• 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
  • 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

    Balance

    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.

    Consistency

    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. 

    Endurance

    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!

    Adaptability

    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!

    Recovery

    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
  • 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
  • Beginner Triathlon Training Plan

    beginner triathlete triathlon training plan first time

    Training for a triathlon can be a complicated process, especially if it's your first time. Follow this simple beginner's triathlon training plan to get you to the start line feeling your best and ready to race.

    What gear do I need for a triathlon?

    Before you begin your training, make sure you have all the gear you need to train and race. Triathlon is a complex sport with lots of moving parts, so you'll need a few different pieces of kit. Read our beginner's kit guide for first-time triathletes which outlines all of the gear you will need from a trisuit to running trainers and everything in between. 

    Related: Guide to triathlon gear

    swimming training triathlon plan guide workout

    Beginner Triathlon Training Plan

    This is a 4-week training plan for a sprint distance triathlon for absolute beginners. If you already have a fair level of fitness and/or experience, this plan may be too easy for you.

    Week 1

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Do 10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

    Tuesday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to complete this without stopping.

    Wednesday Bike Cycle non-stop for 30 minutes, indoors or outdoors.
    Thursday Rest Make sure to do stretching and foam rolling as is necessary and eat plenty of protein and drink plenty of water so that your muscles can recover.
    Friday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim to accomplish that today.

    Saturday Rest Make sure to take a complete rest day and don't be tempted to over-train.
    Sunday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Pace doesn't matter.


    Week 2

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Rest

    You may be feeling tired or achy after week 1 so take it easy, hydrate and nourish well and make sure to stretch.

    Tuesday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to complete this without stopping.

    Wednesday Run

    Run for 20 minutes non-stop.

    See if you can make it further than you did last week.

    Thursday Bike

    Cycle for 20 minutes outdoors.

    Enjoy an easy pace on a flat course.

    Friday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim to accomplish that today.

    Saturday Rest Make sure to take a complete rest day and don't be tempted to over-train.
    Sunday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Pace doesn't matter.


    Week 3

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Run Run for 20 minutes at a steady pace.
    Tuesday Swim

     Complete 6 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to swim non-stop.

    Wednesday Run Easy 10 minute run.
    Thursday Bike 20 minutes on a flat course.
    Friday Swim

    Complete 6 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim for that today.

    Saturday Rest
    Sunday Run/Bike Brick

    Cycle for 30 minutes then run for 25 minutes at an easy pace.

     

    Week 4

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Bike Cycle for 45 minutes and try to include one hill as a challenge.
    Tuesday Swim

     Complete 10 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Go all out in order to complete it non-stop.

    Wednesday Run Run for 30 minutes without stopping.
    Thursday Rest
    Friday Run/Bike Brick Cycle for 30 minutes then straight into a 15 minute run.
    Saturday Rest
    Sunday Race Day!

     Good luck!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Beginner Triathlon Advice

    Triathlon is a complex sport and there's a lot to get your head around. Sundried is here to explain the jargon and help you on your way to your first race.

    Beginner Triathlon Guide

    Sundried has written a guide for beginner triathletes so that you can understand everything that it entails. From distances to jargon, this handy guide has everything you need to know. You can find the Sundried triathlon guide here.

    What do I wear for a triathlon?

    Triathlon gear is very specific and you will need to buy some items you don't already own. Most people already have a pair of running trainers and leggings. But you'll need a tri suit and other accessories. Check out our guide on triathlon gear for the full list of things you'll need for your race.

    Triathlon Race Day Checklist

    If you forget something important, you won't be able to race! So it's important to have a comprehensive checklist of everything you'll need for the day. Have a read of Sundried's triathlon race day checklist so that you can see what kit you'll need for your first triathlon and be sure that you've got everything for the big day!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren