Switching from international rowing to triathlon 

This year’s Trigirl ambassador Natasha made a name for herself in international rowing before she switched to triathlon in 2022. 

Natasha won two gold medals in the World University Games in Shanghai. She spent time in the GB rowing development squad at Leander Club where she won prestigious events including Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta.

Read here how her switch from rowing to triathlon went and what she has learned.

Trigirl Ambassador Natasha Harris-White switching from rowing to triathlon

“After 11 great (and often, tough) years of rowing, I decided that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and that I had achieved as much as I could. Triathlon had always appealed, having watched it on TV and having enjoyed all 3 of the disciplines (even though I hadn’t swum in years).

My greatest strengths are my mental toughness and my endurance but I realised that I would need to re-train my muscles for triathlon. For me, even with a new sport, the desire to win is very strong so I have to take it seriously. So, switching from rowing to triathlon – where do I begin?”

Making the switch

It is quite daunting starting a new sport from scratch and on your own. In rowing, you are always part of a team or a club. You always have a physical coach for the team. That’s different with triathlon. You may find you have no triathlon club in your vicinity but you can still take up the sport. You can sign up to online coaching. You will find lots of training advice online. You can get by without a triathlon club. However, if you have one in your area, we do recommend to find out what they offer their members. (click here for British Triathlon club search).  

Rowing versus triathlon

Rowing is hard physically, in fact a total body workout, using most muscles in your body. Training involves time on the water or indoor rowing machines, backed by strength and conditioning. 

“I found training for three different disciplines a challenge. Having decided swimming was my greatest weakness, I started by working very hard at it and paid for a couple of lessons to teach me correct technique, and how not to waste energy, which is so important in a triathlon.”

My first triathlon

“I did my first standard distance triathlon at Eton Dorney Lake in Summer 2022 around two weeks after I stopped rowing. My greatest fears were crashing on my bike, as there were so many people. I was also worried about getting a stitch running. 

It was an incredibly hot day. The start line for the swim was 50 meters off-shore. As a comparatively new swimmer I found this exhausting so I tried not to think about the rest of the swim. 

My transition was good. I remembered to put my helmet on first, grabbed my snacks and put on my trainers (I hadn’t yet learnt to cycle in cleats). I really enjoyed the cycling and, fortunately encountered no crashes, as everyone was spread out. 

When I first got off the bike, I couldn’t feel my legs. They were so wobbly but I somehow made it to the transition area to rack my bike and put a cap on. I started running quite slowly. As my legs regained feeling, I managed to overtake people and sprinted the last 200m to overtake the girl ahead of me. I finished in 2nd place!”

Lessons learnt

“I learnt a lot from my first race. Triathlon is a long event, unlike a rowing race that can be over in 6-8 minutes. You have time to push yourself, yet you can conserve your energy at different points in the race. 

“While my swimming had greatly improved, it still needs more work. I found that drinking water rather than squash worked well for me. Also, pouring water over my head to keep cool helped me to cope with the heat. 

For a standard distance distance triathlon, I would recommend to eat a little in T1 or early on the bike. There is no need to eat later in the race. 

All in all I loved the race! I loved pushing myself. I love the excitement of finding out what  I will be able to do in triathlon, my new sport.”

Look out for our next blog soon to read how Natasha is getting on in her second triathlon season. Will she love her second season as much as her first stab? Can she replicate the success of her very first race?

If you have advice or questions for Natasha, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

A bit more about Natasha’s background

Natasha has always been keen on sport – gymnastics and running early on, leading to county cross-country in later years. Predictably as she lives in Henley-on-Thames, rowing came into her life at 15 at Upper Thames Rowing Club. She then had a successful rowing career at Newcastle University, winning multiple events including the Met Regatta and the British University Championships (BUCS). 

by Natasha Harris-White

Ever wondered how you can pursue your passion for triathlons AND leave our planet a better place? 

Read on to discover how Trigirl is doing its part to help protect and preserve our environment, and what YOU can to do become a more eco-friendly triathlete.

There is no denying it – what makes triathlon training and competing THAT much more amazing is swimming in our beautiful open waters, cycling through lush greenery and running in the fresh air. What other sport has this incredible luxury!

And whether you are a newbie to triathlons or a seasoned competitor, there is one quality that triathletes all have in common:

A love of the outdoors, and an appreciation for nature.

Thanks to this shared trait, each one of us should consider ourselves an eco-friendly triathlete. No matter what level of athleticism we possess, we cannot help but feel a desire to help protect and preserve our precious environment. And fortunately for us, we are joined by an increasing number of people all around the globe who share the same commitment.

The World has made progress..

And there is a lot to be pleased about. The world as a collective has made vast improvements in the area of environmental preservation over the last decade. Many sunscreens brands are no longer using the ingredient oxybenzone, which is responsible for the damage to coral and marine life. Plastic bag distribution is being phased out in stores around the globe. Reusable items such as straws, cups and bags are increasing in popularity.

Yet there is still more to be done..

Sadly, despite our best efforts to change our day to day behaviours, our oceans are still in severe danger. The recently-released Netflix film, Seaspiracy, is making waves all around the globe, highlighting the long-lasting negative impact of commercial fishing on the underwater environment. The environmental organisation Healthy Seas is also shining a harsh light on  the “ghost fishing phenomenon, which contributes to the unnecessary death of many marine animals.

This is not new news. For years environmentalists have been warning about the dire effects of global warming, overfishing and general neglect of the ocean’s health. Yet it often necessitates a movie release or severe natural disaster to bring these issues back to the forefront of peoples’ minds.

This is why we at Trigirl consider it an immense responsibility to keep these conversations going and to consistently make sustainable decisions … which includes our own Triathlon kit!

How Trigirl is helping our oceans

Did you know that since 2017 Trigirl has been using sustainable fabrics in its trisuits? In fact, Trigirl is the ONLY triathlon brand that has made this investment – and we are proud of it! 

We create our high performance, sustainable trisuits from ECONYL® nylon yarn –  an innovative fibre produced from consumer waste nylon products such as carpets and fishing nets. Read more about Trigirl’s Eco-friendly Trisuits and Commitment to Sustainability in our previous blog posts.

Yet we do not want to keep this a secret – we would love for all sports brands to embrace eco-friendly fabrics!

Why is ECONYL®  so special?

econyl-eco-friendly-triathleteWhere do we begin! For starters, Aquafil – this Italian-born company – created their very OWN supply chain! With the help of Healthy Seas and other organisations, Aquafil sends divers down into the ocean to pull up those discarded nets, which they transform into ECONYL®. What’s more, they are offering money to incentivise fishing vessels NOT to dump their nets in the first place.

And  for every 100 tons of ECONYL® raw material, a huge 700 barrels of crude oil is saved and 571 tonnes of CO2 emissions is avoided. The numbers truly speak for themselves!

What more can we do?

We strongly believe that even the smallest action is vitally important in the quest to save our oceans.  Every little bit counts. We look to inspire eco-friendly triathletes to choose sustainable trisuits made from ECONYL® fabric. Yet we also recognise the need to spread the word and encourage our peers to make eco-conscious choices.

Take a look at other ways you can be a more eco-friendly triathlete: 

  • When selecting your triathlon equipment, consider ‘buy better to buy less’. High quality kit is likely to last longer. Besides, reduction is always better than recycling.
  • Consider your next neoprene wetsuit purchase carefully. If possible, opt for a limestone- based material instead of the more commonly used petroleum-based materials. Zone3 is a great choice!
  • And for when we can travel freely again – choose triathlon races closer to home to reduce your carbon footprint, OR choose one overseas race each season to minimise your air travel.

And here are some extra tips to share with your non-triathlete friends and family..

  • Shop local and consume locally produced food and drink
  • Avoid purchasing single-use plastics – bring your energy drinks or water in a reusable bottle
  • Cut down on packaging by making your own power foods and using reusable containers
  • Participate in local efforts to clean up the community’s outdoor spaces. You can sign up for local street, park and beach clean ups by checking out Clean Up Britain
  • Get involved with environmental groups such as Healthy Seas or Sea Shepherd
  • Educate yourself by watching films like the critically-acclaimed Seaspiracy


The eco-friendly triathlete

The oceans and lands are our playground. We rely on the great outdoors for our training grounds and competitions. And we need to look after it as carefully and lovingly as we do our own bodies. We need to keep conversations going. And where possible, we need to make conscious efforts to live sustainably. So that we and our loved ones can continue to enjoy the beautiful natural wonderland for many years to come.

Meetup with TrigirlTrigirl is excited to announce that we are officially on Meetup! Our women’s triathlon group will meet once a month to  chat about all things triathlon and organise run, cycle, and swim practice sessions. The group is open to all levels of triathlete, from complete beginner to more experienced racers.

Our first Meetup will focus on goal setting for the race season. We will be setting SMART goals while getting to know each other over coffee and cake. The meetup will be hosted by Patrizia, the founder of Trigirl! Patrizia has been participating in triathlon for 9 years and is excited to meet female triathletes in the community and help them prepare for the triathlon season.

We would love it if you joined our women’s triathlon group on meetup! To join the group click here: Trigirl Meetup Group. Right now we are only hosting Meetups for our London Trigirls, but may expand if some of our Trigirls from around the UK would like to host a group!

We can’t wait to meet all of you!

We were very excited to see that Triathlon Plus agrees with us, the Anita Active Extreme Control sports bra is a winner. Triathlon Plus’ review called the Extreme Control, ‘as supportive as any on test and one of the most breathable’. They liked its wicking properties as well as supportive cups and shoulder straps and we couldn’t agree more.

Trigirl’s tester Kristin comments: “In my own testing of Anita’s bra this weekend over a half-marathon run, I was thrilled with the fact I did not notice my bra (or my breasts!) once. When I first put it on I did feel the shoulder straps more than with other bras, but they never got uncomfortable or dug in at all. In addition, I had none of the underarm chafing that has plagued me with other sports bras over a long run, even though I forgot my lube at home.”

Trigirl and Triathlon Plus agree: Anita Active Extreme Control is a great sports bra!

To read the full review visit the Triathlon Plus website here.

Click here to buy this excellent bra from Trigirl.


Jo Friel tweets on 3rd November 2011: “A dream becomes a goal when you prepare a plan. It’s time to turn your dreams into goals”

Goal setting and a good training plan is your key to triathlon success. We still have a few places left at our Goal Setting Workshop. Sign up now.

When: 28th of January 2012, 3-6pm
Where: South Kilburn Studios, London NW6 5SW
Cost: £30 per person

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Chrissie Wellington yesterday at the launch of her audio program Tri Harder. A very inspirational evening. Thanks Chrissie! We were even treated to a demo of Chrissie on the treadmill. Whow, I have never seen anyone run that fast on a treadmill before, absolutely amazing! However, I have a feeling that she might always be that quick, not just when her audio program is playing in the background…

Did you know that Chrissie never goes into a race to win, but only to give her very very best? Something to remember for your next race. It may help with pre-race nerves …

Keeping a triathlon journal or log has always kept me accountable – to myself. I love looking back and seeing accomplishments – weeks where I’ve followed my plan, completed my goal, or set a personal record. I don’t love looking back at a journal that is blank, or filled with excuses.

Writing down your workouts is a great way to stay motivated (and keep results measurable).

Download our FREE triathlon training log 2012 here.

Have a great start into the new season!

Already December. Crikey Riley.

I’ve done a couple of non-race-races recently, first was a sportive around Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey. Well it was named the Devil’s Punchbowl but it didn’t actually go past any of the view points of the geological feature and so on finishing the ride I did feel slightly robbed! Next up was Bath Hilly Half marathon which was a trail run in and around Landsdown racecourse which was STUNNING in terms of the scenery and pretty brutal in terms of the gradients!

So first off, the sportive.  For those of you who aren’t aware, sportives are organised rides, signposting and feedstations are provided and generally speaking they are timed events. However they are STRICTLY not a race… apparently!

Earlier in the year when I raced at Antwerp 70.3 I met with another Trigirl ambassador Maryvonne van den Berg and her recent blog was 10 Things I Love about Triathlon (or something along those lines – my Dutch is not great) and it got me thinking.  I often write lists and am constantly thinking of “10 Things” when I am out on my bike, in the pool or out running, (10 things I love about swimming, top 10 favourite adverts, 10 favourite dinners etc.) so it was amusing to see her doing the same thing.  Perhaps we’ll set a Trigirl trend; here are my latest “10”

Firstly I need to explain that I’m a fighter.  I don’t mean this in the sense of ‘not giving up’ or of the ninja variety*, I mean that I look like I’m battling my way though the swim, bike and run, even though I might be doing quite an easy session or feeling quite relaxed.  I look tense; I look like I’m using brute force to barge my way through the race.  Although it does me ok (!) it’s not particularly efficient and my first 3 technical corrections relate to trying to “relax” more in each discipline.

1.    Relax my shoulders on the bike. I have a tendency to hunch up my shoulders, creating tension in my neck and down my back, as well as restricting the function of the muscles that help to expand your lungs – thereby restricting my lung volume.  NOT HELPFUL!

2.    Relax shoulders on the run. Again, hunching my shoulders is not going to benefit my run.  Relaxed shoulders, relaxed arms, relaxed stride. BETTER!

The Kona Diaries – Days 1-4

We arrived on the big island of Hawaii on Thursday night after a draining 24 hours of travel. It was pleasantly warm, the sweating started the moment we stepped of the plane. But to be fair this year it hasn’t seemed as hot as two years ago. Much felt like coming home, we are even in the same apartment block as last time, about 2 miles down Alii Drive from the pier.

After a uncharacteristically good first night – I slept from half 11 at night till 9am, we just took it easy the next day to recover from the travel, collected our hire cruiser bikes, shopped for groceries, visited the farmer’s market for yummy local pineapple, passion fruit, papayas, avocados, apple bananas, and mangos. After lunch we put the bikes back together and I headed out for a first ride to check everything works and to spin out the legs. It was warm and windy. Not a surprise then. I didn’t feel particularly strong but that was to be expected, 24 hours of travel don’t pass you by without leaving some sort of mark.

Autumn – A Time for Reflection and Action Plans!


So it is nearly end of the triathlon racing season in the UK. Leaves are turning brown, sleeves are the norm when going out on the bike and open water swim venues are closing. Booo! This means a several things to me.

1)      Reflect on my season to date
2)      Review plans for Kona 2012
3)      Draw up action plan including consideration of the following

While writing my race report about the Château de Chantilly triathlon (http://chasingchrissie. it occurred to me that while race mornings don’t stress me out any longer because they have become such routine, this may not be the case for everyone. So I though it may be helpful for some to see what I do.

Firstly, one of the tricks to get it right is to have a plan, and stick to it. You may adapt it for the next race if things didn’t quite work but at 5 am on a Sunday morning it’s best not to challenge your brain too much. I used to write the steps on a piece of paper the day before. By now this is no longer necessary, because I’ve obviously memorised it over the years. I pack my bags the night before, the same goes for attaching spares to my bike, and checking everything is in working order. But let’s have a look at it.

I love racing. After all, this is why I do this sport. But if you race lots it tends to disrupt your training somewhat. So after two Olympic distance triathlons on consecutive weekends, I felt very ready to tackle my next big block of training towards Kona. 3 weeks of uninterrupted swimming, biking, and running until my arms and legs were ready to fall off. Then recover, and race again to test the state of affairs. I can’t even begin to explain how much I was looking forward to this.

And it’s exactly what I did. Ticking off the sessions on the plan, and ready to push my body and mind further in every session.

This weekend was a very successful weekend for Trigirl and our stand at the Virgin London Triathlon. A wonderful time was had by all and here at Trigirl we are getting ready for this weekend’s up coming triathlon. If you missed us last weekend, feel free to visit us at the Dextrol Energy London Triathlon in Hyde Park. Take advantage of more bargains and try on Trigirl!

Last Saturday saw me complete my first ever triathlon, and I’ve been beaming ever since!

I decided to dip my toe into the triathlon world with the Cheltenham Tri in the Park tipped to be a great event for first timers. This was a super sprint tri – 400m pool swim, 6 mile bike, and 2.5m run, set in the very sunny Pitville Park. I took along my friends and boyfriend for moral support and we had a fantastic day.

We arrived about an hour and a half early to check out the sports centre and for me to get my bearings of the course. I was ‘branded’ by the race organisers with a big black permanent marker on my arms and legs as number 5. My nerves were settled meeting several people beforehand who were also first timers. I was a little worried that my mountain bike would look a little out of place, but looking around setting up there were all sorts of different bikes!

When it came to my start time, I walked with the others in my start group into the pool where we had a supportive briefing. Luckily, I was in the first 5 so I go to start the swim with an entire lane to myself. The swim got off to a great start, but after a couple of lengths I had to take a few breathers to settle my nerves and get my breath back. From the pool, there was a short run outside to the transition area, where I got lots of cheers being the first lady out of the pool!