Have you entered an event and then said, “OMG I don’t think I do it”? This is more common than you think, when a new athlete joins me and suffers from this anxiety, I treat it as more of “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll find out”. The great thing about entering an event outside your comfort zone is that you will finish because mentally you are prepared to finish!
Another year has gone by and things have been very busy on the Tri-Planet front. I’ve been doing a lot of work with athletes on swim and run technique, keep an eye on the website and Facebook next year for useful pieces of information that will really help you. I’ve also had the privilege of helping with the TriNZ High Performance Junior South Island development weekend as well coaching and training the juniors for the Canterbury Triathlon Club.
Had an awesome day and managed to get to both the start and the finish line which was brilliant :) The swim went really and was probably my favourite part of the day. It was a bit daunting to see how choppy the lake was, however I'd been out the day before in similar conditions so knew it was fine. I had a great warm uproutine thanks to your sessions which really helped relax and focus me. I started quite a way out to the right (left hand turns through the course) so had a lot of space to myself. It meant no one to draft off but in the conditions that would have been hard anyway. At the first turn the lake suddenly got very shallow, it was so odd being able to see this gorgeous sandy bottom and I had to constantly fight the urge to put my feet down and see if I could touch the bottom!
Last month I was up in Auckland visitIng friends and meeting up with the Triathlon NZ director of coaching. While I was there I hired a mountain bike and cycled the bike course for the Auckland triathlon as part of my race preparation. For those of you who are entering the race and have not had the opportunity to cycle the course then check out the information below. I can tell you that it is a hilly course but the climbs are short and there are only a couple of steepish ones. I've also added some photos of some of the climbs for you to visualize, as well as the elevations.
This Years Spring Challenge was epic for me. It took a long time to get a team sorted for the event. For some reason there's not that many woman I know who are chomping at the bit to do a 6hr adventure race! There were a few women who said they'd love to but couldn't afford the entry, a few who said it sounded great but they'd never be able to do it. So after registering 1 team and pulling out, I slotted into a friends team who had an injury. After weeks of training together and only 3 weeks from the race 1 of the team members pulled out due to pregnancy. We were really lucky to get a another woman to join the team at such late notice, especially one who was such an athlete.
What fun there is to be had in racing, the battles you have during the race, the body pumping with adrenaline, the muscles screaming at you to stop and the exhilaration when you cross that finish line! The Enduro is a 2.6km run, 9km bike, 1.3km run, 9km bike, 1.3km run and is the 3rd and final race of the JD Duathlon Series.
As I’ve been in Denmark for 2 months I had missed the first two duathlons, but was determined to make this one. Spent the morning before the race putting on my Tri-Planet wheel covers, they are really cheap and do the same job as a disc wheel (well almost!), go to www.wheelbuilder.com to get some!
Winter is without a doubt the most difficult time of year to train. Not only do you have limited hours of light and sometimes freezing cold weather but motivation is also hard to maintain! It’s easy to say “It’s raining I’m not training”, or “It’s too cold”.
Why not start here! For everyone it’s different, but I find goal setting the easiest way to maintain motivation, races certainly help with this. If there are no races then plan your training with a few swim, bike or run time-trials each month.
The Rise Up Team Challenge was created after the earthquakes that recently struck Christchurch, this was a fun event catering for everyone designed to start people back on the road to a healthy active lifestyle. Any profits from the event went towards re-building triathlon services in Christchurch. With this in mind I couldn't help but enter a Tri-Planet team to show our support to the people of Christchurch. Very little arm twisting was required and in no time at all I had Caren and Natasha signed up for Team Tri-Planet!
Firstly thanks to all those who gave me words of encouragement, support and congratulations. Especially Craig for his last minute “tweaking” maybe my swimming isn't a lost cause after all. This race was a target for me and it was an absolute buzz, blast and adrenaline rush to complete it successfully.
