• Channah Brandsema Triathlete

    Channah Triathlete

    Channah is a Dutch triathlete who has achieved some awesome things. She talks to Sundried about life as an athlete and her training goals for this year.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I've been into sports ever since I was little. I did rock climbing when I was a child and I even competed in my home country of the Netherlands. 

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I had a nasty crash on my bike which led to an injury meaning I couldn't cycle for a while. Because of this, I did swimming instead to keep my fitness up. In 2015, I found myself stuck in a small village in Germany with no bike and no swimming pool, so I took up running. I decided to put all three together, and after getting to know a triathlete, I entered a triathlon in my hometown of Utrecht. 

    What’s been your best race to date?

    My best race was the second triathlon I ever did. I had a good swim but a slow first transition because I didn't have all the right gear yet. Despite this, I managed to get into the lead after the first 5km of the bike and by the run, I had a 1-minute lead. I managed all this with a sprained ankle! 

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement: last year winning in the first and top division with my team of Hellas Utrecht. 

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

    My toughest race was in 2015 when I sprained my ankle after the first 1.5km of the run. I thought it was just a blister so I carried on, but by the finish, I realised just how bad it was! I still won! 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Keep calm, do things you enjoy, and get support from people who care about you.

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

    Just have fun! You can do it! 

    What are your goals for 2017?

    I had an operation on my ankle in April so my main goal is to get back up to full health. I am participating in the World Championship in Rotterdam in September so my main goal is to train for that. Of course, I won't be as good as I would've hope because of the operation, but it'll still be a great experience. 

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

    I like that Sundried is designed by athletes for athletes. My favourite bit of kit is the Women's Pro Tri-Suit because it looks and performs beautifully! 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Team Triumph Athlete Ambassadors

    Team Triumph Triathlon Coaching Sundried

    Team Triumph is a triathlon coaching team made up of four elite triathletes: Aaron Harris, Ailbhe (Alva) Carroll, Richard Horton, and Jack Hall. With a passion for triathlon, these four athletes wanted to pass on their knowledge to others. They tell Sundried about their motivations and goals. 

    How did you first get into coaching the sport of triathlon?

    As a group of four triathletes in a high performance squad in Loughborough we enjoyed getting away from the relentless training for one evening per week and having a curry out or a takeaway in front of a cheesy horror film! More often than not our conversation would drift back towards all things triathlon. We were thinking that we have so much knowledge between us about the sport that we live and breath that we had to share it. Initially we thought about doing podcasts but we feared we'd spend to much time chuckling amongst ourselves to effectively share our expertise. We decided that coaching was the way to go and haven't looked back since!

    What has been your favourite race to date?

    Ailbhe - Firmus Energy Derry City Triathlon - "The course is hard and exciting and is always supported very well from the spectators on the city streets." 

    Aaron - 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games - "There was home support like I've never experienced before and such a range of nations competing that you don't normally see in the World Triathlon Series. It was brilliant to see a bit of breaststroke being used by a couple of the guys in the men's race!" 

    Jack - Bridgetown PATCO sprint triathlon - "It's a triathlon in Barbados! Need I say more? Crystal clear Caribbean waters and hard honest work in the hot conditions. To top that off, the locals are so friendly, I ended up with more than my fair share of rum post-race."

    Richard - 2013 World Duathlon Championship - "This was my first world championship race. It's such a nice venue in the picturesque square in the French town of Nancy. It's really well organised and a fast course makes this a fun one to do. The French love their sport and it showed with the amount of spectators which created an amazing atmosphere. It also featured a Duathlon relay which meant fast and furious racing from the off but was great fun!“

    What do you do to motivate your athletes and stay motivated yourselves?

    We love what we do and when the going gets tough we remind ourselves  that we do it because we love it. We don't HAVE to do triathlon. Even if you are a professional, it's a choice. But it's a huge part of our lifestyle so we need to make sure that we are enjoying the journey. Three key factors for us are:

    1. Sensibly structure your training to ensure that you don't put yourself in a hole and end up like zombie in training, racing, and normal life. It's a direct road to over-training syndrome if you get this wrong.
    2. Always have an idea of what you are working towards, it can be completing a Parkrun or a championship medal or a process such as hitting 10 hours on the bike for a block of six weeks. Ideally, synchronise your goals with training partners who have similar targets. Come race day there's nothing like seeing a training partner up the road on the bike to really spur you on to chase hard.
    3. Be flexible and remember that we want to do this. If you know that you normally love training but on a given day you can't get out the door then it probably is a sign that your body is telling you that it needs a rest. The art is distinguishing between being soft and genuinely being too drained to benefit from another session is fundamental to performing in triathlon. 

