• 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
  • How To Fuel An Ironman Triathlon – Expert Advice From Triathletes

    Sundried activewear Ironman triathlon hydration nutrition fuelling

    You can do all the swim, bike, and run training in the world, but a poor fuelling plan could land you with a dreaded DNF. Read our advice from athletes who have been there, done it, and made the mistakes so you don't have to.

    Helena Kvepa – Experienced Ironman Triathlete

    I consume 300kcal an hour on the bike and bit less on the run. It's something I do in training as well to get used to it. I eat every 20 minutes on the bike; a mix of gels and bars, and every 5km on the run, gels only. But it's very individual and something to practise on longer workouts.

    It's important to hydrate leading up to the race and eat what you are used to. I hear way too many stories of people who stuff themselves with pizza and pasta to carb load and then suffer gastric problems during the race. I just eat as normal, just bigger portions and restrict the fibrous foods.

    On race day, I'll have my usual breakfast of porridge with banana and honey and a black coffee. I'll sip 750ml of electrolyte drink while getting ready and have a gel just before the start, but not a caffeinated one as, together with the race nerves, it does terrible things to my blood pressure. I leave a gel and caffeine shot in my bike shoe or helmet to remind myself to take them straight away. I leave bike nutrition in the transition bag so I quickly stuff it in my tri suit.

    I carry two bottles of water on my bike. One for the drinks that I replace at every water station and one backup. I always replenish my bottle at each feed station as it's better to have more than you need than to run out before the next station. Also, I carry a few caffeine gels, as in later stages you might need an extra boost. I make my watch beep at me every 20 minutes to remind me to eat. It's better to consume more on the bike than get to the run with an empty tank.

    I have another gel and caffeine shot in my running shoe for the run. I have a race belt with a little pocket where I stuff my gels. I take one every 5km and try to time it around the water stations. I sip water and maybe Redbull later in the run. I don't carry water on the run as I make sure I hydrate on the bike so I don't need as much on the run. I can't stomach solids on the run, but other people I know would have a banana or something. If there is a special needs bag, I leave extra emergency gels and caffeine shots in there along with dry socks.

    When racing in hot weather, I use salt stick tables. I carry them in the plastic egg found inside Kinder egg. I never skip food; it's better to have more and don't need it, than hit a wall, as it's almost impossible to recover from that. You will never consume as many calories in a long distance triathlon as you will burn.

    After the race, I try to eat well and plenty of fruit and vegetables. After a long race, your immune system is depleted, so it's easier to become ill. Get some food in even if you don't feel like it and drink a lot of water.

    Helena Kvepa Ironman triathlete nutrition advice

    Vikki Roberts-Caiger – Triathlete & Coach

    Start fuelling before you feel you need to! It's almost impossible to recover if you get to the red line in terms of energy. I made the mistake of not taking on enough in T1 on my first middle distance event and so now I'm religious about having an energy bar in T1 and plenty early on during the bike.

    Find out what's available on the course and see if it suits you, and if not, be prepared to carry everything you need. I've got a big bento box for the bike on the top bar, two bottles on the frame and use a race vest for the run unless there are lots of aid stations (one every mile at Lakesman for example).

    Practise fuelling on your long training sessions. I found that I needed two squares of flapjack/energy balls/quarter sandwich and a Percy Pig every 5 miles on the bike. I also have a swig of electrolytes every 5 miles.

    I favour food over gels (although I use them for a boost) and find it's important to have a mix of textures and flavours (I go sweet and savoury). I remember one ride where I only had fig rolls and I physically couldn't swallow them in the last third of the ride!

    Lakesman triathlon running cycling long distance sport

    Steve Vaughan – Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    Pre-race, you need to carb-load effectively. There are lots of different techniques and it's not just about eating tons of pasta the day before the race. I use the 6 day method, which means gradually building up carb intake in the week before the race.

    On race day, I get up early and eat several hundred calories; I swear by rice pudding. Then I'll drink plenty of water and eat a banana before the start of the swim. After the swim, I try to use the little and often principle. I usually have half an energy bar in my transition bag that I try to eat on my way to mounting the bike (I used to force a gel down as well!) then graze constantly throughout the bike leg.

    I break bars up into my box, perhaps put my favourite brand into my pockets if I don’t like the race brand, and then supplement with bananas. I have 2 bottles of carbohydrate drink on the bike to start with and then just take water from the aid stations. If there is an ‘aid bag’ opportunity, I have something savoury and another carbohydrate drink.

    I often put something savoury in my T2 bag for the run; I like pretzels, but races now often have a savoury option on the run too. I put 2-3 packets of Clif blocs in my pockets and am disciplined about eating 1 of these with water at each stop (so one about every mile and a bit). If I’m hungry, I eat whatever is on the table!

    Athlete cycling long distance triathlon

    Ben Greene – World Level Triathlete

    It's important to remember that heat, humidity, and race pace all have an impact on digestion. I raced Ironman Cairns in North Australia earlier this year and to prepare over the winter, I completed a number of indoor brick sessions with the thermostat set to 30 degrees Celsius.

    I quickly switched from solid fuel (my usual preference) to a more liquid-based approach as I struggled to digest the solid fuel at a higher heart rate (caused by the increase in temperate and race pace).

    My top tip: practise your race nutrition in race conditions (i.e. climate and course specific) and at race pace. I've found that fuel which sits well in Zone 1 or 2 during a training ride might not sit so well at Zone 3 on race day.

    triathlon triathlete cycling Ironman training nutrition fuelling

    Marc Went – Experienced Ironman Triathlete

    Hydration and nutrition are always a hot topic of conversation and one which we all need to find out what works for us. For me, I found that I can take in gels fine at shorter distances, but for middle distance triathlon upwards, gels became a big gut issue on the run, so of late I've trained and raced with Tailwind. To date, it's been perfect for anything from ultra marathons to full distance Ironman, but I do add some solids on the bike.

    The biggest thing I'd say is set out on finding out what works for you months in advance and train/test with it as there is a strong likelihood you'll tweak it along the way. Think how you will manage the volumes needed on the day, albeit using on-course sponsor brands or taking your own and if you'll need to add some additional hydration storage or bento boxes.

    With Tailwind, I tend to pre-mix my Xlab Torpedo and carry the rest as a concentrate in a 750ml bottle and mix with water from course aid stations into the Xlab during the race.

    Also, think about other factors which may influence your race day nutrition/hydration needs. I'm an above-average sweater, so I found without taking on some additional salts, my legs tended to cramp up later in the race. Since looking at salt loss more closely and introducing salt tablets on the bike and run, this tendency to cramp has gone completely.

    Hydrate sufficiently in the week running up to the race and before the swim. Eat and drink little and often; I use my Garmin alarm notification to bleep every few minutes as a reminder.

    On the final 10k of the run, take whatever you can and keep smiling!

    Ironman long distance triathlon cycling nutrition hydration

    David Rother – Professional Triathlete

    I usually go for a no-carb Monday and Tuesday and start filling up with carbs slowly from Wednesday to Saturday lunchtime. Saturday evening is just a light normal meal. I also reduce my coffee intake during race week to zero to have maximum effect on race morning, when I drink up to 4 double espresso.

    On race morning, I'll have some water-overnight oats with a half-ripe banana about 3 hours before the race start. Then I switch to Maurten gels and drink mix and I have one gel before the swim.

    On the bike and on the run, I have a set nutrition plan personalised for me and try to execute it as well as I can. Normally, during the run, it's just taking gels and every cup of water, coke or gel that I can grab from the aid stations. Oh, and of course, half a litre of beetroot juice every day during race week!

    Sundried athlete ambassador professional triathlete

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2019

    Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2019 Nice France

    Racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship is always special. The calibre of athletes is high, the competition fierce, and the atmosphere is electric. I was absolutely delighted to qualify at my first race of 2019, despite having a year off due to injury throughout 2018.

    This year, the world championship was to be in Nice in France, and athletes were to tackle what was being described as one of the toughest bike courses yet. 1,300m of climbing up the famous Col de Vence was going to be extremely tough. Especially when you favour flat courses as I do!

