• Jessica Clark Athlete Ambassador

    cyclist triathlon athlete Sundried activewear ambassador

    Jessica didn't realise her potential until she qualified for the GB Age Group team. She now has her sights set on competing. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, ever since I can remember. Triathlon is relatively new to me; I got into it at university. At school, I was known as the ‘jock’ as I threw myself into every sport that was offered to me. Hockey was my main focus at school, playing at regional level in Scotland until I was 18. I then switched that for triathlon three years ago and haven’t looked back since.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I like a challenge and the combination of three sports intrigued me as I knew it would work my entire body at different points. I got introduced to triathletes at university and I loved their ethics and attitude towards their bodies and the sport they did. Triathlon not only works your body, it also challenges your mental strength as well and I believe that it has definitely made me stronger all round.

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

    My favourite race was the Scottish Sprint Championship at Monikie Park near Dundee. The swim was in one of the park’s ponds and the bike course was undulating and challenging, but took us through the beautiful countryside of Angus. The weather was beautiful and the crowd support was absolutely epic. Getting a bag piper to pipe us into the water was awesome, and I felt physically fit and good throughout the whole race. It’s definitely a fond memory of mine.

    open water swim triathlon race

    And your proudest achievement?

    In the triathlon world, it was placing in the top three for my age category (20-24) in the first big race I ever did. That was the Scottish Sprint Championships in 2019. It was such a surprise and meant that I would’ve qualified for British Age Group! Unfortunately, I didn’t expect it at all so didn’t register for Age Group, as I hadn’t done as much training as I would’ve liked and didn’t believe in my abilities. Now I do!

    I’m also proud to have placed 1st in the Scottish Sprint Race Series in 2019 for my age group 20-24. Was so unexpected!

    Outside of triathlon, it was definitely completing the Edinburgh Marathon in 2019. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so proud to have completed it.

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

    My racing disasters always involve me getting lost. The worst was during the Exe Valley Sprint Triathlon in 2019, where I was concentrating so hard on the bike I completely missed the turn around point for a there and back course, despite all the marshals shouting at me, and went an extra 15km before realising no one was around me and that I’d gone very wrong. I laughed it off and went back, completing the run and coming second last, despite doing the equivalent of a standard distance on the bike!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Learning that everyone has setbacks and it’s not going to be perfect the whole time. Setbacks for me have involved injuries where I’ve had to be off for weeks, but despite my worries I’ve managed to recover and build my fitness back up to where it was. Every setback has taught me to be kinder to myself and look after my body correctly.

    When I do something wrong at a race, there’s no point in getting angry and annoyed. You learn, and you shrug it off and know not to do it again! Everything is an experience.

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

    Train properly and focus on your diet (not too much but an appropriate amount). I found I was more susceptible to injuries because I went straight into big races without preparing my body appropriately with the right strengthening and the right nutrients. I know that now! But I learnt the hard way.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    Now that I know I would’ve qualified for British Age Group if I’d registered, it’s definitely in my sights this year. That is my main aim for this year.

    As I’m still relatively new to the sport having only done it for 3 years, my goals are to improve my PBs for my disciplines, especially swimming. I’m particularly focusing on refining my technique.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I listened to Chrissy Wellington’s audio book 'A Life Without Limits' and it inspired me into believing that I am capable of doing triathlon and doing triathlon well!

    Her story of how she got into competing is incredible and she now holds Ironman World titles! She has overcome injury as well as all the challenges life can throw. I will always hold her in awe.

    I follow many British Triathletes on social media, such as Jess Learmonth and Vicky Holland, and their balancing of training always inspires me as they work so hard and having watched the WTS I can see how hard work pays off.

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

    I love the fact Sundried use recycled or renewable material for their kit. I think it places them above other sports brands into making an effort to be sustainable and I really respect that.

    I love their tops, especially the sports vests as they fit my body well and are so comfortable to wear, especially during strenuous training sessions such as track on a hot summer’s day.

    The jackets I also think are so stylish and can be worn outside the world of sport.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Triathlon Vocabulary: What You Need To Know

    how to speak triathlon

    Triathlon can be a daunting sport at the best of times, but not knowing the difference between a DNS and a DNF or what a 70.3 is could make it even harder to feel part of the community. We're here with all the triathlon vocabulary you need so that you can mount your TT and calculate your VO2 and FTP with confidence.

    How To Speak Triathlon

    Aero Bars – These are bars that you can fix onto your road bike in order to achieve the elusive 'aero position' which allows you to ride faster. Aero bars are relatively inexpensive and are a good alternative to buying an expensive triathlon bike. Aero bars are not allowed in most cycling road races and are usually exclusive to multisport racing (in duathlon and triathlon mainly). 

    Aero Position – Many serious triathletes will spend hours perfecting their aero position so as to ride as fast as possible on the bike section of the race. You can achieve the aero position by resting your forearms on your tri bars or aero bars. This is a notoriously difficult position to maintain and requires a very strong back and core as well as concentration to control the bike. It is not recommended to hold this position while navigating a technical course.

    aero position cycling triathlon

    Sundried sponsored athlete Conal McBride holds the aero position while competing.

    Age Group/Age Grouper/AG – Triathlon races and results are categorised into gender and age group so that athletes can compete fairly against people of the same gender and similar age. If someone wins their Age Group, it means they came first out of the people in that category; there may have been hundreds competing or there may only have been one other!

    Elites or Pros compete separately, regardless of age. Age Group triathletes are amateur athletes who do not get paid but are at the top level for their age; professional triathletes cannot compete in Age Group competitions.

    In Britain, the following age groups are applied to BTF races:

     Category Ages
    Youths 15-16
    Juniors 17-18 17-18
    Juniors 19 19
    Seniors 1 20-24
    Seniors 2 25-29
    Seniors 3 30-34
    Seniors 4 35-39
    Veterans 1 40-44
    Veterans 2 45-49
    Veterans 3 50-54
    Veterans 4 55-59
    Veterans 5 60-64
    Veterans 6 65-69
    Veterans 7 70-74
    Veterans 8 75-79
    Veterans 8 80+

     

    AquaBike – For those who have an active imagination, an AquaBike is not some sort of amphibious bicycle. An AquaBike is an event with only a swim and cycle section, ideal for those who aren't keen on running. 

    Australian Exit – This is a type of exit found in open water races with multiple laps. The competitors will exit the water after one lap, run on land around a marker or monument and then get back into the water to swim another lap. The Australian Exit is popular for spectators as it creates such a sight and allows family and friends to cheer on athletes as they exit and re-enter the water. 

    Bonk/Bonking – Otherwise known as “hitting the wall.” If you bonk during a training session or race it means your body has run out of glucose and you are running on empty. It may also be down to dehydration and/or not taking on enough electrolytes. Bonking can take many forms, from feeling light headed to physically not being able to move. It's important to nail your nutrition and hydration strategy to avoid bonking. 

    BOPer – An acronym for 'Back Of Packer' which refers to someone who frequently races or finishes in the Back of the Pack.

    Brick/Brick Workout – A brick workout is a training session where you do two different disciplines back to back, usually cycling followed by running. These sessions are crucial to performing well in triathlon as running off the bike can be notoriously difficult and getting your legs used to it is vital for not getting caught out by jelly legs on race day.

    BTF – The BTF is the British Triathlon Foundation and is the governing body for triathlon in the UK. 

    Cadence – More commonly known among laymen as RPM< or revolutions per minute. Your cadence is the rhythm of your swim stroke, bike pedalling, or running stride. A higher cadence when running would mean taking more steps, a higher cadence when cycling would mean pedalling more quickly, and so on. 

    Century – A 100-mile bike ride. Many cyclists and triathletes consider riding a century to be an important milestone. 

    Century, Metric –  A 100km (62-mile) bike ride.

    Cleat  The part on the bottom of the cycling shoe where your shoe attaches to your clipless pedals. You can read our cleat guide here.

    Clipless Pedals – Pedals installed on your bike that allow you to “clip in” your shoes. Some people do not feel confident 'cycling clipless' as there is the danger that you could topple over if you do not unclip before your bike comes to a stop. However, if you have the confidence, riding clipless will allow you to increase your power output and therefore ride faster and more efficiently. 

    Criterium (Crit)  A criterium is a cycling race which consists of cycling several laps of a tight and often technical closed course, usually in city or town centres. 

    DFL – Acronym for “Dead F***ing Last”. It is no shame to finish DFL in a race. 

    DNF – Acronym for “Did Not Finish” (the race). An athlete can have a DNF for any number of reasons, from bike mechanicals to illness or injury. 

    DNS – Acronym for “Did Not Start” (the race). Many triathletes consider a DNS to be worse than a DNF, because with a DNF at least you gave it a go. 

    Dolphin Kick – Kicking your legs in unison when swimming. Athletes will often do this just after diving into the pool before they resurface and begin their stroke.  

    DQ – Acronym for being disqualified from a race.

    Drafting  In cycling, drafting is when you cycle closely behind a fellow cyclist (or sometimes vehicle) in order to conserve energy. Due to reduced wind resistance because of the object in front of you, drafting allows you to keep a steady pace while using less power and as such is considered cheating in some races.

    Drafting is more commonly seen in pure cycling races as many triathlon races are 'non draft legal'. Additionally, drafting takes skill and precision in order not to cause a crash, which is why most amateur races will not allow drafting while professional races may allow it.

    drafting cycling

    Drafting is most commonly seen in cycling races like the Tour De France and is often banned in amateur triathlon races. 

    Duathlon – A duathlon is a race consisting of a run followed by a bike section, followed by a second run. Duathlon is a very popular sport for triathletes to undertake in the winter as open water swimming becomes inappropriate and still allows triathletes to practise their running and cycling in a competitive atmosphere. Duathlon racing is also popular for those who dislike swimming. 

    Fartlek – Fartlek is a Swedish term that translates as 'speed play'. Fartlek training is a type of interval training whereby you mix up the intervals to keep your body guessing and make better progress. 

    Foot Strike –This is a term that applies to running and refers to the way your foot hits the ground. Different people will have a different foot strike, and most people have either a forefoot strike, mid-foot strike, or heel strike. It's good to know which category you fall into so that you can buy the appropriate running shoes. 

    Freestyle – Also known as the “front crawl,” this is the most efficient form of swimming in a triathlon.

    FTP – FTP is a cycling term that refers to the average power an athlete can produce over the course of an hour in watts. Many triathletes and cyclists will use a power meter which measures your power output in watts and do a regular FTP test to make sure they are producing a good level of power.  

    Half-Ironman – Ironman is a specific brand of triathlon and a half Ironman race consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. This is considered a good stepping stone for those who have the goal of completing a full Ironman. Half Ironman is also known as 70.3 due to the number of miles the athlete completes over the course of the race. 

    Holding the Line – Holding the Line is a cycling term that refers to cycling in a dead straight line without wobbling or diverging. Holding your line is an important bike skill to have when cycling in groups. 

    Indoor Trainer – Also known as a Turbo Trainer, an indoor trainer is a piece of kit that you attach your bike to in order to allow you to ride it indoors while stationary. Many triathletes will use an indoor trainer during winter when conditions don't allow for outdoor cycling. Turbo sessions are notoriously difficult as it can be boring cycling indoors with no scenery and no wind to dry your sweat!

    training winter turbo trainer cycling

    Some turbo trainers will attach straight to the chain ring while others clip onto the wheel. 

    Ironman – A full Ironman is considered one of the toughest tests of human endurance and consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run. Completing a full Ironman is the life goal for many triathletes and requires a huge amount of training dedication. 

    Long Course Triathlon  A long-course triathlon or full distance triathlon is an unbranded version of a full Ironman.

    Mass Swim Start – A mass swim start is when all participants of the triathlon start the swim at the same time. A mass swim start takes some getting used to and it is not uncommon to be kicked or even punched when participating. Practising with a triathlon club can help massively, such as having fellow  members splash you when swimming.

    Mdot – The name of the trademarked logo of Ironman. Sometimes when a triathlete has completed an Ironman, they will get the Mdot tattooed on them somewhere as a mark of pride.

    Negative Split  If you run a negative split it means that as you progress through the miles, you get faster. 

    PR  Stands for “Personal Record.” Also known as a "PB" or "Personal Best". 

    Race Number Belt  In triathlon races, you are required to show your race number on your back while cycling but on your front while running. The traditional safety pin method of attaching your race number doesn't allow this, so triathletes will wear a race number belt which fastens the race number securely and can be spun around when necessary. 

    Racing Flats – Lighter and “faster” running shoes to be used in races only. These are usually reserved for track running as they are not suitable for running long distances or on uneven terrain. 

    RPM – See Cadence.

    Swim Wave  If a race doesn't feature a dreaded Mass Swim Start, the swim leg will be divided into waves whereby racers start the swim at staggered times. 

    Taper  The period of time before a race where you slow down the frequency and intensity of the workouts in order to give your body time to recover and rest before the event. Most racers will taper for around a week. 

    Turbo Trainer See Indoor Trainer.

    Transition – The transition area is the space where you will rack your bike ready for the race. After the swim, you will enter transition in order to collect your bike for the bike leg. Once you've finish the bike leg, you will return to transition to re-rack your bike and head out on the run.

    Sometimes there are two different transition areas, usually if the race is point-to-point. For elite athletes, the time spent in transition can mean the difference between a win and not even making the podium, so practising your transition is vital. You will need to practise things like taking off your wetsuit, mounting your bike, and taking on any necessary nutrition. Some athletes spend less than a minute in transition but it is a fine art!

    triathlon training transition area

    You will enter the transition area before the race to rack your bike and place down any kit you need for later in the race. 

    Triathlon Bike – A triathlon bike, or tri bike, is a special type of bike specifically used in triathlon. These do not have conventional handlebars and instead use tri bars as defined above. A triathlon bike can be notoriously difficult to handle so they take some getting used to. Not all races are suited to triathlon bikes as they are better for flat courses and ones that are not too technical. 

    VO2 Max – The highest rate at which oxygen can be taken up and utilised during exercise by a person. The higher your VO2 max, the fitter you are and the better at racing you'll be! There are fitness tests you can do to calculate your VO2 max in order to keep an eye on your progress and see how you stack up against others.

    Washing Machine – Refers to the swim start in some races where the water is so choppy that it feels like the swimmers are in a washing machine. 

    Wetsuit Legal – According to the BTF, wetsuits may be mandatory or forbidden depending on the water temperature. Wetsuits are forbidden above temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius and mandatory when swimming in waters colder than 14 degrees Celsius.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Olli Kolodseike Athlete Ambassador

    Ironman World Championships Sundried Activewear ambassador triathlon

    Olli is a German athlete who has competed all over the world. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    I’ve been active since I was a child. Like most children in Germany, I played football growing up, then I swapped to athletics at the age of 17. However, after a couple of years of running around the track I got bored and picked up rowing while studying in California. Rowing was my main sport for five years and during the summer months we often went out for group bike rides to keep fit. That’s how I got into cycling.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    One of my friends persuaded me to enter an Ironman in 2017 and I thought it would be a great challenge. I’ve never been a good swimmer and the farthest I had run before the Ironman was a half marathon. After the race, I said I would never do a triathlon again. A week later, I signed up for another one.

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

    Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in 2019 has to be my favourite race to date. The atmosphere was incredible; there were lots of spectators shouting competitors’ names, perfect weather conditions, an amazing and very scenic bike course and a very unique and buzzing atmosphere along the run course. I can highly recommend the race to anyone. It is first-timer friendly too.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement is qualifying for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, two years after I entered my first ever triathlon. I missed out on qualifying in Mallorca by one place so decided to sign up for another race four weeks after. Luckily it paid off.

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

    I’ve had a few mini disasters along the way, ranging from having to walk the run leg of a triathlon because my knee locked up to cycling on a flat tyre for 40km and grabbing the wrong transition bag.

    My toughest race yet was the 70.3 in Weymouth in 2018. The swim was shortened because the sea was choppy and it was very cold, very wet and very windy. I wasn’t prepared for the weather conditions and got so cold on the bike that I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything because my hands turned into ice blocks. Following the nutrition fail on the bike, the wheels came off during the run and I was just glad to make it to the finish line. A large number of competitors (including half of the professionals) were not able to finish the race.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Everyone gets ill or injured and I guess the key to overcome any obstacle is to be patient. These things are out of anyone’s control and will happen. You just have to believe in your training.

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

    Don’t do a full Ironman as your first ever triathlon and don’t eat a large portion of raw green vegetables and meat the evening before a race. Your stomach will thank you.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    Of course I’d like to do well in my races, but my main goals are to continue enjoying the sport and to stay healthy and injury-free.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I’ve read quite a few books that provide great inspiration, such as ‘Iron War’ by Matt Fitzgerald and ‘A Life Without Limits’ by Chrissie Wellington. In addition, there are plenty of triathletes in my circle of friends and each of them has their own unique story.

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

    Sundried is a very unique company in terms of sustainability and offers products that are made from 100% recycled materials, thereby contributing to the reduction of the global carbon footprint of textiles. On top of that, the kit looks great and is very reasonably priced. My favourite piece of kit so far is the Cadence Men's Short Sleeve Cycle Jersey as it looks great and fits perfectly.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Dean Crow Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried activewear athlete ambassador

    Dean enjoys the thrill of tough endurance challenges and has his sights set on some big events. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always played sport, mainly football and rugby at school. Outside of that, I did a lot of surfing. When I got older, I moved more into football, recreational running, and cycling to work

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Football changed; it got too dangerous as I had to consider work and family, so I decided to stop playing but needed to fill the gap so I joined the local triathlon club. I love the three sports so why not do triathlon?

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

    Brutal Extreme Triathlon Snowdon 2019. I focused a lot on running that year so the other elements had been put to one side but a friend said let’s do it. I went in feeling strong but was surprised by just how strong I was and finished 1st by a mile.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Representing Team GB at Challenge Weymouth long distance triathlon in 2015. Finishing 5th in my age group was a huge result as the sport was still new to me then.

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

    Plymouth Triathlon in 2018 was the only time I have had to DNF as my calf muscle cramped half a mile into the run, which was disappointing as it’s my local event.

    The toughest race I've done was Challenge Weymouth as, after posting an impressive bike leg time of 5:14 in tough conditions, both of my IT bands caused huge pain through 24 miles of the run. Just finishing was a mental challenge but I was never going to give up

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks are an opportunity to refocus and align weaknesses. As much as they are inconvenient and really annoying, they also serve as a chance to sit down and build a stronger base to make you stronger

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

    I would've liked more advice on the different events and distances available. It’s important to understand your strengths and weakness; there are so many different formats to suit different people and getting into the right one can help you be more competitive and build confidence.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    The main goal is to complete a sub 3-hour marathon and then see how fast I can go under that. I am also looking to cycle from Land's End to John O' Groats in 6 days and do a 24-hour swim in Scotland.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take my inspiration from other competitors and how they manage to push their bodies through some amazing challenges like deca triathlons and 24-hour runs. I am so impressed by ultra athletes; it pushes me on to look for something extreme myself.

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

    The kit from Sundried is great quality. We are all aware of ensuring we do our bit for the planet so having kit made sustainably and ethically is a big positive for me, it means the clothes I purchase are going to last and be as good as they were when I got them, even after a lot of use. Currently, my favourite bit of kit is the bib shorts, they fit just right and the chamois padding is perfect for even the longest of rides.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Mark Thompson Triathlete & Personal Trainer

    personal trainer workout gym fitness triathlon

    Mark's love of sport and own successes in triathlon inspired him to become a personal trainer so he could help others. He talks to Sundried about training highs and lows.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I’ve always been passionate about sport, taking part in many team sports as a youngster and more individual events as I’ve got older.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Triathlon offers so much more than just swimming, cycling and running; it’s putting yourself in a position where you have to keep going and knowing that somewhere deep down you have the inner strength to do that.

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

    This may sound strange, but my best race to date wasn’t one I took part in myself, but I was part of the crew who gave out the medals at the finish of the Nottingham Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon a few years ago. Seeing the faces of all those finishers and what it meant to them when they saw the medal and bottle of water I gave them stays in my mind every time I train or finish a race myself. The time doesn’t matter at that point, it’s the immense feeling of achievement and knowing how proud they and their families will be, especially when raising money for others who are less fortunate too.

    And your proudest achievement?

    It has to be completing my first ever half marathon (Great North Run) at the age of 25/26. I was a new dad at the time and couldn’t wait to get home and tell my little one all about it (just wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to drive the car home at that point).

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

    The worst race disaster was when I trained really well for the 2016 London Marathon (14 months of training) but ended up in hospital a few days before the race, minus my gall bladder, meaning I couldn’t take my place on the start line.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    By remembering there are always people in worse places and having worse setbacks than myself. A small injury or training setback is a problem, but only minor compared to others. I have my health and it’s one of the main reasons why I’m now a personal trainer.

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

    To train hard, but remember your life doesn’t depend on it, just enjoy it and be in the moment.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    Personally I want to keep training, stay healthy and complete my Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Certificate, but I have to be honest and say I take more pleasure these days in seeing my clients achieve their goals and helping them to achieve more than they thought they could.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I’ve taken my inspiration from a number of people over the years, but recently I have found myself completely admiring Doddie Weir, a great man on the rugby field, but an absolute GIANT in his fight against MND (Motor Neurone Disease) for himself and many others suffering from the disease.

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

    Sundried is heading in a direction many others should follow.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren