olive oil): The key ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is an excellent source of healthy fats, in this case the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. Unsaturated fats are known to be heart protective because they help to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and triglycerides and raise good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) in the blood. Olive oil is also a great source of polyphenols and antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
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OLIVES: Rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in fibre. Tomatoes: Rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is protective against heart disease and also prostate cancer. They are a ‘daily ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet’. Onions and garlic: High in antioxidants. Garlic may also protect against heart disease due to its positive effects on blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol).
Top Tips to start incorporating the Mediterranean way of eating in to your diet today: • Don’t fear healthy fat! Use Extra Virgin Olive oil as your main added fat. Add to meals when you’re cooking and/or drizzle on salads. Aim for 1-2 serves at meals where 1 serve is about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Fish: Another prominent ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are protective against heart disease. Fermented milk products, yoghurt and feta cheese: Great sources of calcium and probiotic bacteria.
• Eat vegetables with every meal, especially green leafy vegetables. Aim for 2 – 3 cups at meals. • Include legumes and lentils in your meals. Pro tip: reduce the amount of minced meat you might use by adding kidney beans to your meals. • Limit meat (beef, lamb, pork and chicken) to 1 - 2 times per week and enjoy smaller portions. • Snack on fresh fruit and nuts if you’re hungry between meals.
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• Eat natural, Greek yoghurt daily, where one serve is 200g. • Include unprocessed whole grains in your diet; just watch your portions, particularly if watching your weight. Wholegrains include wheat, corn, rice, barley, rice, oats, rye, millet, buckwheat and quinoa. Choose unrefined wholegrains and avoid/limit refined grains such as muffins, cakes and biscuits, which also tend to be high in saturated fats and sugar. • If you drink alcohol, opt for red wine and drink in moderation (no more than 1 - 2 standard drinks, so 100ml, per sitting). One of my favorite quotes is ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ (Michael Pollan, author). The Mediterranean Diet fits this well. If we do this, we will feel good and enjoy health and performance both now and into the future.
Legumes and lentils: High in fibre, antioxidants, protein and minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium.
February is Heart Research month with the ‘Red Feb’ initiative set up to help support Heart Research Australia. Health Research Australia is “an organization dedicated to funding first-stage, innovative research into the prevention, diagnoses and treatment of heart disease”. For more visit http://redfeb.com.au/heart-hub/
The Mediterranean Diet ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ by Dr. Catherine Itsiopoulos (PhD, APD) http://www.panmacmillan.com. au/9781743533185
Nutrition can make or break your race
Don’t put your next race at risk!
Margaret Mielczarek, AccSD | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.fuelrightnutrition.com.au
Australian Triathlete |
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O © Shutterstock.com
ne of my favourite heart healthy recipes is baked salmon. It’s quick and easy and tastes amazing! And the best bit is - it’s great for your heart! Feburary was Heart Research month, so this is a perfect recipe to keep those good habits going in March and beyond. Try to incorporate at least two serves of fish per week to make sure you get you’re required omega-3 fats.
Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s an excellent source of the essential fatty acids Omega–3 fats (EPA and DHA), which contribute to healthy brain function, heart health (protect against heart disease) and have anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B12, B6 and D, selenium and potassium.
Margaret Mielczarek is the owner of Fuel Right Nutrition. She is a triathlete and has an APD, AN, and AccSD. www.fuelrightnutrition.com.au
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Ingredients: Baked Salmon • Fresh salmon pieces (I bought a packet of 4 salmon pieces from Aldi) • 1 lemon, washed and sliced • Fresh dill • Fresh rosemary • Thyme
• Salt and pepper • Extra Virgin Olive Oil • Capers Salad • 1 salad mix (pre-washed, again from Aldi) • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes • 1 capsicum • Chives • 1 - 2 Lebanese cucumbers • 1 - 2 carrots, grated • ½ - 1 avocado, sliced Salad Dressing • Extra Virgin Olive oil • Balsamic vinegar • Salt and pepper
Line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
2. Tear smaller sheets of foil for the salmon. 3. Place each individual salmon piece on to individual sheets of foil. 4. Drizzle olive oil on to each salmon piece, rub in salt and pepper, and sprinkle with dill, rosemary and thyme. 5. Sprinkle with capers to taste. 6. Layer the lemon slices on to each piece. 7. Fold over the foil and place in the oven to bake until cooked. 8. Meanwhile, place the salad ingredients in to a bowl and toss. Drizzle with salad dressing and set aside. 9. Once the salmon is cooked, place on to serving plate, add the salad and enjoy!
