• Q&A With Steven Sayer of Whitty's Sport Therapy

    Steven is an Ironman triathlete who was inspired by his father. He answers some questions about life as an athlete and his triathlon career.

    1. How did you first get into the sport of triathlon?

    I was originally a swimmer and I got into the sport through my dad who took part in the first London Triathlon. I helped out with my local triathlon club and then attended a few training sessions and began training with my dad and that's where it all began.

    2. What has been your favourite race to date?

    There's two. The first one when racing elite for a company called Tri UK and going up against my idols in the sport in the London Triathlon. The second was at the World Championships in Perth, Australia. I had been training on the Gold coast for months leading to the race and had one of the best races of my life.

    3. What do you do to stay motivated?

    I like to push my body to the limit; as I'm getting older my speed has gone so I now compete in 70.3 and full distance Ironman races. A new chapter in my triathlon career.

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

    Start with a distance that you feel comfortable with but most of all enjoy the race and training.

    5. Who is your biggest inspiration?

    My dad was my biggest inspiration in the sport followed by my coach who showed me how to train and eat the right stuff at the right time.

    6. What made you want to get into coaching?

    I've been teaching/coaching swimming for over 20 years, and done several qualifications in many different sports. I like to help people achieve their potential in anything/sport and I was lucky to have help from my coaches and my parents at a young age and now continue to do the same.

    7. What are your goals for 2017/2018?

    This year I'm helping several athletes achieve their goals and taking a back seat due to starting a family. I have also started a small race team competing in many sports around the country/World. i.e 70.3 World Champs, 70.3 Europeans and Olympic World champs. We are a team from novice to elite level and competing in sprint to full Ironman distance.

    In 2018 I will compete in several 70.3 races and for 2019 I would like to do Ironman Lanzarote with a few of the team.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Chris Stray Athlete Ambassador

    cycling triathlon Sundried ambassador

    Chris comes from a swimming background meaning triathlon was a natural step for him. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Very much so, I’ve been a competitive athlete as a swimmer since a very young age and have always enjoyed giving new sports a go and getting involved!

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Coming from a background of swimming as well as mountain biking, triathlon seemed like the natural progression for me. I stepped up the road training and began attending Saturday morning Parkruns and it’s all been downhill from there as they say!

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

    My favourite (and most challenging) would be the Outlaw Half at Holkham. It was by far my most challenging race due to the heat on the day and also a distance further than I’m used to but the support was amazing and it was great fun to do.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement would be completing the Outlaw Half, but I’ve got much bigger aims set for the year ahead to see if I can top it!

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

    I have had the unique experience of losing half a tri bar whilst out on circuit which made the remaining bike distance quite the challenge!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Adaptation and determination. I’ve had several injuries in the past and trying to find ways I can still push on and keep heading towards my goals has always been difficult, but in my mind I don’t like to be defeated and thus do as much as I can to battle onward!

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

    Don’t go too fast on the swim, it’s only the first of three legs! Slowing down a bit on the swim could give me valuable energy later on!

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    Goals for the rest of this year are to give myself a great base fitness to train hard on into the winter. For 2020, I’m hoping for a sub 55 sprint triathlon, putting in some strong performances at the BUCS triathlon events and be competitive in some Crit racing later in the year. I’ve got my eyes set on an ETU qualifier event and putting in a strong effort there also. As an added bonus retain my 2019 age group title at the Erewash Triathlon!

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Multiple people, mostly I find I look to other athletes I train with as part of a team and people who have a passion for training, racing and enjoying themselves!

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

    I like that the clothing options as a triathlete are affordable and are of a high quality that I can rely on. My favourite piece of kit is probably the cycling bib shorts!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Max Poplawski Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried activewear athlete ambassador

    Max has his sights set on qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and is working hard to achieve his goals. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I've been competing in some sport or another since I was around 6. Growing up, it was swimming and rugby, then at university it was water polo and climbing, and now it's endurance sport and triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I was always a swimmer, but when I was climbing I started running as cross-training. Then I started cycling as cross-training for running. Then one day I thought "Huh, this is basically triathlon training" and decided to enter a race and that was that.

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

    I raced the Marlow Fugitive Olympic triathlon as my comeback race after two weeks of pure triathlon training and finished 6th. I was on an old road bike with badly clipped-on aero bars, and hadn't swum in open water in years. It was a great race because there were no expectations beforehand and the only thing I needed to do was race hard and have fun.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Coming 11th in a 50-mile trail race.

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

    I have had a few! Some more funny than others. The funniest being when I was about 8 or 9, I was at a school swimming gala and my trunks came down after I dived in! Safe to say I stayed underwater for a while to try and fix that one.

    The toughest: I think the 50-mile ultra marathon was one of the mentally harder races I have done. It was 9.5 hours of running with a lot of being by myself. There is only so much prep you can do for that kind of isolation.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I acknowledge that it is one first. Then I see if it is something I could have prevented (and therefore learn from while coming back). If it wasn’t anything I could have prevented, I think “we all get dealt cards in life” and this rings true.

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

    There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to training. Do not focus on what everyone else is doing. Their body isn't yours.

    What are your goals for 2020?

    My goal is to podium at Nationals at the Olympic distance and try to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Ironman 70.3 Gdynia.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    This is a hard one to answer. I take a lot of inspiration from a group of endurance athletes who also suffer from the same arthritic condition as myself. It was a huge source of motivation when I was first diagnosed to see people achieve amazing things with their bodies regardless of the issues faced.

    Outside of that group; Michael Phelps, Lionel Sanders, and Courtney Dauwalter.

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

    I like the charity work and values that Sundried stands by, in particular, the idea of the Eco range of products made from recycled plastic.

    My favourite piece of kit is probably the Peleton Padded Shorts - I spend a lot of time on the turbo trainer!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Marc Went Athlete Ambassador

    cycling triathlon Sundried activewear

    Marc is a triathlete who enjoys long distance racing. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I’ve always been one of those people that can’t sit still and have enjoyed an eclectic range of sports over the years. From years of playing football and rugby to owning horses and competing in show jumping. I try to have at least one challenge a year to keep me focused on training.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Having trained for several marathons and enjoyed cycling, a friend suggested I should enter a local sprint triathlon. As a poor swimmer, I took a block of 12-week swimming lessons and mid-way through I recall telling my swim instructor that I’d entered a sprint triathlon in 2 weeks time, her horrified look said it all. Thankfully, the swim was reduced to 300m on the day and I made it… just. From then I was hooked.

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

    Challenge Roth this year was amazing and I can now understand why many pro triathletes have this one on their bucket list.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Getting my wife also hooked on triathlon, it makes ‘needing another bike’ much easier!

    running triathlon Ironman racing Sundried trisuit

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

    In the run up to Challenge Roth, I had major ankle issues and after months of x-rays and CT scans we were still unsure on the root issue. It was decided that we’d manage the problem through limited running and increased cycling and I managed to finish Roth in 11.16. We found out 5 days later that I had a bad break in my foot so I had to have a forced 5 months off running.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I’m a control freak and plan for everything so health issues aside, I’m ready for anything on the day.

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

    Invest in a coach if you’re able to and rest days aren’t your enemy.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    In the plan for 2020 we have Brighton Marathon, Cotwolds 113, IM Copenhagen and hopefully London Marathon, we’ll then weave in other races in the coming months.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I’m a huge fan of Jan Frodeno but just love the work ethic and dedication of Lucy and Reece Charles-Barclay, they are machines!

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

    As a father, I’m always worried about the world we leave behind for our kids to inherit and therefore love the ethical pillars which run through Sundried from its plastic recycled products, to its local sourcing policy and that personal customer service. The Cadence aero skin tri suit is brilliant and my go-to race suit

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Chris Sims Junior Athlete Ambassador

    triathlete running Sundried activewear

    Chris started as a swimmer and soon found a passion for multi sport in the form of aquathlon. He talks to Sundried about life in this sport.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I would definitely say so. I was always an energetic child so swimming helped keep me under control. As the years progressed, I really enjoyed working hard and the satisfaction of doing well at competitions, so I devoted more and more time to swimming and bettering myself.

    By my early teens, I was spotted with high potential and that led me to go into the England programmes to develop my knowledge of the sporting world and this only fired up more and more ambition for the future.

    What made you decide to enter the world of aquathlon?

    What made me join aquathlon is the desire to expand my sporting career and build as an athlete. The choice to specifically go to aquathlon was pretty easy as I had already covered the swimming part but had previous experience at my local athletics club. This put me in a pretty good starting position for my first aquathlon race.

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

    This is a tough one but it must have been my regional final at the age of 13. I was ranked 3rd going into the 50m breast stroke final but managed to come 2nd by the skin of my teeth. This is my favourite race as it was my biggest race to date and I was really nervous, but I got my head down and just kept pushing and pushing until the end of the pool and got a silver medal. The boy who I beat for 2nd became one of my really good friends to this day and the boy who won is my training partner!

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was winning a national silver medal in the 200m breaststroke, coming off a rather bad season to doing a season's best just shows you’ve got to trust in your coaches and the programme you’re on. Also, qualifying for the European multi sport championships in Romania was pretty spectacular as it was my first international competition.

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

    I have had a race disaster. It was on one of my aquathlons and I went the wrong way on the running route! Luckily, an official chased after me and shouted at me. I only lost one place but did end up running 5.3 km instead of 5. It was rather embarrassing but I laugh about it now.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    The way I overcome a setback is reminding myself of the love I have of the sports I do and how it’s gotten me through tough times. Instead of getting angry at myself or emotional at a disappointing race, I reflect on the good races and the challenges I’ve overcome in the past.

    Also, if I have injured myself, which is a common setback for loads of athletes, I'd start back at the basics and find my confidence again whilst finding the quickest possible way of recovering for that specific injury. Obviously, each injury is a challenge on different levels for different people so there isn’t one answer for that.

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

    Each sporting career is a personal journey for everyone, no matter how successful. So I’d given myself some advice on the lines of “just enjoy it” and “it’ll all be worth it” so when I did feel like giving up, I'd pick myself up and push even harder for the goal I was working towards.

    What are your goals for 2019 and 2020?

    My short-term goals are all about working on my running as it’s my weakest part. This means I’ll be working on different technical points in my run but also different styles of training so I can harness that power and stamina. Long-term I’d really like to make the world championships for aquathlon. It’s a big step-up from what I have previously experienced as the level is so good and everyone is super fast as well.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take my inspiration not from the Olympic/world/commonwealth champions but from the people who, after a setback, pick themselves back up and turn that weakness into a strength. It’s one of the most powerful tools to have mastered but it’s definitely one of the trickiest. I find inspiration and motivation from this as it shows the determination and resilience to be the best and I like taking that away with me.

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

    I love the ethos of Sundried. It’s a triathlon brand, focusing on triathlon not the popularity of the brand or how much money it makes. It’s a proper professional brand and I believe it's highly underrated.

    My favourite bit of kit has got to be the Sundried Dom 2.0 Men's Running Vest. It's incredibly lightweight and perfect for running in the dark due to its visibility and reflective properties. It’s also part of Sundried’s Eco Core range which helps reduce wasted my making the products out of plastic bottles!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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