• Austin Hall GB Age-Group Triathlete

    Austin Hall Triathlete Age Group Team GB

    Austin qualified for the Team GB Age-Group team after a brilliant performance during the 2017 season. He tells Sundried about preparations for future races.

    Have you always been into sport?

    My life has evolved around sport from a very young age. Being at boarding school I was playing sport every day and a big variety as well, including rugby, hockey and cricket. School also made me very competitive and motivated me to be the best I can be.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I was a club swimmer and a county runner and the achievements of the Brownlee brothers in 2012 made me throw the cycling element into the mix as well.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    BUCS Standard in May 2017 at Southport was a very good race for me. I surprised myself in the swim, setting a new PB and the cycle course suited me as it was fast and flat. I finished 62nd against some of the best university triathletes in the country.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for the Great Britain Age Group Team for the European Standard Championships in 2018. I did not expect to automatically qualify as I wasn’t in great shape due to just overcoming a hip injury.

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

    My friend convinced me it would be a great idea to enter the Mud Sweat and Gears Mountain Bike race at Hadleigh Park, which was the London 2012 MTB course. Safe to say I haven’t raced MTB again. There is a video on youtube of me falling off my bike around pretty much every corner and obstacle.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    The sooner I overcome the disappointed of the setback, the sooner I can move on and refocus to getting back in form and increasing my motivation.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Just chill out and take a step back to look at the bigger picture because there are so many elements you just can’t prepare for, so there is no point in worrying. Prepare everything that is in your control and then just enjoy it.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    For the 2017/18 season my main focus is on the European Championships where my goal is for a top 15 finish.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Mo Farah because he never gives up

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

    What I most like about Sundried is how they value their staff, as understanding the needs of their employees will result in better productivity. My favourite bit of kit is the Grande Casse Hoody as it is so warm and comfortable to train in.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • St Neots Triathlon Series 2017

    Michael Jennings Mens Health magazine fitness editor triathlon st neots

    After wanting to try my hand at a triathlon for a while now, I finally took the plunge and entered the Nice Tri St Neot's Triathlon series. Instead of throwing myself in at the deep end with a standard distance race, I figured it would be better to first test my fitness with the Sprint discipline.

    Training 

    I was coming into triathlon training completely fresh not knowing what to expect. Physically, I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been though. I swam a lot as a teen and cycling is in my family (my granddad cycled across North America in 8 weeks, across the Andres and the foothills of the Himalayas, all after the age of 50). My running left a lot to be desired, but I was capable enough. After calling on a few friends who’ve tackled triathlons before, I was told to split up the distances in training into intervals. This, I was told, would improve my VO2 max; increase my speed consistency over the course of the race and just as importantly, stop training from ever becoming tedious.

    I set myself the aim of doing each race discipline twice a week in the run-up to race day. With it being my first triathlon, I wanted to hit the ground running with as much momentum as possible and therefore decided against tapering one-week prior.

    The swimming was my biggest error in training. Not once did I do any open water training. It was just a lot more convenient for me to base my training in the pool. Swimming 20 lengths of the local 50m pool in the morning before work suited my schedule a lot better. I learnt the hard way on race day when the open water humbled me and taught me a valuable lesson. Training shouldn’t be convenient; it should still push you outside your comfort zone to prepare your body for what’s to come.

    When I was at a 25m pool, I’d split the 40 lengths into 10 lengths with a minute rest between rounds. The bike was done in 1k splits, and with running I opted for 500m sprints or one-mile splits, aiming to hit the same split time within a 10-20 seconds difference. This combination of intervals gave me a solid aerobic base.

    Michael Jennings St Neots Triathlon Series Race

    Race Day

    I didn't really feel nervous on the morning of the race. It was more the apprehension of not knowing what to expect from the water or the race as a whole. I knew I wasn’t going to compare myself to others; I was there to complete, not to compete.

    When the field of athletes entered the River Ouse, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I’d been so worried about the temperature of the water, but when I dunked my head under in the brief warm up, I didn’t freeze, and to my surprise the water was clear – dare I say it, the perfect conditions.

    I was told from the start that jostling for position would inevitably happen in a field of over 350 competitors. I initially stuck to the game plan by hanging back, but my competitive nature pulled me in. This didn’t help calm my breathing. The one thing I was repeatedly told to do was to stay calm in the water and enjoy it, that way I could find a rhythm and settle into the swim. However, my breathing suffered and I soon found myself having to breathe every stroke, as opposed to every three strokes like in the pool (that’ll teach me for not acclimatising my body to open water).

    Mens Health Junior Fitness Editor Michael Jennings Sundried Triathlon

    Spotting was an art I should’ve practised too. I found myself having to slow down in the race temporarily to assess my position. In hindsight, I should’ve planned my spotting simultaneously with my strokes to improve efficiency.

    One thing I wasn’t expecting was the niggling cramp I experienced in my quads while swimming. The combination of not sufficiently warming up, the cold temperature hitting my muscles, and not letting my arms do the majority of the work (to save my legs for the later bike and run) left my leg muscles stiff and unable to kick with any real strength. This combination of unsteady breathing and heavy legs meant I emerged from the water a bit off the pace.

     My transition from water to bike was slow. I’m not sure if it’s common or not, but I was pretty dizzy and disorientated emerging from the water. Once on the bike though, it was a different story. I’m going to put this down to getting out of my wetsuit to show off my Sundried Performance Tri-Suit. I was flying now.  I was in my natural environment and managed to make up ground. St Neots provided an ideal course for riders. Apart from a few big hills, the country roads of Cambridgeshire proved kind to the first-time triathlete. I’d hit my stride.

    Myself and another rider spent large parts of the bike segment neck and neck. He would pass me on the flats; I would take him on the hill. This definitely helped keep me motivated as the miles racked up.

    Going into the run, my legs felt surprisingly good. I’d shaken off the cramp and unlike from swim to bike, my muscles were warm enabling me to keep pushing harder.

    Knowing all I had to do was make it through a 5km run and then I could reward myself with a Sunday roast, the run felt smooth. The hard miles had been done and I continued to pass a few more of the field. The two laps around a very flat and peaceful Regatta Meadow Park felt like it went really quickly and having amazing support from the crowds provided extra motivation to finish strong. Crossing the finish line, I didn’t feel hugely fatigued. In fact, I’m sure I crossed it with a huge smile on my face.

    Triathlon Finisher Medal Sundried Triathlon Suit

    Final Thoughts

    The smile as a crossed the line is what matters. As a first-timer trying a triathlon it’s so important to just enjoy the experience and not get to caught up in trying to keep pace with seasoned club competitors. I learnt so much from training, the preparation needed, and even more so from the race, for example pacing.

    I’ve definitely caught the triathlon bug and next season I’m already lining up a few standard distance events. My advice to anyone thinking about taking the step and entering a triathlon – just go for it. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain. Thank you again to Sundried for the incredible performance tri-suit. Not only did it look great on, more importantly throughout the race it was unbelievably comfortable. At no point did I experience any discomfort, tightness or chafing, which allowed me to focus solely on my performance. Here’s to a successful off-season training hard!

    About the author: Michael Jennings has been the Junior Fitness Editor at Men's Health Magazine since November 2016. His editorial areas of interest include fitness, nutrition, supplements, activewear, retreats, and events.

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Ironman Triathlon

    Ironman Triathlon Triathlete Running Swimming

    What is an Ironman Triathlon? How is it different from any other triathlon? We look into the massively popular endurance sport.

    Triathlon Organisations

    Ironman is a trademarked brand and is a specific family of triathlon events that take place all over the globe. Many people mistake the term Ironman for a specific triathlon distance, but not all full distance triathlons are Ironman events.

    There are several different triathlon organisations across the globe. British Triathlon is the main governing body in the UK and oversees triathlon races from local to world qualifying races.  ITU Triathlon is the International Triathlon Union and is the international governing body for many different multi-sport events from triathlon and duathlons to aquathlons and other non-standard multi-sport variations.

    On the other hand, Ironman is a privately owned brand and only incorporates the standard swim-bike-run triathlon in two distances: the full Ironman and the half Ironman (also known as the 70.3). A triathlon of this distance that isn't organised by the Ironman brand is known as a middle distance triathlon.

    Finally, the other main family of triathlon organisers is the Challenge Family whose biggest race is Challenge Roth in Germany. This is also a full distance triathlon, but as it is not organised by Ironman, it would not be called an Ironman triathlon. 

    Triathlon Distances

    Super Sprint 

    400m swim - 10km bike - 2.5km run

    Sprint

    750m swim - 20km bike - 5km run

    Standard Distance (also known as Olympic Distance)

    1500m swim - 40km bike - 10km run

    Middle Distance (also known as Half Ironman, also known as 70.3)

    2.5km swim - 80km bike - half marathon run

    Full Distance (also known as Full Ironman, also known as 140.6)

    3.8km swim - 180km bike - full marathon run

    Ironman 70.3

    Half Ironman events are a great way to get into the sport without making such a huge step up from standard distance triathlons. This is probably the most common event for novices and amateur athletes to enter, and can still count towards points for the Full Ironman World Championships. There are many big 70.3 races across the globe.

    Ironman Lanzarote

    This 70.3 race is always very popular with British athletes as it is in a convenient location and provides stunning backdrops and great weather for racing. Several Sundried ambassadors have competed in Lanzarote and it also provides a training camp for amateur athletes who want to improve in the sport.