Conditions were calm….unbelievable for Wellington. The dawn atmosphere at transition was tense and electric. Not sure if that was the anticipation of racing or a result of the possibly pending tsunami on its way.
I've had a lot of people ask me about nutrition in recent months so Tri-Planet has teamed up with NutriFit to bring to you a Nutrition Workshop that will help improve your diet and understanding of nutrition. I have used the Nutrifit principles and meal plans and find these easy to use and easy to maintain. Before using the Nutrifit principles I was training twice a day and couldn't work out why I wasn't loosing weight. What I realised was that I had my diet and eating regime completely wrong. I was eating the wrong type of food at the wrong time of day, doh!
This summers session saw a lot of people making some great progress with their fitness and also their weight. As the muscles have strengthened people have been able to run who previously couldn't; still have to work on those burpees though! I was even surprised last night by how fast Woodsey is over 50 yards! Interesting to hear that he only seems to run fast for his own quick singles in cricket?!
We had a great eight weeks of coaching and training for all the participants in the Summer Triathlon and Duathlon Boot Camp. Learning techniques for swimming, cycling and running as well as things such as how to sight during the swim, mount and dismount the bike and pacing for the run were to culminate with the North Canterbury Triathlon. During the last few sessions before the race we had covered everything they needed to know about setting up and performing transitions, racing and open water swimming.
Unfortunately the cancellation of the North Canterbury Triathlon meant that the team were not going to be able to race. However Tri-Planet to the rescue with a simulation race out at Pegasus. And they thought they would get off lightly without doing a race. no way! Carefully plotting the course the wheels went into motion.
The outcome was a triathlon with a 200m swim, 20 km bike and 2.5 km run, a duathlon with a 2.5 km run, 20 km bike and 2.5 km run (approximately!).
Woke up on Sunday morning to a very cold and strong southerly wind and headed out to the course. The Canterbury Triathlon Club had also been informed about the simulation race as it was a good opportunity for them to practice ahead of the national champs in Wellington. When I arrived everyone was wrapped up warm and uncertain about the weather conditions. After the race briefing we set up transition and discussed who would be racing what, some were doing a triathlon, others a duathlon and others an Aquathlon (swim and then run). There were a few that decided not to race in the conditions, but not the boot camp disciples they were keen as mustard to race!
So under starters orders, on your marks....get set.... GO! And they were off, lots of splashing and running as you would expect at the start of a race. The first person out of the water was Debbie, 'Geez its warm in there' as she sped through to transition. The lake is heated so I'll be testing that out in winter.....not! Wetsuit off, shorts on, shirt on, jacket on, socks and shoes on, helmet and cool sunglasses. So under starters orders, on your marks....get set.... GO! And they were off, lots of splashing and running as you would expect at the start of a race. The first person out of the water was Debbie, 'Geez its warm in there' as she sped through to transition. The lake is heated so I'll be testing that out in winter.....not! Wetsuit off, shorts on, shirt on, jacket on, socks and shoes on, helmet and cool sunglasses.
Then out of transition and off on the bike into a nice head wind! At least there was a back wind at one point to push them along. Daniel was first in on the bike after a blistering effort, then hammered out on the run determined to race to the end. Jacqueline was next in but too far behind Daniel who was way out in front. Debbie arrived next very casually with a big smile on her face and then off on the run with high knees. Oops I think she took the coaching a little too much to the letter!
A great race by all with a strong finish by Daniel and a determined run from the rest. Thanks to the athletes for making this happen and also to the supporters for braving the weather to shout support and encouragement.
Thanks also to Lynette from the Canterbury Triathlon Club for the coffee and tea and some mighty fine cakes and savouries, I think you have set a precedent for the future! The photos are courteous of Paula who did a mighty fine job!
Congratulations to everyone for graduating from Boot Camp, I know that some of you are racing the Contact Tri Womens race on the 03rd April. All the best and remember its not how you start but how you finish!
6th February 2011 at QE2 Christchurch
It was the third event of the Physiomed series, the biggest of the three, with a 250m swim 20km bike and a 5km run. Not a huge event with too many people but for me it was going to be a huge challenge. I had been training over the Christmas break while everyone was relaxing and getting in the Christmas spirit, I would be hitting the pavements or splashing in the sea to keep up my level of fitness while away on holiday and not too many wines or Christmas treats.
The morning arrived gear was packed and nerves had hit as well as heat wave of 29 degrees at 7am. Arrived at QE2 with the men getting ready for their race which started at 8am, already complaining about the heat, so off to transition to set up the bike etc, I was already sweating and hadn’t even raced yet! Lots of nervous women hanging around fighting to find shade until 9.30am start time, temperature rising now 32 degrees!
Lined up at the pool thinking we are the lucky ones going to have a dip to cool off unlike our duathlon counterparts who had to 1.5 km run in the heat. The hooter went and we were off swimming 5 lengths of the pool, trying to remember all the techniques from bootcamp Craig had taught me in the pool, (slow arms, strongkick, relax the shoulders, bilateral breathing), well it all went out the window but I managed to make it to the end.
I checked my watch and to my surprise only 5.15 minutes had past and I was out of the pool and running to transition, WHAM straight into the heat of 37 degrees! Into transition; found my bike, rushed to put shoes on, quick sip of water and don’t forget the helmet. Approx 2 minutes later (very slow in Craig’s standards) I was out of transition and on the 20 km bike ride and flying down marine parade, yippee tail wind not looking forward to head wind back and the HEAT did I mention the HEAT? I must be mad. Before I knew I was at the turn around point and slogging it back in the head wind, mouth dry passing people giving as much encouragement as you can thinking when will this end.
Approximately 45 minutes later I was back into transition thinking another one down I am alive and still standing but how am I going to run 5 km in this heat, not much left in the reserve. But as you do off come the bike shoes and on went the runners and don’t forget to take your helmet off. People cheering you on so I knew I could finish it. Out of transition legs like lead and running like I was going nowhere, I set off to finish the race. It was getter hotter and hotter people were walking and stopping, the water at each drink station would just melt off you like an egg frying in a pan. One lap down saw my hubby and said got nothing left,
he said you can do it, you are doing awesome, you haven’t done all this training to quit now! So I dug it in and determined to finish I made it to the finish line with heaps of cheers and a shower of water waiting to cool avery dehydrated body.
With a big smile on my face I finished in a time of 1.24.02 I completed the series and in extreme conditions. All I can say it is very character building. If asked would I do it again YOU BET I have the tri bug.
Natasha Marshall (Boot Camp Graduate)
The transition from swimming in a pool to swimming in open water can be a daunting one for some people. Once you get into open water, you no longer have lane ropes or a nice line down the centre of the lane to keep you swimming straight. Those of you that can only breathe to one side probably find that you tend not to go straight but instead veer to one side. There are many factors to consider; below I have listed 10 tips to help you with this transition.
- Always swim with a buddy, if you get into trouble its good to have someone there to help, plus you can work on techniques like drafting and open water starts.
- Be aware of the temperature of the water, do not spend too much time in very cold water, you can get disorientated and your swim stroke will no longer be effective.
- Check for visible signs of water currents and rips before entering, also be wary of dangerous conditions such as crashing or high waves.
- Warm up on shore by swinging your arms around. When you enter the water its a good idea to let the wetsuit fill up with water before you swim. The wetsuit is designed to work with water between you and the wetsuit to provide warmth and also to suck the wetsuit to your body ensuring a tight fit.
- Use non-petroleum based products such as body glide for lubrication (these do not damage the wetsuit), apply to the back of your neck to prevent chaffing and also to the top of your feet and ankles to aid in wetsuit removal.
- Breathing in open water is different to that in the pool, in the pool you should look to the side, but in open water you need to be looking to the sky.
- Bilateral breathing has a number of benefits so start doing it! Not only will it help you to swim straighter but when you have waves crashing in on your left or right side you have the ability to breathe away from the waves. Breathing into the waves is not a good idea, you either get a mouthful of water or are unable to take a breath!
- Sighting is important, practice, practice, practice! Sight regularly in a race so you can adjust your direction of swimming. I’ve seen a lot of people waste energy zig zagging on a course. Look for landmarks behind the buoy, this makes sighting much easier.
- Drafting behind someone is the most efficient however be weary that not all swimmers swim straight. So although you are getting a great draft they could be going off course. Always sight while drafting, if they are off course then drop them and try another swimmer.
- Race preparation is vital, make sure you know the entry and exit points and the course, look for landmarks that you can use for sighting. For the start of the race make sure you position yourself in the right place, do not start at the front if you are not a strong swimmer. If you are unsure start at the outside.
Use your time wisely in the open water, practice the techniques you will need for racing and get use to swimming in a wetsuit. The more people you can get together the better, swim as a tight group so you get use to having other swimmers around you. Most importantly smile, there is nothing better than swimming in the sea!
I'll be doing an open water session at Pegasus Sunday 27th March, contact if you are interested in joining.
"I struggle to breathe, my shoulders are sore, when I swim I feel like I'm getting nowhere!", sound familiar? The problem with swimming is that its about 90% technique, and if you've never been taught to swim then generally your technique needs work. I see a lot of people swimming that are not relaxed because they panic about breathing, and people who lose momentum because they are not using the correct swimming stroke. These factors and many more can cause our swimming to be frustrating and also waste precious energy.
So how do you correct these? Obviously the easiest way is to get swimming lessons, or join swimming sessions with a qualified coach who can help correct your stroke. However to help those of you who aren't able to do this I've listed four points below to focus on.
1. Body Balance - this is a major part of swimming and is the starting point of many stroke issues. To be balanced in the water you should have four points of contact with the surface, your head, shoulders, hips and heels. When you are swimming think of your lungs as being a buoy and you are swimming over the buoy. If your legs are dragging in the water then they act as an anchor, therefore your head is too high and needs to be lower in the water (but not completely submerged!) to raise your hips.
2. Kicking - Yes the dreaded kick! What I've noticed in most swimmers is that they kick with a scissor type action or kick with a lot of knee bending. Stop it! We point our toes and kick from our hips with a whip like action. The knee bend should be about 10 to 15 degrees, if you kick with more knee bend than this you'll be pulling water towards you and slowing down (you want to kick water away to push you forward). The best way to practice kick is vertically in deep water holding onto a kick board across your chest. Kick from the hips with a whip like action (think of how a dolphin flicks its tail), and make sure your legs are not too far apart.
3. Breathing - First thing is don't lift your head forward before turning to breathe, your hips will drop and this makes breathing more difficult. Turn your head to the side with your arm stroke and breathe into the pocket that is created by your 'bow' wave, you should be looking directly at the side of the pool when you breathe (not at the ceiling or behind you!). Most importantly breathe out in the water (blowing bubbles) and don't hold your breath and then try to breathe out and in when you turn your head to breathe. This is snatching breath and you won't get enough oxygen.
4. Arm Stroke - Once you have all of the above working then its time to start on arm stroke. There are four elements to your arm stroke, catch, pull, push and recovery. Catch happens just after the hand enters the water, pull occurs as the arm moves from a 45 to 90 degree point with the body , push occurs by your hips and recovery is when your arm is out of the water. At all times throughout the stroke your hand should be lower than your elbow.
- Catch - I encourage people not to stretch forward parallel with the surface as you enter your hand into the water, this causes the elbow to drop and immediately weakens your stroke. Instead think of pushing your hand down into the water as it enters, like an archer.
- Pull - Keep your hand deep and fingers pointing to the bottom of the pool, elbows bent.
- Push - This is the power element of the stroke and where all your focus should be, push the water behind you to drive you forward.
- Recovery - lift from the elbow and arc the hand around to re-enter the water. Above all you must be relaxed, that's way its called recovery :o)
- So you have a few things to get you thinking, my advice to you is only think of one element at a time. If you try to think of everything at once then it generally all goes wrong.
I'm taking some morning swim sessions on a Thursday at Amberley Pool, if you need help with your stroke come along and we'll get it sorted!
My first Christmas at home for nine years was a very special one shared with my family, but the fun had only just begun as I was heading out to Glenthorne Station , Lake Coleridge that night with a few friends. We were staying in the middle of nowhere at the shearers quarters in the upper Glenthorne Station. Surrounded by glorious mountains, trees, bellbirds and horses, it was a great place to chill out for a few days, and get into some outdoor activities! Boxing Day we climbed 1100m to The Spurs at 1760m, it was a nice climb and we worked hard to get there but the views and serenity were well worth it.
Monday morning we decided to go for a mountain run from the shearer’s quarters through the Gargarus Saddle to Lake Lilian. There was a blustery Nor West wind with some horizontal rain at times, but Sully, Jimmy and I braved the elements and went for it. Despite the wind and rain it was very warm and once we were in the tree line the wind and rain was non-existent. The run up to the saddle was certainly tough; following along the mustering tracks we made steady progress without too much drama, but it was difficult to get into a rhythm and we had to walk here and there. After 50mins of running up hill we were at the saddle and it was fantastic. Some great undulating running with tremendous mountain views all around, and an easy rhythm. Unfortunately my hamstring was not right and I strained it blasting down the first descent, that slowed me down and I had to follow behind Sully and Jimmy so as not to hold them back! There were a few Canadian geese and hares out there but not much else.
Lilian creak provided a few small river crossings and then we got into some tussock bog lands which made things interesting. Jumping from tussock to tussock and running through some boggy areas made things challenging, but also fun. The run around the side of Mt Fitzwilliam was tricky with a few slippery rocks and narrow sheep tracks, but luckily no further injuries. We arrived at Lilian lake after 1 ½ hours and I went into the lake the soak my hamstring. The water was lovely and I was tempted to go for a swim but didn’t want to get too cold as the rain and wind was a little more predominant by the lake. Luckily our support crew arrived and we had a short walk to the car for a 4WD ride out of The Retreat along the Harper River. A good day out followed by hot showers and cold beers.
Become a fan of Tri-Planet New Zealand on Facebook and check out the photos from the run.
The triathlon festival held out at Pegasus Bay on 19th December was a fantastic day. With around 400 competitors and a range of races that catered for all levels including children, beginner, intermediate and elite triathletes this certainly was one event I couldn't miss out on...
Only recently returned from 2 weeks in Denmark at temperatures well below 0 degrees I had 4 days to acclimatise and also recover from jet lag. I did manage to get a few swim sessions and running sessions done while away but my fitness levels were not great. Still this would be my first race in New Zealand and not far from my home town, so I couldn't say no. The day before the race temperatures soared to the mid 30s and I had visions of the Barcelona Half Challenge where we had high temperatures and I got heat stroke (managed to finish that race though). Luckily on the day the temperature was cool and perfect for racing.
I cycled out to the race and set up in transition, talking to some of my fellow competitors. Everyone seemed to be donning their wetsuits even though the water was warm enough to swim without one. So it looked like I was going to have to wait a while longer to do my first non-wetsuit triathlon. Having entered in the Pegasus Classic I was in the first wave so we were the first event of the day. Beach start and a short run into the water and then the chaos of an open water swim began. Settling into a good rhythm I managed to get a draft off a few people but my swimming was sluggish and well below my best. Still I was racing and loving it. Out of the water and a short run to the transition area. This is where the fun began; I didn’t quite get my foot out of my wetsuit and did a sort of wetsuit dance nearly tripping over myself as I tried to kick my foot out again. At least I didn’t hit my head on the bar holding my bike up like I did in the Dublin City Triathlon one year! Helmet on, out of transition and then there is the jump on the bike and then fumbling my feet into the bike shoes as I cycle away. The bike course was a fast 3 laps and was very enjoyable, a good surface and some great marshalling keep it safe on the unclosed roads. Keeping my cadence up and my legs pumping I flew around the course. Some of the other races had started so there were a few people starting on their first lap as I was about to finish my last. So it was feet out of the shoes and then off the bike, and into transition. No drama this time so a quick transition and out on to the run course. Unfortunately I had strained my hamstring training in Denmark so I knew my run was going to be slow (well that’s my excuse anyway!). I focused on keeping a good tempo and maintained that throughout the two laps around the lake. Felt good but knew I couldn't push myself like I normally would, it was very difficult to resist chasing anyone that passed me. Finished the race (without a sprint finish) and was happy with my overall performance.
A job well done by the race organisers, they really put on a great event. There were plenty of supporters and sponsors there selling products and you could even buy a fresh coffee! Congratulations to all the athletes that finished the Try a Triathlon race for beginners, perhaps I can tempt you to join our boot camp and learn some valuable techniques and build your fitness?? Anyone that braved the rain and waited for the Elite race was in for a treat as Tony Dodds and Andrea Hewitt showed everyone how to race. A definite race for next season’s calendar.
Starting out in any multi-sport event is definitely a challenge and can be quite daunting. I remember my first triathlon in Clontarf, Dublin. Believe it or not I was wearing speedos and a t-shirt in the race! I had no idea what to wear and what to do, but I loved it and was instantly hooked.
My transitions must have been the slowest in the world, it was a pool swim and trying to put on a t-shirt after the swim was an absolute nightmare. It fell like someone was holding onto my shirt and rolling it up! I was so excited about doing the race but had no idea about training. I was cycling to work . running and swimming so progression to a triathlon didn't seem that unrealistic. I had an old 10 speed road bike with a steel frame and the gear change levers were on the frame of the bike! Still I guess we all started somewhere.
That's where Tri-Planet evolved from, Richard Cattle and I came up with the concept, as we realised there was very limited support for beginner athletes. So we put together some beginner Boot camps to cater for triathlon, duathlon and multi-sport.
And its been so rewarding seeing people achieve their goals or complete something they never believed could be possible. The best part is that we are there with the athletes on the day of the race to not only help them to prepare for the race but to also be their number 1 supporter. Its so amazing seeing people from all walks of life finishing a triathlon, and then there is the post race party which is always great fun and a chance to swap some race stories.
Being able to train, advise and support the athletes as well as share knowledge that has been gained over a number of years of training and racing in triathlon, is an important part of coaching. We also provide some weekly coached Tri-Planet club training sessions, due to the demand of our Bootcampers who wanted to continue training and take their racing further. It really is a great community of fun, dedicated people who give up a lot of time to take part in one of the most rewarding sports you can do.
So don't be afraid to take that step and do something that your friends might tell you is crazy, its very achievable doing the 'swimming, running thing', and it really gets you fit and improves your general well being. I've always been involved in multiple sports at one time like swimming, cricket, basketball, mountain biking so triathlon has really helped me to focus on one sport (but still train for multiple disciplines!), plus I can race at my level and just compete against myself if I want!
Tri-Planet is excited to be starting up triathlon and duathlon coaching in Christchurch, New Zealand.
After a number of successful 8 week camps in Ireland where athletes competed and finished their first ever triathlon, Tri-Planet is looking forward to working with new athletes and helping them to achieve their goals. I'm currently putting together some training camps and sourcing some venues. Triathlon New Zealand is onboard with what Tri-Planet is doing for beginner triathletes and duathletes. Upcoming camps and training to be annouced shortly.