Jim Doughty entered the sporting world at a relatively late age but this hasn't stopped him from achieving some incredible feats. From sprint triathlons to Iron Man events, he has excelled at the sport and tells us a little more about his passion.
Have you always been into sport?I made it back into sport when I was 40 years old, but have always been very active: between the ages of 18 and 22 I cycled for a team in the north-west of England but work and family life took over and I stopped participating in professional races.
What made you decide to enter a triathlon?I was participating in a charity cycle event with work in December 2010 and a work colleague was impressed with my speed and endurance and challenged me to enter a sprint distance triathlon. I took up the challenge, and four months later I was racing my first Triathlon in over 20 years. From then on I was hooked.
What’s been your best race to date?It was probably “A Day In The Lakes” Middle Distance Triathlon in 2016. The race takes place towards the end of June in the Lake District; the swim is 1.9km in Ullswater and the conditions were near perfect, I had a good solid swim and headed into T1 and onto the bike, the bike course is a fast 2 lap loop crisscrossing the M6 motorway on both laps. I made it back into T2 with a really fast split, so fast in fact that my family were really surprised to see me so soon. I headed out of T2 onto a fairly unique Half Marathon run course which took in two mountains to ascend and descend. I crossed the finish line with a massive smile on my face to my waiting family.
And your proudest achievement?It has to be Ironman UK which was in 2015. I and one of my training partners spent the best part of a year training specifically for the event, out in all weathers throughout the Scottish winter and spring cycling and running and training in the pool until the weather warmed up enough for us to hit open water.
Ironman UK starts with a 3.8km swim in Pennington Flash reservoir, then onto a 180km bike which winds through Greater Manchester & Lancashire for two laps ending inside the Macron Stadium just outside Bolton. From here I ran the full marathon which was a three lap run into Bolton City Centre.
I finished the Ironman 1 hour and 35 seconds faster than my training partner.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Yes, I’ve had a few disasters, I raced at a Sprint Distance Duathlon a few years ago and punctured out on the course. As it was only a sprint distance, by the time I had replaced the tube and made it back to T2 I was last on the final run.
As for my toughest race yet, all of the races I have done are my toughest yet, every race I do I get stronger and wiser and am constantly learning to race faster and smarter.
However I think this coming year (2018) I will face my toughest challenges in the form of an Ironman including a sea swim as this is my worst fear.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I never give up, no matter what I am faced with; I overcome every hurdle I come across as they only make you stronger. I am constantly learning and I use every setback as a learning curve. If I make a mistake I try never to make the same mistake again.
What is the best piece of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?Train with the same equipment and nutrition that you intend to race with, for me this is the most important piece of advice that can be given to everyone competing as you will know how your equipment is going to feel and react to you.
What are your goals for 2017?I have a couple of major goals for the coming year, the first one is at the end of May and is the Edinburgh Marathon, I have never run a marathon as a standalone event; I’ve run ultra marathons and I’ve run the marathon distance as part of the Ironman so am intrigued to see how I perform over the distance.
My second goal for 2017 is The Long Course Weekend in Wales. This is an Iron Distance Triathlon but over 3 days; you complete the 3.9km swim on the Friday evening, the 180km bike on the Saturday and the marathon run on the Sunday. This event is as much about the recovery between the events as it is about the distances to be covered.
Who do you take your inspiration from?I am inspired to perform by so many different people from some of the best cyclists in the world such as Chris Froome, Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond, to some amazing triathletes such as Scott Tinley and Mirinda Carfrae. All of whom are truly inspirational and owners of their own destination, in every race they have ever participated in they all have one common goal…..They all want to WIN.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?I love the fact that Sundried care; they care about the environment, they care about the people who wear the brand, and they care about being an ethical choice. I love the fact that they turn coffee grounds into fabric, I always knew that caffeine could improve my performance but pair that with Sundried's branding and you have the best Men’s Pro Tri Suit money can buy. From the comfort afforded by the Dolomiti pad right through to the hydrophobic coating to help in the drying process when you exit the swim, for me this is the must-have piece of kit for every event.
What happens when a group of friends can’t say no to a challenge? The Common Oars tell Sundried how four friends ended up determined to row non-stop around Great Britain for charity… and not only that…they want to do it in record breaking time!
Luke from the Common Oars tells us what 2017 has in store for them.
Tell us about the Common Oars challenge:
“More people have travelled to the moon than completed this”
The Common Oars Challenge is simple: 4 men, 1 boat, 1 aim - to leave Tower Bridge and navigate ourselves around the shores of the United Kingdom completely unaided. We can have no contact with other people and must carry all supplies with us from start to finish. We will navigate some of the world's biggest tides, busiest shipping lanes, and most changeable weather as we row in 2 hour shift patterns day and night and attempt to add to the list of only 14 people to have ever achieved this challenge - to put that into perspective: more people have travelled to the moon than completed this. Many have tried but only 14 have succeeded unaided.
What made you decide to come up with the challenge?
We, unfortunately, can't lay claim to coming up with this idea. The 4 of us have various sporting and challenge backgrounds including Ironmans, summiting Kilimanjaro, and representing Great Britain in modern pentathlon. We read about the challenge and knew it was something we had to go for. None of us consider ourselves easy to break and this is a test in which none of us have experience, which makes it even more exciting. It's something that we can go through together from complete beginners to finishers or even world record holder.
Tell us why you decided to raise money for the NuVasive Spine Foundation?
After the common cold, back pain is the most common reason that an individual will go and visit their local doctor, it's something that 1 in 3 people will suffer from in their lifetime and something that, in some cases, can be treated or at least managed. The NSF works with globally recognised spinal surgeons who give up their time and travel to sub-Saharan Africa where the access to care is limited. They work with the surgeons to see patients, train local doctors and surgeons, and also educate staff in order to provide a better service locally. To see the change in just one person’s quality of life thanks to this great cause is incredible. It's somewhere that you really can see your support make a difference.
If you want to find out more then please visit www.nuvasivespinefoundation.org to learn about the work and meet see some of the lives that NSF has touched.
What’s the furthest you’ve rowed so far?
Other than standard Olympic distance our efforts so far have been concentrated on long (and sometimes very tedious) rowing machine sessions while we are fully prepping the boat. We plan to do a number of long/overnight trips before the end of the coming year and other challenges that will test our mental and physical strength. We will be sure to let you know how we get on.
What training do you have to do to be row ready?
That’s a good question, and an answer you may not quite expect. Besides from the standard upper body and core strength which we all need (some more than others), we need to get used to being in the boat, we need to learn about every aspect of the boat from the simplest to the most complex, so that if something does go wrong, we have the capabilities of fixing the problem without hindering our chances at beating the world record or being unaided.
Are there any other things you're having to prep for ready for the big trip?
Quite simply, yes. We have been told that one of the most difficult aspects of our challenge is that we will be able to see the coastline and at low times may be tempted to stop, this is what makes rowing round the United Kingdom more difficult that rowing the Atlantic. However, we are all determined/stubborn enough to not give in to such pressures, hence why we are doing the challenge in the first place. Besides this, we are always looking to get sponsors and raise money to help the NSF so that it's a valuable and worthwile journey.
What are you most excited about?
The prospect of setting a new world record is very exciting. In addition, some of the incredible sights we hope to see such as parts of the coastline we have never seen before, and marine life such as dolphins if we are lucky enough. However, as we all love to challenge ourselves the sheer magnitude of the challenge is enough to get the blood pumping. However, it’s important to remember why we are doing it. Handing over £100,000 to the NSF will be pretty exciting too.
What are you most nervous for?
There is probably a fair bit to be nervous about, but I would say it comes down to two main things. Firstly, weather forcing us to retire or inhibiting us to a degree that the world record becomes unrealistic. And secondly, illness or injury forcing the retirement of a crew member. However these things remain largely out of our control so we just plan to focus on being as well prepared as we possibly can.
What do you like about Sundried?
Sundried is a unique company in the sense that when you receive the product you can follow its journey, and we all love the Sundried ethos. Also, like us, Sundried cares about the environment and is passionate about charity work. When it comes to Sundried and The Common Oars we are very alike and couldn’t be happier to be wearing such stylish clothing designed by athletes.
To read more on the boys' adventure you can visit the Common Oars website here and make a donation.
And from all of us here at Sundried - Good luck!
Sarah Outen MBE is an adventurer and British athlete, she was the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean and also the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Alaska. She completed a round-the-world journey, under her own power, by rowing boat, bicycle and kayak, on 3 November 2015. We find out more about our new ambassador.
Tell us how you came to be an adventurer:
I have always been curious and loved being outside and journeying, one way or another. As a child I spent hours playing outside, exploring and climbing trees and riding my bike. Through school I had the chance to try some small expeditions and I kayaked with a local canoe club. That curiosity and journeying love has always been there.
What has been your toughest challenge to date:
My London2London journey was physically, emotionally, and financially challenging. It took 6 years from the first idea to returning home. Even now, over a year on, I am still processing it and hope to produce a film on it next year.
How did you motivate yourself through your 4.5 year journey?
Curiosity about what lies around the next corner and what lies within are good motivators. So too is the idea that if I don't carry on I won't get home! I have various tricks which work for me when the chips are down.
What was your favourite ration whilst you were away?
I loved the smoked salmon from Alaska. We were given lots of locally harvested and smoked fish while we paddled through Alaska - that was some of my favourite food.
Favorite place you’ve visited?
Alaska and the ocean - for their wilderness, beauty, energy, and wildlife.
How seasick do you get?
I am a terrible seafarer for seasickness. I always spend a few weeks being sick at the start of the voyage. Except on my Atlantic row where I was given some different drugs to try and they worked a treat - no sickness at all.
What was your scariest moment rowing?
I have had some really frightening times at sea. From being capsized while out of my cabin, to going under the bows of a container ship, to experiencing the power of a tropical storm. Falling in the water as I climbed from my tiny boat to a 200-metre long cargo boat which was picking me up ahead of a hurricane was pretty terrifying too.
How does it feel to have an MBE?
I'm proud to have been awarded the MBE and like to think it is in fact for all the people who have helped make my journeys and projects a reality.
Will you do it again?
I will always journey and wander but I will probably never do anything quite like London2London again. At least not on my own. I am married now and my life is with my partner Lucy. We would like to sail around the world together one day.
Forget “How much do you bench?”, today we’re challenging your functional fitness.
From runners to powerlifters, sports athletes to yoga bunnies. Whatever your sport, a strong set of abdominals are crucial in every exercise. To increase power, strength, speed, balance, agility and coordination, a strong core is the centre of all training.
The TRX is renowned for its challenging abdominal exercises and good beginner strength is needed for even the simplest of its exercises as suspension training causes your abdominals to fire, braced under constant tension.
Not everyone is a beginner. Do you want to prove your part of the fitness elite?
Our TRX workout comprises of 10 exercises, each getting progressively harder as you dig deeper into the challenge.
Test your strength and find out what your results say about your training.
Will you make the perfect 10/10 score?
01. TRX Plyometric Lunges
Move one, you’d better get this! Hold both TRX handles at a medium length and sink into a lunge. As you hit the bottom of the lunge (knee just off the floor), explode off both feet and switch legs (whilst airborne) to lunge on the alternative leg. Perform a minimum of 10 to pass this move.
02. TRX Pistol Squat (Single-leg Squat)
Exercise two.The Pistol squat is perhaps one of the toughest body weight exercises there is, requiring leg strength, balance, flexibility, supple joints and advanced coordination. Holding onto the TRX will help you with balance, but the leg strength is all down to you. Grabbing both TRX handles extend one leg in front of you and sink down into a squat, driving off the single supporting leg to return to standing. Let’s see 6 per side before you check off number two!
TRX Pistol Squat
03. TRX Wall Row
Well done, you’ve made it to third base.The TRX row’s elder (and much tougher) brother, the wall row. Once again grab your TRX handles facing the anchor as though you were about to perform a row, except now we’re taking it off the ground. Place one foot a time onto the wall so you are fully suspended and now perform your row, keeping your back flat and drawing yourself up until your hands meet the sides of your ribcage. This is tough exercise as you are now fully suspended controlling your full body weight, whilst also maintaining a tight core in order to balance against the wall. If you can’t reach a wall from your attachment, try placing your feet on a high step. 12 rows before you move on.
04. TRX Single-Leg Burpees
It's time to take things up a notch. You didn’t think you’d get to halfway easy did you? For exercise 4 loop your handles so that just one is taut and hook in your foot over the bottom stirrup. The handle should hang around knee length. Now, facing away from the anchor, you’re going to burpee or ‘squat thrust’ as they are more formally known. Take you hands down to the ground as you jump the free leg back into extended plank. Explode off this leg and jump back to standing. Viola. An intense full-body plyometric exercise. A total of 10 is required, that’s 10 per leg. No excuses!
TRX single leg burpee start position
05. TRX Triple Threat Abdominals
Halfway there! Not bad. Our next move’s a triple threat, you’re going to need abs of steel for this one. Facing away from the anchor, come onto all fours and attach your feet into the stirrups, lift your knees off the floor so you are in a floating plank position, this is your start point. From here we complete the following sequence, push, pike, crunch. For the push-up, sink your chest down to the floor engaging your abdominals to prevent your feet from swinging in the stirrups. Next, the pike, lock your knees and keep your legs and arms extended whilst bringing your feet forward towards your hands. Your bum should lift into the air and it should feel like you're trying to fold in half. The third part to this move is a suspended crunch, return to your plank and then tuck your knees in towards your elbows, bum down this time. Hint: You need to shorten your straps so that as you pike your feet remain elevated.Completing all three moves counts as one rep. Hit 10.
06. TRX Row to Extended Plank
So you beat halfway? But can you score six? The row to plank double. Grab both handles and lean back for a bodyweight row. Palms face each other as you pull your body up, elbows shaving the ribcage. This is the turning point where, maintaining a neutral spine, you now bring your hands up passed your head and into a fallout position, shifting your bodyweight forward simultaneously until your hands are straight above your head. Your body weight should shift backwards and forwards between these two moves. Another 10 will see you through to TRX exercise three. A row plus a plank count as one, don’t try any half reps!
TRX side view fallout
07. TRX Single-Handed Push Up
Seventh heaven? Not for you. This one's set to put your body through hell.To complete the seventh move loop your TRX handles through one another so that one handle is taut. Hold one handle and come to the ground to set up for a single hand push-up. One hand is going to remain suspended in the TRX, whilst you push up using the other. Sink down until your nose is scraping the floor for your push up and then explosively drive off and extend both arms, the TRX arm should now be fully extended supporting your weight, whilst your other arm hovers above the ground. Give me 8….. per side!
TRX single arm push-up
08. TRX Chin Up
Move 8, impressive. For the TRX chin up, shorten your straps and loop both handles through so that they stay together, then grab them with palms facing towards you (chin ups palms face you, pull ups palms face away). Suspend completely so that you are hanging, cross your legs or tuck them behind, just make sure they don't touch the ground. Pull up until your chin faces your hands and then relax back down. Let’s go for 5, 10 if you're showing off.
09. TRX Handstand
And then there were two. This one is advanced. You're going to start by hooking both feet into the stirrups, your hands facing the anchor. Taking both hands to the floor lift one leg off the ground and begin simultaneously walking your hands back whilst you lift the second leg off the floor, driving both feet back into the stirrups. Continue walking your hands back until you reach a vertical handstand. The ultimate balance challenge this needs advanced core and shoulder strength and is a tricky one to master.
10. TRX Handstand Push Ups
If 9 was advanced, this must be really advanced. Set up the same as move 9 and walk into a TRX handstand, but this time, once you’re in the handstand position, lower your chest towards the floor to complete a handstand pushup. Perhaps the toughest TRX move there is, master this and you have exceptional calisthenic skills, a show stopping party trick and of course, most importantly scored a 10/10 in our TRX challenge.
What does your TRX training score say about you?
1-4 / 10 - These are your legs and back exercises. These two areas comprise the largest muscle groups in your body. If your score ends here, try to develop back and leg strength with exercises like rowing or squatting.
5-6 / 10 - Whilst you passed the leg and back exercises, your downfall was balance and abdominal exercises. Build core strength with less advanced TRX moves such as the TRX basic crunch. Focus on core work within your other training, exercises like leg raises and oblique twists build strength, whilst compound lifts performed with good form will help you learn how to engage your core properly to help you hold static movements on the TRX.
7-8 / 10 - These are really advanced calisthenic exercises and a score here shows an advanced level of fitness and skill. Practise plyometric push ups off the floor, single hand push ups, assisted pull ups or negatives using the TRX to help enhance your performance.
9-10/10 - Welcome to the TRX Elite, you have awesome skills and this is both a fantastic and admirable score. Advanced strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and dedication have lead you to pass our TRX challenge. With this advanced level of ability maybe it’s time to push yourself a little further, unleash your competitive side and complete a Tough mudder or Nuclear race!
If you have not purchased a TRX or similar suspension trainer we strongly recommend you visit the official TRX site (for the UK, if you are outside the UK the American site is probably better found here). If you can afford to buy the professional version of the TRX trainers you will receive a login with several workout videos, charts, PDF downloadable workouts. All extremely high quality and very easy to use. The TRX is a premium workout suspension trainer and there are cheaper alternatives on the market. But if you can buy TRX then we recommend for the quality, care of service and support network that you do.
Ask your local gym if they have a TRX set-up. Or your personal trainer if they carry a set of TRX resistance bands. If you do not have a suitable anchor point from the ceiling, the professional kit comes with door mounts. And straps that will anchor it to a lamp post or similar.