• Chris Mills Athlete Ambassador

    running cycling duathlon

    Chris is a duathlete who loves the challenge of competing. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have been into sport from an early age. I was rarely seen without a ball at my feet.

    What made you decide to enter the world of duathlon?

    I entered the world of duathlon because I wanted the buzz of racing and also wanted a challenge.

    What's been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race to date has to be the European Age Group Championships in Romania last year. The set-up, weather and all-round experience were amazing!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

    Pretty much every major race I've competed in so far I've had a bad stitch or cramp in both calves and always end up crawling around the second run, but I'm hoping to get on top of this in the future with better preparation.

    My toughest race was a world championship qualification race last year where the stitch was the worst I've ever had and I lost 15 places on the second run.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I overcome setbacks by staying positive and looking at the bigger picture. I have recently come back from a severe ankle sprain which set me back massively but I stayed patient and worked on other aspects like core training.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

    I wish I'd been given more advice on how training other aspects such as core and strength training can help performance.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    My goals for 2020 are to enjoy the European Championships then train hard for a 2021 place and also set some PBs in cycle time trialling and 10k run.

    Who do you take inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from other athletes local to me like elite duathlete Ben Price and multiple World and European Age Group champion Alex Doherty.

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    I love the look of the Sundried kit; I think it looks very professional and it's great quality!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Jessica Williams Athlete Ambassador

    triathlete athlete Sundried activewear ambassador

    Jessica is a duathlete who has competed at world level. She talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I got into sport off the back of weight loss from the age of 15. By 17, I was competing for my county in running and I won a southern counties cross country medal.

    How did you first get into duathlon?

    From the age of 18-27, I suffered an on/off battle with bulimia, anorexia and laxative abuse, which I speak openly about and use my social media platform to help others and to raise awareness. I got my first road bike aged 18 and I truly took to cycling aged 20.  It was my brother who actually had the idea I should try duathlon as I did both sports.

    In 2016, I qualified to represent Team GB in Age Group Duathlon. That year, I became British champion and World silver age group medal holder. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury at the end of 2016 which saw me take 2017 out of GB competition but I returned to competitive duathlon in early 2018 when I became British champion once more as well as World bronze medal holder and silver European medal holder.

    At the end of 2018, I began my studies to become a personal trainer and took a step back from competing to give myself time to build my own business. This coincided with a knee injury and being out of running for most of 2019 anyway!

    In the interim, I’ve also qualified twice for Team GB to compete in the world Gran Fondo cycling by qualifying at the Tour of Cambridge.

    I returned to running in November 2019 and was determined I would make a return to competing January 2020 and I did. Between January 1st and 12th, I competed in 4 running races and at one qualified to represent my county (Cambridgeshire) at the inter-counties cross country in March.

    What's been your best race to date?

    My best performance to date was my first World Championships for duathlon. I competed over standard distance (10k run/40k bike/5k run), and ran 37.27 for the first 10k run. That was really quite good, but at the time I got so caught up in pushing forward I forgot to stop and appreciate the journey!

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest moment was winning bronze and silver at world level and having my parents watching. Even though it was not my strongest race to date, I had just come back from suffering a virus similar to glandular fever that had seen me not train for 3 weeks. It was my dad who said I was stubborn and determined like him so he knew there was no point in telling me I wouldn’t get to that start line! At the end of the race, he put his arm round me and said how proud he was of me, that meant everything!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

    My toughest race was probably my first duathlon back from injury in February 2018. I qualified for Team GB but I don’t know how as my fingers froze in the cold and I couldn’t get my helmet off in transition, then my irritable bowl flared up which left me dashing for the loo on the second run!

    I finished and thought “wow, if I can qualify after all that happening, we are in for a good year” and sure I was. I won 1 British title, 1 silver European medal and 1 Bronze world medal in less than 8 months after that.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    I plan to make a return to duathlon, wanting to come back from injury more determined than ever to bring home that gold medal.

    I have several big running competitions on the cards between now and March and then in June I have the Chrono Time Trial at the Tour of Cambridge which is the qualifier for the amateur Gran Fondo World Championships.

    I will also aim to do a GB qualifying race for duathlon this year so as to aim to qualify to compete for GB in the world/ European championships next year in 2021.

    Who do you take inspiration from?

    My biggest inspiration is my dad. He’s competed as an athlete for Team GB in running and he has completed a 2.27 London marathon at a time when his health was not at its best. He represented GB as a veteran runner and has competed at a particularly high standard over the years.

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    I’ve had sponsors before and I’ve had ambassador roles, but I have to believe in a product. If I don’t like it or believe in its principles. I would never advertise it.

    Sundried is high quality and durable and it’s so comfortable to wear. It’s a brand that not only looks good but feels good to train in too. It’s hard to find a brand that covers all aspects with running, cycling and duathlon.

    As to inspiring others, it’s what I do, I use my social media platform to help others see that we are all capable of achieving great things if only we can open our mind up to believing this is the case. I live to inspire others and I’ve always said if sharing my journey of how I overcame my eating disorder as well as my success in sport and rehab from injury can help one person, I would shout about it from the roof top if needs be.

    We never have any idea who’s watching our journey and story and who takes strength from that so we need to be kind, always. For anyone struggling to get motivated, it all starts and ends with you! Don’t make your goal so far ahead you get disillusioned or stray off course, short, medium and long term goals are what it’s all about. Take strength and courage from others around you to build a self belief and self worry that help you carry yourself on your tough days.

    “You won’t always be motivated, so on these days you must be disciplined.”

    My favourite bit of Sundried kit is Sundried Piz Ela sports bra. It's so comfortable and sits well when running which is key as well as looking great.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Duathlon Training Advice – How To Avoid Injury

    Racing for Team GB in my age group in Standard Distance Duathlon has highlighted to me that being race-ready for an event requires a fine balance of a number of variables. The most challenging thing about racing is actually getting to the start line injury-free. Here are my top tips that helped me come home from the World Championships with a medal.

    Sundried cycle kit duathlon training

    Make every training session count

    As we know, life can be pretty busy what with juggling work, family and social life and time for exercise can be limited. Put together an achievable training plan which ensures every training session counts.

    We know it takes six weeks to make those all important physiological changes to start seeing a difference in fitness and ability. When time is limited, you want to make all of your training sessions count, rather than sauntering along on the same ride or run at the same pace week in week out. The body responds well to change so mix up your route and your speed to allow for faster muscle development and improvement in performance.

    As well as building up your mileage, one of the quickest and most effective ways to get fit is interval sessions. For the bike, these can be done indoors on a turbo trainer or outdoors running or cycling doing hill sessions.

    Sundried stretching recovery training duathlon

    Mix up your training with strength and core training

    Training for an event shouldn’t all be about time on the bike or out running. I include regular strength & conditioning and core training sessions into my weekly training plan. This can vary from squats and deadlifts to more Pilates-specific core strengthening such as the plank and the bridge. These types of sessions not only make you stronger but also help with your biomechanics, technique, and reduce the risk of injury.

    Try this Sundried core workout

    Train like a pro: strength training for triathletes

    Cyclists' leg strength workout

    strength training conditioning duathlon training

    Recovery is as important as training

    Look for signs of fatigue such as not being able to reach your target heart rates and suffering from heavy legs. Whilst you may feel you need to train to tick a session off, you’re better off resting and having a much more productive session the following day.

    Sleep is key for recovery and performance; you should aim for 7-8 hours sleep each night. This amount of time has been linked to reducing your risk of injury and susceptibility to coughs and colds.

    Are you over training?

    How often should I take a complete rest day?

    Sundried yoga stretching recovery

    Think about what you’re eating

    Nutrition is equally important as training and recovery. Increase your protein intake when you’re training, this helps the muscles and tendons recover allowing you to train again more quickly and reduce the risk of overuse injuries. I also tend to eat protein before going to bed as overnight is the time when your body repairs itself.

    It’s also important to get used to what you’re going to use for nutrition during the event. This is especially important for the longer distances and getting it right can make such a difference to your performance. There’s so many great products out there ranging from gels to bars, jellies to tablets. Whatever you choose, definitely try them before your event to make sure they agree with you. I personally choose the TORQ  gels for my events. They’re naturally flavoured and contain no artificial sweeteners or colours. For a standard distance duathlon, I tend to have a Guarana fruits of the forest gel half an hour before I run for a quick caffeine boost. On the bike leg, I have three TORQ strawberry yogurt gels and one more Guarana gel before the second run.

    How to make your own energy gels and bars

    food prep nutrition recovery training

    Practise with your kit

    If you’re training for an event, it’s important to give yourself time to test out your kit. This includes everything from bike to shoes to tri suit and water bottle. I would incorporate this into my brick sessions which I do leading up to a race. This ensures you get a good feel of how your kit feels at race pace.

    duathlon training racing trisuit race suit

    About the author: Kate Cadbury is a MCSP HPC Chartered Physiotherapist and Advanced APPI Pilates Instructor as well as a Team GB Age Group duathlete.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Guide To Multi Sport

    Don't know the difference between aquathlon and swimrun? Chances are you've heard of triathlon, but these days multi sport is way more than just the typical swim - bike - run format. We explore some of the newer multi sports as well as the classics that are enjoying a revival.

    Breca Swimrun multi sport race swimming running

    Triathlon

    Let's start with the most popular multi-sport du jour. The Brownlee brothers' performance at the 2012 London Olympics has been followed by a rise in popularity of triathletes like Lucy Charles who are supported by global brands such as Red Bull and are growing a notable fan-base thanks to Instagram. This has led to triathlon becoming more popular than ever and the trend shows no signs of stopping just yet.

    triathlon triathlete multi sport swim bike run

    Sports involved

    Swimming, cycling, running

    Distances

    Distance Swim Bike Run
    Super Sprint 400 m
    (0.25 mi)
    10 km
    (6.2 mi)
    2.5 km
    (1.6 mi)
    Sprint 750 m
    (0.47 mi)
    20 km
    (12 mi)
    5 km
    (3.1 mi)
    Olympic (Standard) 1.5 km
    (0.93 mi)
    40 km
    (25 mi)
    10 km
    (6.2 mi)
    Ironman 70.3 (Half Ironman) 1.9 km
    (1.2 mi)
    90 km
    (56 mi)
    21.1 km
    (13.1 mi)
    ITU-Middle Distance 3.0 km
    (1.9 mi)
    80 km
    (50 mi)
    20 km
    (12 mi)
    Ironman 140.6 (Full Ironman) 3.9 km
    (2.4 mi)
    181 km
    (112 mi)
    42.2 km
    (26.2 mi)
    ITU-Long Distance 4.0 km
    (2.5 mi)
    120 km
    (75 mi)
    30 km
    (19 mi)

     

    How it works

    Triathlon follows a simple swim - bike - run format with transition areas between each discipline. As a triathlete, you will start with the swim which can either be indoors in a swimming pool or outdoors in open water. Open water swims are more popular for most triathlons although some races aimed at beginners will feature a shorter pool swim. 

    Once you've completed your swim, you run to a transition area where you take off your wetsuit (if you wore one) and change into your bike shoes. You then head off out on your bike for the bike section. 

    Once finished on the bike, you come back to transition to rack your bike, put on your running shoes, and head off out for the run. 

    Different triathlon races offer a variety of different course types, from open roads to closed circuits and open water swims in the sea, ocean, rivers, or lakes. If you're really into this sport, you may end up investing in a specialist triathlon bike and all sorts of other specialist kit. For more detailed information about triathlon racing, read our triathlon guide.

    As all triathlon races are governed by the ITU (International Triathlon Union), all triathlon races will be fairly uniform and as a racer you will have to stick to rigid guidelines and rules. You will also find the distances always stick closely to those outlined, although some races may have slightly longer or shorter distances due to course design; it will always be within 10% of the prescribed limit though.  

    Cross Triathlon

    For those looking for something a little more rugged, cross triathlon takes triathlon off-road and into the wilderness.

    Xterra cross triathlon off road cross country

    Sports involved

    Open water swimming, mountain biking, trail running

    Distances

    Typically a 1km swim, 20-30km mountain bike, and 6-10km trail run but distances can vary from race to race.

    How it works

    Cross triathlon follows the same format as traditional triathlon but it is all done 'off-road'. The swim is always does in open water such as in a lake or in the ocean, the bike is done on a mountain bike, and the run is a trail run. The idea first started in Hawaii, the spiritual home of triathlon, and has since established itself as a major multi sport with the Xterra Championships being the Holy Grail for cross triathletes.

    The courses tend to be much more technical and rugged than that of traditional triathlon and the cycle stage requires more care and skill rather than pure speed. Due to the fact that the bike stage could involve severe hills and navigating trees, rocks and other hazards, comparing times between different races can be tricky and unreliable.

    Duathlon

    Duathlon is triathlon's close relative, simply eliminating the swim from the popular multi sport racing format. Perfect for those who can't or don't want to swim but also popular among triathletes in the winter season, duathlon can be a very competitive and fast sport.

    duathlon racing running cycling

    Sports involved

    Running, cycling

    Distances

    Super sprint distance - 2.5km run, 10km bike, 2.5km run

    Sprint distance - 5km run, 20km bike, 2.5km run

    Standard (Olympic) distance - 10km run, 40km bike, 5km run

    Middle distance - 10km run, 60km bike, 10km run

    Long distance - 10km run, 150km bike, 30km run 

    How it works

    A duathlon follows a run - bike - run format, eliminating the swim from standard triathlon format. Due to the fact most athletes' strongest disciplines are the bike and run sections, duathlon can be extremely competitive and fast. 

    Duathlon follows the same format as triathlon in that there is a transition between each discipline. You will start with your first run before heading to the transition area to grab your bike and helmet and head out on the bike section. Once that's done, you head back to transition to change into your running shoes and sprint off for your final run. 

    Duathlon is a very popular sport among triathletes during the winter season when swimming – especially in open water – is impractical. Many triathletes will stay fit and keep their racing strategy strong by competing in autumn and winter duathlon races. Duathlon is also perfect for anyone interested in doing multi sport but who can't or doesn't want to swim. Also, for people looking to dip their toe into multi sport (metaphorically speaking) but who aren't ready to commit to swimming lessons, wetsuits, and the complexities of triathlon just yet.  

    Aquathlon

    Aquathlon is another of triathlon's close relatives, this time eliminating the bike section from the popular multi sport format. Less equipment to worry about and perfect for those who don't like cycling, aquathlon is rising in popularity as of late.

    Total Motion Aquathlon Tooting Bec Lido London 

    Sports involved

    Swimming, running

    Distances

    ITU Distances

    Warm water aquathlon (water temperature above 22 degrees Celsius)

    2.5km run - 1km swim - 2.5km run

    Cold water aquathlon (water temperature below 22 degrees Celsius)

    1km swim - 5km run

    Long Course aquathlon

    2km swim - 10km run

    Each country, federation, and even individual race may have its own distance regulation as water temperature can vary so drastically from country to country.

    How it works

    Transporting a bike to a race, especially abroad, can be logistically difficult. As can organising a race with a bike section, especially if it has to be done on roads open to traffic. Eliminating the bike section of a triathlon – creating the aquathlon – became popular a few decades ago after race organisers and athletes alike realised how much simpler it would be just to have the run and swim portions of the race. Not only this, some people simply don't get on with cycling but still want to enjoy multi sport, so for them aquathlon is the perfect race.

    In an aquathlon, it can be either a run - swim - run format or just a swim followed by a run. In general, aquathlon follows the longer distances while modern biathlon is shorter distances. Biathle, which is also swimming and running, is just for training purposes for those who compete in pentathlon. 

    Swimrun

    For those who enjoy swimming and running but want more of a challenge or outdoor adventure, swimrun is the perfect choice. Put simply, swimrun is like aquathlon on steroids.

    Breca Swimrun multi sport

    Sports involved

    Open water swimming, trail running

    Distances

    Swimrun has no set distance standard and each race distance varies

    How it works

    There are several differences between swimrun and its close relative aquathlon. Where aquathlon is like triathlon in that there is a transition area, swimrun differs as there is no stopping in between stages; participants swim in their running shoes and run in their wetsuit.

    In triathlon and aquathlon you're not allowed buoyancy aids but in swimrun you're allowed hand paddles and pull buoys because of the drag created by swimming in shoes.

    Another difference is that aquathlon is just one swim and one run whereas swimrun could involve several stages, with a minimum of 2 swims and 2 runs. For example, the Breca Swimrun Buttermere is 17 alternating runs and swims.

    The final difference is that an aquathlon often takes place in a pool whereas swimrun is always outdoors in open water and on rugged trails. Swimrun is usually done in pairs for safety reasons and for many is considered more of an adventure than purely a race. 

    Biathle (Modern Biathlon)

    Biathle or Modern biathlon is a sub-sport of modern pentathlon invented to create opportunities for training the run and swim parts of pentathlon in real race conditions. It is a sport in its own right. It bears close resemblance to aquathlon which also contains swimming and running but which comes from triathlon sport.

    biathle modern biathlon multi sport

    Sports involved

    Swimming, running

    Distances

    Usually 200m and 3km run but distances can vary from race to race.