    Pre-Race Training

    Training had gone well leading into the race though and with some specific turbo sessions designed to build climbing strength, a whole lot of track sessions, and a little weight lost to help my power to weight ratio, we were in a good position.

    Race Day

    The weather was perfect – brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and the sea was so warm that the organisers were teetering on the decision of a wetsuit or non-wetsuit swim (wetsuits are banned over 24.5 degrees), but with just 0.5 degree leeway in favour of wetsuits on the morning of the race, the decision was favourable.

    As we lined up on the beach with almost every famous name in triathlon present, I was excited but felt super relaxed. We hadn’t put any pressure on this race, just to see whether I could finally do myself justice at a world championship, in the toughest of tough fields on the global Ironman 70.3 circuit.

    With the format of women racing on the Saturday and men racing on the Sunday, it always makes for a more pleasant race environment, especially during the swim and the bike. Women tend to race less aggressively than men and the atmosphere almost feels ‘calm’ in comparison.

    The Swim

    Crystal clear water made for an additionally pleasant swim – in fact at one point I actually acknowledged that I was enjoying it, which is probably a first! The sea was warm, there were fish swimming below us, and no dramas at all, and with just a little chop, it didn’t seem to take too much out of me as I ran into T1.

    Ironman triathlon world champs swim

    The Bike

    The start of the bike was flat and fast along the coast so I was in my element, but this didn’t last long before the course swerved inland and we were hitting the start of the climbing.

    Weirdly, I was also enjoying the climbing. My power numbers were looking super strong but I felt comfortable and was riding within myself, so pushed on trying to make the most of the stunning scenery. The famous climb seemed to go quite quickly and before I knew it we were starting what would be a FUN descent which would last about 30km – plenty of solid recovery time!

    The final stretch of flat road led us back into transition and although my bike split seemed slow at a touch over 3 hours, the climbing would have accounted for much slower bike splits than usual – even for the pros.

    bike cycling triathlon athlete

    The Run

    I ran out of T2 feeling strong and was delighted to see my parents and my coach on the course – the support at a world championship is extra special, and it definitely made the 21km run go quickly. The run course stretched along the Promenade d’Anglais with the sea glistening alongside the entire way, it really was a beautiful spot for a race.

    I was holding my pacing very comfortably, perhaps even a little too comfortably, and as I ran down the finish chute I felt super proud to have completed yet another Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I was pleased to have run a 1:34 half marathon, especially off the back of such a tough bike course, and although my overall time seemed a lot slower than usual, in 5 hours and 17 minutes, I knew my personal performance was strong and I couldn’t have got much more out of myself.

    Ironman 70.3 World Champs 2019 Race Report

    The Finish

    I ended up finishing 25th in my age group out of 250 – a huge improvement in my overall result compared to previous world championship events. I was so happy with this result, finally I had achieved the performance that was warranted and it was testament to all the hard work I had put in so far in 2019.

    The best bit though, results aside, was that I absolutely loved the race – every single minute. I had no dark moments, I was just in my element and for me, you can’t ask for much more than a perfect race.

    Ironman 70.3 World Champs triathlon triathlete Sundried activewear

    About the author: Amy Kilpin is an elite triathlete and Sundried ambassador.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sam Buckler Athlete Ambassador

    runner athlete Sundried activewear

    Sam is an athlete who got into triathlon because he found just running to be too boring. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

    Have you always been into sport? 

    Yes I have, from a very young age I’ve always been a very active person which has led me to participate in over 11 sports, a mixture of individual and team sports ranging from Judo to rowing to rugby or table tennis. 

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon? 

    I used to be a long distance runner only, and once took part in a 50km ultra-marathon run, which was great fun but also got slightly boring after a while, which led me to think whether I could be able to combine my running with other sports. Adding to that a friend of mine had previously competed in various Ironman races which convinced me to take up triathlon. 

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

    My favourite race so far has been the Bath Half Marathon 2019 for a couple of reasons, one being that I am a student in Bath and was really looking forward to running in front of a home crowd and people I knew very well, and also because I managed to hit a PB of 1:24:29. 

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was running the Bournemouth Marathon when I was aged 17, which I ran after having only just recovered from a 2 month long rugby injury. 

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

    Luckily I haven’t yet had any major issues during a race, I do make sure the day before the race that all my equipment is all ready and set to go and that I am physically ready to race. But these things do happen and I am sure that I will inevitably face some more or less serious issues on the race course that I will have to deal with. 

    How do you overcome setbacks? 

    When I have a bad performance or a training session I’m disappointed with I just turn back and look at the positives, either in that particular race/training session, or throughout the months of training and the amount of improvement that I have gone through over that period. It’s always tough but this sport just like most sports is fought mentally and it’s your mentality which will often define if you reach your ultimate goal or not. 

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

    A piece of advice I would have appreciated while training for my first ever triathlon would probably have been to practise transitions as well as brick sessions ( running straight after cycling, or cycling straight after swimming ). I had only been focusing on the individual disciplines and came the day of the race and I was so far off my target because running after cycling is just a new sport in itself, but it taught me a lot and it was a valuable experience. 

    What are your goals for 2019/2020? 

    My goals for 2019 are to compete the Ironman 70.3 in Vichy, being my first middle distance triathlon I have for goal to complete it in under 5 hours, but we’ll see how it goes. Then I will be running the Cardiff Half marathon in September and hope to aim for a new PB. There is no doubt I will be racing another 70.3 in the early months of 2020 but the dates aren’t yet confirmed. 

    Who do you take your inspiration from? 

    My inspiration comes from a lot of things, a lot of incredible athlete have completed a lot of incredible things which is in itself amazing, but if I were to think of an athlete in particular I would have to say Tim Don, who is a Ironman champion who in the past year had a terrible accident while he was ruling the triathlon world, which set him back hugely, but he made a full recovery in 3 months and is now back up and running and competing on the biggest stage again which is just incredible in terms of mental strength and motivation. 

    What do you like about Sundried and what is your favourite piece of kit? 

    I recently bought the Sundried tri-suit and have tried it a few times and have been incredibly surprised by how breathable it is and how incredibly aerodynamic it is. It also provides a surprising amount of comfort for long rides which I did not know was possible. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Nick Busca Athlete Ambassador

    athlete running Sundried ambassador activewear triathlon

    Nick is a triathlete who is aiming to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. He talks to Sundried about training and racing. 

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes. I started with alpine skiing when I was 6 years old when I was living in the Italian Alps. I then raced for 15 years before becoming a ski and telemark instructor in Italy and France. When I was a child I also played a lot of tennis, some golf and I was also into rock and ice climbing, mountaineering and bouldering. Strength and conditioning have always been part of the overall training regime I followed and in 2017 I became personal trainer.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    In 2012 I wanted to improve my swimming technique (even 25m was a challenge at that time), but bumped into a triathlon team instead. I set myself the goal to compete in an Ironman 70.3 in two years and achieved that in 2014. Then the "what's next" mantra took over.

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

    Ironman 70.3 Greece in April 2019. It was just the perfect race for me. My mind and my body were perfectly tuned and everything fell into the right place.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Having represented Team GB twice at the ITU Triathlon Long Distance World Championships (top 20 as my best result to date) and having qualified twice for the middle distance European championships. That happened only 5 years after I started my swimming lessons.

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

    I had many disasters over the last few years, which all served as a learning curve. But the toughest race was the World Champs last year in Denmark, where ITB syndrome and stomach distress made me walk the last 15km of the run segment of the race (out of 30 km).

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Take some time off, switch the mind and focus off from sports and try to find new and personal motivations.

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

    Keep it simple and do not overthink.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    Qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My wife, who's not very much into sports (except for alpine skiing).

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

    The commitment towards being environment-friendly and the sustainability of the production chain. Anything that is made from coffee has my blessing and I really like the idea of using recycled plastic bottles for sport apparel and clothes in general.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren