• Ironman Training – Top Advice From A Certified Ironman Coach

    Sundried Ironman triathlon training coach advice

    Swim 2.4 Miles. Bike 112 Miles. Run 26.2 Miles. Time allowed 16 hours.

    The journey to become an Ironman is long and arduous and starts for many different reasons and from many different levels of ability and experience. The goal to ‘compete or complete’ an Ironman is what makes it such a difficult and unique challenge but can ultimately lead to the most amazing achievement of an athlete’s life. The road is long and is littered with obstacles that can, without preparation and a strong mind, derail the process at any given time.

    If you want to hear those immortal words at the end of a gruelling 140.6 miles – ’You are an Ironman’ – then the 5 pillars of Ironman training may just help you achieve that goal.

    I will be the first to admit that these are not always easy to adhere to and it is easy to make mistakes in race preparations. Normally, either over training or under training are the biggest downfalls. Over training is easy to slip into when the body is feeling good and fast progress seems achievable if you just push harder, longer, faster. Wrong! It can take a strong, fit athlete 3-4 months to prepare for an Ironman and it can take a year or longer if you are starting from a different base point.

    Under training often results from a busy lifestyle, lack of conditioning and rest, injuries, and poor nutrition plus sometimes simply a lack of commitment. Commitment is something I have never lacked but pushing too hard too soon has often caused me to reassess my training. Remember, you need to know where you are now (Point A) to understand where you want to get to (Point B) and the time in which you have to do so. The base training phase of any Ironman program creates the platform for any athlete to build a solid training foundation.

    Ironman training is all-consuming and selfish. It affects family life, social activities, diet, sleep, wallet contents and stress levels. You will need support, understanding family and friends and a whole lot of determination. On the flip side, you will never feel more invincible, strong, fast, healthy, focused or proud.

    The 5 Pillars of Ironman Training


    Ironman triathlon is a sport in itself, not a combination of swim, bike, and run. We balance our strengths and energies, our weaknesses and abilities to train and race holistically. Ironman does not allow a strong swimmer to be out of the water first and stay there if their bike and run don’t match their initial speed. Balance is critical.


    Triathlon training is a juggling act. Family, work, training schedules, rest and recovery, house admin, shopping... the list goes on. Where do we find the time? This becomes a skill in itself. 5am runs, 45-minute core sessions during lunch, late night swims when the kids are in bed.

    Personally, I do 50 squats every time I clean my teeth, 50 calf raises when I’m showering, stretch while watching TV, and I always take the stairs. This way, you can maximise your activity levels even if you have a busy lifestyle. 


    What is endurance? The ability to last. The ability to sustain long periods of physical activity at any given level of exertion.This all comes from a properly organised and planned training program. Ultimately, if you can sustain, you will succeed!


    Probably the most important pillar. Training plans allow structure but what if they can’t be adhered to? Illness, injury, family holidays, work. We have to be able to overcome and adapt. If you have a niggling injury that prevents you running, can you increase your swim and bike sessions? Adaptation and an intuitive flexibility is the key to prevent burnout and injury. Listen to your body, no one knows it better than you do!


    Successful training incorporates a spectrum of intensity, from full throttle workouts to rest and recovery. It’s the valleys that make the peaks possible and both are essential to real consistent progress. Proper rest allows the body to grow and develop. Don’t forget that professional athletes train really hard but they also rest for the remainder of the day. Their food is prepared for them and all they do is get ready for the next training day. We don’t have that luxury so when you get a chance to rest, take it!

    Prepare well, stay consistent, balance your training and life, be adaptable and don’t forget that recovery is as important as training itself.

    See you at the start line.

    About the author: Mick Cronin is an Ironman Certified Coach.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Travis Bramley Athlete Ambassador

    triathlete cycling racing Sundried

    Travis is a junior athlete who has been swimming and running from a very young age. He talks to Sundried about highs and lows of triathlon and cycling.

    Have you always been into sport? 

    Yes, I’ve always been involved in a sport of some kind, but from a very early age I took up swimming thanks to my parents and began to run competitively in my early years of secondary school.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Triathlon was a natural progression from the sports I already had a passion for. Having swam and run from a young age, I was successful in a pentathlon sub-sport known as Biathle (run/swim/run), winning a silver medal at a World Championships in Cyprus. It wasn’t really until after this that I began to really focus on triathlon.

    Two years later, I would go on to win the British Elite Youth Championships and Super Series - so it was a good move! 2019 has opened a new chapter of my sporting career however, as I have made the decision to focus on cycling. This was down to a number of reasons, however the primary reasons are firstly for enjoyment and secondly, I believe I can achieve more in cycling than I would have done continuing down the elite drafting triathlon route. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite race has to be Super League Jersey in 2018, where I finished 4th in the International Junior event, metres off the podium. This was my best result since 2015 and made me believe again that I could compete against the best in the sport. Not only this, to be a part of what can only be called a festival of triathlon, was just brilliant. The whole island had a fantastic buzz about it during the race weekend and we were really made to feel like professional athletes. If anyone ever gets the chance to compete in the age group events - do it!

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was winning the British Elite Youth Championships 2015 in Liverpool. Whilst this was a number of years ago now, I know it is something that nobody can take away from me and not many people can say they have been an elite British Triathlon champion!

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

    The toughest race I’ve done was the European Youth Championship Qualifiers held near Durham in 2016. As I will go on to explain in the next question, I was suffering with a back injury at the time (but didn’t know it yet). My results from the previous season suggested that I ought to have been one of the favourites to make the team. I came off the bike with a slender lead, having broken away from the rest of the field with another athlete, however a few hundred metres on into the run, the injury took hold and I simply could not run. It took me a long time to mentally recover from this, as I knew it would be my last opportunity to compete as a Youth for Great Britain. I had been unlucky up to this point to have not raced for GBR previously and this result only added to my disappointment.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    As mentioned, in 2016, I was forced to take around 18 months out of sport due to a lower back injury, whereby MRI scans showed clear breaks through my facet joints either side of my L5 vertebrae. As a 17 year old athlete, having had a season like I did in 2015, this was extremely difficult to deal with. I dealt with it in various stages if I’m honest. I kept involved in triathlon, helping coach at my local club, Plymouth Triathlon Club, gaining my Level 1 coaching qualification, as well as helping organise a number of multi sport events.

    I attempted to return to sport a number of times during this period unsuccessfully, each time the fall was progressively more challenging. My family, as well as a number of close friends, helped keep me positive through this time and I tried to alter my focus to other aspects of life, such as learning to drive! In general though, I am a very analytical person, meaning I tackle set-backs in that way. I pick them apart to try and understand why they occurred, allowing me to try and input some control measures to avoid similar future set-backs!

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

    I’m not sure I can remember that far back! If I could give some advice to myself though, it would be not to take myself and sport so seriously, as well as to take more time to enjoy and soak up the good times. Similarly, not to be so hard on myself if I need a day off or have a poor period of training.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    My summer racing season for 2019 has largely finished. My goal at the start of the season was to earn my 2nd category licence, which I achieved by Easter, sooner than I expected! Since then, I have been trying to learn the craft of racing, throwing myself in at the deep end and improve technically, as well as physically. Winter 2019 will hopefully offer me some opportunities to race on the track, notably the BUCS Championships (British Universities), where I hope to make the Loughborough University Team and again, throw myself in head first! In 2020, I hope to ride my first Premier Calendar race with a team (the top tier of British domestic racing). I also want to try my best to earn my first category licence, which I am under no illusion is an ambitious and optimistic target!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from a number of sources. First of all, my peers. Being at Loughborough University, I am never far from world class athletes, be that the triathletes I used to train with, the many Commonwealth & Olympic level athletes that I see in the university gym or the other athletes on the cycling performance squad. If I was to choose a sporting role model, I would say Jenson Button, who is not only a fantastic athlete, but also comes across as a humble, empathetic and switched on individual through his charity work and competing in triathlon!