    How it works

    The race always features a mass start run which then goes into a transition area, much like duathlon. Participants must take off their shoes and socks (unlike in swimrun) and then move onto the swim. For the swim, athletes are allowed to use any stroke (unlike triathlon which forbids backstroke in pool swims). Then comes another transition back to running and then to the finish line. 

    This sport is not to be confused with biathlon which is cross country skiing and rifle shooting and is a winter Olympic sport.

    Aquabike

    Aquabike is a less popular multi sport that eliminates the run from the swim - bike - run triathlon format. Races are usually undertaken as part of a full triathlon with the participants omitting the run section of the race and just receiving a result for their swim and bike.

    aquabike triathlon multi sport swim bike 

    Sports involved

    Swimming, cycling

    Distances

    Super sprint     400m swim, 10k bike

    Sprint               750m swim, 20k bike

    Standard         1500m swim, 40k bike

    Middle             1.9km swim, 90km bike

    Full                  3.9km swim, 191km bike

    Distances vary but usually follow the same distances as a triathlon with the run omitted.

    How it works

    Aquabike is competed in the same way as a triathlon, simply with the run eliminated. Aquabike is perfect for triathletes who may be injured and therefore cannot run or simply for anyone who likes the idea of multi sport but doesn't like running.

    Quadrathlon

    Quadrathlon is for those who want a little more from their multi sport experience. It is the same as triathlon but with the addition of a kayaking section.

    quadrathlon swim bike run kayaking

    Sports involved

    Swimming, cycling, kayaking, running

    Distances

    Sprint Distance Middle Distance Long Distance
    Swim 750 m 1.5 km 4 km
    Cycle 20 km 40 km 100 km
    Kayak 4 km 8 km 20 km
    Run 5 km 10 km 21 km

     

    How it works

    For a quadrathlon race, the individual disciplines can be done in any order however it usually follows a swim - bike - kayak - run format. Quadrathlon generally follows the same rules and format of a triathlon but with the addition of a kayaking element.

    Other Multi Sport Races

    Sundried is a triathlon specialist and so our passion is for multi sport races related to triathlon. Of course, there are many other types of multi sport such as pentathlon, heptathlon etc but those are track and field sports rather than related to our speciality. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Claire Warburton Athlete Ambassador

    athlete ambassador Sundried activewear running cycling

    Claire is a duathlete who has her sights set on the Team GB Age Group team. She talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I've always been really active. I've been into running and subsequently cycling as an adult.

    What made you decide to enter the world of duathlon?

    I did a lot of running, culminating in a marathon in 2011. I wasn't ever the most natural and it was and still is the hardest thing I've completed. After the London marathon, I didn't run for ages and off the back of the 2012 Olympics I unexpectedly got a place in the first Ride London sportive.

    I fell in love with cycling and did the Ride London three years in a row. After my daughter was born, it took me a while to get back into fitness and what really got me back to it again was a super sprint duathlon. I hated and loved the experience all at once and this motivated me to get fit and try longer races. 

    What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race to date has to be the Great North Run. I'm loving racing duathlons but due to them predominantly being in the winter, the weather is nearly always torrential. I'm hoping the Marlow Fugitive middle distance duathlon will be an exception to that rule as it's in July this year!

    And your proudest achievement?

    Getting back to fitness after having my daughter. I don't think there are enough female role models out there encouraging mums. More often than not, mums are spread so thin between looking after their children and going back to work that exercise is not on the radar. I now set my alarm for 4:30am at least 4 times a week to get out and train. Whilst this is ridiculously early, it allows for 'me time' and I believe it makes me a better wife and mother!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

    Hands down Bedford Autodrome duathlon in 2019. To say it was raining would be an understatement. That coupled with the fact it was the first race on my TT bike made for a very painful last 5km run.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks are what help us learn and grow. I unfortunately suffered with post-natal depression and anxiety after having my daughter. I could have let that define me and stop me from getting back to feeling like myself again, but I took my time and (eventually) gave myself a break. It's still an ongoing struggle with anxiety at times but I'm definitely a better person for going through it.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

    Just get out and do your best. Whatever the outcome, you can't be unhappy if you have tried your hardest.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    To get through the Fugitive Middle Distance Duathlon in July. I have a couple of standard duathlons in the diary and my long term goal is to make it onto the Team GB Age Group team. I may try a triathlon this year as well

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    This is a very difficult question to answer as there is not one person. I admire a lot of people for varying different qualities. I most admire people who come through adversity to gain success.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    Sundried kit is great. I still can't get over how it is made with recycled coffee amongst other things!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren