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.
“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!”
“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?
Where 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.
Trigirl’s Triathlon Wetsuit Buying Advice for Larger Sized Women
It is important that your triathlon wetsuit fits you well – not too tight and not too big. But what do you do, if your wetsuit size is not available? What if you are looking for a women’s larger sized triathlon wetsuit? And why are XXL women’s wetsuits so hard to find?
Since this appears to affect quite a few women, we have gathered a few tips on larger sized triathlon wetsuits for women.
A good fit is key
A good wetsuit fit for open water swimming or triathlon is important because it will enable you to swim well (and fast) without giving you a feeling of restriction. If your wetsuit is too small, it can restrict your blood circulation causing your legs to cramp. If your wetsuit is too big, water can enter through the collar and cuffs and exit through your leg hem and back zip as you swim. This means new, cold water constantly flushes through and your suit will not keep you warm and you will get cold quickly.
You want to swim, not surf
Surfing wetsuits are available in a much larger range of sizes (and usually at a lower price point too), and so you may be tempted to opt for a women’s surf wetsuit instead. However, a surfing wetsuit will not work. Open water swim wetsuits are designed to improve your body position when you swim front crawl. Buoyant and flexible neoprene panels are combined in a clever way to allow you to swim more efficiently. Generally speaking, the shoulder area features highly flexible neoprene to help your front crawl arm movement. The legs feature thicker neoprene to aid buoyancy.
Neoprene thickness and properties are very different in a surfing wetsuit. Surfing wetsuits are predominantly designed to keep you warm as you stride atop the surfboard. Swimming wetsuits are designed to make you swim faster in the water. Insulation is less important as you constantly move while swimming.
As we saw, the Spanish triathlete Diego Méntrida was celebrated on social media this week. He sacrificed third place in the 2020 Santander Triathlon to British triathlete James Teagle. James was on course to win third place in the competition in Spain when, just meters from the finish line, he missed the last turn and ran into spectator barriers. Diego overtook him but, noticing the error, he stopped to allow James to cross the finish line first. “He deserved it,” Méntrida said later.
Diego’s gesture prompted a flood of support, a match of the 3rd prize money, and he has been hailed as a true sportsman by the media. So far so good.
However, imagine my surprise when I listened to Anne Atkins on the BBC Thought for the Day yesterday. She said:
When Diego let his rival pass, it was apparently the ultimate act of true sportsmanship. We have never heard of anything like it before, yet it is supposed to be all that sport is about.
I don’t think Anne’s doubts apply to triathlon. Anne defines ‘true sportsmanship’ as ‘fairness, kindness and a genuine sense of priority’. I feel this is what the sport of triathlon and what triathletes are about.
Do you remember when Alistair Brownlee carried his brother Jonny Brownlee over the finish line in the final of the 2016 World Triathlon Series?
High quality, open water beginner swimming wetsuits have become like gold dust in recent weeks – even expensive mid-range wetsuits have sold out fast.
Covid-19 has disrupted everyone’s 2020 triathlon training and racing agenda. Although most races are cancelled for this year, each separate discipline of triathlon has seen a surge in participation. Open water swimming is booming as a result of pool closures. Summer weather has also prompted people to look for social distanced exercise outdoors. When open water swim venues re-opened a few weeks ago, they have been swamped.
So what wetsuit can you buy if you are on a budget?
The wetsuit experts from Zone3 are launching a new open water beginner wetsuit – the Valour. Offering a perfect mix of flexibility and buoyancy, at an affordable price, the Valour is ideal if you want to try open water swimming this summer. With an emphasis on comfort, the Valour offers some excellent features, usually only found in more expensive wetsuits.
An innovative “Extreme Flex” inner-lining material gives excellent flexibility around the shoulders and arms for a comfortable and energy efficient swim. The low neckline and perfect fit, as well as fully stitched and glue bonded seams throughout, make it one of the best value entry level wetsuits available.
Check out the full product description and all features of the Valour here
Trigirl have been very lucky to get hold of a few of these very much anticipated entry level wetsuits for you. Available in the most popular sizes SM, M and L, you can pre-order the Valour (£169) from our website today for delivery mid of July. But be quick as stock is very limited and expected to sell quickly.
Enjoy your swim!
You may also be interested in our article Wetsuit Buying Tips here.
The Power of Planking – Plank Benefits for Triathletes
Stuck at home, races cancelled or postponed? Feeling the pain of limited outdoor exercise and wanting to stay as fit as possible? It’s difficult to maintain the cardiovascular strength at home that you would normally get from limitless outdoor training (unless you’re lucky enough to have a turbo trainer, an Endless Pool and a treadmill).
Assuming that most of us don’t have all of those fabulous fitness devices, may we suggest the power of the plank?
What is a plank?
A plank is an isometric (static, contracted) strength exercise, using the core muscles to maintain a stable, long line in a push-up position. There are many variations, but most common are the forearm (or low) plank and planking on your hands (high plank).
Planking is often referred to as one of the best overall strength exercises, but why? According to Harvard Health, “the plank pose activates all the core muscles at once, and doesn’t require extra movements that can cause stress or injury.” All of the core- let’s not forget, that includes not only front abdominals, but muscles on the sides and back of your body as well. This equates to better posture and less likelihood of back pain and injury!
And planks aren’t just for core- they also work shoulders, chest, neck, glutes, and quadriceps, especially with added variations.
What are the plank benefits for triathletes?
Triathlon gadgets – are they an expensive (and in some cases, intimidating) waste of money or a game-changer in your triathlon training?
Let’s look at arguments for and against and how gadgets can help – and hinder – your triathlon experience.
As a triathlete and triathlon coach, I’ve found over the years that men tend to get more into the triathlon gadgets and the data they provide than the women I coach and train with. Are we doing ourselves a disservice?
First of all, what counts as a triathlon ‘gadget’?
For the purposes of this blog, anything that involves technology and is a bit of an “extra” is a gadget. For example, a bike isn’t a gadget, but a power metre is. Over our next few blogs, we’re going to look at three different pieces of triathlon gadgetry to help you decide whether to splurge or save and which pieces of tech are right for you and your training style.
Triathlon Gadgets – The Fancy Watch
Last year I bought a Garmin Forerunner 735XT for an ultra-running race. I wanted mapping and timing functionalities that my super-cheap watch couldn’t provide.
Yes, it took the fact that I was running farther than a marathon to make me feel that I deserved to spend the money. But I’m (mostly) glad that I did. I struggle with heart rate monitor straps. My skin is prone to chafing and my lungs are prone to freaking out when a strap is squeezing them. So today’s watches with built-in heart rate offer more comfort with less faff.
With a bit of online research, I figured out functionalities that allowed me to download a route map. I also used the run-walk function to help pace me from the start. Even as someone fairly disinterested in stats, I like looking back and seeing how my pace and heart rate changes through races and training sessions.
In everyday life, the watch looks pretty cool. It is way less clunky than previous Garmin models and it counts my steps, so I’m inspired to get a lot of walking in.
Trigirl launched a new brand video earlier this year. We weren’t quite sure how the end product would turn out when we embarked on our mission. However, as it turned out, we are actually quite chuffed with the result. We love what the video says about us and about our values as a company. Please let us know what you think.
The Trigirl video crew
We just love our first-time model, Felicity. Felicity is a “real” woman (not a professional model) with a passion for the outdoors and for physical activity. She shares Trigirl’s mission to encourage women to discover physical outdoor activity as a means to a happier and more balanced life. Her zest for life really shows from the inside out!
We also worked with an amazing female cameraperson and editor, Amber of Rose Morgan Films. Both Felicity and Amber did an amazing job in really showing off our wonderful Trigirl triathlon outfits.
Trigirl brand mission and values
As a small company we can honestly say that we are here for YOU, our customers. Our founder, designers and coach advisor can all be reached directly by email.
We are always happy to offer help and advice. Whether it’s about how our kit fits, what you need for your next race or where to begin with your training. We are here to help.
The Trigirl website is full of advice on training, racing, nutrition, women’s-only races and much more. We aim to help you feel confident in your racing and training.
Our team races the races and we wear the product. We have had your race day nerves and your finish line frustrations. And, of course, your joy – oh so much triathlon joy! 🙂
The team at Trigirl value the world we live in, in which triathlon is just a part. We use recycled fabrics for our trisuits to make our product sustainable. However, we ensure no corners are cut in garment quality or fabric performance.
The (literal) irritation of triathlon chafing
When you thought about doing a triathlon, you considered whether you had time in your life to train, whether you were fit enough for the challenge, or if you could make it to the finish line. Something you probably didn’t think about was chafing- ouch!
We pride ourselves at designing our triathlon clothing to minimise the risk of chafing. We flatlock our kit so there are no bulky seams to deal with. Our suits are made of high-performance, quick-dry fabrics. We cut arm and leg holes so that they hit in the most comfortable spots.
However, even with all of that, when you combine moisture and friction over time, there’s still a chance of chafing. In fact, you may find similar in the form of hot spots or blisters on your feet when running.
Race Across America (RAAM) cycling race starting 15th of June
Trigirl is thrilled to announce that we are sponsoring the Serpentine Golden Girls in their second time racing as a four-woman team in the Race Across America (RAAM) cycling race.
RAAM, a.k.a. The Toughest Bike Race in the World, is a 3,000 mile race across the US, riding through 12 states, starting on the West Coast in California and finishing on the East Coast in Maryland. Taking in the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, Monument Valley as well as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.
The race also has 170,000 feet worth of vertical climbs! Sounds tough for even the most ‘typical’ lycra-clad road warriors… but the Golden Girls aren’t your typical cyclists! At a combined age of 280, the women were the eldest four-person team ever to complete the race when they did it at an average age of 60, 11 years ago. They are now looking to beat their own record.
Neoprene warmth vest review by Jemima Cooper
Loving Open Water Swimming – Warmth in the Water!
I hate being cold. My lips go blue and I shake like crazy. I lose feeling in my feet, not to mention, I get incredibly grumpy. So when my coach said “why don’t you go open water swimming?” last week (this is British May!) I obviously wasn’t so chuffed!
Luckily for me, Trigirl stepped in with a snazzy under-wetsuit top, Zone3’s neoprene warmth vest, and it saved the day!!
My thoughts on this little addition to your swim wardrobe:
The idea behind the Zone3 neoprene warmth vest is to add a bit of extra warmth for open water or pool-based swimming.
Trigirl Training Favourite HITT: High-Intensity Triathlon Training
Last year, Trigirl introduced a series of high-intensity workouts we called HITT (High Intensity Triathlon Training). Based on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), these sessions incorporate high to very high levels of effort, mixed with short rest or easy recovery intervals.
We still love these sessions as a way to get your training done in less time- and with more results!
As written in an article in Shape magazine, ‘When it comes to HIIT, less might actually be more. Squat jumps for joy.’
If time is of the essence (as it is for most people) and injury is a concern (as it is for most triathletes), could HITT (High Intensity Triathlon Training!) be for you?
YES. Studies (and anecdotal evidence) are proving that shorter workouts, performed at greater intensity, could equal faster race times and less injury. Save time and achieve your goals with HITT!
Want to know more?
We are excited to announce that our new Trigirl kit for 2019 is now available for pre-order online.
We’re continuing our partnership with ECONYL® to bring you gorgeous triathlon kit that’s also high-performance and environmentally sustainable.
In addition to our amazing fabrics, functional details, and flattering women’s-specific fits, here are some highlights coming up for spring that you’re sure to love:
- Extra-special details, including matte gold and hot pink trim and reflective transfers.
- Stunning prints! Following on from the success of our favourite prints, we can’t wait to see you racing in our new ones. We especially love the cheerful glitched floral!
- Exciting styling and colours – including our new, limited edition hi-viz pink Flow swimsuit!
- New soft leg hem – we’re using power mesh instead of gripper tape in our hems to keep them snugly in place without digging or chafing!
- Easy on/easy off back clasp detail for our tri tops and swim bras.
Due to popular demand there are now more options of our favourite swimsuit/ triathlon-capri combo! We love the versatility that this combo offers. Wear the super-supportive swimsuit on its own for swimming or aquathlon.
The Trigirl triathlon capris feature our female-specific triathlon cycling chamois for maximum comfort both cycling and running. And the matching set looks great together- especially in our new prints!
Click here to see the full collection and to pre-order.
Happy shopping, happy training.
Swim. Bike. Run. Trigirl!
Trigirl is proud to announce that we are once again partnering with Deva Divas triathlon and quadrathlon. Held in Chester on 14th of July, Deva Divas is a short distance ladies-only race, providing fantastic support for beginner and improver triathletes. They offer beginner’s seminars (one this year already attracted 55 fledgling triathletes!), training days, bike workshops and more.
Registrants to Deva Divas triathlon not only receive a Trigirl discount code, but have the opportunity to compete for Trigirl prizes and vouchers, as well.
Beginning in 2006, Deva Divas is now a very popular event- so popular, in fact, that the quadrathon (swim, bike, run, kayak) has now sold out for the third year and the triathlon is selling quickly, too. Part of the race’s popularity comes from its winning the coveted British Triathlon “Event of the Year”, Triathlon England Club Event of the Year and also North West Regional Race of the Year in 2016. Deva Divas is also the only race to have ever won the British Triathlon award twice, after winning it for the first time in 2009.
Why do we do what we do at Trigirl?
It’s not just about triathlon clothing here at Trigirl. We have a passion for the mental and physical well-being that sports, especially outdoor sports, can provide. And we love the sense of achievement that completing a race can being, whether it’s your first sprint triathlon, or your 100th parkrun, or your PB half-marathon. We want others to have that feeling, too.
By encouraging women to enter the world of triathlon and supporting them as they go, we hope to share the positive effects that sport has had on us with a wide range of women- women of all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities.
At Trigirl, we love seeing the sense of confidence that participating in our sport can bring. You don’t have to be the fastest or the fittest to experience the joy of crossing a finish line or the happiness of lacing up your trainers when heading out for a run.
So why clothing and why women-only?
Pat, Trigirl founder, has a background in clothing and it seemed to make good sense to combine her love of triathlon with that background. When she met me (Kristin), a former fashion designer who also happened to be a writer and triathlon coach, it was obvious that we would be the perfect team!
We feel that women often do triathlon for different reasons than men, including the mental and physical benefits already mentioned. In my coaching, my favourite part is supporting women who worry that they can’t, only to find that they absolutely can! I love seeing a beginner go from the tentative stages of “maybe I’ll sign up for a triathlon” to the big moment of being able to say proudly, “I’m a triathlete”.
Ultimately, at Trigirl, we want to help women get more out of the lives they lead, so while our business is triathlon kit, it’s not just about the trisuit!