|Swim Training |
Basic Swim Training principles for Triathletes & others
The part-time swimmer has a tough job finding the time to train, work commitments, family life and other stuff all get in the way of regular training.
>Try to fit in at least 3 swim sessions a week, time permitting at least 1 hour long for each session.
>Focus on the specific swimming and type required for your event, for example...
>If you’re new to the sport of Triathlon and swimming your Aerobic Base of fitness with lots of skill development drills ECT is key.
>If your training for longer distances you must focus on that swim distance, it’s no good swim training with short sets; you must build an Aerobic Base of swimming strength and endurance.
>Focus on your weak areas, if your kick is poor make the time to fit in good kick sets, your kick is highly important for good stroke balance.
Kick sets for developing your stroke
Developing your Front crawl kick
A good front crawl kick is highly important, not only for propulsion but for a well balanced stroke, good balance is highly important try these kick sets for a stronger leg kick.
16x25m front crawl kick 15 seconds rest @ 25m
Try adding this to an endurance set for example, if you are training for a 1500m swim a training set may go...
600 warm up
1x800m front crawl – steady
16x25m front Crawl kick 15 seconds rest @ 25m
Then swim 1x 1500m race pace ( timed )
Swim 8x50m kick with 30 seconds rest after each 50m
Try adding this to an endurance set for example, if you are training for a 1500m swim a training set may go...
600 warm up
8x100 front crawl pull + 10 seconds recovery
3x400m front Crawl – steady with 30 seconds rest after each 400m
Swim 8x50m kick with 30 seconds rest after 50m
Kick test sets
Kick test sets are simple, try them once a month and record your time, any distance but all with one goal in mind... kick as far as you can with a set time
Endurance kick Test
Sprint kick Test
Or try this...
Give yourself 5 minutes – then kick as far as possible in that time – record the distance and repeat monthly.
Top 10 ways to develop your Front crawl kick
1- Spend some time EVERY session to work on your kick
2- Improve your ankle flexibility and improve your kicking
3- Use fins to improve ankle strength but don’t get hooked on kicking with fins for every set
4- Try mixing your endurance sets up with kick sets –
5- When doing kicking sets kick from your hips, not your knees, this will only put overload on your ankles and effect your kick
6- Do a regular kick set test, and record.
7- If your unable to kick a whole length the stop where possible +~5 seconds mid way before you continue
8- Gain additional mobility – even 5-10 minutes ankle mobility every day will improve your kick
9- Keep most of your foot out under the water
And number 10 THE TOP KICKING TIP! Keep at it you may not be very good at kicking but it is important (very) so stick with it!
Improve the catch phase of your stroke
The catch phase of any stroke is highly important, a good feel for the water is highly important, finger paddles can help.
The paddles heighten stroke awareness and emphasize stroke imperfections, making it easier to identify and correct technique. Sculling Paddles are a great way to build forearm and finger strength by accentuating the entire stroke from entry to finish
Try This simple set, once a week at least, it can be added into any training program.
12x25m with finger paddles- + 5 seconds rest after each 25m
8x25m without finger paddles- + 5 seconds rest after each 25m
12x25m with finger paddles - + 5 seconds rest after each 25m
8x25m without finger paddles + 5 seconds rest after each 25m
MOST IMPORTANTLY - ENJOY!! :)
|Paul Carroll - Duathlon Champion Blog |
After a tough winter consisting of many long hours on the turbo and some good cross country racing, the season began pretty early with the Sportsman Duathlon in Dundalk at the start of February and the Naas Duathlon the following week. Both races went well, not just because I won, but I was also encouraged to see quicker times than previous years and that my bike split was improving nicely. It was at this stage I hooked up with Mark from Pixels whose backing has been much appreciated. As we all know Triathlon is an expensive sport, so any assistance is very welcome.
In my sights was the National Duathlon championship which I had managed to win in 2011, but it's difficult to plan ahead and say that the number 1 goal for next season is to win it again – you never know who could turn up on the day! So my aim was to be quicker than last year and race as well as I possibly could.
Before that though was the British Championships at the Dambuster Duathlon in Lincolnshire. It was very difficult to know what to expect with nearly 800 entrants and with never having raced the course before. I actually had a great race, one of those where all goes to plan and I came away with 2nd place overall, which was well ahead of my expectations. It was also my first standard distance duathlon of the year – it was a big step up from the shorter races and although my legs cramped up a bit on the bike I felt pretty strong throughout, which showed good progress.
After the great start to the season, things took a bit of a dip after the Dambuster with a shoulder injury and a week away on holiday at Easter. Although I was still allowed to train while away (my family are very understanding!) it obviously wasn't as sustained or intense, but with the 22nd April fast approaching there wasn't much I could do about it!
There was a good quality field at Burnfoot, so my plan was to try and get some sort of lead after the first 10k run, hold on for as long as possible on the bike (ideally this would be to lap 3 out of 5) and then go for broke on the final 5k. Things got off to a good start with Michael Black taking it out strongly in the first mile or two; I sat in for a while and then tried to up the pace a bit as the group was still pretty big at this stage. This push managed to break things up a bit with only Eamon McAndrew staying with me into T1, where we had a lead of about 1minute. A good transition saw me out onto the bike course with a lead. I know the course pretty well having raced on it the last 3 years, so I knew what to expect and where I wanted to push it. Being out on front is mentally tough, especially on this course as there is no opportunity to see where everyone else is so it was a matter of getting the head down and counting off the laps.
