• How To Get Faster At Cycling

    how to get faster at cycling riding bike triathlon

    Whether you are a sportive cyclist, a time trial rider, or a triathlete, it's always worth being able to get faster on the bike. Even as a recreational rider, if you want to ride some of the more prestigious public sportives like the Ride London 100, you'll need to be able to maintain a decent speed. Follow our tips to increase your speed and become a better cyclist.

    1. Improve your power output

    Training with pro duathlete Claire Steels shows us that a typical training session consisting of short, sharp efforts on a turbo trainer or Wattbike can help you develop your explosive power and therefore improve your speed. 

    It's also important to make sure you are pedalling efficiently. Imagine you are trying to scrape the ground when you pedal downwards and really pull the pedals back up using your hamstrings. Push through your glutes and focus on every rep to achieve optimum power output.

    2. Get a bike fit

    If you are riding a bike that doesn't fit you properly, you will struggle to achieve your maximum potential speed. Getting a bike fit will allow you to find your optimum riding position in order to achieve maximum power output while still being comfortable and aerodynamic. It will also mean that all of the adjustments on the bike will be right for you so that you can focus on performance while riding. Most bike stores will offer a comprehensive bike fit, although you may have to pay.

    cycling riding triathlon bike Ironman

    3. Shed those extra pounds

    It may sound harsh, but carrying extra weight can really affect your cycling capabilities and prevent you from increasing your speed. Serious cyclists and competitive athletes will spend thousands on lightweight bikes made from advanced technological materials so as to keep the bike as light as possible. But what's the point in that if the rider is holding extra weight?

    The important thing to remember is that you need to find the balance between losing weight while still improving performance. It sounds tough but it's definitely achievable. 

    4. Perfect your position

    Advanced cyclists and triathletes will cycle in the 'aero' position on tri bars, which is also known as 'TT' position. This is not allowed in some cycling races and tends to be more for multi-sport races. However, even if you're not going to adopt the full aero position, you can still use your position to your advantage. Full race position will have your hands on the lower part of the handlebars with a rounded back and tight core. This is something that will take time to perfect and will require excellent core strength.

    5. Improve your overall fitness with cross-training

    It's easy to neglect your cross-training when you are a keen cyclist. Cross-training refers to the training you do outside of your main sport, in this case the riding, and includes things like gym workouts. Hit the gym and improve your overall cardiovascular fitness as well as strengthening your legs so that you can go the distance and get faster. Doing a good leg workout will help to improve the power output from your legs while things like running and circuit workouts will improve your lung capacity and VO2 max. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Adventure Racing – What It Is & Why You Should Be Doing It

    what is adventure racing how to get into adventure racing beginner mountain biking

    Adventure racing is gaining popularity among active people as a new way of testing yourself over multiple disciplines and terrains. We take a look at exactly what adventure racing is and why it's something you should try.

    What is adventure racing?

    Adventure racing is where outdoor sports meets orienteering.

    Adventure racing is a multi-discipline sport which often takes the form of running, cycling, and kayaking however it can also involve other outdoor adventure sports such as horse riding, skiing, abseiling, white water rafting, and climbing.

    Adventure racing can be done solo in some instances but is usually done as a team and involves not only the physical aspect but also the competitive aspect of having to navigate an unmarked wilderness route while searching for checkpoints. Races can last anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks depending upon the type of event. 

    mountain biking cycling trekking adventure racing Sundried

    What are the rules?

    The biggest and most obvious rule is that you are not allowed to utilise any form of motorised travel, so no cars or motorbikes. If you get stuck and need to be picked up, that's your race over. Another rule in team adventure racing is that the team must stay together at all times, usually within 50m of one another. For example, if you spot a checkpoint but your teammates are lagging behind, you can't sprint off to go and get it, you must wait for your team. This is the heart of the adventure racing ethos. 

    climbing adventure racing outdoor sports

    Teams are not allowed any outside assistance, however it is actively encouraged to assist other teams if you see them struggling or in obvious danger. Finally, you must carry all your gear yourself and be fully self-sufficient for the entirety of the race. 

    kayaking adventure racing sports Sundried

    Who can do adventure racing? Adventure racing for beginners

    Anyone can have a go at adventure racing! If you have a love of the outdoors and want to explore, then adventure racing is for you. You don't need to be proficient at reading a map but you will need to navigate for yourself during the race. You do need to have a love of trying something new and getting out there but you don't necessarily need to be super fit and athletic to manage it.

    Many event organisers partner up with bike and kayak hire companies so you don't even need to have your own mountain bike or paddle boat to take part. You can hire the equipment you need and pick up and drop back off at the event location. 

    adventure racing canoeing outdoor sports Sundried

    Why do adventure racing?

    If you have already tried your hand at sports like triathlon, trail running, mountain biking, or orienteering, you would love the challenge that adventure racing brings. If you feel uninspired by your surroundings, seek adventure, or just want an awesome story to tell in the office on Monday morning, then adventure racing is for you.

    Adventure racing will take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world and is a great way to get outdoors into nature and help you make the most of your time there. It will develop your team-work skills as well as essential survival skills such as map-reading and wilderness navigation. Not only this, the feeling of accomplishment is like no other and you are sure to have a ton of fun!

    what is adventure racing sports orienteering triathlon Sundried

    Where to begin with adventure racing – next steps

    Once you've decided that adventure racing sounds like an awesome day out, it's time to sign up for a race and do some training! Some of the best events in the UK are organised by Questars who host events in areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Chilterns and the New Forest. There are also plenty of awesome adventure racing events in the US.

    In order to train for an adventure race, you will want to make sure your fitness is at a good level and that you can run and bike for extended periods of time. Not only this, you will need to make sure you are competent carrying a heavy load as you need to carry all your own equipment and it would help to have some navigation skills – although not completely essential as many first-timers just get stuck in and see what happens. 

    So why not sign up for a race and get out there? It could be the best thing you ever do!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Jayne & Bibi Rogers Athlete Ambassadors

    Jayne Bibi Rogers Veggie Runners Sundried Ambassadors

    Jayne and Bibi Rogers are a mother-daughter running duo. They talk to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    We were both late bloomers, each getting separately into fitness as adults then discovering how much fun we could have if we swim, run and/or bike together!

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    We had a year of running PBs, beating our targets for 5k, 10k, half and full marathons. After that, we decided to look for a new challenge and triathlon certainly gave us that.

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

    We're runners at heart and Loch Ness Marathon is our stand-out favourite race of all time. From pipers leading you to the start to searching for the monster as you get delirious around mile 20, it's beautiful.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Crossing the finish line together with a PB at Yorkshire Marathon a few years ago was pretty special.

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

    Bibi had a horrendous time when she ran London Marathon in 2017. She discovered she was pregnant with baby Stanley a few days later so at least there was a good reason why it was so tough!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    We both do yoga and meditate so we try to have a little 'om', accept it ,and move on. It doesn't always work but it's worth trying!

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

    Enjoy every minute. When you're ill or injured and unable to train, you'll think you were an idiot for complaining when you could!

    What are your goals for 2019?

    In the past year, between us we've had a baby, gone back to work after maternity leave, bought a new place, relocated and changed jobs. This year, we're giving ourselves a break and training for the fun of it. We'll do plenty of races but we're not setting goals. Any PBs will be purely incidental!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Like everyone, we're impressed by elite athletes but we're really inspired by everyday athletes who push themselves to do things they never thought they'd be able to do. Anyone who gets off the couch and onto their bike, into the pool or pulls on their trainers for a run impresses us.

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

    Sundried embodies everything we believe in: fitness for all, great kit, ethically sourced, treating workers fairly. What's not to love? Our favourite bit of kit is the Sundried women's performance trisuit. It looks and feels fantastic. We feel like superwoman when we wear them.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • What To Do When You Hit A Training Plateau

    training plateau weight loss

    If you feel like you're working harder than ever but not seeing any changes or improvements, you've hit a plateau. Follow our tips to find out why you might have stopped progressing and how to break through it. 

    What is the meaning of hit a plateau?

    When you 'hit a plateau' it means you have stopped progressing. In weight loss terms, this means you have stopped losing weight and are sitting at a constant. In training terms, this means you have stopped improving on your times or weights.

    There are lots of reasons why you might hit a plateau, but the worst thing you can do is let it affect you negatively. If you have been trying to lose weight for some time and you stop seeing results, this can be a trigger to ruin your progress by giving up. However, it's important to remember how far you've come and stay strong.

    If you've hit a plateau in your training, this means it's time to mix things up and take your training up a gear. Again, there may be several reasons why you have hit a plateau, so just take some time to re-evaluate and always remember your goals. 

    plateau training weight loss progress

    How do you break a weight loss plateau?

    If you've ever tried to lose weight, you'll know that the first few pounds will come off relatively easy, but then weight loss gets harder. Famously, it's the last few pounds that just won't budge and you might find your weight stagnant for quite some time. One of the main reasons we find ourselves at a weight loss plateau is because we don't adapt and change our diet and lifestyle as we lose the weight. 

    If your starting weight was quite high, all you would need to do is eat a little less and exercise a little more each day and you would lose weight. People with a higher body fat percentage will burn more calories than a slimmer person because their body has to work harder. As you lose the weight and get fitter, the same diet and exercise routine that you were doing before will not be as effective.

    The best way to break through a weight loss plateau, therefore, is to adapt and change your diet and workout routine. You will need to increase your calorie expenditure and mix up your training to shock the system. Your body is very good and adapting to stress and so if you continually do the same workout and eat the same food, soon your body will become used to that and stop changing.

    Try doing a high intensity workout like this 5 minute punch bag workout which will shock your body into burning more calories. It's also important to workout your full body, so try this full body circuit workout for fat loss. It's also important not to neglect your core, so have a go at this flat stomach abs workout for real results.

    weight loss plateau

    What do you do when you hit a fitness plateau?

    If you have stopped seeing results at the gym, it is time to mix up your workout routine. If you have a specifical goal, like running a marathon or completing an Ironman, it's best to follow a set training plan. If you have just been winging it until now, find a training plan that works best for you and your goals.

    Beginner Triathlon Training Plan

    10k Training Plan

    Half Marathon Training Plan

    If you are trying to get stronger, there are lots of ways you can break through a plateau and increase the amount you can lift.

    Firstly, make sure you are doing accessory lifts. If your goal is to get a PB on the squat, deadlift, or bench press, you won't get there just by doing that lift. Accessory exercises are lifts that complement one of the big lifts by working the supporting and stabilising muscles which will improve your form and help you increase the amount of weight you can lift. For bench press, make sure you're doing dumbbell flyes and press ups. For deadlifts, do plenty of bent over row and lat pull down. For squats, do lunges and single legged leg press.

    If you are trying to get faster at running, there are lots of things you can do to improve. For more in depth information, read our article on how to get faster at running.

    The bottom line is that you need to make sure you are not stuck in a rut. If you have hit a plateau, it's probably because you have become too comfortable in your routine and need to mix it up. Make sure that you do not give up when you stop seeing results, as it will be the best results that come after you break through the plateau. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Steve Denniss Athlete Ambassador

    man running through a stream

    Steve spent 10 years of his life touring as a musician, but decided to pursue a life of sport instead. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Up until the age of 14 I competed to a county level in high jump and also dabbled in shot put and javelin. However, I decided to take a different journey in my education and pursued music and playing drums. Fast forward 10 years of touring, recording and living 'the dream' I decided it was time to hang it up and found myself getting back into sport. I started running again age 25 and haven't stopped since.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    In 2016, after running 10 marathons, 3 ultras and a 24-hour event I decided I had had enough of just running so I entered a triathlon. I instantly fell in love and ever since I have spent all of my free time swimming, cycling or running.

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

    My favourite race to date has to be the world duathlon championships in Odense, Denmark in 2018. After a year of hard work with my training buddy Mark Mills we raced together and to his surprise (and delight!) I managed to pull back a minute deficit on him on the bike leg (the 9th fastest of the entire race) to finish 15 seconds behind him. I keep threatening to finally beat him this year!

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for the World Championships in Penticton, Canada in 2017, my first ever race in a GB tri suit! Finishing that race, placing 15th in the world whilst my daughter stood and cheered for me is a moment I will never forget!

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

    I've been lucky not to have any 'disasters' however my toughest race was Redcar sprint triathlon in 2018. In 2017, it was my favourite race, belting hot sun, calm sea swim and an absolute storming bike (draft legal racing is the way forward!) In 2018, however, 50 mph winds completely changed the shape of the event. The sea swim was like trying to swim through a washing machine, on the bike we averaged 13 mph in one direction and 30 mph in the other and trying to hold a decent pace running into a 50 mph head wind is a task no one wants to take on! I managed to finish with a qualifying time for World Triathlon Championships 2019 in Lausanne though!

    cycling hill triathlete bike

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    The best way to overcome setbacks is with good solid training and a well thought out race plan. There are things that are controllable in a race, going out too fast, nutrition etc. Some things you cant, punctures, crashing, the weather etc. The best way is to control the controllables and don't worry about what you can't! No point moaning about the wind for example as everyone is in the same boat!

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

    You don't have to do everything at 100 mph, sometimes the best sessions are the slow steady ones!

    What are your goals for 2019?

    • To place top 10 at the World Duathlon championships in Pontevedra, Spain.
    • To place top 15 at the World Triathlon championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    • To complete the Adventure triathlon 'savage' events which are 6 races over 3 weekends of Triathlon Sprint on Saturday, Standard on Sunday based in and around Mount Snowdon including summing the Mountain during the race.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My main 'famous' inspirations are Michael 'Eddie the Eagle' Edwards, due to his sheer determination to achieve and complete his dreams in the face of almost total adversity and ridicule.

    I had the pleasure to meet him recently and he gave me some great words of wisdom to follow my dreams and chase my ambitions. My other 'hero' is Sean Conway, coming from an Ultra running background the ridiculous adventure challenges he takes on resonate with me a lot, again I met him recently where he told me 'mileage makes champions, take the long road', a motto I use a lot during those long winter training slogs.

    Outside of this my friends who I train with regularly are my biggest inspiration, watching them compete and train at relatively high levels whilst juggling their lives and jobs is all the inspiration anyone needs.

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

    The most important thing about Sundried to me is the ethical nature of the business and products. In 2019 I believe it is truly important that we look after our planet and also each other, the materials used to create these products but also the work with various charities are what I value the most. The quality of the kit helps too! My favourite piece of kit is the Padded jacket, there is nothing better than finishing that long winter training run or that cold open water swim and being able to put on such a comfortable and warm piece of kit!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren