Friday, 26 August 2016

Elaine Garvican: Ironman 70.3 Dublin race Report: Not Irish enough to be lucky?!

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Below is the race report from IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin for Race Team athlete, Elaine Garvican. Elaine was competing in this race in her build towards her A race for the year which is IRONMAN Weymouth. 

It’s just under 4 weeks till Weymouth now, so Philip (coach) and I thought it was a good time to do one more 70.3 race and the Emerald Isle looked like a beautiful place to do so. I have a wee bit of Irish blood in my veins (and an Irish surname) and what I could remember of previous visits to Dublin were fun, so I didn’t take much persuading. Turned out to be a race beset by a fair few issues, so maybe I should have put up more resistance!

By my reckoning, at 15°C the water in Scotsman’s Bay was pretty cold, but under 18°C, Ironman allow AG athletes to wear neoprene booties, so I was fully decked out in those plus a thermal swim cap. I still wouldn’t say I was warm exactly, but I’ve definitely swum in colder water and my chest didn’t go tight and my hands didn’t claw so that’s a success for me. Special thanks to Parys Edwards who, at the practice swim session, had pointed out some much more obvious sighting landmarks than the yellow buoys, which seemed a really long way away. It was a rolling start within waves, which I’d not experienced before, but which worked pretty well from my point of view, being off in the first wave and hence experiencing minimal congestion. My only complaint was that we weren’t allowed in the water beforehand, but you can’t have everything, so I’m told. Things went pretty well until about 400m from the end, when I managed to plant my hand smack into the center of a pretty large jellyfish. I have never been stung by a jellyfish before and it is not an experience I ever want to repeat if possible, but to be fair to the jellyfish, one minute he was happily minding his own business, and then next he was basically ambushed with a belly punch and then rudely thrown backwards so it was probably not terribly pleasant for him either. Initially, it felt like my right hand and forearm had brushed through stinging nettles, but as time went on it became more and more painful and felt like a diffuse, repeated electric shock.

Elaine is riding a Boardman Air TTE this year,
provided by Bridgtown Cycles

Out of the swim in a pretty average time, long T1 (putting on socks, armwarmers and an extra bike jersey to ward off the cold) and it was out onto the streets of Dublin.

The bike course is a slightly drunken lollipop shape, finishing in Phoenix Park. It’s more or less flat, with only a couple of short inclines and I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it wasn’t for the increasing pain in my arm. It made it really hard to concentrate on much at all and every time I persuaded myself it was as bad as it was going to get, it would increase again. I had a little moment when I contemplated crying, then quitting and then pulled myself together and tried to think about something else. Then it started to rain. It’s probably fair to say I wasn’t at my happiest at this point. The rain also made the roads quite slippery – the marshals all did an excellent job of warning us of oncoming corners, potholes or manhole covers lying in potential ambush, but a lot of guys seemed not to heed their warnings as I saw two slide across the road ahead of me and one ride into the opposite hedge which didn’t make me want to take any risks myself. Nutrition went in, most of the watts I wanted came out and I stayed shiny side up, so all in all things could definitely have been worse. 

Elaine on the podium: 2nd in her age group

T2 is not available on Saturday before the race (you hand in your T2 bag at the swim location the day before and it’s transported over for you), so it was a bit of an unknown riding into the park but thankfully now the rain had stopped and it did look very pretty. My Garmin’s quick release mount broke in the final 10 miles of the bike course, which meant I couldn’t clip it to my wrist strap, and then I managed to forget it entirely and had to backtrack for it, so T2 was as slow as it’s earlier counterpart and I started to wonder if any part of this race was going to go smoothly. Three well-supported laps of a flat run course does fortunately result in less room for comedy errors, although I started a little too conservatively I think. It seems Paul Kaye and Joanne Murphy credit my imagination with an impressive amount of realism though, as neither would believe me when I told them about my jellyfish sting. By half way I was fantasizing about the medical tent, under the entirely mistaken belief that they would have something which would magically take away the pain, and fueled by this, I managed to run my way up to 2nd in AG and 4th amateur female.

All smiles after some great TTH performances
 at IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin
For the record, peeing on a jellyfish sting is a complete myth; paracetamol is entirely ineffective as a pain reliever but after 5 or 6 shots of rum you finally cease to care; it’s a surprisingly long way from T2 to the place you park your car before getting on the bus to the swim start and I’m 1/16th Irish. Roll on Weymouth.
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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Stryd's New Foot Pod

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About a year ago, after the IRONMAN World Championships, we wrote an article about Stryd: a new brand that measures power during run sessions with a power meter. (You can read it here). It gets a little bit geeky...!

