• Nigel Taylor - Athlete Ambassador

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    Have you always been into sport?

    Since an early age..growing up next to a rugby field I was always out playing some sort of sport.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I used to swim a lot as a child. I enjoy cycling and running so I thought it looks like a challenge. I participate in sprint Triathlons currently.

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Probably not one race, but a set of league races. I participate in the York and District road race league.a set of 10k races on evening around the York area.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Probably running the Brighton Marathon in 2019. I never thought that I would ever run that far in one go.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Several close calls with cars whilst competing. But broke my leg on a training run.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Positive can do attitude. A good physio and a good set of friends who supply cake and encouragement.

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

    Don't be disappointed if things go wrong in a race. We are always going to have bad days.

    What are your goals?

    20 min parkrun. Sub 45 min 10k in a race. Another marathon and may be a full distance Tri.

    Who inspires you?

    My child and my wife.

    Why work with Sundried?

    In the current world things need to be ecofriendly. People are looking for affordable and good products. The clothes feel great on and look good.

    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
  • Carl Dedman - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Cycling Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    I cycled for pleasure when I was younger. Got back into around 2010 to help with fitness and health. Now addicted.

    How did you first get into cycling?

    I got into cycling initially for health issues. But very quickly became hooked and 9 years later, I still look forward to every chance I get to ride my bike. The health issues have been helped greatly. But my head is in a much better place because of the fitness levels have increased.

    If you are interested in getting into cycling, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Pinarello gran Fondo in treviso Italy just for the amazing feeling of riding in Italy through the mountains with 15000 other people.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Completed a coast to coast 400 mile ride in aid of the Bobby on a bike charity.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Gave time trialling a go for short while my best time came with a very hard last 1-2k only to find I was running on a flat rear.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Try again straight away never dwell on what went wrong learn and go again.

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

    Ride with somebody who takes you just out of your comfort zone to help you improve at all times.

    What are your goals?

    After Covid times just to ride some mass participation sportives first of all.

    Who inspires you?

    People who have a positive outlook on life no matter what they are currently working through.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Love the idea of eco friendly/recycled materials being produced and promoted. Exercise apparel is a massive business and we all need to do our bit for the world we live in.

    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
  • Ali Longman - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Cycling Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    I’ve always enjoyed sport but didn’t come from a particularly sporty family. I learnt to swim at a young age and really took to it, catching my older sister up in lessons by the time I was 7! I continued competitive swimming all through my childhood and at university where I also started playing waterpolo.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    When I started working I found I had much less time to go for long swim sessions so picked up a bit of running which I could do straight from my front door and tired me out way quicker than swimming! And I was encouraged to join a group of colleagues cycling London to Brighton that same year which got me out enjoying my bike. This very quickly led to me doing my first triathlon and I never really looked back!

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    In 2014 my second ever triathlon was an ITU qualifier at Nottingham.  I was so new and naive and everyone looked so serious but I really went for it and was surprised at the pace I was holding on the bike. At the end of the race I was pretty emotional when I realised the time I had finished in gave me a really good chance of qualifying for the world championships.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Swimming solo across the English Channel! A crazy challenge I took on as a teenager. At times it feels so long ago but the I remember the highs and lows still so well.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    No complete disasters but I have realised I don’t cope too well with pressure! I always perform much better and enjoy it when I put no expectations on my race.  Something I need to work on to make race nerves work to my advantage!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I tend to move on from issues pretty quickly and usually do this by setting the next goal or target to aim for.

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

    Run slowly to enjoy it! I spent my first 5 years of triathlon mostly enduring running rather than enjoying it. I am not natural at running but have learnt if I really slow down it can be enjoyable and still be beneficial.

    What are your goals?

    To keep improving in all three disciplines to be the best that I can be!

    Who inspires you?

    Lots of different people.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Sundried produce really high quality items at reasonable prices which is something that is important when you spend as much time doing sport as I do.  I also love their passion for sustainability and using recycled materials in their clothing.

    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
  • Jenny Strudwick - Athlete Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Running Collection

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes and No. I love fitness, but I don't necessarily align sport with fitness and wellbeing. I've always been fairly good at running but should have applied myself when I was younger. I discovered my love of competitive running much later on but had already started to use physical exercise as a way of managing mental wellbeing. Participating in any exercise is like a form of meditation to me and provides so much more than just the physical benefits.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I worked for a TRI Sports retailer many moons ago and was able to develop my interests beyond just running. I got into cycling, to my husband's delight, and we really enjoyed watching and cycling together. We were in Paris watching the first year Froome won the Tour which was a great experience.

    If you are interested in getting into Triathlon, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. We have both men's and women's options available. 

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    My favourite races will always be my marathons. Although I am about to complete my first Ultra, so that may well take over!

    The NYC Marathon was my first big event so it has a special place in my heart, but nothing beats the Paris Marathon which was just a beauty of a run and a pleasure to take part in.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Oh my goodness, that's a tough question. As a coach and PT I would have to say seeing my clients achieve their goals if I am honest. Working with someone who point blank refuses to run for more than a minute and watching them run their first 5k is a brilliant feeling.

    I worked with a client two years ago who was practically sedentary and had a few challenging postural issues, but after consistent training he completed the London to Brighton bike ride and absolutely smashed his own expectations. That's a proud moment!

    Personally, I used my running to work with a charity in 2019. I dedicated 12 months of running, with challenges every month to raise money and awareness of prenatal and postnatal mental health. I was extremely proud that I was able to support the work of the charity but also reach people that may have not have been reached and guide them to the right support networks.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    Too many to mention!! Toilet disasters are frequent on long runs! We'll leave that one there!

    I've had two DNF's in marathons. Very low moments but you live and learn!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I get straight back on the training and go again. I will spend time fully understanding where I went wrong, or how something happened and will create a strategy to ensure it doesn't happen again to the same degree. I will book other events back in the diary and get back on it.

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

    There's lots of nutritional advice I wish I was given. How to fuel for long runs and how to recover. That took some time to get right.

    I also wish I had spent more time of joint mobility and strength at a young age. I've made considerable gains in the last few years but would have been less risk adverse now if my joints were better cared for when I was starting out.

    What are your goals?

    To be healthy and happy. Boring maybe to some but as a Mum, first and foremost I want to be a healthy role model for my son. I want the next generation to understand that exercise, fitness and healthy nutrition is a lifestyle but not a choice.

    I'm about to have a big birthday and I LOVE being the fittest and healthiest I've ever been. Long may it continue!

    Who inspires you?

    David Goggins. I'm inspired by David's journey, his mental strength to overcome both mental and physical challenges to be the very best in his field. His determination to succeed has made him the very best in many disciplines but his personal goal is to just be the best version of himself which I think is ore inspiring.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I'm lucky that I'm in a position to choose companies I'd like to be associated with from a branding perspective. I choose to live an eco-friendly healthy lifestyle which is aligned with that of Sundried. I've been looking for a company for sometime now but wanted more than anything for that company to share my ethics more than anything, as well as a love of fitness and performance.

    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
  • Back to square one - Ali Brown guest post

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    From fighting for medals, competing with the best amateur athletes in the world, being in top physical shape, being healthy, feeling great, to the decline, back to square one and the resulting impact it is having on me.

    (I have great perspective in life, I also have great levels of general awareness, these words are my experience and my thoughts only. It helps me to write things down and to express myself in different ways to make sense of things and grow as a person. I also decided to make it public so feel free to read it, or not) 

    What I have noticed is I seem to go through this mental cycle of personal change: 

    • Things start to decline
    • Once at the bottom, they stabilise
    • Realign/review my overall direction
    • Seek and find inner fuel/motivation
    • Develop as a person
    • Rise up with crystal clear clarity and renewed direction
    • Achieve what I set out to achieve
    • Maintain for a while
    • Begin to lose clarity and direction
    • Decline
    • Repeat the whole process. 

    But each time I go through the process, I feel I am more developed than last time, it’s compounding. Like an animal going into hibernation each winter but every spring they are stronger than the previous year. My life isn’t constant and I’ve realised what happens to me. Without motivation and clarity, my potential is put on ice. I trust myself that even in the dark times that I will be OK and I am just going through this cycle. 

    A toxic mixture of lockdown restrictions affecting everything, multiple health issues, loss of motivation and clear thinking, build-up of frustration and anger, has resulted in 5 months of inactivity. Going from 10+ hour training weeks to close to zero felt like being a high dose of anti-depressants and going completely cold turkey (I have also experienced this). But in this instance, it felt more dramatic and harder to cope with. 

    My normality was triathlon training and I “needed” that to have a balanced lifestyle. It ensured my brain was releasing enough endorphins (or Dolphins as I like to call them), to be able to get through everyday life whilst keeping depression and anxiety in check as much as I can. I could cope with it. I could manage it. A bi-product of this lifestyle meant I was physically healthy, which felt good, and I am lucky that it also meant I was able to compete and race close to the top of the amateur ranks. However, that was just a consequence. The main reason I do this is again, to keep the balanced lifestyle and “cope” with my mental health issues. If that also means I get some nice medals and qualify for championship races, then cool, a bonus for me. 

    My Dolphins reduced when the swimming pools closed, they reduced again when I developed severe Chilblains in my feet, unable to even walk for weeks, and hardly able to push on the bike pedals. As a result, my brain stopped producing endorphins and on came the decline. Everything in my life changed, every routine I had was no more, my mind was elsewhere, I no longer felt like the same person. It felt like a monumental effort to just do the simplest of daily tasks and carry on. I started to think about not being here and what it would be like if I was no longer here. The mental demons I once controlled with exercise were roaming free in my mind and with it came suicide thoughts. Writing that word, just now, bought tears to my eyes. Typing it out “suicide” is powerful, difficult to do. To put what is in your mind into an actual tangible word, on paper. It makes it real. But supressing it is the problem. Especially in males, typing out the word suicide and talking about it needs to be normalised and not hidden away from. 76% of all recorded suicides in the UK in 2019 were men. This is noted as a “constant trend” from the mid-1990's. Being a male and knowing most males would never talk to someone about feeling suicidal makes me feel sad. It makes me want to talk about it even more to at least bring awareness that this is a big issue and we need to do a lot more to help and prevent it. 

    I decided to search for a therapist and I arranged a consultation. I now speak to them every two weeks and it has increased the amount of hope I have. You can rarely talk openly and honestly about somethings to friends or family, because their responses are not always helpful and can even make things worse, so having a professional to talk to is vital for me. 

    I noticed that this time the cycle I go through would be more dramatic, and it was, it still is! But I am also resilient and taking action to ensure I can remain in control. And things “will” improve and the climb up can begin. I can feel myself gaining more clarity by the day and becoming motivated to decide upon and achieve my next goal as an athlete. The pools should be open within a month, my health is good enough for me to be able to start to run again (and my god, it feels like I’m a total beginner again), and the turbo trainer is set up and ready for me. 

    This virus and the resulting lockdowns have been brutal. But I can now see the other side of it because I listened to myself, I was self-aware and I stayed true to myself – which some people don’t like or don’t understand, but they don’t have to. My Dolphins will return, I can achieve balance in my life once more and I will continually develop as a human being. If that also means I get to stand on a podium again, well, time will tell. 

    If anyone would like to contact me, even just to say “hi”, I’d welcome it, you can find me here: https://linktr.ee/alibrowncoaching 

    About the author: Alister Brown is a Sundried Ambassador and avid runner who represents Great Britain as an age group duathlete.

    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
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