• Martin Richardson - Athlete Ambassador

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    Martin is a teacher who competes in both triathlon and running events, aiming to achieve a sub 2.25 marathon time. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have competed at National level in sport since an early age. I was a gymnast until my early teens, and then I transferred to athletics soon after. Running was my first passion, and still is. I competed in national level cross country for my school, and then in my early 20s I found marathon running, finishing my first London Marathon in 2007 (very slowly, I must add).

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    In 2010 I bought a decent road bike and soon realised I would then be able to give triathlons a go. I signed up to the London Triathlon and was hooked straight away. In my mid teens I was also an avid swimmer, so triathlons felt natural to me. Although I definitely needed to work on my cycling.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favorite race so far has been the Chester Deva Triathlon qualifier that allowed me to get selected for the Team GB Age Group team. That course is a fantastic race, and the crowds/support is always superb and uplifting.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I have two proudest achievements. One is being selected for the Team GB Age-Group team, the other is winning the Hever Castle Half Marathon in 2019. It is a hilly, trail course, but also really scenic too, especially the finish line that is right next to the castle.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    In 2018 I raced the Copenhagen Ironman. I went into the race in (what I thought was) the best shape of my life. However, I had developed Coeliacs disease, which is an allergic reaction to wheat, barley and rye in your stomach, and so for several months I had not been getting the right vitamins and nutrients from my food. I felt extremely tired but I thought it was simply all the training I was doing. I got off the bike in just over 6 hours total, and headed into the marathon hoping to clock a 3 hour 15 min run time, which would bring me across the finish line in 9hr 45 mins. But after 4 miles I could hardly move. I had the fitness, but my entire body felt heavy. I dragged myself across the finish in a disappointing 11 hours. Six weeks later, still feeling exhausted but now showing other symptoms, I had a blood test which confirmed I had Coeliacs disease. During the ironman race I was severely anaemic, but I didn't know it. I was lucky to have been able to finish. I'm now on a gluten free, vegan diet, and in far better shape than I've ever been in.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks are part of the process. Recently I raced a half marathon, aiming for a 72 min finish time, but the wind was not in my favour and I lost two gels on the course so my energy levels were depleted by mile 11. I crossed the 10 mile marker in 56 mins, which felt fantastic, but I knew I was way off my target finish time. In the moment you feel very low, but I'm always able to take some positives from every race, even if things don't always end the way I'd planned. Sometimes you have to be aware that you can't perform at your highest level every day. Listen to your body, work hard, rest hard, and take things one day at a time. If you have a training plan then trust the process and you'll be sure to see improvements along the way.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    I'd tell myself to be patient, and to stick to the training plan, and always remind myself that running is the thing that nobody is asking me to do. The only person in the way of me achieving my goals, is me. So get up, get out, and get after it.

    What are your goals?

    I'd like to race on the elite stage. I'm currently in a process of transitioning to faster marathon and ultra race times. I'm reading more, researching more, and planning strategically, in order to run faster and be more competitive. My marathon goal is to run a sub 2.25 marathon time. Personal running goals for me are divided into a few categories. Long term: To enjoy running as part of a healthy, adventurous lifestyle, for as long as I can, and continue to promote the benefits of running in terms of mental health. Short term: Currently, they are training focussed and involve building up strength and fitness, with the aim to establish myself as a competitive long distance runner at the next given opportunity.

    Who inspires you?

    I am a teacher, so everyday I am inspired by the younger generations I teach, and their resilience in the current world we live in. In terms of running I look up to Tom Evans (ultra runner), Kevin Seaward (marathon runner), Carla Molinaro (endurance runner), and Lee Grantham. I reached out to Lee earlier this year and he was kind enough to arrange a Zoom chat with me about inspiring younger generations to get into running. He's awesome, and has a crazy dedication to his running.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sustainability is very important to me. Also, at the heart of my running philosophy is the connection between physical and mental health. Sundried has always placed the running community and the runner, no matter the level you are running at (be it elite, Parkrun, club level, jogger) at the very centre of their brand message. It's a brand for every runner, which to me is something I truly identify with. Running is a personal journey for every individual, and a brand that encompasses this is one I like to associate myself with.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Jonty Bayliss - Athlete Ambassador

    Jonty is a triathlete who is passionate about making his sport ecofriendly and suistanable. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    No, I grew up playing basketball until the age of 18 and then diversified across rowing, hockey and dodgeball throughout my university years, before really discovering triathlon in 2015 and throwing myself into it. The last few years I have become really focused on it and I enjoy the intensity of the training.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I had two friends who were interested in it. One friend had already started competing and another asked if I would do a sprint triathlon with them. I agreed, had an interesting first race where it took me 3 minutes in transition to get a top on and got to the end of the race absolutely spent. I never thought that after this I would then be able to compete in anything further than sprint, so as I find myself often doing, I challenged myself to the 70.3 race down in Exmoor and the rest as they say, is history.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Outlaw Half Nottingham in 2018 has been my favourite race to date, as the weather was outstanding, the race organisers even had to panic buy 10,000 sponges a few days before because it was that warm. I had a great race day and it was also the first race my daughter was in attendance (not that she had much idea what was going on at 4 months old). I also got a personal best on the day at middle distance.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement is the discipline that I have developed through training for triathlon. I have found that this discipline has then carried throughout the rest of my lifestyle as you have to be disciplined in all areas to make time for your training. Having a full time job, a family and a hobby like triathlon can be a difficult balance and sacrifices have to be made. I have found that with 6am workouts (sometimes even 5am), two a day workouts, that you can sacrifice less out of basic discipline to your training plan and to your timings. 

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Yes, like a lot of triathletes I have had many, from dropping bottles mid bike course, falling over while taking my wetsuit off, and swimming in the wrong direction. The stand out one though, is on the first triathlon I did. I had no race belt so had my number stuck to a cycling top which it then took me over three minutes in transition to get on, admittedly a steward then helped me out.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Early on setbacks would really knock me and take me a while to get over. However now I find I am more resilient and this has been built up through the training process. I am very good at immediately reframing a setback and seeing it as another learning to go through to get to my end result.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Consistency is key. This is something I have really taken to in the past 18 months. Early on I would train for my 'A' race then take 2 months off after, then coming into the next season I would be starting 100 steps back from where I was rather than 2 steps back.

    What are your goals?

    In the next 2 years I want to break into the GB Age Group squad for middle distance triathlon. 

    Who inspires you?

    I draw inspiration from all over the place. I am still a huge basketball fan and athletes such as Micheal Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant are huge inspirations. Not so much what they achieved on the court but what they achieved off the court through their consistent hard work they would put in when no one was watching. Triathlon wise I look at people such as Lucy Gossage, Lionel Sanders and of course the great Jan Frodeno.

    Why work with Sundried?

    One of the biggest draws for me is sustainability, to be able to partner with Sundried where it is one of their top priorities is a real privilege. In a world of fast fashion it is great to be able to work with a brand who are conscious about making apparel which is built to last and even more so made out of recycled material. If we all work together to make a difference then we can have a huge impact on the world. Read more about Sundried's story here.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app. 

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • 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
  • 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