• Laura Gallagher Athlete Ambassador

    athlete gym rings workout

    Laura is a trampoline athlete who has qualified to compete at the Olympic games. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I have always loved sport. I enjoy doing and watching pretty much all sport! From a young age I did lots: rugby, football, dancing, athletics, table tennis, hockey etc think trampolining was always my favourite. I decided I wanted to spend more time trampolining age 15, so although I kept going with all school sports, I stopped most of my other hobbies so I could train more and I have now represented Great Britain for the past 16 years!

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I had a few months away from trampolining in 2016 and my husband set me a challenge of doing a triathlon. It was a local event but I loved it! It was a strange one though because I remember thinking on the bike- why am I doing this? But then once I had finished, I had such a good buzz and wanted to do it again! Maybe once I have finished jumping- for now I just bike as part of my training programme.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I’m going to be greedy because I can’t choose between 2! My most special moment was qualifying for Great Britain to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by qualifying to the 2019 World Championship final. A huge moment because the journey had really not been an easy one but all the hard work came together and to qualify a place for the team felt amazing. My second was winning the 2013 World Championships with the team! It was a massive achievement for us, following a silver medal at the previous Worlds- and on a personal level I competed a PB at the time too! It meant we were European and World Champions, it was an incredible feeling and still feels so to this day and as with all the team events, such an exciting competition! 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It depends on the situation but always have the same purpose and commitment. As I have become more experienced I think I am calmer now and much more rational. I always approach with a plan- that usually becomes many plans! I think it is important to know though, that plans are just a guide and being adaptable is so important. Situations change so be flexible with that- every setback adds to experience and is an opportunity to learn and add new tools to the toolbox.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Be patient! Be smart, good things take time and cannot be rushed. I learned this the hard way! Hard work does not only involve physically smashing every session. It means working hard in training, during recovery, nutrition, planning and psychologically. Strategy and preparation are just as important as the physical work you put in.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I first came across Sundried after seeing a friend wearing the kit. I find the kit super comfortable and soft and although I am not a triathlete I wear Sundried when I am training both on the trampoline, in the gym and on the bike. I admire what Sundried stands for in their care for the environment and giving back and I am proud to wear the kit!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Francisco Moreno Athlete Ambassador

    ultra marathon runner

    Francisco is an ultra runner who has a true passion for his sport. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always played sports for as long as I can remember.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Just to try, I had always run and cycled, but I had never swam so I took it as a challenge in a Sprint Triathlon.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    One of my favourite races is the Genal Valley Ultratrail, because of the spectacular environment, because of the organization and because we do it as a team and it is an authentic adventure to share.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Finishing the Genal Valley ultra, since it was the first time I had run more than 60km.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I have never finished better or worse but I have always finished.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I am very disciplined and always keep my cool; I do not get carried away much by feelings or emotion in competition. I always make sure I finish, even if that means walking.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    I think it doesn't matter what they tell you; when you are young you want to do everything your way without listening to anyone. But if someone had told me to build up gradually and not go crazy every day, I would've saved myself a lot of injuries.

    What are your goals?

    The main goal is to pass on my knowledge to as many athletes as possible. But for personal goals, I would love to do several iconic races such as the Mont Blanc Ultra or the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra.

    Who inspires you?

    There is really no one in particular, but there are many who provide motivation beyond sports, such as Kilian Jornet, Lionel Sanders, Valenti Sanjuan, Mat Fraser, etc. .. and many other unknown athletes who are a true motivation.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I really like Sundried's philosophy and how they take good care of their workers.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Triathlon Training: Striking The Right Balance

    fitness training balance

    Attempting to master the art of juggling three sports, performing at work, maintaining a social life, and spending time with your family is a difficult venture. Life can get extremely overwhelming for the amateur triathlete, especially as they are often high-achieving individuals who do not like to compromise performance.

    However, all is not lost; it is possible to strike the right balance between commitments and not compromise on athletic performance. The key is training efficiency.

    Frequent stimulus is superior to any ‘hero’ day

    Your body will make adaptations over a prolonged period of time, not after one big training session. Shorter workouts that are consistently more manageable within a busy schedule are far superior to longer sessions that are likely to be missed; your body will reward you for consistency over an extended period of time.

    A big mistake that many triathletes make is that they perceive training sessions that are under an hour as a waste of time. They try to cram in big workouts at the weekends to compensate for the lack of training within the week. Of course, high volume days are important, but they are secondary to shorter and more consistent workouts.