    Triathlon Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 Half Iron

    Ironman Wales

    A new race has recently begun in Tenby, Wales and offers a few different distance options. There is the Tenby Long Course weekend in which athletes complete the full Iron distance but over three days, completing the swim on the first day, the bike on the second, and the marathon on the third. This is a great way to break down the tough sport and give more athletes a chance of completing the full event before tackling all three disciplines on the same day.

    Ironman Weymouth

    Ironman Weymouth is one of the most popular 70.3 locations in the UK as it is easily accessible and is a great way to transition from shorter triathlons into the bigger ones. 

     

    Full Ironman Events

    Ironman Bolton

    This is the location of Ironman UK, the biggest Ironman event in the country and the main British qualifier for the Ironman World Championships.

    Ironman Kona (Hawaii)

    The Ironman World Championships are held annually in Kona, Hawaii. This is the biggest Ironman event in the world and is the ultimate goal of many triathletes. Chrissie Wellington is an English triathlete who has won the Ironman World Championships four times and is therefore one of the most prominent names in the world of multi-sport.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Rui Dolores Xterra Triathlete

    Rui Dolores Xterra Triathlete Off Road

    Rui is a Portuguese athlete who competes in off-road triathlons. He tells Sundried about his performance at the Xterra World Championships and his goals for the future.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes. When I was a child I always played football and other sports. At nine years old, I started doing swimming competitions. When I was 18 years old, I did my first sprint triathlon, and I'm still doing them today.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I always try to find new goals to stay motivated and to improve myself. After many years of swimming, I was feeling the need for a different and bigger challenge

    What’s been your best race to date?

    I've had many great races, but the most notable was when I finished second in my age group at the World Championship Tricross in 2011.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was completing my first full distance Ironman in Frankfurt in 2014. It was a long and hard day but it was a great feeling at the finish line.

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

    During an off-road duathlon in my home town, I crashed and broke my bike frame, so I had to finish the race with bare feet and a bike in two pieces!

    My toughest race was XTERRA France this year. It was a very cold, rainy and muddy day!

    Xterra Triathlete Triathlon Bike Cycling Mountain Bike

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I always focus on my goal, the priority is do my best and cross the finish line and don't give up.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Don't stop when you're tired. Stop when you're done!

    What are your goals for 2017?

    I've already completed my first goal of 2017 which was to compete at the European tour XTERRA, I finished in fifth place. My next goal is world championship XTERRA in October 2017.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My inspiration comes from all those who support me.

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

    I care deeply about the environment so it was great to find Sundried, a brand that shares my ethos. Plus, the clothes are made in my home country of Portugal! I love the designs and the training clothes are perfect for before or after a race when you need to be comfortable. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Vanessa Cullen Triathlete

    Vanessa Cullen Triathlete

    Vanessa is an Australian athlete who has a passion for triathlon and trail running. She talks to Sundried about some of her past racing disasters and how she pushes through adversity.

    Have you always been into sport? 

    Yes – as a kid it was swimming, soccer, netball and hockey, then as an adult it was muay thai, juijitsu, body sculpting, and now triathlon, trail running and yoga

    What made you decide to enter triathlon? 

    I had to quit martial arts due to a health condition that made impact sports dangerous, so my PT suggested triathlon because he knew I liked spin classes, had taken up running, and used to be a swimmer

    What’s been your best race to date?

    That’s a hard one because I love racing and race often! It would be a tie between my first Half Ironman in 2016, representing Australia in the Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Chicago 2015, and having the fastest female bike leg in a local sprint race also in 2015.

    And your proudest achievement? 

    All of the above and surviving the World Masters Games triathlon in Auckland in 2017 intact during horrendous weather!

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

    Yes, I crashed in the first kilometre of the bike leg of a local triathlon in 2016. One of my shoes wouldn’t close properly and I jacknifed the bike whilst trying to fix it. I slid down the road on my side but got up and finished the bike and run with no back brakes and bleeding with cuts, bruises and busted ribs.

    How do you overcome setbacks? 

    Get back up and start again. From scratch if need be. If you’ve done it once you can do it again.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing? 

    Don’t bother with having your shoes already on the bike if you really are just too short to reach doing them up properly!

    What are your goals for 2017? 

    I am training for my first Ultra marathon trail run – I hope to nail it!

    Who do you take your inspiration from? 

    Normal everyday people who I know that are battling major health issues yet get up every day and achieve amazing things. I have Poly cystic Kidney Disease and a few other chronic conditions, but my health is still really good. I run for sufferers of the conditions I have and for anyone else who can’t. They are the people I think about when I am competing. I feel grateful for my health and I hope that I can inspire others to become empowered and make the most of their own well-being.

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

    The company’s ethical ethos and 100% recycled materials range. The water bottle and socks would be my favourite pieces of Sundried kit right now – basic, inexpensive things that you really appreciate when they’re designed this well.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren