This month Head Coach Teresa Harman gives an insight on her experience of an expert bike fitting:
Cycling is a key part of all triathlon and duathlon events. Not only is the speed of the cycle leg itself important, the rider needs to be able to run effectively immediately afterwards.
Cycles and their associated equipment have dramatically changed in recent years, gone are the steel frames, drop handlebars and shallow rimmed spoked wheels, replaced by acres of expensive, aerodynamic, carbon. These bikes look fast just standing in transition.
It is not so simple though, a quick look at the Hawaii Ironman bike split times shows in 1986 Dave Scott covered the course on his steel framed road bike in 4hr 48m, yet twenty six years later the winners bike split on his state of the art carbon steed was 4hr 35m. The majority of this surprisingly small improvement has come from an improved understanding of the importance of body position on the bike, striking the balance between power, aerodynamics and the ability to run off the bike.
If like most age group triathletes you have a limited budget where should you spend your hard earned cash to race faster? If you already have a reliable road bike the data shows optimising the rider position is key, so why Continue Reading…
Born2Tri Chairman & Coach, Eastern Region Coach of the Year and also seasoned Ironman explains all about planning the all important triathlon race season.
In the past it has been quite reasonable to plan your next year’s events during the closed season, spending your winter base training plotting the next summer’s activity. This is changing, driven to a large extent by the popularity of the sport and the fact many of the major high profile races fill their entry list within days of opening. Even the smaller novice friendly events fill up long before the closing dates, so now is when you need to plan for next year.
What to Consider?
Triathlon is a diverse sport, every race is different, some short, some long (some very long), some hot, some cold, some flat, some hilly, pool based, open water, home or abroad. Generally these events are open to you just by submitting an entry form, but some require qualification to get your place so this must be considered in your plan.
You must first review your sporting background, along with the results of this years training and races. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, for example if swimming is a challenge you may prefer to stay away from long sea swims until your skills and confidence improves. If you are a strong biker, consider races with tough bike courses so you can gain time on the other racers in the tough sections. What do you enjoy? If you like short fast events seek them out, if you fancy the challenge of longer distance and even ultra events you can consider those. How much training have you done this year? This will give you an indication of the time you will have next year, consider family and work commitments, a new baby or more stressful work will not fit well with a decision to train for a long distance event. What do you want from the sport, are you able to compete for wins and places or just to complete the event to the best of your ability? What are your longer term ambitions? It may be to keep fit, complete Continue Reading…
Mark Harman, British Triathlon level 3 coach and regular blood donor talks about giving blood and the potential impact on training for triathletes.
I regularly give blood and have on occasion met other club members at the donor sessions. Without doubt blood donation is a good thing to do, as we are cycling and running out on the roads we are at greater risk of accident and may one day need to draw on the blood donated by others. We are also healthy individuals ideally suited to supply blood without a significant impact on our own lives, but how will it affect our training and athletic performance?
Mark Harman, British Triathlon level 3 coach and regular blood donor talks about the potential impact on performance from giving blood.
If you have gone through the blood donation process, their health and safety warnings make you believe you should not even think of moving too quickly after donation, but what is the truth?
A 1 pint donation of blood reduces blood volume levels by about 10 percent. The loss of fluid has an affect but if you race or exercise in warm weather you will lose more fluid than this and still function relatively normally. Just rehydrate as you would on a warm day. What’s different is you will also lose blood cells. Blood cells will naturally regenerate, returning blood levels back to normal after about 48 hours. However, the level of blood haemoglobin, your body’s oxygen transport mechanism, typically does not recover fully for up to three to four weeks after donating, so competitive athletes may observe a slight decrease in physical performance during that time period.
A study published in the “American Heart Journal” in 1995 evaluated 10 male cyclists before and after blood donations to test the effect of blood donation on performance. Each cyclist was measured for oxygen consumption during maximal exercise testing at baseline, two hours before donating, two hours after donating and seven days after donating. Results showed that the maximal performance of the cyclists decreased for at least one week. Submaximal performance, however, was not affected by blood donations, according to the study. The study concluded that while competitive cyclists should not compete for seven to 10 days after donating, casual cyclists exercising at submaximal intensity may not have negative experiences aside from a higher than normal heart rate the day after exercise.
So in summary we will be affected by giving blood, our race performance will suffer so don’t do it just before an important race. It also tells us we can continue our submaximal training, the level most endurance athletes work at, almost immediately after donation. Accepting you may experience an elevated heart rate and some reduction in performance for the following 48 hours.
If you give blood already I hope this helps you decide when to resume training and racing after donation and if you don’t it may encourage you to know you can safely include training, racing and giving blood in your triathlete lifestyle.
Club Chairman, BTF Level 3 coach and seasoned Ironman, Mark Harman, describes his months of training leading up to Challenge Barcelona on the 2nd October 2012. If you want to go long you have to read this!
Long Distance Training Diary 2011 – Mark Harman Born2Tri
I guess it began as I crossed the line of Ironman France 2009, a fantastic race, superb course, certainly living up to its reputation as one of the toughest Ironman races in the world. It was settled; I was done, no more long course racing for me until I retired from the Police service in 2014.
My return to Ironman racing was less than 12 months later, but this time as a spectator and volunteer at Ironman Lanzarote. Until the race day it was nice to anticipate the event, watching the nervous competitors, remembering fondly my own race there in 2006, but come race day it was like sitting an alcoholic in a distillery. Watching the race unfold and the finish line celebrations was too much to bear and my resolve cracked, I would have to race long again in 2011.
Race selection was easy, where do I want to go on holiday, where will it be hot, not too expensive to travel and offer a nice race course. It took just moments to reject all the UK races, Bolton, Wales in September, Nottingham, Henley all offered the prospect of a year’s training for a very long day in the cold and rain. I soon settled on Challenge Barcelona, the combination of sun, a good holiday destination and a fast course sealed it. Out with the credit card and it was done.
A bonus with this race is its early October date, allowing me to train through the summer months rather than the winter as for Lanzarote and Nice. I could also use our domestic races to help my preparation so the credit card soon added the July ‘Cowman’ middle distance and August ‘Monster’ middle distance. These would be fun races but also offer an indication of how my long distance preparation was progressing.
I hope this article gives you some idea what it takes for an normal racer to Continue Reading…
Eastern Region Performance Coach of the Year and Born2Tri Head Coach describes her experience of pre-race nerves, over to you Teresa!
After more than 10 years in the land of triathlon, my race nerves have still not got any better. As soon as I wake in the morning my stomach begins to churn and my first visit to the loo begins. I try to tell myself to stop being ridiculous, to calm down and take some deep breaths; I manage this for a few minutes but then I’m running to the loo again!
My hubby Mark tells me I should eat a hearty, carb filled breakfast so I am full of energy but it’s like trying to shove a small bird down my throat, its dry and closed and my stomach is in knots. I’ve tried sitting quietly in a room listening to relaxing music but this just gives me more time to think about the race, the panic rises again in my chest and I’m off to the loo for the third time. I start to wonder where it’s all coming from, I haven’t eaten a huge meal the night before but it’s endless. I’m sweating and thinking it should be much easier than this. I want to run and hide or simply quit but that nagging little voice in my head tells me to get a grip. I have trained specifically for this race, am well prepared and very capable of finishing, whether on my feet or crawling over the line (note from our Webmaster, crawling in a race is not allowed!)
Breakfast consumed I’m now thinking about checking my kit that I packed the night before. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve checked it, it all comes out again just to make sure, the anger is rising because this is stupid, it’s all there and I know it but the tears are starting to Continue Reading…
Born2Tri is fortunate to have six qualified coaches all of whom give up their free time to support the club. Here you can read about our coaches and download their coaching biographies. We are very proud of our coaches and the work they do to support not only Born2Tri but the sport of triathlon in the Eastern Region.
I hold a Level 3 British Triathlon Coaching qualification and coach all the disciplines regularly at the Born2tri training sessions and elsewhere.
My triathlon career began in 1990, when as a recreational cyclist I took part in my first sprint triathlon at Ongar. I did not give the greatest performance, struggling through the swim, tearing round the bike course, then ended up walking after half the run. I finished the race and like many people before and since I was hooked. Triathlon was not the well developed sport it is today, but I soon realised it was the one for me. Through the years I have completed over a hundred races, the highlights being completing both Lanzarote and Nice Ironman races. Read Mark’s full coaching CV here
I hold the Level 3 British Triathlon Coaching qualification, coaching in all the triathlon disciplines. My background is as a swimming and fitness instructor.
In 2007 I discovered the world of triathlon and decided that I should join my husband in his quest to start a triathlon club, Born2Tri. I gained Level 1 in Coaching Triathlon from 1st4sport in November of that year and then Level 2 in August 2008. Finally in December 2009 I gained my Level 3 certificate. I continue to develop my professional competence attending conferences and seminars across the country to gain further experience and try to develop the sport to a wider audience. Read Teresa’s full coaching CV here
I currently hold a Level 2 British Triathlon Coaching certificate, which I obtained in 2008.
Having discovered the sport of Triathlon in 1994 I have continued to undertake events at various distances both in this country and Europe.
In 1999 I organised my first event, the Basildon Off Road Triathlon and I have continued to be involved to the present day as the event has grown in popularity. Together with Mark Harman, I have been involved in the organising of the Braintree District Triathlon, another popular event, since its inception in 2004 and open water Triathlon events at Gosfield Lake, Gosfield. Read Peter’s full coaching CV here
As a newcomer to the field of coaching I have recently completed the British Triathlon Level 1 Coaching certificate, but I discovered triathlon in 1984 when looking for a challenge that would focus my running, as I had failed to get entry into the London marathon again. At this time I was a recreational cyclist but couldn’t swim front crawl properly, in fact my first Olympic distance race was completed using breaststroke (I vowed never again). I had already competed in KIMM mountain marathons and continued to participate in both sports until 2000. I have competed in numerous triathlon events at all distances up to Ironman, including the original London Triathlon between 1984 and 1987. In the mid 1980’s I organised local school triathlon events and the Mid Essex Schools Triathlon. I was chairman of the Eastern Region BTA (now BTF) in the early 1990’s. My running ability was curtailed by a car accident in 2006 but a chance meeting with physio and Born2Tri member Helen and the Born2Tri launch day in 2008 gave me the incentive to start training again and I have really enjoyed being part of the club. The route into coaching now gives me the opportunity to put something back into the sport I still love.
I hold the Level 1 triathlon coaching qualification and regularly coach the swimming sessions on a Monday night.
I have been competing in triathlons for about 5 years. My first race was the Sussex sprint triathlon where I completed the bike leg on a mountain bike with slick tyres, I didn’t get on very well on the hills! After that I was hooked and have been competing in sprint and Olympic triathlons ever since. Last year I did take the step up and competed in the New Forest Half Ironman. I would agree with 220 magazine when they describe this as one of the hardest races in the UK. If the bike doesn’t get you then the run certainly will!!
Highlights of my triathlon career to date are winning the open Ladies Eastern Region league for two years running and being a member of the winning Eastern Region club relay team, with Wendy and Melissa.
I thoroughly enjoy competing and training as part of Born2Tri. It is a very welcoming and all embracing club which caters for all abilities. This is evident in the success of its members and the events that it puts on in the region.
Photo to Come-Stuart Mills
I currently hold a Level 2 British Triathlon Coaching qualification and regularly coach training sessions at Born2Tri, predominantly swimming at this stage. I am currently undertaking the Level 2 British Triathlon Coaching qualification which I hope to finish in March 2010.
I started training and competing in triathlons around 5 years ago after realising that my legs were not robust enough to concentrate on just running. I find that training for triathlon enables me to train regularly without the regular injuries I sustained when just running.
I have raced numerous sprint and Olympic distance triathlons over the last few seasons, slowly improving my times as I gain both fitness and experience. I have competed in the Eastern Region league for the last two years, coming second in the open male category both times. I also completed my first middle distance race last year. It was a completely different from sprint and Olympic racing but an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.
I enjoy the training as well as the racing and have a keen interest in the training and sports since that underpins performance in triathlon. I aim to complete my Level 2 coaching qualification and become more involved with the training at Born 2 Tri.
Club Chairman, multiple Ironman and Level 3 BTF Coach, Mark Harman talks about those pre-race nerves and why everyone gets them…
What is the problem?
Lets face it triathlon is not an easy sport, its that ‘difficulty’ which makes it interesting to us and makes our less sporty friends look in horror when you explain you plan to swim a mile in a grubby lake, ride your bike for 25 miles then finish it off with a six mile run, all without stopping. It’s not the same as playing football for your pub side, some social tennis, a round of golf or a trip to the local gym, every triathlon from sprint to Ironman is a challenge which requires appropriate training and respect. It’s not surprising you are nervous before setting out on such an endeavour.
So what is being nervous? A dictionary describes it as ‘unnaturally or acutely uneasy or apprehensive’ but you may feel it in many different ways and with different intensity. Being nervous is not an unnatural process; every intelligent creature reacts to a stressful situation by triggering changes in the body. It’s an important and totally automatic response which will help you survive in a Continue Reading…