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

    As a Geography student at university, I love the fact Sundried is conscious about its environmental footprint and committed to being a low carbon company. It is also really refreshing to see quality kit being offered at an affordable price! The Peloton Training Bib shorts are my favourite product, comfortable, well-fitted and at £50, extremely reasonable

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Triathletes Tell Us What They Wish They'd Known Before Getting Into Triathlon

    triathlon beginner advice

    Triathlon is a complex sport and takes a lot of research, effort, and knowledge for those just getting started. We talk to professional triathletes and GB Age-Groupers about what they wish they'd known before they started out. 

    Paul Suett - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    I wish I had known how to properly pace a race rather than going out as fast as I can for as long as I can. I seem to have got the grips of it now though.... well, most of the time!

    Alice Tourell North - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    I wish I’d known how completely obsessed I would become with it! I did two races as a total beginner then went to my first Age Group World Championships in Edmonton, Canada and was instantly hooked. It’s the most competitive hobby I’ve ever had but I wouldn’t change a thing - my husband may disagree with this though as all his holidays, including our honeymoon, now include a triathlon!

    Dominic Garnham - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    1. Quality training over quantity. Train smarter, not more.

    2. Build up training slowly to prevent injury.

    3. Just have fun! if you're not a professional triathlete, you don’t get paid to do this.

    Megan Powell - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    I wish I'd realised how different the run at the end of a triathlon feels!

    Melissa Hinojosa - Mexican Triathlete

    1. How addictive it is

    2. How expensive it can be to gear up (especially bike-wise)

    3. When travelling to compete, your luggage will multiply and flying with your bike can be challenging/uncomfortable.

    Ian Dodds - Amateur Triathlete

    That silly 'kicking my bum with my heels' thing at the start of the run is actually super helpful and worth looking a bit ridiculous.

    Ali Trauttmansdorff - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    That lots of people start to think you are either nuts or superhuman or both, but really you are just someone with resilience and motivation who is willing to feel challenged and push the limits for a few hours.

    Sophie Kennedy - Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    1. I wish I knew how much I would love races! I certainly would have enjoyed doing them earlier in life, but didn't enter until my boyfriend suggested I should.

    2. Don't be put off by the price, have a look around at different events and locations as prices can differ quite a lot. Also they are worth every penny anyway!

    3. In terms of the triathlon itself: My first one I'd never swum in open water before so I zig-zagged my way round the lake. It's definitely worth looking into spotting techniques and practising beforehand. Your cadence on the bike and the run can massively help with the weird legs feeling from bike to run.

    Read more: Beginner Triathlon Advice

    Read more: Beginners Triathlon Guide

    Read more: How To Start Exercising As A Complete Beginner

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Q&A With Michelle Dillon Triathlon Coach and Olympic Triathlete

    Elite Athlete Triathlon Coach

    Michelle Dillon is a two-time Olympic triathlete who started her career as a 10,000m runner in the Commonwealth Games. She has represented Great Britain in many amazing races, winning silver in the World Duathlon Championships in 2001, gold at the European Triathlon Championships the same year, finishing 1st at the London Triathlon in 2002, and returning to claim gold at the World Duathlon Championships in 2005, among many others. After a back injury halted her career in 2008, she turned to coaching and has coached some of the finest athletes the country has to offer such as Jodie Stimpson and Emma Pallant. She took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for Sundried about life as an athlete-turned-coach.

    Do you come from a sporty background/family?

    Yes, when I grew up I found running and this was my passion from a very young age. I pursued it and started training more seriously when I was about 13. I saw improvements immediately and went on to win cross country for my school, then later on at 21 I represented my country (which was Australia at the time) at the Commonwealth Games in the 10,000m. My parents weren't particularly sporty, I just had this need to run and followed my dreams!

    Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be an elite athlete?