    More training does not mean more gains

    Triathletes love numbers and often fixate on the number of training hours completed each week. More is more, right? Wrong!

    Solely focusing on training volume each week leads to a sub-optimal training cycles that place little emphasis on intensity. A good training plan should incorporate a mixture of VO2, threshold, sweet-spot, endurance, technique and recovery sessions, regardless of how many hours it encompasses.

    Focus on the key sessions within your plan, these may be the higher intensity ones during the racing season or the technique focused ones during the off season, and prioritise them.

    Discipline time allocation should be strategic

    Understanding how to distribute your time effectively across three disciplines can be a quandary. To do this effectively you need to identify your race goals and personal performance weaknesses.

    For example, in a long course triathlon, a large component of the race is spent on the bike and consequently more time should be invested into improving one’s cycling strength and performance. Conversely, in a shorter draft legal triathlon, the swim composes a greater portion of the race and cycling ability is less paramount because of the ability to draft.

    You also might want to take into account personal strengths and weaknesses. If you are particularly strong on the bike but struggle during the run element of a race, it would be best to invest more time into your running training. Many athletes worry about focusing on a single discipline in fear of neglecting the others but, fortunately, it does not take much training to maintain a level of fitness. Initially, training will give an athlete very large fitness returns but as time progresses the improvement trajectory becomes exponentially more difficult to maintain. Once you achieve proficiency, you can perform quite well on 2-3 target sessions each week which can free up time to focus on a less developed discipline.

    Higher intensity sessions will feature more heavily in a time-poor athlete’s schedule

    In order to obtain maximum rewards for the minimal amount of time, a greater percentage of your training needs to be in the higher intensity zones compared to a professional, who has the luxury of time. It is important to note here that this does not mean the majority of YOUR training will be at higher intensities.

    A good training plan for those short on time should encompass around 30% of higher intensity work and 70% of lower intensity work. These are very rough parameters, so it is important to listen to your body and establish a split that works for you. There will also be discrepancies between the individual disciplines, with running typically having a reduced amount of intensity comparatively.

    Before you go and hammer the higher intensity workouts, it is important to ensure that your body is primed to withstand this more traumatic type of training. You will need to develop durability first by regular zone two work and strides.

    Every minute of training should have a purpose

    Precise training is fundamental for anyone that struggles with time restraints. Spending intervals in your personal training zones will allow your body to adapt appropriately.

    The best way to identify your training zones is to perform a number of fitness tests and measure either your heart rate, power or pace. These metrics can then be inserted into an online calculator which will produce your training zones. Once you have accurately determined your zones, you will need to start using them in training and keep track of progression using an online training platform.

    There is a fine line between optimal performance and burning out

    Your body needs time to rest and regenerate and this only happens with the appropriate amount of recovery. Make sure that you are sleeping enough, eating well, keeping your easy sessions and days easy, and taking regular days off for optimum recovery.

    If you continue to train hard without having some time off, your body will break down and this will result in an injury or illness. It is important that every athlete, regardless of ability, takes rest seriously and prioritises it above anything else.

    Triathlon training is notoriously time intensive but if you approach it right, it does not have to rule your life. Best of luck!

    About the author: Laura Smith has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Holly Rostron Athlete Ambassador

    running treadmill gym

    Holly is a professional musical theatre performer and dance teacher. She talks to Sundried about her fitness journey.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    I have a passion for all things dance and fitness. As a professional musical theatre performer I have worked in film, television & theatre, appearing in musicals in the West End, on tour around the UK and in Japan.

    I regularly take part in charity running events and have ran the Manchester, East London & Blackpool Half Marathons. This year I ran the Lancaster Trimpell 20 miler in preparation for the Manchester Marathon, which was sadly postponed until next year. The Manchester Marathon will be my first marathon event!

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

    My dance and fitness journey began at a very young age. I have always danced! It is my passion and it’s what I’ve been determined and fortunate enough to make into a 10 year career. My Granddad worked at my primary school, he was a teacher who specialised in sports and would teach after school dance and gymnastics classes, which I attended. He’d also encourage us to run 6 laps of the playing fields as part of his lunch time running club! I loved it. Both dance and fitness were instilled into me from a young age and have had a profound effect on my life. The discipline and healthy competitiveness (with myself & others) have helped me through my dance career and my Granddad’s passion for dance, fitness and teaching has been passed onto me!

    What are your training goals now?

    To train for the marathon next year!

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

    I tried surfing for the first time this year - in Scarborough!

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started dancing?

    I wish I’d have been more aware of how having a career in the dance and theatre world will affect your ‘normal’ life. People tell you how hard it’ll be and how much training you’ll have to put in but nobody can really prepare you for the impact it’ll have on your personal life. It is an ‘all or nothing’ kind of industry and requires the same kind of commitment to your profession as that of an elite athlete. You may miss family and friends’ birthdays, weddings and decide to cancel or postpone holidays because you’re auditioning or rehearsing. It’s hard to prepare yourself for making those choices until you find yourself having to make them. It’s a different kind of commitment compared to the physical side of training every day, but I think it’s just as challenging.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I currently keep myself fit by running about 3 times a week. I also maintain my body strength by attending Pilates classes with one of the fab instructors from the gym where I work. Recently I have done some online workouts with my personal trainer colleagues too. I teach 2 online dance fitness classes and an online ballet class, which help me stay in shape and keep my creative side active by choreographing and planning lessons.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    The personal trainers that I work with at Energie Fitness inspire me with their fitness knowledge and workout ideas and I read Runner’s World for running tips.

    What are your top 3 dance teacher tips?

    Have fun with your classes! If you have fun and enjoy yourself your dancers will too!

    Think carefully about what music you use. I am a BIG music fan and enjoy using a variety of music styles for my classes. Really prepare this before the class, make sure the exercises fit and that there is something for everyone. Regularly keep in touch with your dancers. Whether that be through social media or email & texts. Make sure they are kept up to date with information about your classes but also make sure they know enough about you to feel engaged with you. Give them a bit of insight into what makes you you!

    If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Haha I love my food so that’s tricky. I really had to think about this. At the moment I love a tasty brunch so I’d probably say that. Eggs on toast, tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado, everything that makes up a yummy brunch. Either that or a roast dinner.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I’m so excited about the opportunity to work with Sundried. Sundried combines my love for fitness clothing and trying to look after the planet, so I was very keen to get involved. We share the same eco friendly values. I have consciously been shopping much more sustainably recently, trying to buy clothes made from recyclable or recycled materials, so I was very happy to discover Sundried’s EcoTech range.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "We dance for laughter, We dance for tears, We dance for madness, We dance for fears, We dance for hopes, We dance for screams, We are the dancers, We create the dreams." - Albert Einstein

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Plan and Train For A Racing Season During A Global Pandemic

    sportsman goggles open water triathlon training

    2020 has been a tough year and the ever-growing list of race cancellations and postponements have caused mass disappointment. Of course, public health and safety is of the upmost importance and so race rearrangements are the right course of action.

    With 2021 looking as unprecedented as 2020, it is important to devise a racing calendar that keeps you motivated to train. For this week’s blog, I wanted to share some ideas on how you can get the most out of your training and racing next season.

    Take a non-negotiable 2020 end of season break

    Just because you have not raced, it does not mean that you can carry on training into next season. Your body has worked hard in training and your mind will be fatigued from the early mornings and intense sessions. Take a couple of weeks off any training regimen to recuperate, re-energise and recover.

    Focus on a challenge rather than an event

    To ensure that your main focus will go ahead irrespective of the restrictions, choose to embark on a challenge rather than sign up to a race. This will prevent you having to change plans and alter your training because of cancellations and postponements.

    Schedule in small local time trials

    Build up to your big challenge with small local time trials that are secure and less likely to be disrupted if new restrictions are applied. These types of events are often relatively cheap and do not require upfront payments so that you will not be paying for anything that does not go ahead.

    If you are set on an event, be prepared to race solo

    For some, having a target race is non-negotiable. If you are set on a particular race then put it in the diary and make sure you do it, no matter what. Even if the event has to be delayed, make sure you get out and complete it as a solo challenge. This will give you something to aim for and ensure your motivation does not dwindle.

    Make the most out of group sessions but be primed to fly solo

    When you can train in a group, make the most out of it. However, it is important that you do not become reliant on others as the future of group training sessions is currently uncertain. Ensure that you have pre-organised solo workouts and virtual training groups.

    Utilise the gym and pool whilst you can but plan for closures

    The reopening of pools and gyms were well received amongst the fitness fans and so take advantage of them whilst you can. The closure of leisure facilities is not completely off the cards and so I would recommend investing in some basic gym equipment and swim cords to utilise at home if necessary.

    Respect the stress

    The pandemic and its ramifications can be overwhelming. We all must respect that this is a stressful time and decrease our training load to keep the stress/rest cycle in balance. This is definitely a time when we must be flexible in our approach to training and take into account external pressures.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Posted by Guest Account
x
x