I still had a lead after the 3rd lap where I got a shout from my ever dependable support team (my wife and two girls!) that it was down to about 15 seconds. I was eventually caught at the start of the last lap by Mark Morgan. This was almost a relief, as I could now sit back and just try to ensure a gap didn't open up. I had raced Mark at the Dambuster race (he finished 10th), so I knew he was a strong biker and thought he would make up some ground. Mark and I came into T2 more or less together, which I was reasonably happy with. This is when things started to go badly wrong! It had started to rain during the bike and although I was aware that it was cold, it wasn't a major issue (or so I thought). I got my bike racked, shoes on, but couldn't for the life of me get the buckle on my helmet undone because my hands were so numb. I could hear the commentator shouting that Mark was away and I was still in transition. By now panic was really setting in. I eventually forced the helmet over my chin and got away but was now 40 seconds down on Mark. I couldn't even see him at the start, but as I calmed down and settled into my run, I steadily worked my way back to him and ended up coming home with a 50 second cushion.
It was great to get the win again and also to achieve my goal of being quicker than last year. A big thanks to the North West Triathlon Club for putting on a brilliant race – really well organised and marshalled – just try and make it a bit warmer next year!
|New Amphibia Dry Mat going down a storm!! |
The ‘Dry Mat’ is yet another unique product from Amphibia Sport - an hygienic changing mat for using in wet changing rooms or when changing outdoors. The Dry Mat has been engineered with dual layer construction which has a micro-fibre ‘super absorbent’ top for standing on to dry your feet and a non-slip natural rubber bottom. The Dry Mat is easily washed in the washing machine or handwashed and is also quick dry. Its light and convenient so can be easily rolled-up to store in your bag and is more hygienic than putting your towel on the ground. The Dry Mat is available in a variety of colours to suit every taste: Red, Navy, Orange, Pink and Blue.
Loads of different types of people are buying the dry mats - from triathletes in transition, to surfers on the beach, hikers and a whole range of people changing in wet changing rooms, gyms, swimming pools etc. Dont put your towel down, you never know what it will pick up! The mat is the perfect size to stand on but doesnt take up loads of space in your bag.
Price is €18 / £15 availble through our online shop and sports stores nationwide. Once you use one you'll wonder how you ever did without it!
|Stephen Early - Valentia Triathlon and Howth Aquat |
Valentia – Sprint Distance Champs
As this was my first triathlon of the season, I was a little more nervous than usual. I had raced 10 days previously in the Phoenix Park duathlon and knew that my bike/run combination was in decent enough shape at this stage of the season. Instead of going down with a specific goal in mind, I was going down to race. Once you race hard and with honesty, you should get the result your hard work deserves.
The swim was rather uneventful – cold but uneventful. Brian Harris was gone from the gun and there was no staying with him. A group of four - Stephan Teeling-Lynch, Ross Higgins, Bjorn Ludick and myself - swam together for about 600 metres, until I saw somebody cut the final buoy at the finish. I saw one of the marshals running out to redirect whoever it was (I later found out it was Ross) back around the buoy. I nearly followed him but quickly remembered that we had to swim around all the buoys. Not a great start for Ross!
Transition was long and gave everybody a chance to see where they were positioned after the swim. I determined that Brian was miles ahead of everyone because I never even saw him leave transition. I got out onto the bike pretty quickly and was just behind Bjorn. The first 5 k was more or less uphill so it was in and out of the saddle until then. I managed to get past Bjorn at the end of the uphill section but shortly afterwards he came back around me and motored ahead. I managed to keep him in sight about 10 seconds away and was determined to not let him disappear completely.
I glanced back a couple of times and each time could see Trevor Woods about 50 behind. Then, about 15k in Mark Nolan comes flying past, quickly followed by Neal O’Grady and then Trevor Woods. Although Bjorn was still in sight about 20 seconds up the road, I guessed that the lads would catch him before the end of the bike course. I had to dig deep to not let the gap become too big but I managed to keep everyone in sight and enter transition only about 10 seconds down. Well, with my unintentionally fast dismount (I won’t be doing that again), I was right behind Trevor, Bjorn, Neal and Mark N into T2.
With four top class guys ahead and many more not far behind there was no hanging around so I decided to go out as fast as I could. 2.5 k uphill and 2.5 k downhill, so, hard as you can on the way out and let gravity do the job on the way back. Joe Lynch had advised me to just let loose on the downhill so that’s what I did. Although I was in pretty bad shape at this point, I went for it. Mark was miles ahead, running brilliantly and couldn’t be caught, but Bjorn and Trevor were neck and neck right behind me meaning that there was a nice three-way battle for 2nd. I managed to get a small gap and maintain this to the line. Trevor edged out Bjorn for 3rd, and Mark Horan was a fast finishing 5th.
Delighted to finish 2nd in such an excellent field. Mark Nolan, who is in great form was a class above and is definitely one to watch on the international circuit this year.
Also delighted for clubmate Ellen Murphy who finished 3rd. It’s great to see that all the hard work she’s put in over the winter is paying off with some good results.
It may be a good four and a half hour drive away but I will definitely be back next year. The course and organisation were both fantastic so massive thanks must go to the organisers for a great race and some excellent prizes. It was disappointing not to be able to stay down for the night but I had to be back in Dublin that evening. So, with everything packed into the Amphibia bag, I set off following a very satisfactory day’s work.
Howth Aquathon – 14th May 2012. 750m swim, 5.5 k run
Paul Mahon and Co. have been organising these races for the past few years and the course is absolutely brilliant. They also give out loads of vouchers for Beshoffs fish and chips so that’s a good enough reason right there to turn up at the next race. Paul Norton from The Bike Hub also sponsors the race and has great spot prizes, so a crap Monday in work can quickly turn into a great evening in Howth if you head out for the monthly aquathons.
After a pretty hasty registration right on the deadline of 7pm, I walked outside to see Bryan Keane stretching. That’s great news I thought. We’re all racing for second now.
Anyway, after the swim was shortened and moved to the harbour instead of the beach we all set off in pursuit of Bryan Keane. He stayed just ahead of myself and Kevin Thornton for the swim but he decided to change into runners for the long run back to transition, leaving me the glory of leading him into transition. He seemed to be taking his time changing his clothes so I used this to my advantage and bolted out onto the run, believing momentarily that I would be able to stay away for the 5.5 k run.
The first lap was fast and he didn’t seem to be putting any time into me. He also didn’t seem to be hurting at all either. I, on the other hand was. Big time! He passed me just before the pier and for about 6 strides I matched his pace. Then he just pulled away and maintained the lead he wanted to win. He insisted that he had to work really hard to pass me but I don’t believe him.
I managed to not blow up and held on for second with Kevin Thornton coming in 3rd.
It’s great to race against such high-quality competition and it’s a credit to both the race and Bryan himself that a pro is competing in our local events. Finally thanks to Amphibia and Pixels Pro for all the support and fantastic gear. The Amphibia bag makes transitions a doddle and keeps the wet stuff away from the dry stuff!
|New Amphibia Products Launched |
Exciting times for Amphibia Sport! Our original XBag is selling really well and being exported to 5 countries but we have also just launched new innovative products to the market. Our Evo Bag was launched recently and has gone down a storm with swimmers, gymers etc, its so handy - the perfect size for sport with a waterproof pocket and changing mat included! We have also just launched the Amphibia Dry Mat, which is a hygienic changing mat for using in changing rooms when you don’t want to put your towel on the floor. It can also be used outdoor and is easy wash and quick dry so is really useful for a wide range of sports. On top of these – next month we launch the Sports Ring, which is a silicone ring that covers/protects your ring during sport and helps prevent loss/damage.
We recently had a launch party for our new products and some of the Leinster Rugby team came along to support! Delighted to say that the European Cup champions loved our products and captain Leo Cullen now owns an Evo Bag, wonder could he fit the trophy into his bag! Stay tuned for more exciting products from Amphibia...
|1 Year On |
What a year! After starting trading at the end of 2010 we have had a busy year. 2011 began with the launch of the XBag and a successful pitch on Dragons Den, followed swiftly by distribution agreements in UK, Germany & Spain.
Over the summer we were involved in numerous events nationwide and became the best selling triathlon bag, as well as being used for surfing, mountain biking and a range of other sports. The highlight of the summer was Ironman UK, completed under 12hrs and an adrenaline packed day after 6 months tough training.
Since then we have been requested by many clubs and organisations for XBags with their logo added and have enjoyed working with a wide variety of events and clubs from the Irish EuroSurf Team, swim & tri clubs and London Fire Brigade to name a few. The XBag has also received rave reviews in numerous magazines including Outsider, Triathlete Europe & Triathlon 220.
The year has ended with the launch of our new Evo Bag, for everyday sports which has gone down a storm and is practically sold out already, although we have new stocks arriving in January. We cant wait to 2012, with the roll-out of the Evo Bag and numerous new products being finalised that we will be launching during the year. We are also looking to expand our distribution to further afield, as well as introducing the updated XBAG II. Have a great Christmas, keep plugging away at the training and bright evenings are on the way. Thanks to everyone for your support during 2011, sports evolution - its only the beginning... Amphibia :)
|Why Ironman is like Social Media |
Ironman is a heart-stirring and awe-inspiring display of the strength, courage and indomitable will of the human spirit. Often participants can ask themselves “What am I doing out here? Why didn’t I take up chess, or golf?!”
The answer of course is: self-discovery. You learn more about yourself in those hours plodding around the course than you do in years otherwise. This event has a way of doing that: it strips everything away and reveals your “true self.” It’s why people are so fanatical about it. It also gives you a long time to think about things – like the similarities between long distance races and Social Media!
Here they are:
1. Slow and steady wins the race.
Ironman is hard. If it weren”t, I suppose they might call it: “Aluminum-man.” I mean, let’s be honest: human beings were not designed to race all day. We were meant to live in caves and hunt animals, but that was a long time ago, now we have trained ourselves to be much more nurtured.
Social media is similarly hard. Like Ironman, it requires a lot of work. Every day. One reason why most people don’t see results in social media is that they give up too soon. They see the jaw-dropping speed of these channels and are lured by the quick fix. When they don’t see stratospheric results, they give up … when success was likely around the corner.
Lesson: To achieve great heights, you must be in it for the long haul. Social media is not a marketing channel or a media. It’s a human relationship. As such, it takes time, patience and work. Stick in there. Slow and steady. You’ll get to where you want to go.
2. You never know who’s watching.
You’ll be surprised at the amount of people that say “Yeah i was watching your times live online” I never knew these people were paying attention. They hadn’t messaged me in social media. But, they were there. In social media, you might feel like you’re playing to an empty room, but you’re not. Most people are “watchers.” They won’t necessarily contribute much to the conversation, but they’re there–and you’re having an impact on them.
Lesson: Don’t be a caution expert and let fear dictate your decisions. In social media, and in life, people won’t remember your failures; they’ll celebrate your successes. Dream like you’ll live forever, but live like you’ll die tomorrow. If you pour your heart into honest social media, you’ll produce “share-worthy” content, which unlocks the real power of social media.
3. Have a plan, but watch the data.
Ironman, like social media, requires serious planning! I spent months planning everything down to the smallest detail: I knew where to line up in the swim; how many calories I would take in on the bike; how many watts I would produce; what pace I would run, and so on. Most of it materialized perfectly, but here’s the critical element: if I weren’t watching the data and assessing in real-time, I would have bombed.
Lesson: Spend the necessary time designing a well-conceived social strategy for 2012. But once it’s underway, watch that data–and be willing to shift course based on the numbers. I cannot over-emphasize how important that is. If people aren’t retweeting your content; if your LinkedIN ads aren’t pulling; if your videos aren’t being shared, then mix things up!
4. Efficiency trumps effort.
You can turn up on race day feeling unstoppable, like a gladiator! However there are always going to be faster and stronger people than you, so focus must be on efficiency – making the most of what you have! Same goes for training, dont just put the miles in because it makes you feel better and gets you off the couch, have a concrete plan that works for you and maximises your strengths.
Efficiency. Channel your effort into forward motion more effectively than your competitors.
Lesson: Ironman, like social media, is not about how many hours you put in; it’s what you put into those hours. Strive to be efficient with your time. Use tools like Hootsuite to do more in less time.
5. Without purpose and passion, you’ve got nothing.
Twenty minutes before the start of the event, with the thousands of people around me cheering and getting ready to go –and the most difficult day of my life beckoning–I had to remind myself why I was there. For me, it was to complete the hardest physical challenge i would ever engage and raise €2k for my charity. That focused my mind, calmed my nerves and put purpose and passion into every move I made on race day.
Lesson: Know why you’re engaging in social media. List three things you want out of it in 2012. Knowing that will better define your strategy, your tactics and how you measure success.
6. When you don’t think you can take another step, take another step.
Ironman tests your soul, and most people at least fleetingly think about quitting during the marathon course. But, in those moments of nagging doubt, if you say to yourself: “Just run to the next aid station and then decide if you want to quit.” When you got there, something inside, the indomitable spirit keeps you going. Thats why you see so many guys walking the whole marathon due to injury, nothing is going to stop them! Before you know it, you are running down the finishing straight high-fiving the crowd in a blaze of glory “You are an Ironman!”
Lesson: Anything worth doing is hard. Sometimes it tests our soul, whether it’s parenting, work or a sporting event. But you are far more powerful than you realize. You are. You may have forgotten it, but you are. There are 70-year-olds finishing Ironman regularly. And, I’ve seen all kinds of people, from all walks of life, succeed magnificently in social media. If you take a long-term approach, watch the data and come from the heart with passion and noble intentions, you’ll succeed in social media. It may take more time than you thought, but you’ll get there.
Just take it one step at a time.
|Eurosurf 2011 |
The elite of European Surfing hits Bundoran on Irelan's west cost at the end of September for a week long contest between 160 of the best surfers in a range of categories. Can anyone release France and Portugal's stranglehold on the title? They have won it 12 out of the last 13 times, with France also winning the last 7 junior Eurosurf titles! All the best to all competitors, here's hoping for a great compeition and great waves! Check out Team Ireland's great surf bags provided by Amphibia. More details at www.eurosurfbundoran.com
|"I am an Ironman..." |
Last November it seemed like a great idea. I had done a really tough ½ Ironman a few weeks earlier and had no ill-effects so it seemed that 2011 was the perfect time to do ‘the big one’ before the next ‘big one’ of getting married in 2012! I had a fairly lazy Christmas, though the thought of what was coming did keep me motivated to do a few training runs and cycles, even in the snow! I started building up during January & Feb and my 20 week plan kicked off at the start of March. A nice time to start proper as you can look forward to some warmer weather and brighter evenings, but miss the worst of the winter. A successful appearance on Dragons Den in mid January meant that i was going to have a very hectic 6 months setting up a business and completing an Ironman, but looking back i wouldn’t have changed it for the world (though i wouldn’t have said that at the time).
My plan built up steadily from 8hrs per week to a maximum of 18hrs 5 weeks before the race. 3 weeks building and 1 week recovery, i feel the best way to do it. It was a solid plan, allowed for flexibility which i needed with work and had a good variety of sessions. Whilst i didnt follow it as closely as i would have liked, i was confident and relaxed coming up to race day that i had done enough and was delighted when i got to ‘taper time’ a few weeks before the race. The hardest part was certainly the long cycles, but after the first 5hr cycle, psychologically it was a lot easier and i completed them easily without music and just 1 stop. You use so much time getting your nutrition right and gauging average speed/distances etc that the time flies by, the hardest part is setting the time aside to start with (bye bye weekends). It was lovely to get out of the pool, even in chilly April to get some serious Open Water distances done, the pool just gets so boring! Running is my thing, so variety was the key to keep me motivated and build up the miles. All in all i was delighted to be arriving in Bolton confident and injury free, and couldn’t wait to get the bloody thing done!
The day before was a pain having to set-up different transitions, race briefing, getting nutrition sorted so the whole day was gone. Was a scorcher as well so i was praying Sunday would be a bit cloudier. Great buzz amongst other competitors and lots of Ironman virgins so i wasn’t on my own. The swim looked calm, drove the bike course and relaxed about the big hill that everyone was worried about and memorised the run course. Good pasta dinner and hit the bed early. I should mention that it was my birthday and certainly the quietest one ever! Planned on making up for it after the event though :)
4am start – a lot later than some, but i was confident it gave me plenty of time for 6am start and gave me bit if extra sleep as well. Nice healthy breakfast of porridge (not so bad after all), bread and bananas. Got to race venue just after 5, made sure my bike was ok and got the wetsuit on. Pretty surreal at 5.30 on Sunday morning standing with 1,500 people, waiting to get into a lake... but if there’s one thing ive learnt about Ironman, its don’t think about it too much, JUST GET STUCK IN! Had a good swim, finished 1hr7mins, ahead of schedule and that relaxed me for the bike (amazingly a shorter time than a horrific ½ Ironman swim the year before). Thankfully the day was dry but cloudy, with not much wind, near perfect conditions and i completed the bike in just over 6hrs. At this stage i was ahead of schedule so i had a nice break of 12 minutes (someone asked me had i taken a nap), but i just wanted to relax, stretch, take on some food and take a break. During the marathon i was buzzing, felt like i had loads of energy and hit the 20mile mark well under 3hrs. Then whilst i didnt hit a wall, i did hit severe leg cramps that made the last 4 miles very tough, but hey its an Ironman its not supposed to be easy! Delighted to finish well under the 12hr mark and relatively free from injury/pain. Those fish and fingers went down easily, though my stomach wasnt great after all the energy bars/gels, flat-coke, biscuits etc that i had been throwing into me to try and avoid further leg cramps (too late by then). Big smile on my face and delighted to hear “You are an Ironman”!
I heartily recommend doing one, but if you are new to triathlons, build up the distance over a few years and you’ll enjoy it more. Ive always enjoyed long distance so it gave me a head start, but the day wasn’t the hardest part, it was the 6 months beforehand and it takes over your life so you need a lot of willpower and a very understanding family! I did the race for charity and raised over £1,600 which gets people interested in what you are doing, keeps you motivated and means you’ve achieved something even more worthwhilel. After the race people were already talking about their next one, but i had put everything into it and felt that i didnt need to rush back. ½ Iron distances are much more ‘enjoyable’ and don’t take over your life whilst there are loads of short distance locations that i still want to do. I have no doubt that Ironman distance races will continue to get much more popular and people will feel like they have to do bigger distances, so maybe a double-Ironman distance is somewhere in my future, but not the foreseeable future!
|Ironman UK getting closer |
Hard to believe there are less than 4 weeks until Ironman UK in Bolton. the past 6 months and the 20 week training plan have flown by and im delighted to say i'm on track... i think! Its always hard to know for sure and who knows what the day will throw at every competitor, but im confident i can complete the distance. Ive lost 1/2 stone which is great, but ive been eating loads to try and prevent losing any more. Its going to be hard adjusting back to normal eating during taper and particularly after the race. Ive been fortunate enough to avoid injury, although ironically today for the 1st time i feel a slight tweak in my knee. Thankfully its a recovery week so i will rest plenty, ice and take a few anti-inflamatories, hopefully it wont become more serious. I have no doubt that rigorous stretching and some yoga/pilates training has helped me avoid anything more serious.
Swim: My weakest discipline and thus many would say the most important. Ive had a few lessons and im going to concentrate much more on swimming technique in open water over the next few weeks. Ive bought a new wetsuit as the old one had more holes than a net and whilst im confident i will be able to finish the swim element, i want to try and improve my time/techinque.
Cycle: Ive been putting in serious miles over the past few weeks and now long cycles have lost their fear factor. A set of aero bars has helped ease some discomfort in my lower back from being in one position for so long and ive got used to long periods with no music/other stimulation and without people beside me.
Running: My strongest discipline and probably what ive put the least time into. Ive done a few marathons but obviously the main worry is coming after such a long bike ride. My last endurance session of 100mile bike and 15 mile run gave me a lot of confidence however, and it was even refreshing getting off the bike and being able to run for a change!
Nutrition: Many would say the 5th discipline, after transition technique, but in Ironman it becomes even more important as your body can literally break-down after so much exercise. Ive got used to loading up during the "rolling restaurant" bike in preparation for the run and i have a good variation of drinks, bars, gels and tablets.
Racing: Ive cut down the amount of races to concentrate on training, but I did my local sprint tri and a 1/2 Ironman, achieving PB's in both and using them as yardsticks for my preparation. Racing can eat into valuable preparation time so ive had to keep my eye on the prize. Last weekend i did the full distances across the weekend - swim Friday, cycle&run saturday and finish run Sunday... this was great practice and gave me some idea whats ahead of me and times i can aim for.
The training has been an amazing experience and certainly not to be taken lightly. Between the training plan and pushing business for Amphibia Sport, its been a hectic 6 months and im looking forward to some relative normality in August. Hopefully all goes according to plan on the day, if it doesnt i'll have to take it as it comes, do my best and try to finish, whatever that takes... but remember its not always about the destination, but sometimes about the beautiful journey you've had to get there and the many things youve learnt about yourself and your body. Roll on Bolton 31st July :)
|The Frog That Tamed The Dragons |
What a rollercoaster! A few weeks after a successful appearance on Dragons Den life is slowly returning to normality (as if Amphibia is ever 'normal'). The support the brand has received from a wide range of people has been fantastic, not least the Dragons who all had something complimentary to say about the logo, the X-Bag and even myself! We've lots of new fans (not just on Facebook) and its really heartening that such a new brand and product can be so well received.
Watch this space for exciting announcements on the brand and new products coming soon. Evolution, its only the beginning!
|Ironman on a Shoestring |
Triathlons dont come cheap, thats for sure, however im looking to break the mould by completing an Ironman with a reasonable budget. Impossible? Time will tell...
Setting up a business and competing an Ironman are two tough ventures that require stamina, perserverence and lots of time, never mind doing both at once! With this in mind, time and money demands are both tight. I will look at time demands in a later blog, but for now i'll look at the costs. After competing in 11 triathlons last year, culminating in the Kenmare 1/2 Ironman, the cost of event entries alone was €600/£500. Then you add in transport costs, possibly stay-overs for early starts and i'm 1,000 down without any equipment! Obviously you dont have to do this many events, but with a season from Apr to Sept this only equates to an event every 3 weeks. This year i'll be doing 1 sprint, 1 olympic, 1 1/2 distance and the Full Ironman, total cost €550 / £480, though at some events you can do the Ironman for chairty, raise a load of money and get your entry fee back(!). With so many events these days, the key is to shop around, pick great/convenient locations and avoid the events with silly entry fees (goody bags are often touted as a reason for high charges, but usually dont live up to expectations!).
Then we have equipment... where to start! The bike is the big one and yes you can go carbon, lightweight, 'razor' shapped etc, but most of us cant afford it. So get yourself a good quality make that fits you correctly and you feel confident on. Ive been riding a basic Trek (€800) for yrs and will keep with it til i can afford a better one :-). Then there's the wetsuit... yes it makes you more buoyant, but is it worth paying a fortune for a few secs advantage? If you are aiming to win the race yes, otherwise no, in the madness of a triathlon race swimming technique is so much more important that your suit. Again ill be using my very basic suit and hoping i can avoid making any more holes in it. Everything else - tri suit, helmet, cycling shoes, running shoes are important to be well suited to you, but there's so much competition in the market these days that you should be able to barter a good deal. Throw them all in your AMPHIBIA X-BAG and you are ready to go.
Equipment €1,200 (previously bought)
Total €2,400 / £2,000
Other ways to save cash:
Leave the gym - you should be too busy on the road/in the pool once Spring comes to get your moneys worth.
Bargaining power - yes there are some great deals online, but you'd be amazed what your local store will do for you, particularly if a few of you buy together, or through your club.
Buy 2nd hand - triathletes are always going to want to upgrade their gear, so there's some great deals on used equipment, much of it in great condition.
High tech gear - do you really need it? I bought my first compression gear this year in the coldest part of winter... it works, but im just as happy with a few layers of old football gear/tee-shirts etc.
Dont kill yourself(!) - physio/osteopath/doctor bills can be pricey, so pace yourself, build up slowly and do plenty of stretching/yoga/pilates etc.
|Triathlon Cycling Running Exhibition |
Amphibia take-homes from the TCR 2011 Exhibition in London – lot of common sense stuff but always nice to get a reminder from the pros!
Most important muscle in your body is your brain – be positive and you will achieve!
Write down all your aims and goals. Much more chance of you achieving them and will motivate you when you look back. Look at them like stepping stones to your event. Also use a training log and diary, this will allow you to see trends, weaknesses etc.
Build up your training over 3 weeks, then on week 4 bring it back down and concentrate on recovery.
Nutrition is just as important as the 3 disciplines. Use in training what you will in a race. Post race can be very important if you are doing long distances. Refuel within ½hr of getting home and the body will direct it exactly where it needs it most. Experiment to find what works for you. Consume early and sip.
Build in Pilates/yoga into your training schedule throughout the year – not just off-season.
Don’t ‘junk train’ just putting in miles for the sake of it – build up a strategic plan to achieve your goals.
Minimum swims you want to be doing per week is 3 to have any impact, so aim for 4. Swimming is all about body position.
The more frequency you can get the better the results. Way more of an impact than increasing duration of swims.
Work on lengthening your reach – aim for less than 80 strokes per 100mtrs.
Fine to use ‘toys’ (fins, hand paddles etc) but no more than 20% of the time.
Kick properly from your hips and glutes.
Stroke – don’t worry too much about what happens above the water... get a nice catch on the water, point your fingers diagonally, create a lever with your elbow and continue stroke as if you had a barrel under your arm. Arm continues straight towards the back of the pool.
Possibly in open water swims – breathe every 2d stroke as you’ll need the Oxygen! This works better for 95% of people.
Sighting – little and often, possibly every 3 or 4 strokes to keep yourself on direction.
Triathlon swim – don’t start too quickly, pace yourself and build up speed during the race. Stay out of the ‘dishwasher’ in the middle, stay to the sides and conserve energy.
Do in training exactly what you’ll do in a race, then it will come naturally.
Dont just work on front crawl, build in breaststroke and even backstroke into your training. Will help build muscles and mean you can deal with anything in a race.
Consistency is key in training – repetitiveness & go for increased frequency over longer duration. Develop your training intensity progressively.
Rest is very important. Recovery is just as important as training. If you are injured give yourself time to recovery or you will make it more serious and be out for even longer. Look at other fitness options – aqua jogging etc.
Nothing in Ironman training is done ‘fast’, but vary your intensity between low, moderate and high.
Times in race – swim 11%; Bike 56%; Run 33%, should give you some idea where training should be done, but it’s easier for you to pick up time on your weaker disciplines than your strongest ones. Bike is key, it’s generally the biggest area of improvement and is your ‘rolling restaurant’ for your day’s nutrition.
You should be able to change front tyre in 3 mins, practice it!
Build up to IM with other races and fit in half ironman beforehand (6 – 8 weeks). Taper for 3 weeks beforehand or you won’t race to your maximum potential. Look at variety in races – ½ marathon, Open Water Races etc.
Race Simulation Weekend 12 weeks before event – Fri complete swim; Sat complete bike & long run-off (13 miles or similar); Sun remainder of run. Practice race & nutritional strategy. Will give you realistic assessment of where you are, won’t change this dramatically before race day.
If possible do the course beforehand, so you know what’s coming and can relax about ‘unknowns’, even if you do it in a car.
If you are racing on a Sunday, Friday should be rest day, and Saturday do a small amount of each discipline before resting again. The hard work is done, enjoy the race
|Support for Amphibia |
It is really heartening when setting up a new brand the support you receive from others. We have got nothing but enouragement and praise in our dealings with people and it really helps! Event organisers, athletes, retailers, press and the generral public have been fantastic and it is really heartening, particularly when they do it for no benefit to themselves. Maybe we havent 'forgotten ourselves' afterall and can work together through the tough economic times we are facing. THANK-YOU from Amphibia, looking forward to the future....
Been talking about it for long enough and have finally signed up for Ironman UK 2011! We'll be heading for Bolton on 31st July and after the challenging course hopefully we'll be able to celebrate afterwards. 6 months tough training plan ahead and will keep you updated on training progress on this blog.
Cant help but thinking how lucky we are to be involved in extreme sports! Football has gone to the dogs and is now more about diving than playing ball... then you have the whole sorry Rooney saga and he's one of the best players in Premiership??!! Rugby is still adapting to professionalism has been dogged with lots of controversy. Gaelic Football has been in the news as well, with provincial winners not able to win an All-ireland and bad refereeing decisions making the headlines. Oh to be surfing the waves, competing in a triathlon, finishing a marathon or hitting the bike trails... what a pleasure and nobody to let you down but yourself!
|Amphibia's New Blog |
Welcome to the world of Amphibia, an innovative new sports brand for those who want more from their sports gear. Whether its swimming you are into, triathlons, watersports, extreme sports or just live on the edge, we are here for you. Check out the features on our new large X-Bag, for those who have lots to carry, or the Evo bag for more everyday use.
|Triathlon Race Tips |
Can a complete beginner realistically complete a Triathlon?
Of course you can, with enough preparation time and the right training! Triathlons arent as hard as people think... compared to everyday work/training. Put in the hrs and you'll find a basic triathlon very doable, within 2hrs!
Often getting to the start line in one piece is the hardest aspect of triathlon, including all of the training beforehand... especially on dark and cold nights.
The thing key to keep in mind is completing the 3 disciplines swimming, cycling and running within your own limits. It’s when we try to go beyond our limits that things go wrong and the same should be applied to your training.
Before we get into actual training schedules it is important to make sure you try to do as many of the following during the 6 months prior to the race:
• Sleep 1 more hour a day – the best recovery is done while resting or asleep. Training on top of already busy lives will place an extra strain on you so be sure to compensate with more sleep.
• Eat better - replace/reduce fast energy junk food/snacks with proper wholesome food that will give slow release energy and the proper vitamins and minerals needs. Eat good meals early in the day and avoid late night eating.
• Dress, eat and drink properly while training – stay warm, dry, well fed and hydrated. Equipment is key - the Amphibia bag being the perfect example ;) You dont have to spend a fortune but a cheap replacement is much better than an injury or illness.
• Try and get in the key following sessions at a minimum – 1 hour long swim, 1.5-2hr bike and aim to work up to a 40-60 min run.
• Keep the late nights-out and alcohol to a minimum - no point wasting all that training by being wasted at the weekend. Hangovers are not conducive to quality training or recovery. Its all abou moderation.
• Don’t feel you need to train if you are sick, over-tired or stressed out trying to balance family, life, career with training – usually something gives, so strike the balance!
• Enjoy the journey – try and train with others rather than on your own – it’s supposed to fun as well you know!
• If you get injured or strain a muscle – let it recover or alternate your training so the injury is not aggravated and allowed sufficient time to recover.
• Don’t start training again until you are 110% recovered – many of us have gone back training to early only to get a relapse.
• Try and get in at least one yoga, Pilates or stretching session a week to help increase your core strength, flexibility and help prevent injury.
• On bad weather days (icy roads, gale winds) etc alternate your training indoors or onto suitable surfaces – run on forest trails instead of icy footpaths etc.
• Make sure you enter and race smaller races before the big day so you have an idea how to pace yourself and know what’s ahead of you! You’ll learn more from one race than you would from months of training. Believe it or not they can be a bit of craic.
• Bedtime reading! Read widely, there are lots of good books/magazines out there.
Race Day Advice:
1. 2 weeks before the race make sure your wetsuit, bike and runners helmet and goggles are all in good working order – If they work 2 weeks before a race then more than likely they will work fine on race day – so don’t go messing with gear 2 days before a race.
2. 2 Days before the race – do no training but eat well - don’t change what you would regularly eat, just eat slightly more. You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol car before a big journey so stick with what your body is used to!
3. The day before the race go for a 10min swim, 10-15 cycle followed by a ten min run to wake up the body for the following day – then take it easy for the rest of the day – don’t clean the entire house, cut the grass or spend the whole day shopping in town! Eat normal to light meals and don’t eat late in the evening e.g. after 7pm or so.
4. Pump up your wheels (to 100-120psi) the day before and take the bike for a test cycle. Don’t risk messing with tyres the day of the race!
5. Get to bed early the night before the race so you can get up early on race day!
6. Eat a quality breakfast 2-3 hours before the race, but one your body eats regularly - avoid high fibre foods and don’t overeat. No point in carrying around dead weight/undigested food in your stomach when you are trying to race.
7. Get down to the transition area nice and early and set your equipment so you are not rushing and have time to fix any last minute problems.
8. Once set up maybe go for a small warm up run – but don’t try and go for a cycle – this is often when people pick up punctures unwittingly.
9. Relax, stay warm and if you are nervous go for a walk or sit in a car away from all the hype and bustle. Could be a good time to lather on the sun cream - always the chance of sun damage during lengthy exposure and will increase dehydration.
10. Be sure you know what swim wave you are in and you have all your numbers, swim hats, wetsuit ready to go.
11. Clothing - unless Met Eireann really throw a spanner in the works you should get away on most race days with either a combined one or two piece, ideally lycra/”dry-flow” type suit. Ideally it should be tight fitting to reduce wind drag and have some form of seat “chamois/padding” for the bike. These items should be worn underneath the wetsuit with the race number pinned to the race top back and front or to a “race belt” – pins are better when starting off. There is little need in changing again after the swim or after the bike apart from putting on bike shoes or runners. Why train for 6 months and waste time changing in transition, drying your hair etc? So plan for an efficient into/out of transition to get you home sooner than you thought possible.
12. Swim: If you are a nervous swimmer, start at the back or out to the side to avoid the fist-fest that often occurs in the middle of large swim starts. It’s a long day waiting 5-10 seconds to let the main bunch off isn’t going to impact your overall time. Put you goggles on once and don’t mess with them too much and don’t tighten them anymore than your regular swim sessions.
13. Clean you hands well of all cream, Vaseline/bodyglide before putting on goggles etc.
14. Use a “rash vest” or Vaseline/Bodyglide to prevent the wetsuit cutting your neck/underarms if it has done so before. No gloves, shoes or flippers are allowed during the swim – wetsuit only and or neoprene hat under the swim hat provided by race organisers.
15. Swim steady, calmly and use long steady even strokes and look up very regularly to make sure you don’t swim in zigzags. Avoid “overkicking” with the legs, as you’ll need your legs more on the bike and run – the wetsuit will keep the legs floating behind you anyway. If its rough on the day – apply a slide and glide type stoke and try and slice through the waves than go over them – look up for the swim buoys when on the top of the waves.
16. Getting out of the water don’t stand too early - swim right to the very edge of the water till your arms are touching the bottom – only then stand up and start to walk run – you'll waste valuable leg energy that you'll need later!
17. If the transition is close to the waters edge wait till transition to take off the suit – if there is a big run e.g. >500m or so, then it will be better and far easier to take the suit off at the waters edge before it becomes really stuck to you along the big run to transition. A good compromise is take the arms and upper torso off at waters edge.
18. Timing: The organisers will manage and record your time so there is little point in trying to manage your own time by a watch, just get a rough idea.
19. Transition 1: wetsuit goggles and hat off – place neatly at your spot – helmet on and tie it– shoes on - then take your bike and out you go. Go steady and efficient through transition. Don’t waste time – and unless its really cold there is no need to do a full towel dry – the wind on the bike will do that for you. Socks are optional at this stage - they can be hard to put on with wet feet – but going without can cause blisters if you are used to wearing.
20. On the bike- ride your own race – ride strong, steady and comfortably but “within” yourself at all times – if you have bundles of energy save it for the run. At the start of the bike give yourself a few miles/20-30mins to settle down after the swim, and then put the “boot” down if you feel good. If its especially windy don’t ride a hard slow gear into the wind – use a gear that lets the legs “spin” into the wind and then by all means use all the big gears when the wind is behind you.
21. Bring along a water bottle, ideally with a tried and tested sports drink (even diluted apple juice will give you a boost – but make sure what ever sports drink you use that its not too strong a flavour – dilute to taste), pump, two spare tubes – even if you can’t change a puncture, a marshal is permitted to help you and other athletes if its safe.
22. Spin easy up all the hills.
23. For the last few miles spin the legs more to get them into the “run” mode, take in more fluids and perhaps a “gel”/sports bar with 10-20mins to go on the bike.
24. In transition 2 – rack your bike first – take off your helmet, then put on the runners.
25. If it’s a hot day consider wearing a light hat, or sun visor and “shades” on the run. (and shades on the bike)
26. Run: Take the first 2-3 miles very relaxed and slow – use “pitter patter” baby steps going up any hills – this will help save the legs. Slow down to take on water at the water stations. Stay focused on the run the whole way – “Misery loves company” so if you see someone else struggling ignore them, just perhaps a quick word of encouragement as you pass.
27. Keep looking up at all times – don’t run with your head down as this will result in a shuffle instead of a proud energy efficient jog/run.
28. Use baby steps to get up the hills and gravity to help you get down the hills – don’t try and hold yourself back going down as this will tire out the legs even more.
29. You might need to have another Gel or piece of sports bar at the half way point on the run or at say 4km to help you home.
30. Enjoy the run and don’t do a sprint finish with someone else at the end unless you are racing for first place – sprinting at the end of all that usually ends up in either pulled muscles or very sore legs the next day – strong steady and comfortable all day is the way to a good time.
31. Have food, liquids, shower and a rest ASAP after the race – enjoy the night out and well done!