    What advice would you give someone thinking of getting into triathlon for the first time?

    Buddy up with a more experienced athlete or group. Knowledge is power and it's very useful to get hints and tips regarding race craft and equipment etc. There's a great deal to think about and having someone who has been there and done it is invaluable. Don't put too much pressure on performing to your best on your first triathlon. It never happens. You'll make mistakes, you'll learn from them, and you'll be better next time. It usually takes at least a "trio of tries"  before you nail a triathlon!

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

    Nutrition is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it (within reason). We advocate the clichéd "varied balanced diet" approach. As endurance athletes however we do need more calories. The best form of these is carbohydrates as they are readily available energy. Simple carbs are your sugars and they are perfect for during and post racing and training. For meals and snacks it's better to focus on complex starchy carbs. Rice, potatoes, and quinoa are some of the best to go for. If you have a good mixed diet you'll likely get enough protein in without thinking about it but good fats may not appear as readily in a normal diet. We aim to get these in through coconut oil (in porridge and for cooking). Also nut spreads and chia speeds get the thumbs up from us.  

    Who is your biggest inspiration? 

    We've always looked up to triathletes from all walks of life. We know how hard it is to balance work with training. The Brownlee brothers are phenomenal for the level they reach, and 10 year old Bailey Mathews ditching his walking frame to triumphantly cross the finish line was equally inspiring. 

    What are your goals for 2017?

    We are expanding our team and have targets in terms of squad size but crucially we want to officially become a registered Triathlon club. We want to see our athletes maximise their enjoyment of the sport as they work towards their goals. By the end of the year we intend to have established a training venue in the South of Spain which we will use as a base to hold training camps, specifically in the build up to Marbella 70.3 in April 2018.




    Twitter @Team_Triumph1

    Instagram @Team_Triumph1

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Steven Sayer Ironman Triathlete

    Steven entered the sport of triathlon late in life after being inspired at the London Marathon. He has now run multiple marathons and raced some of the toughest Ironman races in the UK. He talks to Sundried about what it takes to be an Ironman triathlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Up until 2012, I was not very sporty or athletic, playing golf once a week. This all changed whilst spectating at the Virgin London Marathon; we followed the course and viewed from a few different places. This changed something in me, frustrated me as a spectator, and most of all inspired me. So the following year I booked into the London Marathon with a charity place. I ran with my brother-in-law and we completed the course in 4:01 which obviously means I would need to return to get under the 4 hours mark. In 2013 I ran the Paris marathon in 3:47 and two weeks later I ran London again, this time in 3:46.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    As a complete novice and with no specific training, I entered a local half iron distance triathlon. I was instantly hooked.

    For the past 6 months I have had a specific coach and am on a structured training plan. I gained a place in this year's  (2017) London Marathon from the ballot and have trained to be around the 3:30 mark (let's see how that goes), I also have Ironman 70.3 at Wimbleball which is a very testing half iron distance course.

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

    I have no specific nutrition plan other than eating as clean as possible whilst allowing myself to still go out and enjoy eating. For me, it’s all about balance and my weight never really fluctuates too much.

    I found having a specific training plan and keeping a detailed training diary keeps me motivated, I don’t go out cycling in all weathers, so when it's very cold and icy I undertake strict Turbo trainer sessions then on nice days I appreciate outdoor cycling all the more.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    Monday: Run - on and off road, 17 -19 miles 

    Tuesday: Swim - 400m warm up, 2 x 1000m with 2 mins rest, 400m cool down

    Wednesday: rest day

    Thursday: Run - either sprint or hill reps then easy 45 mins to cool down

    Friday: Run - 1 hour steady

    Saturday: Turbo trainer cycle session

    Sunday: Long bike ride - 50 – 70 miles with a 15 min run straight after.

    What are your top 3 training tips?

    1. You must enjoy what you're doing otherwise you will fail 
    2. Try to train with different people of different abilities, this keeps you motivated and grounded
    3. Be comfortable and confident with your gear and clothing as it makes a big difference!

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

    That’s a tough one but it would have to be a long bike ride. I’ve been on some amazing bike routes and they are more accessible now than ever.

    What are your training goals?

    Future training goals are to race iron distance triathlons throughout Europe and America

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried is a fantastic brand with amazing ethics. Their activewear is very well-fitting and comfortable which makes it perfect to train in.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Guest Post: Malmö European Cup 2017

    Sprint Distance Triathlon Sweden European Cup

    Ailbhe (Alva) Carroll is part of the Team Triumph triathlon coaching team who are all Sundried ambassadors. She gives us a race report of the Malmö European Cup 2017 which is a sprint distance triathlon held in the city of Malmö, Sweden.

    Team Triumph Triathlon Coaching Cycling Sweden

    I raced here last year and absolutely fell in love with the place; the area, the coffee, the pastries, the people, the pick 'n' mix…everything. My visit this year just reconfirmed all my thoughts about the place. 

    Heading to the race, I was a little apprehensive because I had found myself in a bit of a sluggish state over the past few weeks. My training sessions weren’t up to the usual standard I set for myself and I wasn't getting the usual results despite putting in a lot of effort.

    I was staying in the same hotel I stayed in last year. I ate in the same restaurant I did last year. I knew where things were. That familiarity can be very settling. I went into the race very relaxed and although the course was new and different to last year, the recce the day before was enough to settle my mind. There was very little that could be messed up with the course they had laid out for us.

    Recently I have been struggling with my bike handling skills; the power is there but corners and descents are just not my things. Saturday's course was a little technical with corners and a few sweeping roundabouts and for this I felt extremely comfortable and was happy getting off the bike that maybe I had found some skills again!

    The swim didn’t go as planned for me this weekend. I missed the front pack by a handful of seconds and although I was in the chase, we just never closed the gap. In fact, we let it grow to a minute. The winds were a really difficult element of the race with a massive head wind for half the bike loop of which we had 4 to do.

    We hopped off the bike and with 5km to run we were 1 minute down. I ran well I think. I wasn’t far off my fresh PB for 5km so came over the line in 20th place but most importantly, I was within the time percentage and I gained my first ITU points to give me a European and World ranking. These important points are what allow you to start in bigger races down the line so it's great to add some to what was an empty bank account.

    The biggest thing for me from this race was to fix the mistakes I made in Tartu a few weeks previously. I came over the line satisfied I had done that.

    I race again next weekend in Belgium where I will get another opportunity to get things right and have a good race.

    Ailbhe Carroll Team Triumph Triathlon Running

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • 5 Things Only People Training For A Triathlon Will Understand

    Sundried Southend Triathlon Training Event Transition

    So you've taken the plunge, signed up, and now the training begins. The early morning brick sessions and the late night foam rolling will all make a difference in the end, right? Here are 5 things you'd only understand if you're training for a triathlon.

    1. Now you realise why it's called a 'brick' session

    Because your legs feel like bricks afterwards! Running is one thing, cycling is another, but putting both together can be brutal! Not to mention the jelly legs after a tough swim session. But this is why we train!

    2. The world is surprisingly peaceful at 5 am

    Getting those early morning training sessions in before work or just before the rest of the world has woken up can seem like a chore, but in reality, it's one of the most peaceful and enjoyable parts of the whole process. Those Sunday morning rides when there's no traffic on the road and it's just you against the world give you plenty of time to gather your thoughts, reflect, and mentally sort out anything that's been stressing you lately.

    3. Checking training stats is addictive

    If you use Garmin, Strava, or anything similar, you'll appreciate how addictive it can be to try to beat your previous performance or to beat your friends on a particular segment. Maximum cycling speed of 26mph on your last ride? Better get that to 30!

    4. Triathlon burns HOW MANY calories!?

    You never realised just how many calories you'd be burning and how much you get to eat now! Your average run can burn around 600 calories, a long ride maybe up to 1,000, but doing a big brick session can get you closer to the 2,000 calorie mark! That means lots of pizza to refuel!

    5. Getting an early night and not drinking so that you can get up early the next morning is surprisingly enjoyable

    You used to laugh at the people who went home early to get to bed, but now you're one of them. You definitely don't miss the hangovers, and your new cycling and running friends are super supportive! Who knew that training for a triathlon could be so fun! Enjoy!


    Posted by Alexandra Parren