Australian Triathlete |
Loving Triathlon: What we see as a youngster sets strong foundations for the future. Lets get it right, so the next generation learn to love the sport. ÂŠ Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon
| Australian Triathlete
Have Your Kids Grow Up to
Triathlon text by Michelle Hemley
am a firm believer that our exposure to sport as a child or adolescent plays a key role in developing our attitudes towards the activity as we get older. More often than not, what we enjoyed as a youngster stays with us into adulthood and vice versa, meaning that if you had a terrible experience with something it’s highly unlikely you will go back. Therefore junior triathlon coaches, teachers and parents have a massive responsibility to ensure that a child’s introduction to triathlon is as positive, engaging, non-threatening and inclusive as possible. See here, where I present two case studies I have witnessed personally. In the first one, a child’s positive experiences led her to a lifetime of participation in multi-sport and triathlon, while in the second, another child was turned off the whole sport for over 15 years.
Case Study One
Case Study Two
To use myself as an example, I did my first Ironman event at age 10 and loved it! My primary school, Kinlock Primary in Perth’s south-eastern suburbs, ran an Ironman as part of our annual athletics carnival. It was the very last event of the day and consisted of a 100m run/400m bike ride/800m run/obstacle course. The Ironman race was the highlight of my day. It was a great atmosphere with music and the whole school lining the track and cheering all the competitors on. I was hooked! I didn’t even realise at the time the links to the adult triathlon race. However the experience obviously made an impression as I’ve continued to love this multi-sport form of activity and I’ve now completed nine Ironman triathlons (amongst many other bonkers multi-sport and endurance challenges).
In contrast, one of my best friends had a completely different introduction to multi-sport and this continues to influence her opinion of triathlon at times. A fantastic swimmer, my friend placed in the School Sport Triathlon Championships when she was 13 years old, which automatically qualified her for the state team. As this was her first triathlon and with no specific training (but a huge engine from swimming), she was very surprised and excited! Unfortunately, her first training experience with a triathlon group was not so positive. After being ridiculed for her bike and lack of cycling skills, her mum picked her up in tears and she refused to go back. There was no state team for her, she stuck with swimming and did not do another triathlon until her late 20’s some 15 years later. In our conversations, she still turns her nose up at the sport at times.
Australian Triathlete |
So how can we ensure our kids love the sport and want to come back for more?
© Delly Carr/Ironman media
high performing sports stars and triathletes in the media does encourage people to some degree, for impressionable kids true engagement with our sport lies in finding someone they know to lead the way and showcase triathlon in a positive light. This could be a teacher, friend or yourself! Talk openly about all the things you love about triathlon training and racing. Children are like sponges, they soak it all up!
3.Celebrate every new achievement
Awesome: The experience of running down the finish chute is one you won’t forget, young or old.
1. Seek Out Modified Kids Events for them to Participate in A great example of this is the ‘Iron Kids’ races that go hand in hand with Ironman franchise events. The kids got to run down the EXACT same finishing chute as the adults, receive a participation medal (just like the adults) and get called over the line by an announcer (just like the adults)......how cool is that? Then of course you have the popular Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon in many areas of Australia offering a triathlon completely for kids (I had to interview a bunch of teenagers recently about their ‘best sporting memory from childhood’ and it was amazing how many mentioned the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon!). In fact, many triathlons these days have
| Australian Triathlete
associated kids events with them. Next time you enter your own race, check and see if there is something your children can do as well, nothing like participating as a family! What I love about these improvised, junior triathlons is that it leaves the young athletes absolutely chomping at the bit to grow up and keep doing these events. Their first experience is so positive and ultimately enjoyable that afterwards (without fail) I hear them excitedly chatting away about ‘when I get older, I’m going to do the whole thing!’
2. Provide Positive Role Models The strongest role models in a child’s life are the people they interact with on a day-to-day basis. So while highlighting
It is very empowering feeling to reach for sporting goals and achieve it and triathlon is a great mechanism for teaching that anything is possible if you just give it a go. The thing about triathlon, is all goals are completely individual. Focus on the child’s improvement and celebrate every time they achieve something new such as finishing their first event, running faster than before, hitting a PB, swimming out in the open water for the first time or completing a distance they didn’t think possible. Focus more on celebrating individual improvement and effort, rather than results such as placings and you are providing your child with the knowledge that the goal is always to do the best they can. And you can never run out of new triathlon goals to hit!
4. Let them choose A whole triathlon can be quite daunting to the uninitiated, so don’t force participation if your child is scared or not interested. This can do more harm than good (see case study two). However, what you can do is showcase all the different ways they can do a triathlon, such as participating in a team. This way, they can complete the legs of the triathlon they are comfortable with and will hopefully be inspired to progress to an individual race in the future. Many of our great triathletes started in a team event ‘for fun’ with friends. A team is a great starting point and brings us to a key selling point for the sport, that there are so many options for participation available. You can also take the kids along to watch an event. Seeing so many people of
Youth and Junior
© Getty Images
all different abilities, speeds and shapes having fun out on course is sure to inspire rather than intimidate. What we see as a youngster sets strong foundations for the future so as coaches, teachers and parents of junior triathletes we have a massive responsibility to showcase triathlon in a good light. Keep it positive, keep it fun and focus on the great things about our sport and hopefully we have a whole generation of happy and healthy triathletes coming through.
Best view: Even with inclement weather, take the youngsters out to see the different types of races and events. It’s a great first step to experience the sport.
‘Michelle Hemley Michelle is a passionate triathlete, coach and nine times Ironman finisher. With a professional background in Physical Education, Exercise Physiology and Sport Development, her speciality is working with junior triathletes. Her ‘Swim, Ride, Run FUN’ program’s have seen over 250 youngsters participate in triathlon in the last three years in the Geelong/ Surf Coast area’
Our passion is to inspire people of all ages to find joy in a more active lifestyle and turn their sporting dreams into reality...
Australian Triathlete |
tips & tricks
Don’t Neglect your
triathlon swim L
et’s get straight to the point. Many triathletes I know totally neglect their swim prep. Swimming is not as glamorous as getting out on the bike and having all the latest high tech gadgets that go with that discipline and with many triathletes coming from a running background then getting into the swim side of things, they may get a big shock as to how confined the training environment is and to repeat the words I heard often ‘find it boring and frustrating’ to say the least. With poor technique plus trying to play catch up as an adult learning to swim it sets up a lot of negativity. The fitness, yes fitness, you gain from proper swim prep will make you a better overall triathlete. Not to mention the mental discipline from the process of churning out the laps. You are fit for what
| Australian Triathlete
you train for and having good bike and run strength/fitness will not rescue your weak swim if you are not putting in the work and have poor technique. A strong swimming foundation will provide an edge to those not putting water time in puts less stress on the joints and leave you with more energy for the bike and run. I am talking about those who are training for performance-based results. If you just want to complete and just get by and survive the swim – do two swims (or less) a week and struggle through parts of the bike and run due to the swim taking its toll. The massive misconception is that due to the swim being short in comparison to the bike and run and even more so for 70.3 and IM, athletes they can skip swimming and ‘bluff’ their way through. The fatigue that comes with this approach into the
bike then run adds up and even if you are not the fastest swimmer or best technically – having been training in the water and fitter you will have a more relaxed and controlled swim and come our fresher and be able to have a good bike and run. If you are dropping away in the bike and run and are not putting in the work in the pool coupled with being a weak swimmer then you are probably wasting a lot of energy in the swim leg. You may be in denial. We, as triathletes treat the swim as a ‘warm up’ to the rest of the event but to truly have this as so you need swim fitness. In my own coaching, I aim to use this as motivation to get athletes backsides in the water and in a swim squad or at least swim programming (if coaching via distance) to follow that is realistic for the
Nick Croft Nick Croft is a former professional triathlete, Australian Triathlete of the Year and two-time winner of the Noosa Triathlon. With 19 years coaching experience under his belt, Croft provides online training programs for athletes of all ages and abilities through www.mscsport.com.au and runs Noosa Tri Camps in Noosa Heads, Australia.
© Korupt Vision
fitness level and ability – if not a strong swimmer and it is your weak link get in at least 3 times a week of intense swimming and another easy/relaxed swim as recovery/ practice technique using fins and finger paddles. Not enough time? There are dry land options to add to the swim training with using the likes of stretch cords, body weight routine incorporating push ups and dips and getting more flexible. A little circuit with some ab work and core takes about 20 minutes to run through 2-3 times through with cords and is a favourite of mine to use 2 times a week between swim and especially when I travel and cannot access the water as normal. Let’s face it – we are not as triathletes training like – ‘real swimmers’. But we can get some really high intensity done without the tearing up the body that in the same sense as an interval run set for example. You can work your engine anaerobically without that same stress on the body as running does. Recovery in the water is great for the body and after heavy run and bike sessions also. So take this on board and see what a difference being swim fit makes to your overall triathlon result. Australian Triathlete |
Preparing for your first
text by julie tedde | p h o t o g r a p h y b y A l b e r t o L o y o / S h u tt e r s t o c k . c o m
urning up for your first race can be very daunting - arriving at an unknown venue, where it is generally quite dark, with someone on loud speaker using many technical terms such as transition check in, arm numbering, mount and dismount lines. Dealing with all this and of course the
emotion and fear you already have can be enough to tip you over the edge and all you want to do is just hide under a rock. How can you overcome what seems like unsurmountable hurdles? The answer lies in going to the event with a plan and having practiced many of the elements of the race.
TIME LINE: 60 mins pre swim start
Arrive at site - with all equipment.
Pre check where you can park and how long it will take to ride or run from here. Often a good way to warm up and avoid congested parking. Park 5km from event site.
50 mins pre swim start
Line up to pick up race kit OR
Register before race day as often entries close pre event and
register for event.
it avoids queues.
Arm numbering if required, stickers
Checking and collecting your kit the day before allows you
on equipment. Head to transition
to also check out the race site and where your bike will be
to check bike in.
located in transition.
Set up bike transition and leave
Place a bright coloured towel to mark or make your bike
area all ready to race.
rack place easy to find.
25 mins pre swim start
Optional 5 min jog.
Itâ€™s good to get the blood flowing and often
20 mins pre swim start
Head to the swim start with
Taking a spare swim cap and even goggles in case of very
wetsuit on if you have one. Swim
cold swim conditions or the race goggles break.
40 mins pre swim start
30 mins pre swim start
head to the toilet.
cap and goggles in hand. 0-10 mins pre swim start
Dry land or warm up in the water.
Warming up in the water allows you to test the water depth as you are running in as well as the temperature of the water.
| Australian Triathlete
Race Day Checklist The items in BOLD are must haves for every triathlete
GENERAL Race kit (swim cap, stickers, wrist & timing band) Sunscreen Watch or heart rate monitor Pre-Race nutrition, bars, gels & fluids Talcum powder (for shoes) Vaseline (for chaffing) Race belt (if wearing a race number)
Swim Swim suit or tri suit Swim cap (part of your race kit) Goggles (plus spare pair or spare strap/nose piece) Transition towel - brightly coloured (individual) Wetsuit Plastic bags (to help put wetsuit on and for after) Moisturiser or Body Glide to help remove wetsuit
Ride Bike Helmet (normally required to be worn into transition) Bike shoes or runners (runner bands if leaving shoes on bike) Water bottles (minimum one with sports drink or water) Socks (only if required â€“ roll down for easy putting on) Sunglasses Track pump (or check tyre pressure beforehand) Tool bag with spare tubes and repair tools and electrical tape (just in case) Bike computer
Run Running shoes with elastic laces Hat (to keep sun off and to keep wet/cool) Socks (only if required â€“ roll down for easy putting on) Sunglasses (second clean pair if required) Post Race Clothing (dry, warm clothing for post race recovery) Larger towel for keeping dry and changing clothes
Australian Triathlete |
Making Actions Habits So there are a number of skills that are performed during the race that can be practised over and over again. They go from being unfamiliar and feeling awkward when executing them to being polished and second nature. These include:
Mounting and dismounting your bike. It is critical that you can nail this. Time can be saved by knowing what you are doing. Also no one wants to risk falling off or in the pathway of another participant.
Getting your wetsuit off. Put your wetsuit on – jump in the shower, jump out and get the wetsuit off as soon as you can. Even when you are doing open water swims always practise getting out of the wetsuit quickly.
© olivier borgognon / Shutterstock.com
Practise having your shoes on the pedals can save a lot of time but can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to execute it well. So every time you get on or off your bike use this opportunity to master this skill.
Swimming in rough conditions, running off the bike and many other various conditions can be in built into your daily training.
| Australian Triathlete
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