Triathlete Europe Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:05:22 +0000 hourly 1 Redefine Your Goals Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:30:27 +0000 Scott Fliegelman

After crossing the finish line of a local sprint race last season, I was walking around congratulating fellow racers when one of them asked ]]>


After crossing the finish line of a local sprint race last season, I was walking around congratulating fellow racers when one of them asked me about my race. I responded enthusiastically, “I was pleased to be able to race to my fitness.” Given the funny look I received, I clarified by explaining that I view the primary purpose of training as getting as fit and smart as possible, given real-life challenges such as family and work. My run preparation was weak and the time showed it, but that didn’t detract any from the effort I put forth and my feelings of satisfaction, pride and smiles. After all, that’s the main reason we race, right?

Having completed more than a hundred multisport races with finish-line scenes reminiscent of this one, I’ve unfortunately learned that many triathletes race for different reasons, and they often finish feeling disappointed and unsatisfied with their accomplishments.

Triathletes can do a better job of defining success. Goal-setting experts tell us we need to set “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). While this is generally excellent advice, most triathletes sadly choose to view these guidelines through the prism of outcome-based goals, instead of embracing the far more fulfilling process-oriented goals.

RELATED: Screw Your Weaknesses!

For example, when asked to list their top goals for an upcoming race, most triathletes will answer “finish in the top 10 in my age group,” “break 12 hours” or “average 20 mph on the bike.” Rarely do I hear “I want to meter out my energy optimally during the bike leg in order to have my best run, ” “I want to arrive early to the race site to avoid any anxiety,” or “I want to stay focused on a key element of my swim stroke.”

It is worth noting that many of these popular outcome-based goals can easily be compromised by race conditions such as heat and wind, poorly marked swim courses or the competition that day. Comparing your times from flat and fast 70.3 EagleMan to hot and hilly Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 is not likely to lead to feeling successful.

Defining success properly for yourself starts long before the gun goes off at your next race. Begin by establishing process goals for your training, such as:

I will wake up 30 minutes earlier three days a week to do valuable core work.

I’ll train with friends more often.

I’ll avoid processed sweets on weekdays in order to help reach a more effective race weight.

Then, as you approach your next key race, make a realistic assessment of your fitness and race preparedness based upon the actual training you’ve achieved. Use recent time trials, practice races and previous race experience in order to craft a winning pacing strategy reflective of that fitness.

Stay in your own bubble and don’t let other racers distract you from your race plan. Unless you are competing for the overall win, age-group racing is essentially a really long solo time trial with the goal of completely exhausting your fitness at the finish line. If you do that, and execute your race plan with only a few minor hiccups along the way, then you will have had a very successful race. You may just be pleasantly surprised at the time on the clock and your age group placing as a result.

Scott Fliegelman is the owner and head coach of FastForward Sports ( in Boulder, Colo.

Follow Triathlete Europe on Twitter @triathleteurope and be the first to know about training plans, gear reviews, race reports and the very latest triathlon news.



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Brownlee Brothers Go One-Two In Glasgow Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:30:04 +0000

With a pre-race plan to spread the men out early in the race, English siblings Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee executed to ]]>

10506644_10153286027169572_1088748187894852761_o-633x421With a pre-race plan to spread the men out early in the race, English siblings Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee executed to perfection to become the first gold and silver medallists in men’s triathlon.

With their podiums, they became the first men ever to win triathlon medals for England at the Commonwealth Games. Richard Murray also put South Africa on the Commonwealth podium for the first time when he rounded out the top three with bronze.

Starting with a tormenting speed on the swim, the Brownlees, together with South Africa’s Henri Schoeman, shook off the Strathclyde Loch water ahead of the crowd and picked up their bikes in solid control of the race. While Canada’s Matt Sharpe and Australia’s Ryan Bailie and Aaron Royle also exited the water in the lead pack, an expert transition saw the English lads get an early start on the bike.

Those precious early seconds on two wheels proved pivotal in the outcome, as the Brownlees were able to push ahead of everyone but Marc Austin (SCO) and Schoeman. The two young bucks were primed to go with the Brownlees, but Schoeman made a costly early mistake when he overshot a left hand turn that sent him sailing into the course fence.

The wide turn made it a party of three, with the pair of English men and the brash young Scot setting off to attack the tough hilly course together. Behind them, a large chase pack formed, but failed to chip away at the sizeable gap. More than a minute down after the second bike lap, Tom Davison‘s bike speed started to take effect when he caught up to the chase pack and took his seat at the front midway. But it wasn’t enough to reel in the Brownlees.

Up ahead, the Leeds-based brothers spit a spent Austin back out to the chase as they turned onto the bell lap. From there it was a sibling rivalry, as the rest of the Commonwealth nations were left to battle for bronze.

Not leaving anything to chance, Alistair started to leave younger brother Jonny behind early on the first lap. As he pased the first aid station, it was clear he would become the eventual winner despite another two laps looming. Meanwhile, the tenacious Murray ran away from the chase pack and never looked back.

With a commanding lead down the finish chute, Alistair slowed to collect both English and Leeds flags and walked home for the win. Jonny cruised over next, followed by Murray to close the day of triathlon in Glasgow.

While the triathlon action is over for the day, the Mixed Relay remains on Saturday. All of the triathlon superstars will return this weekend for the dynamic race, set to start at 12:30pm.

2014  Glasgow Commonwealth Games – 24 July

1. Alistair Brownlee (ENG)

2. Jonathan Brownlee (ENG)

3. Richard Murray (RSA)

4. Andrew Yorke (CAN)

5. Ryan Bailie (AUS)

Follow Triathlete Europe on Twitter @triathleteurope and be the first to know about training plans, gear reviews, race reports and the very latest triathlon news.

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Australia’s Sunshine Coast To Host 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:30:43 +0000 Paul Moore

The region has hosted several big triathlons, including the ITU World Cup Mooloolaba (pictured here). Photo: Delly Carr/

The Sunshine Coast in Queensland will host the first ever IRONMAN World Championship held in the Southern Hemisphere. The 2016 ]]>

The region has hosted several big triathlons, including the ITU World Cup Mooloolaba (pictured here). Photo: Delly Carr/

The region has hosted several big triathlons, including the ITU World Cup Mooloolaba (pictured here). Photo: Delly Carr/

The region has hosted several big triathlons, including the ITU World Cup Mooloolaba (pictured here). Photo: Delly Carr/

The Sunshine Coast in Queensland will host the first ever IRONMAN World Championship held in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 2016 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship will be staged in Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, in September 2016, it was announced by IRONMAN today.

The World Championship is the pinnacle event in the global IRONMAN 70.3 calendar and will further strengthen an outstanding triathlon event portfolio in Queensland. The announcement is the result of a partnership between the Queensland Government, Sunshine Coast Council and IRONMAN.

The Sunshine Coast and Queensland region is regarded as one of the world’s leading triathlon centres, with the hosting of the annual IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast, the iconic Mooloolaba and Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festivals and prior hosting of International Triathlon Union (ITU) series and championship events.

The South East Queensland region plays home to current IRONMAN® 70.3® World Champion Melissa Hauschildt, IRONMAN® 70.3® Asia Pacific Champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno, IRONMAN® World Champion Pete Jacobs and IRONMAN® World Champion medalist Caroline Steffen, among others.

“We are delighted to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to Australia,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN.

“Asia Pacific is a rapidly expanding region for our sport, particularly the Sunshine Coast and Queensland, both hugely popular strongholds for the IRONMAN brand.”

“The region has a significant history in the sport of triathlon and is a popular destination that we know will deliver a world class event while providing genuine warmth of hospitality,” Messick added.

Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship would attract the world’s best endurance athletes from across the nation and overseas to the Sunshine Coast in 2016.

“The Queensland Government’s 20-year plan for tourism, Destination Success, outlines the importance of delivering events such as this which drive visitation to Queensland’s destinations,” said Ms Stuckey.

“The Sunshine Coast provides an ideal backdrop to deliver a memorable event for visiting competitors with athletes likely to ‘Make the Most of the Moment’ and stay on after the championship to experience the region’s tourism offerings.

“As we look toward the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, of which triathlon is a core sport, it is events such as this that further demonstrate Queensland’s ability to host spectacular international sporting events.” 

The World Championship event expects to attract 3,000 athletes from over 70 global qualifying events in locations such as Australia, Japan, Spain,  England, South Africa and the Americas.

RELATED: Pro Perspective: Moving The 70.3 World Championships

The Championship is part of a week-long festival which will include the IRONMAN® 70.3® Sunshine Coast race and a range of lifestyle events for the community and visitors to enjoy.

“We are excited to welcome triathletes from throughout our region and around the world for what we are confident will be a superb experience,” said IRONMAN Asia Pacific CEO, Geoff Meyer.

“The Sunshine Coast will be a magnificent setting – whether it is your goal to qualify for the World Championship or be a participant at the IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast triathlon, it will be a race week triathletes won’t want to miss.”

This year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is set for Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada on September 7, 2014 and the 2015 event will be hosted in Zell am See-Kaprun, SalzburgerLand, Austria on August 30, 2015.

Follow Triathlete Europe on Twitter @triathleteurope and be the first to know about training plans, gear reviews, race reports and the very latest triathlon news.

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Jodie Stimpson wins first gold medal of Glasgow Commonwealth Games Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:42:45 +0000 Paul Moore Glasgow, Scotland (24 July 2014) - Jodie Stimpson (ENG) put together a tactically brilliant race on the first day of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to be awarded the first gold medal of the games. Kirsten Sweetland kept Canada’s strong tradition of Commonwealth medals alive and well with silver, while Vicky Holland put England back on the podium with third. It was the first time England has ever been on the podium, much less won gold in triathlon at the Commonwealth Games.

Team England got off to an early and commanding lead with all three of its competitors jetting up the start pontoon in the top spots. Lucy Hall (ENG) led the English trio out of transition, with Flora Duffy (BER), Emma Moffatt (AUS), Aileen Reid (NIR), and Nicky Samuels (NZL) hot on their heels.

While they enjoyed a small break for half a lap, the determined Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Sweetland, and Emma Jackson (AUS) quickly shut down the gap and pulled themselves up with the leaders. Duffy attempted an attack on the third lap, but she wasn’t able to back it up with such strong cyclists tucked in the pack. Instead, the talented ten stuck together, each taking their turn up top.

But on the fourth lap, Hall made a move to drop the group and this time managed to make the break stick for a lap. Behind her, Duffy continued to work to keep the chase in distance and a final last ditch effort from Reid saw the group pulled back into a train of 10 as theu headed into the second transition.

Stimpson stomped out of T2 with gold on her mind, but so did a number of other athletes. Sweetland, Reid, and Jackson immediately answered Stimpson’s thundering pace, not daring to let up for a step or risk losing Stimpson early on the three-lap run.

Together, the four jockeyed for position repeatedly, with Reid and 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Hewitt working themselves back into the group on the back of lap one. From there, it was a game of tactics, but it Jackson was the first to drop off the pace, followed by Hewitt.

While Holland wouldn’t be easily kicked off the blistering pace, Stimpson and Sweetland ran stride for stride out in front on the last lap. It wasn’t until just a few hundred meters remained that Stimpson was able to seal the deal with a final push, garnering her first major games medal.

2014  Glasgow Commonwealth Games – 24 July

1. Jodie Stimpson (ENG)

2. Kirsten Sweetland (CAN)

3. Vicky Holland (ENG)

4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL)

5. Emma Jackson (AUS)

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Is Dietary Variety Overrated? Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:11 +0000 Matt Fitzgerald

A little monotony in your eating habits might not be such a bad thing. Dietary variety is one of the core principles of nutrition. Most ]]>

shutterstock_142111777-510x421A little monotony in your eating habits might not be such a bad thing.

Dietary variety is one of the core principles of nutrition. Most nutrition experts would agree that diversity is among the two or three most important qualities a diet can have; you would be hard pressed to find a nutrition expert who believes that dietary variety is not all that important.

I myself have often preached the importance of dietary variety in my writing. For example, in Maximum Strength, my coauthor Eric Cressey and I wrote:

Different foods offer different nutrition profiles. No food provides every nutrient your body needs, and many natural foods provide nutrients that few or no other foods provide. This is especially true of plant foods, which contain dozens of useful “phytonutrients” that help the body in many ways. So, the best way to ensure that your body gets enough of each nutrient is to consistently eat a wide variety of foods.

I’m not talking about merely hitting all of the basic food groups each day. I’m talking about getting as much variety as possible within each food group. Your animal protein should not always come from beef. Romaine lettuce should not be your only green vegetable. You get the idea.

I stand behind these words. However, I can’t say that I practice this principle as zealously as I’ve preached it. My diet contains a decent amount of variety, but not as much as it might have. I eat more or less the same breakfast (whole-grain cereal and milk, orange juice and coffee) and the same lunch (half a tuna sandwich with greens and tomatoes on whole wheat, a salad, veggie chips, and a can of V-8 juice) almost every day. My dinners are all over the place, but only because my wife prepares them. If I cooked my own dinners I would probably have a three-recipe rotation.

RELATED: Super Greens! Make Your Veggies Palatable

The thing is, while my diet is somewhat monotonous, it’s pretty healthy. And I know a lot of other athletes whose diets are monotonously healthy, too. I don’t seem to suffer any consequences of eating many of the same foods day after day. So is lack of variety really such a bad thing?

This much is certain: a repetitive diet of healthy foods is better than a highly varied diet containing many unhealthy foods. Proof of this point comes from a British study of dietary variety involving a large pool of subjects, which found that those who ate the widest variety of healthy foods were in fact the healthiest, while those who ate the widest variety of unhealthy foods had the worst health. These findings are not the least bit surprising, of course, but they make a fundamental point that you never hear: dietary variety is not inherently beneficial.

You may have heard that eating the same foods over and over can cause allergies to those foods. I’ve heard this from a few different fringe nutrition “experts,” but I’ve had no luck in finding the source of this notion. In any case, it’s purely mythical. There is no research evidence that eating the same foods frequently for long periods of time creates allergies or intolerance to those foods. If it did, all of China would be allergic to rice, wouldn’t it?

Meanwhile, there may be some benefit to limiting the variety in one’s diet. The obvious advantage—and the reason my own dietary variety is limited—is convenience. When you eat some of the same foods more or less every day you don’t have to put a lot of thought and time into shopping for and preparing food.

A second advantage of food monotony is that it encourages healthy weight management. Several studies have found that people eat more when they eat a wider variety of foods, apparently because satiety results in part from tiring of the taste of food, which obviously happens faster when you’re eating just one thing. Even more compelling is a National Weight Control Registry study which found that men and women who had successfully maintained a large amount of weight loss for a long period of time had a less varied diet than dieters who regained lost weight. The authors of this study speculated that limiting the variety of foods in the diet might help people to better manage their total caloric intake.

RELATED – Does Race Weight Actually Matter?

On the other hand, there is also solid scientific evidence that dietary variety specifically in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health. For example, in one study researchers from the University of Colorado divided 106 women into two groups and placed them on different diets. Both groups consumed 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but one group ate 18 different varieties of fruits and vegetables while the other ate only five varieties. Blood tests taken after two weeks revealed that while both groups showed a reduction in lipid peroxidation (due to increased antioxidant intake), only the wide-variety group exhibited a reduction of DNA damage caused by free radicals.

Another study, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, showed a 30 percent lower death rate over five and a half years within a population of 42,000 women among those whose healthy food variety in the diet was higher. Such findings are not surprising. The human genome is designed to benefit from dietary variety. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the human diet as compared to the diets of other species is the sheer variety of foods we eat. When our ancestors diverged from chimpanzees more than four million years ago, the key trend in the evolution of our diet, which paralleled our genetic evolution, was a trend toward incorporating more and more foods. Paleolithic humans (living between 10,000 and 8,000 B.C.) are believed to have consumed anywhere from 100 to 200 different plant foods annually.

The agricultural revolution and other historical events sharply reduced the variety in the human diet. Today the average American gets two-thirds of his daily calories from just four species: corn, soybeans, wheat and rice. That can’t be optimal.

So, just how much variety should we try to get in our diet? Based on the information given above, I think it’s best to focus first on the quality of the food you eat. There’s no point in trying to increase the variety of food in your diet if you’re eating a lot of crap. Getting rid of the crap is your top priority. Once your diet is basically healthy, then you can turn toward diversification. I don’t see anything wrong with a lot of repetition in your proteins, grains and dairy foods. Where variety matters is in your fruits and vegetables. Try to mix these up as much as conveniently possible. Eating mostly fruits and vegetables that are in season is a great way to get started.

Lucky for me, my wife likes to cook with a lot of different vegetables. You’ll have to find your own solution!

RELATED: Gluten-Free Diets: What Are They And Should You Be On One?


About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit

Follow Triathlete Europe on Twitter @triathleteurope and be the first to know about training plans, gear reviews, race reports and the very latest triathlon news.

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Bike Review: Vitus CHRONO TT Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:43 +0000 Paul Moore

Vitus Chrono TT 2015 model incl. Chrono brand forks and seatpost.   Supplied kit: Shimano Ultegra Di2 10 speed groupset incl. bar end ]]>

Vitus Chrono TT 2015 model incl. Chrono brand forks and seatpost.  

Supplied kit:

Shimano Ultegra Di2 10 speed groupset incl. bar end shifters

imageVitus Chrono TT bars

Fulcrum Red Wind wheels (clincher) – 50mm front, 101mm rear with Michelin Pro3 tyres

TRP TTV V-brakes front and rear – integrated into frame

Own kit:

ISM Adamo saddle

Shimano SPD-SL pedals

Tester:  Clare DonovanI am an Age Group triathlete proud to have qualified to race with Team GB on 3 previous occasions (2 x Standard and 1 long course) and also a Triathlon England Regional Race Official.  Whilst not intending to compete in many events this season, my “A” race was to qualify once more at the Dambuster to represent Team GB at the European Standard Distance event in Geneva in 2015.   Training had been limited and the idea of a “new” bike added a little zing.  I normally race a custom built titanium road bike with carbon rear stays, deep rim wheels and TT bars.

First Thoughts: Quite easy to set-up and adjust to suit my geometry – shims were considered to raise the bar pads, but eventually not used.  Stand over height was a little challenging, even in a small size!  Maybe I have short legs?

First Ride:  Slight adjustments were needed to the saddle position, to stop knees coming into contact with cables and the TT bars were shortened to give better positioning over the Di2 buttons.

Training Rides:  Solid, assuring handling, and beautifully balanced.  Corners and roundabouts could be taken at speed without fear of twitchiness.  The Di2 is amazing to use, smooth and quick.  However, it took me a lot of effort to get the bike going;  I felt a lack of power through the rear stays and seemed to use more energy than usual to get up to speed (a power meter would have helped to see if this was real or imagined).  That said, once at speed, the ChronoTT stays there and is a pleasure to ride with no vibration or other uncomfortable factors.

Racing Experience: The Dambuster cycle course is NOT flat and as such an unfamiliar “full on” TT bike was not perhaps the best bike to use.  I noticed the lack of oomph during the climbs and would have preferred not to expend so much energy to get to racing speed.  The downs though were amazing and speeds achieved and maintained were sometimes scary!  Deep rims often result in severe wobbles, but even on a fast descent with lorry drafts and crosswinds, the Chrono TT stayed remarkably stable.  The arm rests were comfortable throughout and when climbing the balance on top of the bars remained excellent.

Overall: The Vitus Chrono TT is undoubtedly a lot of bike for the money. It’s nicely balanced, great at speed and offers variable positioning, including as low as you like and it comes with a good spec.  For an aspirational TT rider this represents a remarkable offering at a very realistic price.

The Vitus Chrono TT is supplied and sold exclusively by, it is a race proven beast with numerous podium spots at Iron distance events under sponsored athlete Lucy Gossage. More information on the Vitrus Chrono TT

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8 Reasons Triathletes Get Injured Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Marty Munson

Avoid these common injury-prevention pitfalls and your performance may even improve, too. There’s no doubt about it: Injuries are ]]>


Avoid these common injury-prevention pitfalls and your performance may even improve, too.

There’s no doubt about it: Injuries are frustrating, painful—and all too common. In a five-year study from Great Britain of a small group of triathletes, 72 percent sustained injuries, and rates were the same whether they were doing Olympic- or iron-distance training. Yet doctors, physical therapists and other experts say that too often, athletes make certain mistakes that help steer them right to the sidelines. Stay healthy the rest of your season by avoiding these common problems:

1. You go too far, or too fast, too soon
Injuries happen when the normal stress of training gets distributed to structures that aren’t designed to (or ready to) withstand it. If you don’t have good stability in your shoulder blades, for instance, stress is transferred to your shoulder.

One of the challenges with training for triathlon is that “the cardiovascular system is highly adaptable, but the musculoskeletal system takes longer to recuperate to adapt,” says Christopher Powers, physical therapist and professor of biokinesiology at the University of Southern California. “Many times, triathletes push themselves until they break down and get an injury.” If your training plan has you down for an easy day, respect it.

RELATED: Understanding Overtraining

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Outlaws take on the heat for long-distance triathlon Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:37:47 +0000 Paul Moore

The Outlaw Triathlon returns to Nottingham this Sunday, 27 July. Taking place for the fifth time, the award-winning event has attracted ]]>

306737_379954352068969_53081207_n1The Outlaw Triathlon returns to Nottingham this Sunday, 27 July. Taking place for the fifth time, the award-winning event has attracted over1100 athletes from all over the world to undertake a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike ride and 26.2mile run.

The event starts at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham at 6am on Sunday. The scenes at the start are always inspiring with nervous athletes preparing for a mammoth day of triathlon as the sun rises spectacularly over the lake.

The relatively flat and fast bike ride is focused around a cheering point at the Royal Oak Pub in Car Colston, but also does a loop around Southwell. All cyclists must be back at the National Water Sports Centre by 4pm in order to start the marathon run along the river Trent path.

The fastest competitors are expected to finish in front of the grand stand seating at the Water Sports Centre before 3pm. With severalathletes already having broken nine hours at previous events, the competition for the men’s title will be tough. Key contenders seem to be Tom Vickery, Karl Alexander, Craig Twigg and Kyle Follett.

However, returning champion, Eugene Grant, demonstrated last year that patience and intelligent pacing can win the Outlaw, even if you’ve never won a big race previously. He hopes to complete his fifth Outlaw in a row – he one of only seven people to be starting the race with the opportunity to do this.

Last year’s female winner was Vicky Gill isn’t returning and the race looks to be wide open. However, the winner from 2012, Emma Rand, will be there.

Cancer Research, the Outlaw official charity, expects to raise around £75,000 from this event having already raised £32,000 at the Outlaw Half event last month.

The Outlaw is free to watch, with substantial car parking available at the National Water Sports Centre. There is also an open water swim event on Saturday 26 July, which is open children and adults from eleven years and up. Entries will be accepted on the day.

The event will be televised by Channel 4 next month.

Previous winners:

2010: Paul Hawkins (9:11:44), Joanna Swallow (10:45:08)

2011: Joe Jameson (8:47:47), Cat Faux (10:22:51)

2012: Harry Wiltshire (9:06:16), Emma Rand (11:00:16)

2013: Eugene Grant (9:27:09), Vicky Gill (9:50:58)


There is a £1500 prize pot for individual course records available.


Relay course record: 8:01:10


Fastest swim, bike and run splits (by race finishers)

Swim: Harry Wiltshire (48:35), Joanna Swallow (48:57)

Bike: Kevin Dawson (4:28:44), Vicky Gill (5:13:33)

Run: Joel Jameson (3:01:16), Vicky Gill (3:26:52)


Visit for more information.


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H2No: How I Overcame Open Water Swimming Fear Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:00:26 +0000 Alice Hector

By Alice Hector – you can read here full blog at I have been open water swimming for many, many years. I am now a ]]>

Alice winBy Alice Hector – you can read here full blog at

I have been open water swimming for many, many years. I am now a professional triathlete and think nothing of submerging myself into the various wetlands of this World.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point whereby I can honestly say ‘I think nothing of this’. For me, it has been a journey that began with fear and loathing. I have literally been in some very dark places with my swimming.

The first exposure I had was at the British Youth Triathlon Championships. I was delivered to the race venue: a murky, cold lake in the East Midlands. I was 14, and my naïve, innocent self had not given any consideration to the fact that it would be a bit different from your average indoor pool swim. I dipped my toe in. ‘Bugger me! (though I was too young and innocent for any such expletive) That’s cold!’ I then watched in horror as one by one, the competitors nonchalantly dipped their toes, and thentheir entire beings, into the waters deep and swam out to the start. I got in too, ignoring the inner voice screaming ‘You fool. Run away. And don’t look back.’

I couldn’t catch my breath. It was so cold. My breathing was rapid and shallow, yet I had to ignore that, as I had to race. We had, after all, endured Friday traffic in order to be here. I couldn’t possibly back out now. I doggy-paddled my way out to the start, tried to put my head under, panicked, and that was that. The gun went and I did the entire 500m head up. A water polo, doggy paddle mix. It took forever. I had my own safety canoe. I was a County level swimmer, yet I was 2nd last out the water.

Never again, said I.

Unfortunately though, triathlon was apparently my fate, for despite all my efforts to avoid this horrendous sport, it kept lurking over my shoulder like a big fat chip.

‘You need to do triathlon’ said my swimming and athletics coaches.

‘I want to swim and run separately: putting three sports together is silly’, I would retort. To this day, I still largely agree with this.

So inevitably, triathlon happened. The first day of university came and I dropped by the swim squad – visions of Olympic Gold in the 50m front crawl burning brightly in my forefront of my cranium. ‘I’m sorry’ said the swim coach ‘you are far too slow. But the triathlon squad has room, so we suggest you go and submerge yourself in various squalid lagoons for the next decade, and see how you get on’.

‘OK’ said I, desperate to be elite at something.

Within my first week of Uni, I was back, standing on the edge of the same bank at the lake I raced in so unsuccessfully as a 14 year old. It hadn’t changed. When swimming, the abundance of reeds would creep around and touch me as I swam past, much like the caress of a dead man’s fingers. They would wrap gently round my hands: me and Death fleetingly intertwined.

Just keep swimming.

My heart missed a beat each time something touched me. I could not see a thing. My breathing was always erratic and I was paranoid about swallowing water for all the poison in which I was enveloped (you might have gathered by now, I was a touch neurotic).

Where’s the nearest exit point? When can I get out? What on Earth is at the bottom? Oh dear lord, was that an eel? Mr Death, get your hands off me!

I detested and dreaded our weekly open water swim. I was so tense and felt so unsafe, but I was on an elite program, following my dream, so I didn’t dare say anything. I knew it was my problem to solve.

Next up came a big National race. Turns out as well as humans, we were racing jellyfish. The evening prior to the race, I watched aghast as thousands of gargantuan amoebas blobbed around the race start, waiting for me. They had multiplied by the morning. It was enough to put me off my pre-race porridge I assure you.

And what of the pollution? Getting into swim venues with fag butts and empty bottles meandering gently downstream, the suspect eggy aroma, the boats with their oil slicks and the ducks with their poo. It is no real surprise that not everyone takes to this past-time from the off.

I’ll never forget the most dubious location I was presented with, whereby at the race briefing we were told in no uncertain terms, not to put our feet down during the swim, for fear of stepping on used syringes and broken glass. The location? Somewhere in Scotland. The venue? A dank old pond sandwiched between three high-rise flats, adorned with many a hoodied youth and graffiti expressing an explicit hatred for pond-dwellers.

I swam fast that day.

Another race was held in 10 degrees. 1500m of that was 1500m too much. Ice-cream head ensued and I came out numb all over, but still, people were in there without wetsuits, swimming away, emitting beams of joyful radiance on every out-breath. It struck me that these guys, in fact, everyone else around me, were all perfectly happy. I was not. This was clearly my problem to solve.

As I got better, I got more trips abroad. Clear, warm water, you say? Excellent, thought I. Until I realised. Not being able to see in the dark UK waters was not necessarily a bad thing. Now I could see all the fish. And every single shark/fish/leaf that I saw made me jump. A school of fish made me triple jump. Quite often I just shut my eyes. But that didn’t fare well with the coach’s sighting sessions.

The process to change my attitude took many years. I still don’t particularly enjoy sea swimming as anything could be lurking nearby, and I still get a little jumpy around fish. I prefer lakes; they just feel more ‘contained’. When I started racing I used to be so conscious of not swallowing any water for fear of contamination, but now, that doesn’t really phase me. In all my years of swimming, I have never been noticeably ill from open water, even when I unwittingly downed a pint of the Thames during the Windsor Tri. And racing, in that moment, is more important to me now than any after effects.

I have grown to love the feel of open water. It suits my training and lifestyle. I like to train surrounded by nature, with minimal gadgetry. The freedom of the open space, the fresh air, the beautiful locations… it sure as hell beats swimming in a tiny chemical vat full of other peoples’ various excretions (otherwise known as the ‘leisure complex’).

Anything you’re unsure of takes time to master. Now I am one of those confident swimmers I always envied, but I had to repeatedly expose myself to the environment I so disliked in order to get here. No doubt there will be many beginners, just like I was, glaring enviously at the whimsical new me as I glide/splosh past without a care in the World. But they can get there too.

Tips for successful outdoor swimming:

1. Don’t rush. Even now, when the water is cold, I take a couple more minutes to ease myself in the water than many people. I find getting in quickly takes my breath away, and submerging myself gradually helps me keep in control. Give yourself time to adjust.

2. Staying close to the edge can sound reassuring, but there are more reeds in the shallows which can cause alarm. You’re better off out in the slightly deeper water.

3. Always swim with someone else, or in lakes that have designated swim sessions with safety cover. Reassurance and that feeling of safety will work wonders for relaxation. For those of you based in the south of England, I use Bray and Heron lakes, found at

4. The motion and the cold water can cause temporary dizziness. I find that stopping and sighting on a marker in the distance stops this. Turning on to your back can make dizziness worse, so stay on your front or tread water whilst upright. The dizziness will disappear in a few seconds.

5. Fish have more reason to be scared of you than you have of them!

6. Mr Death is probably a figment of my imagination. Don’t listen.

7. Get a good-fitting wetsuit. Nothing can further compound panic further than the feeling of being suffocated by too tight a suit. One that’s too big will let too much water in, and you’ll slosh around, going nowhere very fast. Other advantages of the wetsuit? Flotation (so drowning is hard), protection (from jellyfish stings/shark bites/reed-fingers etc) and warmth. Check if you need a new one.

8. Still struggling to get to grips with open water? Keep getting in, but reduce your expectations. Aim for a shorter swim, but keep them regular. Experience is vital. It does get better.

9. Realise that you are not alone. Even pro’s have apprehensions. We just refuse to give in to them and then learn how to overcome them entirely. Persevere, and confidence will come.

***Alice is an elite long distance triathlete. 2014 marks her first year back into pro triathlon after a 7 year ‘retirement’. So far she has wins over half ironman distance in both Israman, Lisboa, and most recently a third place at Luxembourg 70.3 and most recently the full iron distance Bastion.



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Firefly Recovery Aid – A Triathletes View Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:00:18 +0000 Nick Rose

At first glance the pack supplied can look pretty innocuous but these small straps are, according to firefly, designed to aid your recovery ]]>

slide-using-the-device-2-1024x525At first glance the pack supplied can look pretty innocuous but these small straps are, according to firefly, designed to aid your recovery through the use of electro stimulation. Sounds painful? Actually it isn’t, but can take some getting used to initially.

The fireflys are supplied in a handy zip lock pouch along with extra adhesive straps, a cleaning wipe and emery card (to prepare the skin) along with a complete set of instructions. The website also has a handy YouTube clip for further guidance. Additional neoprene straps can be purchased if required – these would more likely be used if you decided to remain mobile while wearing them.

The claim of firefly is that by using their recovery device you can increase blood flow to the lower leg through electrical current stimulation of the neuromuscular system and thus recover quicker by reducing muscle soreness and swelling whilst resting after a hard session.

They are easy to fit following the instructions.  Once attached, there are seven levels of stimulation; the requirement can vary with the individual and through use seems to vary per leg. This was easy to work out and pretty intuitive once positioned and turned on.  After getting used to the constant twitch and settling down to relax for a few hours, the fireflys were left to do their work.

Using them on the middle setting seemed to give the best balance between comfort and feedback that something was in fact happening.

Best perceived results were noticeable after long runs but they were put to use over a few weeks post half ironman event, a number of 2+ hour runs and numerous 5+ hour bicycle rides.

There was certainly a feeling of recovery benefit and less of a heavy leg feeling the next day – this is difficult to quantify medically but most athletes will know their own levels of fatigue. Certainly the gains are not as measurable as, say a new set of wheels, but for the top age grouper or heavy trainer trying to gain that extra few percentage points over the opposition they are worth a try.

With price there lies one of the conundrums facing the fireflys. The recommended usage is for a one time application with 4 hours being the optimum before they are disposed of. At £30 a pair this doesn’t make sense or good value for money. What makes more sense is to use the full 24 hours battery life over a number of sessions and ensure that you store them carefully and clean your legs after use. Further research seems to point to this official line due to the CE medical rating on the product and restrictions around health and safety for fear of infection due to reuse in hospitals. This shouldn’t be ignored but maybe used with a little more real world common sense.

There is also the issue that many working age groupers have after a long session at the weekend – family takes over and spending 4 hours lying around waiting for the fireflys to repair you isn’t in most peoples training plan. However, mobility after attaching the fireflys didn’t seem to be an issue and the optional neoprene straps maybe beneficial here.

Overall, the virtues of neuromuscular stimulation have been argued for many years but this may be a cheaper solution than the pricier units on the market such as COMPEX. If used to their full battery life, the fireflys provide a cheap portable solution to reduction of DOMS if you have the time to rest after a long session.

More details from:

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