    When I first found running and started training more seriously, I knew that I wanted to be an elite athlete, I had so much motivation to train even if it was on my own. I would go running after school and make up my own training, I just loved to push myself and knew this would be a massive part of my life. I left school and immediately followed my dreams and started making a living out of sport so was able to support myself and see how far I could get.

    Swimming Coaching Pool Water

    Photo credit: Darren Wheeler www.thatcameraman.com

    What piece of advice do you wish someone had told you when you first started competing?

    Don't over train. Little did I know injuries were something I would have to deal with for most of my career. I could push myself all day but my body would break down easily. Back when I was competing, there wasn't enough advice on strength and conditioning, instead it was the more training you could do the stronger and tougher you were. So injuries for me held me back from reaching my full potential!

    What is something unusual we might not already know about you?

    Well I was born a breach baby (feet first) and the cord was wrapped around my neck which stopped me from breathing. I was taken to intensive care, they thought they had lost me, but thankfully they brought me back to life. I guess I wanted to run from the very beginning!

    What has been your favourite part of competing at an elite level?

    Racing the best in the world and being able to push myself to my limits. I loved the push and challenging myself to be the best I could be as an athlete.

    Emma Pallant Ironman 70.3 World Champs Silver

    What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

    When I look back on my career now I don't necessarily think it was a particular race that I won that made me proud, it was more what I had overcome with injuries to get on the start line. For example, the last year of my career I had suffered back problems for years, but this particular year I had two disc protrusions which were extremely painful and limited me to my bed for months at a time. I thought my career was over when the doctors told me to stop, however I gave myself one more shot at a "come back" and surprised myself to win a non-drafting race in the USA against some World Class competitors and broke the course record. It showed me that with the right mindset and determination you can do anything you want. My year lasted a few more races before I had to have a major operation on my spine.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Just like what I was talking about above, setbacks can be tough and very challenging as an athlete and in life in general. Sport has taught me a lot about myself, especially when I've had major setbacks in my career. Staying patient is extremely important but certainly not easy, setbacks are character building and if you can get through them you always come back stronger!

    How does being a coach compare to being an athlete?

    It's completely different. As an athlete, you just have to think about yourself and your training, whereas being a coach you are responsible for someone else's career; you help them make decisions which can be crucial to their development in the sport. You have to be very understanding and patient. 

    Emma Pallant Michelle Dillon Coaching Winner Champ

    What's your favourite part of being a triathlon coach?

    I love being able to pass on my knowledge from all the things I have learnt through my career, so if I made mistakes I try to ensure that they don't make the same. It's very rewarding bringing on an athlete whether it be a World Class athlete or an Age Group athlete, seeing all my athletes do well makes me very proud.

    What advice would you give someone entering the world of triathlon for the first time?

    I would say invest in a good coach, it's so valuable to have a coach with the knowledge to help you make the improvements, and help you talk through your training, give you advice on nutrition, injuries etc. We have a host of World Class coaches who coach athletes at all levels from beginners to the most advanced athlete and we are ready to help you. Contact us via our website Team Dillon Coaching to find out about our coaching.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Jak Holden Athlete Ambassador

    cycling road bike triathlon Sundried activewear

    Jak is a road cyclist who took up swimming when injured and now has his sights set on a triathlon. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, although not into cycling directly. I started with mountain biking as a child and discovered the gym when I was 17. Running then came along when I was 23 then road cycling a few months after I turned 24.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Triathlon is the long term goal for me, but for now cycling is first priority.

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

    Hull 10k was probably my favourite race, although I injured my quad in the first kilometre and limped round in just over an hour.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Completing my first 10k race.

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

    York 10K, which was described as a "flat PB smasher" but was the complete opposite! Many seasoned runners struggled with the course elevation and twists and turns.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I hurt my back recently – not even doing exercise! I rested up, used swimming as a low impact alternative, and was fully recovered in less than a month. 

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

    Sign up for something local to home and train like mad for it.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    I am aiming to complete my first triathlon next year.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Ironman triathletes. I watch videos of them every day on YouTube. 

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

    I love the quality of Sundried's cycle kit! 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren