triathlon training


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

the Pros:

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 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?

Trigirl’s High-Intensity Triathlon Training – Descending Intervals Bike Session

Trigirl’s HITT (High Intensity Triathlon Training) sessions are back by popular demand! (HITT is a hit!) This week, we’re back on the bike for a scorcher session that will increase both your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities and burn loads of calories in minutes!!

Before beginning… If you’re new to Trigirl’s weekly high-intensity triathlon training, see week one for more information on HITT, how it works and how to approach the sessions.

Though high-intensity triathlon training has been proven safe, if you are starting a new exercise plan (whether traditional triathlon training or HITT), it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor.

Your HITT Session for the Week:

This session can be performed indoors or out. Outdoors is best, though if the weather isn’t very cycling-friendly, you are forgiven if you can’t bear to ride outside.

If you are training indoors, it’s recommended that you ride on a turbo trainer, Wattbike or spin bike, with a typical gym bike being the least-recommended option. (The closer that you can train to your actual bike set-up, the better!)

We’ve adapted this session from Olympic coach Gale Bernhardt’s “miracle intervals”, originally published on Bicycling.com. If the long recoveries seem a bit much, do them anyway. They’ll allow you to go “ALL OUT!” doing the fast intervals for maximum HITT benefits.

Warm-up for 8 minutes:
– 5 minutes gentle spinning, making sure that you have enough resistance not to bounce in the saddle.
– 3 minutes – add a gear or two, then ride 3 x [30 seconds spinning your legs up to the fastest cadence you can spin without bouncing, followed by 30 seconds easy recovery]

  • 45 seconds all-out fast with 4:30 easy recovery
  • 40 seconds all-out fast with 4:25 easy recovery
  • 35 seconds all-out fast with 4:20 easy recovery
  • 30 seconds all-out fast with 4:15 easy recovery

Cool down, riding another five minutes in an easy gear (still not bouncing!)

Well done and…

Happy HITT training!

High-Intensity Triathlon Training

Novice Training Day on 9th of June in Northwood

The amazing coaches at Tri50 and novice-training experts GoTri are teaming up this summer to offer a fully-coached triathlon training day!

Are you a novice triathlete preparing for your first event? Do you want to build your confidence and improve your technique for the OW swim? Or maybe you’d like more of a clue what happens on the big day? This triathlon training day will answer these questions and many more.

Sandra from Tri50 will be leading the course, drawing on her wealth of knowledge as a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach, L4 Personal Trainer and IRONMAN Coach (to name a few of her qualifications!)

What should you expect?

  • 60 mins fully coached OW swim – perfect for less confident or inexperienced swimmers
  • Sessions on cycle/run technique
  • Transition training
  • Classroom sessions on kit, training plans, sports nutrition and hydration plus Q&A
  • An opportunity to put everything together in preparation for the big day

Though Trigirl isn’t running our own women’s training day this year, we’ve worked with Tri50 for years, including as coaches on previous training days. Jo from Tri50 also runs women specific triathlon training groups and wrote about it for us here.

Despite it not being women-only, we can highly recommend this course as a great way to gain the skills and confidence you need for your first triathlon.

The training day costs £50 and will take place on Saturday, 9th June at the lovely Merchant Taylor’s School in Moor Park (near Watford). It can be booked through the British Triathlon website.

Are you interested in setting up a women-only triathlon club?

We talk to triathlon coach Jo Lewis about what it takes to run a women-only triathlon club and why her members love it.

Jo Lewis co-founded Tri50 in 2010 with a vision to inspire and nurture mature athletes. Jo has had a successful competitive career including being National Age Group Champion at Sprint Distance, captaining the GB Age Group Team and winning multiple medals at international level.

Her coaching commitments include running several running/ triathlon clubs one of which is a women-only triathlon club in Buckinghamshire. She counts Theresa May amongst her previous clients.

We caught up with her after her Monday morning session to find out why her women-only triathlon club is thriving.

Jo, tell us about the group

Jo Lewis - Women-Only Tri ClubThere are about 15 ladies in the group at the moment. We meet on a Monday morning and it sets us all up for the week. This morning the weather was cold and wet but we had a great session and were energised and uplifted by the end of it.

I asked if anyone would have made it out to train on their own if they hadn’t come to the group and it was a resounding no! Once you’re part of something, though, you feel some responsibility to make it there each week. I think everyone looks forward to seeing the others and catching up, as well as getting some training in.

What are the benefits of a women only group?

Women like the support they get from other women and can relate to each other. Sometimes our confidence levels can be different to men but in the group setting, women can relax and don’t feel intimidated.

Also, there are some things that women have to consider before a triathlon that men don’t such as getting the right bra! It’s probably easier to have that conversation with no men around.

With training in general I think there are other concerns women want to discuss with other women, like the affect it can have on their periods and how the menopause will affect their training.

What’s the typical profile of someone in the group?

I’m happy to say there isn’t one! Many have lost a bit of confidence often after having taken time out to raise a family.

I’ve never turned anyone away but always make sure their expectations are realistic including the time it will take to get them to where they want to be.

What would your advice be to someone wanting to start their own women only tri group?

Joanna Lewis triathlon coachObviously you need the right training yourself and you must have your BTF level 2 qualification and some coaching experience. I would really recommend getting someone to mentor you – I do a lot of that and it’s great to draw on the knowledge of someone who’s experienced.

Do plenty of research, connect with local clubs and see what’s out there already. Make use of your own contacts and social network. Contact your local council – sometimes they can help with costs such as pool hire. Make sure you have the correct insurance.

What’s been key to your success?

It’s all about passion! You don’t have to be a top athlete to succeed in coaching, but you must love what you do and have the drive and energy to keep learning. Make sure you get plenty of sleep – I need 9 hours a night and a power nap – I need it!

What’s the best thing that’s come out of the group?

We’ve had some fabulous success stories that I’m very proud to be part of. I love to see women get to where they want to be. For one woman in the group, that was reversing her diabetes. For another it was helping her along her journey to recovery after breast cancer.

There have been many who have lost confidence after an injury and seeing them achieve their potential again is priceless.

If you’d like to find out more about Jo’s coaching or if you would like to contact her for advice on starting a women-only triathlon club, visit their website tri50.co.uk

Women-Only Triathlon Club in the UK

Welcome to week one of HITT, Trigirl’s High-Intensity Triathlon Training!

Getting Started

If you’re just starting out, there’s nothing wrong with incorporating high-intensity. However, since running involves impact, it’s suggested that you build up to the sessions to get your body prepared.

Spend  a few weeks getting your body used to running (and swimming and cycling) with some easier efforts. Then, progress by adding minimal intervals, building up the number of intervals each week.

Start with one high-intensity session weekly, with the aim of ultimately doing at least one per week per discipline.

Though high-intensity training has been proven safe, if you are starting a new exercise plan (whether traditional triathlon training or HITT), it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor.

How does HITT differ from other triathlon training plans?

Traditionally, triathlon training plans are written based on the concept of periodisation. This breaks a season into base, build, peak and race phases.

Raring-to-Go6 days to go until my first triathlon of the year, although if it continues to rain like this it may just be one big swim! I did the same event last year, my first ever.

I’ve dug out my times and really hope I can beat them for a number of reasons: I like to think I’m fitter (I’d only trained for 4 months prior to the event last year) and of course, I now have the added bonus of a decent bike to help speed things up. Also, the transitions should be quicker as I will be familiar with the process and will try to avoid the general faffing of last year. I know it really doesn’t matter if my hair looks a mess and not sure the face moisturiser was really necessary after the swim!

It’s the time of year when most of us get really excited about training. At last, it’s getting (a little!) warmer and race season is almost here!

In all of the excitement, don’t forget the importance of recovery. Taking the time to let your body repair itself is as important as training to help you cross that finish line in style. Schedule at least one easy day and one day off a week to keep yourself fresh, engaged and injury-free.

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!

Women's only novice triathlon training days

Last chance to book onto our women’s only novice triathlon training days! Spaces are filling up fast so get booking at www.trigirl.co.uk/training

Trigirl training days are on the 8th and 22nd of May in London, Manchester and Bristol with expert coaches to build up your confidence and teach the skills you need to complete a triathlon. This is a great opportunity so make sure you don’t miss out!

Book now at:   www.trigirl.co.uk/training

Planning a block of training can really determine your goals. But to be of much use they have got to be SMART. Some of you may already be bored now – yeah, yeah, we all know this, S for specific, M for measurable, A for achievable, R for relevant, and T for time-bound. But do you actually do it? I was most recently reminded of this concept when flicking through my notes from the BTF level 2 coaching course.

So in practise, does this actually work? At the beginning of the year I wrote on a piece of paper – amongst other things – by the end of July I want to have improved my 10 mile time trial PB to sub 23 minutes. Why is this a much better goal than ‘I want to get faster on the bike’?