• Tips For Swimming In Open Water

    Tips For Swimming In Open Water Sundried Triathlon Training

    "Replace Open Water Anxiety with a Cocoon of Calm" Terry Laughlin

    It is hard to practice open water swimming and most of us could do with more training. When it comes to swimming in a pack, for many of us it will be the first time this year, maybe something you do a few times a year, or perhaps your first time ever.

    When it comes to the first few minutes of being in the water, breathing slowly and calmly is the most important thing you can do. Try to remember that unless you are planning on winning, there is no need to panic. You can swim, you do swim, and you have swum hundreds of times before. The chances are your buoyancy is better than ever in a wetsuit.

    If you start to panic then reach for the reset button. 10 seconds, 30 seconds. A minute out just to recover will make a massive difference. Probably not to your overall time, but definitely to the way you feel. Add in a few slow breaststrokes and bring your heart-rate down.

    What does it feel like to be outside the cocoon?

    So many triathletes have experienced (many times more than once) the uncomfortable feeling of being in the water questioning if they can swim. Your breathing feels all wrong. Other swimmers are too close. Everything can go wrong. Even experienced athletes will have a bad swim now and then.

    In a triathlon, if you are going to be weak at one of the events but still do well overall, then the swim is the most likely to be the weak event. But being a weak swimmer and being a swimmer outside their cocoon (or in distress) are different things. You can have a really enjoyable swim if you manage to settle down appropriately. If you have trained with a wetronome then it doesn't hurt to use it in the event, but you have to actually listen to what it is telling you. The urge to swim faster on race day than your normal training pace is completely normal, but being out of breath is not the best thing when your face is plunged into the open water for the first time that year. 

    Things To Avoid In An Open Water Swim

    • Swimming at a much faster pace than you can maintain
    • Kicking twice as hard as you have planned
    • Changing your swim cadence from 60 strokes per minute to 120
    • Putting yourself right in the centre of the pack thinking it may save a bit of time

    Counter all of these points, calm things down, and try and stick with the race plan. The best thing you can do in your first open water swim is to swim the same way you have been in training and try to stay as relaxed as possible. It may not be your best time ever, but it is better to leave that for another day when you're feeling more confident or you are more experienced.  

    Posted by Daniel Puddick
  • Matt Perry Personal Trainer

    Matt Perry Sundried Athlete Ambassador Cycling

    Matt is a seasoned triathlete who has now turned his hand to personal training. He tells Sundried how he stays motivated and shares his top trainer tips.

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    I have taken part in many triathlons over the past four years. Ranging from sprint to middle distance. In August I will be competing in Ironman Copenhagen. As a personal trainer, I specialise in body weight circuits aiming to improve the body and mind.  I have always been quite sporty going to the gym and being active. The main change was when I retrained as a personal trainer acquiring the knowledge to do a wide range of exercises. Also just over 4 years ago starting out in the triathlon world.

    What are your training goals now?

    My goals now are to compete in two or three Half Ironman events next year and enter a road cycling league series as this is my strongest discipline

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    I used to be a freelance cocktail bar tender

    What would future you, tell yourself when you were starting out?

    To look after my body more and take missed opportunities.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

    I eat a healthy diet. I am certified as a sports nutritionist and carry out 8-week food plans for my PT clients. I try to eat clean. 

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated?

    People are always focused on weight. I tell my clients that it's more important to notice a change in how they are feeling and how well their clothes are fitting. When they see this change this keeps them going.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I keep my fitness knowledge up via social media, testing out my own methods and publications. I am studying to do my Level 3 GP Referral course in October. 

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Don't give up.
    2. Each training session does not have to beat the last one.
    3. Enjoy and keep the training fun.

    If you could only give your clients one exercise, what would it be?

    Anything to do with a bike.

    Why work with Sundried?

    The product range is amazing and very high quality. I love Sundried's ethical ethos and the fact they promote people to live healthier lifestyles. 

    Please tell us your favourite fitness quote.

    "2 weeks ago you said your body was telling you it can't do it. Now your are telling your body what to do."




    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Jordi Martin Triathlete

    Jordi Martin Triathlete Ironman Running
    Jordi is a Spanish Triathlete who has achieved fantastic things. He talks to Sundried about his motivations as an athlete and his goals and aspirations for the future.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have been involved in swimming and water polo since I was 9 years old. I started in triathlon two years ago, but a shoulder injury prevented me from continuing until now. After having an operation, I am starting to train and challenge myself. 

    What has been your best race to date? 

    My best race that I remember is the last one I did, crossing the Illes Medes.

    And your most proud achievement?

    My first championship swimming competition in Catalunya, against all odds I came first.

    Have you ever had a career disaster / your hardest race yet?

    My biggest disaster was to train for over a year only to come last in the 50m freestyle swimming championship in Spain. 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It is not a question of overcoming them, I use setbacks to learn and improve.

    What is the best advice you would wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    To trust in myself and my abilities more.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    My goals for 2017 are to complete the Gavà Triathlon in Spain, Barcelona Triathlon, and Radikalswim Costa Brava.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from those who help and support me and give me the strength to continue, especially my wife Anna and my son Didac. 

    What do you like about Sundried?

    I love that Sundried use excellent quality materials and are premium. Their range is fantastic and great for triathletes.


    Instagram @jordi_mt

    Jordi Martin Spain Cycling Triathlon

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sophie Kirk GB Age Group Triathlete

    Sophie Kirk Triathlete Cycling

    Sophie Kirk is a Team GB Age Group Triathlete who got into the sport at university. She has a habit of falling over her bike during transition but this doesn't stop her being a fantastic triathlete! She talks to Sundried about life as an elite athlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    As long as I can remember, yes. At age 12 I was swimming competitively 6 or 7 times a week before I started running and orienteering at senior school. I orienteered in the GB junior team for a few years and then got back into swimming and took up cycling at university.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    Triathlon and Cross Country clubs were closely connected at university so it soon seemed a good idea to get back into the pool! After a summer internship where I earned enough money for my first bike, I entered my first triathlon - BUCS Sprint - in 2014. Although I didn't do another triathlon for a further 2 years due to an incident on a bike and broken elbow!

    What’s been your best race to date?

    My best race has to be either winning a silver medal at the World Duathlon Championships in Aviles, Spain or 5th place at the World Standard Championships in Cozumel last year

    And your proudest achievement?

    Last year was my first 'season' of triathlon. Completing my first standard distance and gaining selection for the World Championships in Cozumel has to be my proudest moment for pure surprise and joy of achieving my aim for 2016 so early in the season and in front of my parents now supporting me in my new sport!

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

    At the moment I have a habit of falling off my bike in transitions, this week it was a full over-the-handlebars moment coming into T2. Not a good look, but I think I ran off the pain and still finished 2nd!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Return to the plan! I live for my training plan, and if I'm ever in doubt I just look back over the previous months of training and hard work to convince myself that taking an extra rest day because I'm feeling tired is fine!

    What is the best piece of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Never forget the reason you started triathlon. Always enter races for fun! There's no point in getting up at 6 am if you're not going to enjoy the race at the end of it.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    I'm entering my first half ironman this year. I have a time goal for Ironman 70.3 Vichy, and a sneaky ambition for selection for World Champs IM 70.3 in the future.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    A lot of my inspiration comes from my coach Imogen Simmonds. She has just gained her pro license and always seems to say the right thing at the right time. It's also hard not be inspired by someone who trains so religiously....even if it is out on a beach in Phuket!What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

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

    I love the fact that Sundried is not only quality kit, but also working hard to maintain a fair and responsible business all along the supply chain. It's also accessible to most athletes. I love the Tour Noir Tank, perfect for keeping cool in Summer.


    Instagram @sophiekirktriathlete

    Twitter @SophieKirkTri

    Sophie Kirk Triathlete Team GB Winner

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Vanrisch McLean Athlete Ambassador

    Vanrisch McLean Triathlete GBR Team Britain Triathlon

    Vanrisch is a top level triathlete who started out with mountain biking before making the transition to triathlon. He now competes in Ironman races and even met his fiancee when she was training for one so it's definitely a lifestyle!

    Have you always been into sport?

    That’s an easy one…yes! Apparently it started as early as my first year of school, doing laps of the school playground. Running has always been a constant in my life. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at all sorts, from rugby in school to national level kickboxing, snowboarding (I’m a qualified instructor), cross country and downhill mountain biking and then more recently triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I had a couple of big accidents whilst downhill mountain biking about five years ago. I was unable to mountain bike for nearly a year, but my doctor said I could ride a road bike. I used it as a way to stay fit and see new places by travelling further and further afield each week and from there my love for road cycling just grew and grew. I then moved to London which makes mountain biking difficult and so I concentrated on cycling and running both commuting and in my free time. From there it was a natural progression for me to start competing in multisport events. Plus, I met my fiancée around this time and she was training for her first Ironman, I may have been trying to impress!

    What’s been your best race to date?

    Hmmm, I had two really good races last season. The first was the European Olympic Distance Championships in Lisbon, Portugal. I went there with the intention of just doing the race as part of a build up for some races later in the season and therefore I had low expectations. I think the course suited me well and I had one of those rare races where things just go right from start to finish. I ended up coming 4th in my AG and 21st overall which was a surprise to say the least! The second was Challenge Peguera, Mallorca 70.3 in October 2016. I’d had a long season already when I turned up in Mallorca plus this was a rough sea swim followed by a hilly bike course in hot weather. Not exactly ideal for me. I had a pretty bad swim which left me with a lot of work to do on the bike and run. I didn’t panic, got my head down and executed my plan as intended. There were a few moments on the run where I wanted to find a dark corner to hide in but I stuck at it and finished strongly. I won this race for my AG and came 22nd overall. I think I even took a few pro scalps too!

    And your proudest achievement?

    I’m not someone who shouts about my races too much, I hope, but my close friends and family help me to see things clearly sometimes. I’m told I should be really proud of my swimming as two years ago I couldn’t swim (a single stroke) and I swam 30 minutes for a 1900m middle distance swim last season. Personally, I’m really happy that I managed to qualify for GB Age Group in my first ever Olympic Distance triathlon at the Little Beaver Triathlon in 2015. I was so inexperienced that day but I gave it my all, just like I do every race.

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

    My toughest race to date was actually the last one I did, the Ballbuster Duathlon in November 2016. This race involves doing a run lap around and up Box Hill in Surrey (part of the 2012 Olympic road race course), followed by three laps on the bike and another lap running. The weather was dreadful that day with low temperatures and driving rain. I sped off from the gun racing against one of my club mates which led to my implosion on the first lap of the bike. I wasn’t dressed properly for the weather and as tiredness set in so did the cold. By lap three I was shivering so hard I could hardly hold onto the handle bars! The final run lap was more of a crawl, I was so fatigued. Climbing Box Hill was the worst 10 minutes of my year. I was helped off the finish line by a really nice volunteer as I couldn’t walk anymore. It took me until January to recover, that race truly lived up to its name.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    One step at a time. I try to remain objective, look long term and create a realistic plan. I have a great support network around me who are always willing to tell me the truth, without them I’d be lost.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Long term planning and consistent hard work will pay dividends.  

    What are your goals for 2017?

    This season I’ll be racing almost entirely the 70.3 distance starting with Ironman 70.3 St. Polten in Austria in May. I’m not yet sure how competitive I can be at this distance so it’s difficult to say. I’m going to set out my goals based on this race but come the end of the season, as long as I’m still improving, getting faster in the water and I’ve still got a smile on my face then it’s all good! Oh, and I’d like to run a sub-1:15 half marathon off the bike too!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My inspiration in sport has always been former 200m & 400m world record holder Michael Johnson. As a kid growing up in the 90’s I had dreams of being a world-class runner. My mum bought me his autobiography “Slaying the Dragon” from a discount bookshop, which can only be described as a combination of the story of Michael’s life and a self-help book. The dos and don’ts of being successful in sport, in business and in your personal life. He would talk about how his achievements came through research, structured planning and good old hard work. He was always an unbelievably gifted athlete but he never rested on his laurels, he studied hard at school to prepare solid foundations for his future. This all resonated with me.

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

    As I have grown older, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the natural environment and the ever increasing impact we have on it. To protect the future of our planet, we all need to start finding news ways of living that reduce the damage we are causing to it. I love working with Sundried because they are a forward-thinking, producing great technical apparel in a sustainable, conscientious, low carbon way. They are really trying to make a difference, not to mention their apparel is great quality, fashionable and is incredibly comfortable to wear.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren