Rachael Willis


London-Duathlon-RichmondAs the triathlon season comes to an end, so does Rachael’s tenure as a Trigirl ambassador. However, (lucky us!) she has offered to continue to blog for us from time-to-time, offering her advice as a personal trainer and triathlete.
Big thanks to Rachael for her blogs thus far and congratulations on your season!

As the 2013 triathlon season draws to a close, it’s a time to reflect on our successes and the things that may not have gone exactly according to plan.

Food, Food, Glorious Food! – Nutrition for Triathlon

Vegetarian TriathleteAs triathletes (whether you’re going for your first or fiftieth race) you will already be aware just how important nutrition is. Get it right and it can help you power to a PB. Get it wrong however, and you will probably hit the dreaded wall halfway through your training session.

I am a firm believer in real food for real people (though supplements do have their place). And one of the best things about training hard is that it can help move you towards a healthy, sustainable relationship with natural ingredients.

I wanted to share my top ten thoughts on nutrition for triathlon (and for life):

1. Fuel your body
The classic analogy is to compare your body to a car. Put in quality fuel and you will get a good performance over a long distance. Scrimping on fuel in terms of quality and quantity is a false economy – you will hit the wall and soon be running on empty.

Stretching after Triathlon Training
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Bend me, shape me…

Triathon training. It’s all about swimming, cycling and running, right? Well yes…and no.

It’s so tempting to finish a tough training session and promptly collapse on the sofa (that’s not just me is it?). But what you do immediately after exercise could be the most important few minutes of all.

Arguably two of the best additional elements you can add to your training are stretching and foam rolling. They might not represent the most glamorous side of triathlon preparation but a few minutes a day will be a valuable investment of your time.

Stretching after Triathlon Training

There is an ongoing debate in the fitness industry about the benefits of stretching, but in my experience a few minutes of stretching at the end of a training session can save a couple of days of aching muscles!

What does it do?

Don’t Just Think, Do!

Tips for Triathlon Training MotivationGood intentions. We all have them: to train more, to do our swimming drills, to make time to stretch, to avoid that piece of cake after a long ride… But between thinking and doing, it is all too easy for our good intentions to get lost in the maelstrom of daily life. If you aren’t feeling very motivated, any excuse is sufficient to let you stray off track: family, friends, work, Facebook, the local pub! And even the more dedicated exercisers sometimes just can’t face another run at the end of a long day.

Here are some practical tips for triathlon training that can help you sidestep the obstacles that life throws at us, and stay on track to achieve your goals:

1. Planning is key

Sit down with your work and social diary and add in all your training sessions for the week ahead. Make training one of your key priorities, not just a ‘nice to do’ – remind yourself how good you feel when you’ve exercised, and how you’ll feel even better when you cross the finish line!

Though Trigirl ambassador Rachael Willis is a relative novice when it comes to triathlon, she’s no beginner when it comes to sport. A lifelong athlete and freelance personal trainer, Rachael shares here a bit about core strength. What is core strength, why it’s important to triathletes and how you can get it… without the dreaded sit-up!

Core strength for triathletes. Something we’ve all heard of and all the experts talk about it. But what exactly is it, how do we get it, and do we really need it?

Are we talking about a six-pack?

Core Training for Triathlon

Well, not exactly. The ‘core’ consists of superficial and deep layers of muscles in the abdominal region, lumbar region (lower back), and thoracic and cervical region of the spine (mid and upper back).

So while the ‘six-pack’ may be the ultimate goal for many gym-goers, triathletes require much more from their training if they are to benefit from effective core strength.

Train Hard TriathlonWell I hope you’re all been enjoying the gorgeous summer weather…oh wait, that’s right – it’s been cold and wet again! Not quite the perfect conditions we’ve been longing for after the longest winter since records began (or something), but at least we don’t have to worry about dodgy tan-lines from Lycra shorts and cycling tops!

Since you last heard from me I have been mainly, well, swimming, biking, and running! I decided I needed a couple of months to consolidate after my first race and training weekend before my summer race (which has just been cancelled incidentally, so any recommendations for races in the Oxfordshire area gratefully received!); a time to establish a routine and try to put some of what I’ve learnt into practice.

Women Only Triathlon Training Day Bristol 2013There are many aspects of triathlon to worry about when you are first setting out in the sport. Trying to master (or at least have a go at) three different sports seemingly thrown together in a random act of masochism, all the kit (so much kit!), the training, the lingo… But for a group of novice female triathletes attending Trigirl’s Women Only Triathlon Training Day in Bristol, the most pressing question was “but what do I wear?”.

There were just so many options to discuss: sports bra or built-in support top, a fetching little two-piece or an all-in-one trisuit, socks or bare feet, trainers or cleats…but most of all the sports bra…

Our coach for the day Kim Ingleby (GB triathlete, personal trainer, mental performance coach of Energised Performance) was patience and optimism personified!

First Triathlon of the SeasonLet me take you back a week or so to Good Friday. A bit chilly, you may recall. A good day for curling up in front of a log fire and eating lots of Easter eggs. Or in my case, a day for embarking on my first triathlon of the season.

The Good Fri Tri at Radley College in Oxfordshire was the scene of my previous attempt back in 2011 and I’d decided to return to the same race to kick off this season, this time stepping up to the sprint distance.

We had been told if the temperature dropped below zero, it would be turned into a duathlon (run-bike-run), so you can imagine my joy (with not a hint of sarcasm, oh no) when it was announced that it was officially two degrees and therefore ideal conditions to ride a bike in wet clothes!

Hello, my name is Rachael and I’m delighted to be a Trigirl Ambassador for 2013!

Rachael-Triathlon-Ambassador-2013So how did I end up on the pages of Trigirl? I have always been ‘the sporty one’ – kickboxing, lacrosse, tennis, kayaking, running, cycling – so I suppose it was inevitable that I would fall into multi-sport at some point. I raced my first (and only) mini triathlon in 2011 and I loved it. After an injury setback in 2012, I decided I had unfinished business with the whole swim-bike-run thing.

While my focus may have shifted over the years from pitch to river to trail, what has remained constant is my love of sport and competition. I work as a personal trainer so I spend a lot of time encouraging my clients to enjoy the benefits of sport and exercise, to set goals, and to challenge themselves. So I thought I would ‘walk the walk’ by stepping outside my comfort zone and into the weird and wonderful world of triathlon.