The new footpod
After a further year of data collection, and a prolonged period of analysis, Stryd have developed an update. Now you can use their foot pod - that clips onto any shoe - in conjunction with a Garmin TRI Heart Rate strap. And this links into your Garmin App for those of you who are Garmin users.  

Stryd will now work with your Garmin

Why are we mentioning this here? Well…watch this space as Stryd could be coming to the Tri Training Harder Holidays in 2017! A huge amount of data being added to on a daily basis, and as a result there are regularly breakthrough findings made with regards how we understand running and how we can go about quantifying improvements. Power for running has arrived and it is starting to become a very valuable tool.

For more information, just email us:

The Tri Training Harder Team
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Monday, 15 August 2016

A week in the life: Elaine Garvican

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As part of a series of blogs from the Tri Training Harder Race Team athletes, we get a glimpse into how top level amateur athletes go about organising training around their lives (or vice versa, as the case may be). This week it’s the turn of Elaine Garvican to let us in on what she gets up to on a “typical” week; taken from a couple of weeks ago. Elaine is a vet, and until recently was employed in research at a university whilst also running her own small business (supplying veterinary diagnostics). However, about a month ago, her husband’s military job required them both to relocate several hundred miles up to the north of England, so as a result, she is focusing more on her own company, whilst also training for IRONMAN® Weymouth later this year (and looking for a new job!)

To find out more about Elaine, head over to her bio

Elaine training in the sunny Algarve, Portugal


Overslept and missed my early morning swim window – I am a bit sleepy as a result of having been away since Thursday night supporting at IMUK. The brilliant performances by fellow race team athlete Jason Walkley and several TTH coached athletes and holiday guests made it more than worth the fatigue though. FedEx bring me a large shipment and I manage an efficient use of time throughout the morning with a focused block of work at my computer, catching up on emails from the end of last week, orders and paperwork associated with my business before getting to the pool for a 3.5km Endurance swim.

Since we only recently moved into our current house, there is still quite a lot of sorting out to do, so unpacking and housework ate up most of the afternoon. Then a 2 hour Fartlek run – summer has finally arrived, so it’s a warm one! Come back completely covered in the drowned corpses of all the bugs who landed on my sweaty skin – so glamourous! Stretching, shower, food and some time to chill.


3km Technique swim. I used to hate doing these, but over time I’ve come to not mind them so much. A lot of band-only 50m reps in this one! 6 months ago, I couldn’t swim 25m with a band without practically losing my toenails on the bottom of the pool, so this is quite an improvement too. Home to book in another two deliveries, from two different shipping companies, meanwhile fulfilling a few more quote requests, filing expenses and starting the laborious task of telling a hundred different companies what my new address is. 

45 mins of maintenance core before lunch, talk to a client on the phone and make a chicken risotto before the lure of the sunshine becomes too much and I go out for an easy ride. Being new to the area, I use it as an opportunity to scope out some potential hills for forthcoming hill rep sessions. Dinner, stretch and roller, wash my filthy bike, watch an episode of The Tudors on DVD and go to bed.

Elaine has worked hard this year with her Coach, Philip Hatzis

Start the day with 3.5km swim with 2.4km at CSS. I feel tired today, so I’m pleased I still manage to hit the pace, since my swimming can be pretty hit and miss. Home via the Post Office and Wicks. Work emails and telephone calls, then package up a couple of shipments for dispatch. While waiting for TNT (who seem always to aim for extreme end of any collection window) I set up my turbo in the garage. A truly brutal interval set on the turbo during which I went through 6 bottles of drink left me pretty wobbly and not particularly enamored with cycling, but slightly better informed about news in the triathlon world thanks to a couple of hours of podcasts. Stretch, eat a giant plate of food then spend the remainder of the evening catching up with invoices and housework.

Back to the pool for a 3km Speed swim set – it’s a time-consuming session to get done, because of the high numbers of “best effort” reps and consequently long recovery times. There’s an aquaerobics class on in the other half of the pool though, who are a welcome distraction when my arms – and lungs – start to burn. I expect they would say the same thing about the girl manically charging up and down the fast lane… On my way home, I stop off at Boots to buy a few gallons of suncream, which likely signals the death toll for our current glorious weather. A second breakfast refuels me for sending off another shipment, making some international payments and the general, never-ending faff involved in running a small business. After lunch, bike hill reps; the weather broke which meant I didn’t roast while doing them, but suncream appears to be just as attractive a deathbed for bugs as pure sweat. I am usually more organized with food, but moving has meant having to run down the stocks of pre-home-cooked dinners in the freezer, so we knock together a quick pasta bake. While it’s cooking, I stretch and roller and we watch a bit more of The Tudors.

Elaine competing last weekend in the
Allerthorpe Classic Triathlon


I volunteer on a Helpline and today I’m on call, which limits training, as I have to be available to talk to people who may be experiencing significant degrees of distress and could potentially be suicidal. The Helpline runs 24 hours a day, and my shift is 8am Friday – 8am Saturday, so I head out for my 1hr easy run first thing. It rained overnight and the air feels fresher, but it’s still pretty warm. My loop is 60% road, 40% off road, and no pace is too easy or slow. I try to concentrate on form, as there’s a risk of running becoming sloppy while it takes a couple of kilometers to wake everything up. Minor stuff with work and then 45 mins of maintenance core while listening to my favourite podcast. After lunch, it’s the more boring practicalities of life: I sort out a “Dependent’s Pass” for camp and have a look round the excellently stocked gym, tackle the never-ending cycle of laundry, then do a big food shop – I’m a massive advocate of buying in bulk if you can afford it and I like my freezer to be full of food, especially heading into big training weeks. With this in mind, I cook (a LOT) extra for dinner, so that several portions can be quickly heated in the coming days if needed. Spend the evening writing a letter to my prison penpal.


Lie in! Then it’s a Hill reps run session during which I am also eaten alive by various biting insects. Done and showered by lunchtime and we have a couple of hours to further work on the organization of all our stuff inside the house before a group of friends arrive from London. This evening is the summer ball at my husband’s regiment; quite a lot of food, quite a lot of alcohol, a respectable volume of fireworks and quite a lot of fun. Not a lot of sleep though.


I decided to ride a local 100 mile sportif starting near Scarborough which means an early start. A lot of triathletes look down on sportives, but I think they’re great in several circumstances – it gives me the opportunity to learn a new area and ride with new people, plus the mechanical and nutritional support can be extremely useful. Heading out onto the Yorkshire moors for the first time when your sense of direction is as poor as mine and you don’t know where to refill bottles wouldn’t equate to getting the best out of the training session in my opinion. Plus, in all likelihood, I would not have plotted a route quite as tough as this one – it takes me almost 7 hours of riding to climb all 2,386m. It was a lot of fun though, the views were absolutely stunning and the weather was about as good as we’re likely to get. A 10 minute run off the bike always earns me some weird looks, but nicely rounds off this week’s training – home for more stretching, rollering and a lot of eating and sleeping!
Elaine riding in the Yorkshire moors

Weekly stats:

Total training time: 26.5hrs
Swim: 4.5hrs
Bike: 16hrs
Run: 4.5hrs
Core: 1.5hrs
Total week’s TSS: 1388

This was quite a big week, as I head in to my final phase of training for IRONMAN® Weymouth. I do have regular rest days, so this was also slightly unusual in that it was formed of 7 consecutive days of training.
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Monday, 8 August 2016

Tri Training Harder's Review of IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin 2016

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Welcome to our IRONMAN® 70.3 Dublin Course Review. Here we aim to give you a good insight into the course, the location and what to expect as well as extra tips for spectators and advice for nutrition and training.


IRONMAN® 70.3 Dublin is located in and around Phoenix Park, Dublin. The race HQ is ideally situated for competitors travelling across Ireland and from other countries due to the fact it is located close to the centre of one of Europe’s busiest tourist destinations. Why not combine your visit to Dublin with some sightseeing?

The race HQ, start and T1 are located on the East coast of Ireland, South East of the City in Scotsman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire. T2 and the finish are located in the same place on this course- right in the heart of Phoenix Park in the North West corner of Dublin City. 


For accommodation you have a lots of options:
  1. 1. Hotels – Lots of variety both in the City itself or on the outskirts.
    2. Houses & apartments to rent – great for groups and can be very inexpensive if booked in advance with a large party.
    3. B&B – these get booked up very quickly so you will have to move quickly!

Nirvana Europe are the Official Travel Agent to the IRONMAN European Series, providing accommodation, travel and event services to athletes and spectators.

IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin is a sea swim similar
to IRONMAN Wales (pictured above)


The swim is a 1.9km single anti-clockwise loop. The swim entry and exit are two different points in the bay so you will not be exiting the water at the same point you entered. Remember that this is a sea swim. Wetsuits are mandatory.

Top tip: Use a landmark on the pier for your sighting in the first half of the swim and then pick a landmark on the mainland for your sighting in the second half.

Cut off time: 1 hour 10 minutes after your wave start, with a further 10 minutes allowed to reach bike mount


T1 at this race is a very standard, compact affair. The run from the water exit to transition is not too far but as always don’t overdo it in your excitement and push yourself into the red with a short sprint. Take time to reflect on what is to come.

In T1 you will find your own numbered blue bag (given to you at registration) in which we would recommend having:

  • – Helmet*
  • – Race belt with number attached*
  • – Bike Shoes
  • – Sunglasses
  • – Talc for your bike shoes to soak up any excess moisture
  • – Small towel
  • – Nutrition for the bike
  • – Spare water for rinsing your mouth out after the swim
  • – Socks
  • – Warm layers

Your wetsuit and any other discarded swim kit is to be put in this bag to be re-hung by a volunteer.


This is a very flat course and if you love posting a fast bike split then you will be in your element here!

The bike course for IRONMAN® 70.3 Dublin consists of a 56 mile point to point ride with a single loop from Dun Laoghaire and finishing in Phoenix Park in Dublin city centre. From T1, athletes will hug the coastline heading north towards Dublin city.

The next section of the course is truly remarkable. One of Europe’s busiest cities is closed down to allow for race competitors to head east along the river. After passing all the landmarks of Dublin City, riders will emerge on the other side of the city and catch their first glimpse of Phoenix Park where the run course will take place. 

Once past Phoenix Park, athletes will head into a single loop which will be completed in a clockwise direction. The loop is around 40km in distance and once you finish the loop you will only have a short ride back to Phoenix Park to commence the run course.

There is only 408m of climbing and 371m of descending in the whole of the bike course so this is a very flat bike course by any counts.

Cut off time: 5 hours 30 minutes after your wave start, with a further 10 minutes allowed to reach the run exit


At T2 in Phoenix park you will come off your bike, rack it, then head into the marquee and pick up your RED transition bag. In this will have all your run kit: (for example)
  • – Trainers
  • – Run nutrition
  • – Appropriate extra clothing for bad weather
  • – Socks & Sunglasses (if not worn on the bike leg!)

Your helmet and any other discarded bike kit is to be put in this bag and left in the tent to be re-hung by a volunteer.


The run continues in a similar vain to the bike course: flat. There is very little elevation change during the run course. The course is predominantly covered on small paved tracks through the grounds of Phoenix Park and the whole run is contained within the park.

The atmosphere during the run will be a sight to behold if 2015 was anything to go by. The spectators were 5 to 10 deep down the central driveway of the park which is where the finish chute is situated. Athletes must complete 3 laps of the run course before making their way down the famous red carpet to collect their medal. 

Make use of the feed stations that are available on each lap, especially during the first two laps- you will want all the energy you can get for that finish sprint!

Cut off time: 8 hours 30 minutes after your wave start.


Once you have crossed the line, received your medal and T-shirt, you will be shown into the finishers tent where there will be food, drink, massage tables and also your own WHITE bag. In this, we would recommend putting in:

  • – Clean socks and comfortable shoes
  • – Towel
  • – Full change of clothes, especially if the weather is bad.


Our top tips for giving your spectators the best experience at IRONMAN® 70.3 Dublin.

1) Where is best to spectate for the swim?
It is not particularly easy to get from the swim location on the coast to Phoenix Park so you may want to consider whether it is worth the early start here or whether you are better off finding yourself a nice spot on the bike course closer to the city itself.

2) Where is best to spectate on the bike?
If you base yourself close to Phoenix Park then athletes will be passing the park on the City (East) side on their way out to the loop. Basing yourself here will also mean you can take advantage of the bars and restaurants on the West of the City while waiting for your athlete to arrive on the run course!

3) Where to spectate on the run?
The central road through Phoenix Park was stacked 5 to 10 people deep at the inaugural event in 2015. The atmosphere here was electric and well worth arriving early to secure a space on the barrier to cheer on your athlete!

Gear and Equipment


This will be a wetsuit swim, so make sure you have one that is well fitted and that you have tried beforehand (walking around like a lemon in your living room doesn't count, get in a lake or the sea).

Take a couple of spare swim caps with you- these could be very useful extra head warmth on the day underneath the one you will be given.


This is a very flat course so a standard gear setup will be perfect, along with any aero kit you may have. A time trial bike is recommended if you have this luxury, if not then some clip on aero bars will offer a huge gain.

Make sure you have enough water cages for your nutrition plan and have got your bike fully serviced or at least well cleaned, lubricated and checked (especially tyres and brakes) at least a week before the race so that you can ride with confidence without putting yourselves (or anyone else riding near you) in danger.


The terrain is mixed for the run and will be a little weather dependant. If the ground is dry, then there will be no problems, however if the ground is at all wet, it can get muddy on the grassy sections. It is worth training in and bringing a set of 'regular' race trainers and some which are designed for trail running too so that you can choose on the day. Make sure trainers are well worn-in pre race, the worst thing possible is blisters during the run leg! Remember, Ipods, MP3 players or similar are not permitted on the course. Your race number must be worn on your front, visible for photographers and marshals to see.


All your hard work and dedication in the lead up to this will be completely 100% wasted without a viable nutrition plan on race day! For a more in-depth look at how you could tackle your nutrition plan for the race, click here.

Bike Course Feed Stations:

These will be found at 25km (St. Mochta's Church), 45km (Pro-Tech Autos R156) and 65km (Maynooth Post-Primary School).

At these feed stations you will find: PowerBar Drink & Energize Bars, Water and Bananas (cut in half)

Run Course Feed Stations:

There are 3 feed stations on each of the 3 run laps, each between 2 and 4km apart.

At these feed stations you will find:

  • – PowerBar Drinks and Gels, 
  • – Water, 
  • – Cola
  • – Bananas


Tri Training Harder, the official coach for IRONMAN® UK Events in 2016 can be of help in a number of ways:

  • – Download your own bespoke training plan for your event here.
  • – Have a coach help, who will build your training plan for you with options that suit your needs and budget here.
  • – Phone consultation with an experiened coach to answer your personal training questions here.
  • – A training holiday in the Algarve for a week of training surrounded by like-minded individuals and experienced coaches to answer any of your questions!

Registration for 2017

Don't want to miss out? Go to to re-register for 2017 events.

We hope this review has helped you. Happy Training!

The Tri Training Harder team

The IRONMAN®, 70.3® and 'M-Dot' logos are all registered trademarks of the World Triathlon Corporation. Used herin with permission.

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Transition - from zero to hero

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Transition – from zero to hero

We’re often asked on our training holidays what athletes can do to make themselves faster, quicker, stronger with minimal effort. Our usual response is that there are no short cuts to success and you have to swim, bike, run faster/harder to be able to achieve that. There is no golden nugget, there is no ‘Pass go and collect 10 extra Watts’, or a quicker and easier way to progress. 

Or is there...

As most triathletes will tell you, transition is classed as the fourth discipline, mess things up in transition and your race can all fall apart. Get it right, however, and you can go from zero to hero in the space of a very short period of time.

There are a number of things we, as coaches, cringe when we see – all those extra hours spent in the pool reducing your swim times by 15 seconds, all those hours on the running track and all that money spent on aero kit thrown away by not executing your transitions correctly. What’s easier, spending 6 months in the pool shaving off 30s, or practising getting dressed? If you opt for the pool option, then you can kiss those seconds goodbye if your transitions aren’t slick.

If you’ve raced already this season and are looking to shave off a few extra minutes in your upcoming races, then hopefully the below will help you along the way.

"Let’s face it, this is one part of the race where you can be at the 
same standard or even better than the elites!"

1. Avoid Clutter!

Don’t clutter up your transition area (and mind!) with items you aren’t going to use in the race. You do not need that 2kg tub of energy powder, nor two pairs of run shoes as you still can’t decide which ones to wear.

2. Know Where You are!

Make sure you know where your transition spot is. Walk away from your spot and navigate back to it using immovable objects as a reference point e.g. a tree, advertising boards. Do this when transition is full and not when yours is the only bike there!

3. Lube, Lube and Lube!

If you want to get your wetsuit off in a hurry then moisturise your legs and ankles before putting it on. It doesn’t need to be anything expensive, but it will become a lubricant once it mixes with water and hey presto – a wetsuit that slips off easily.

Whip that wetsuit off in T1

4. Belt Up

If it is a wetsuit swim, simply have your number belt under your wetsuit, this is perfectly legal apart from at Ironman branded events. Make sure you are aware of specific race rules by asking at the event or reading athlete information beforehand.

5. Arrange Your Helmet Appropriately

Your helmet should be placed with the inside looking up at you and with the straps undone. You don’t want to be spending time undoing the straps, just pick it up, pop it on your head and do up the straps. If you wear glasses for the bike, then either have these pre inserted into the vents in the helmet or placed inside the helmet, arms open so you can pick them up and put them on straight away before then picking up your helmet and doing the same thing. Remember to do up the strap before touching your bike – if not then it’s goodbye to all those extra seconds you took 6 months to gain in the pool and hello to a 2 minute helmet violation penalty.

Helmet with the straps open and glasses ready to put on

Again, Ironman branded races and some other longer distance races specify that your helmet must go in your Transition 1 bag (often called swim to bike bag or bike bag). Check the transition rules for your specific race, but the strap rules and 2 minute penalty still apply!

6. Sort Your Mount Out

Mounting your bike – choose which method you are going to use and practice, practice, practice. There is the stop start method, the scoot mount and the affectionately titled Flying Squirrel

Always practice your chosen mount (and always remember to smile!)

7. Dismount With Style...

So now you’ve smashed the bike section of the race and you’re ready to come back into transition (T2). Getting off your bike can be as daunting as getting on it, so here’s how to do it well

8. Use Elastic Laces

Putting elastic laces in your shoes will mean you don’t need to fiddle around with laces, just pull them on and go. If you aren’t wearing socks, then Vaseline on the hot spots inside of your trainers can help avoid any rubbing or chafing as well as some talcum powder to soak up some of the moisture.

Essential run accessories

9. Make Haste, Don't Rush

Now is the time to take your helmet off – don’t be tempted to drop it or chuck it on the floor (it damages the helmet in the same way it would if you crashed!) and make sure you keep it strapped up until you have racked your bike….if not, say hello to 2 more penalty minutes.

10. Running Nowhere At All!

Know where the run out is! So often athletes focus on the swim exit and bike in and out points, they forget to look for the run out point. Once you have racked all your kit, physically walk from the swim exit to your bike, then the bike out, back to bike in and then run out. It’s much better to know this in advance rather than run round like a loony trying to figure out where to go.

Cool, calm and collected - knowing the route out of T2

There is a reason why we spend a whole morning at our training camps practising transition skills – it is important!

Knowing what you are going to do, repeating it in your head (hat off, goggles off, wetsuit off, belt on, glasses on, helmet on, grab bike, go) whilst you do it and then sticking to the plan is guaranteed to ensure you don’t lose any precious seconds in transition. 

Develop your own process, practice it in training, do it in racing, review it after a race and keep looking to improve it.

Coach Sorrel
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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Jason Walkley: IRONMAN UK Race Report

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Jason Walkley, Tri Training Harder Race Team, competed in the 2016 edition of IRONMAN UK. Jason finished 9th in his very competitive age group. Jason’s A race for 2016 is IRONMAN Barcelona in October and IRONMAN UK was treated as a training race in his build towards October’s race. Read Jason’s Race Report for IRONMAN UK below…

IRONMAN UK is one of my favourite races on the calendar and this was my 4th time there.

Although I wasn't set to peak at this race, I still wanted a solid consistent performance to give me a good base to build on for my main race of the year in October at Ironman Barcelona.

Jason looking cool, heading out of T2
So here goes.....

The swim was ok, came through the first lap in 31:00 with a bit of argy bargy at the bouys and one goggle knocked off but managed to reseat that fine. The second lap was a little crowded as the front end of the swim caught the slower swimmers on their first lap. So a 32:21 second lap for me.

To put it simply: the Bike was really tough. Coach Philip and I had agreed on a few numbers to aim for beforehand with the main one being an IF of 0.75...... together with Normalised Power of 217W and Average Power of 202W.

I pretty much stuck to the power outputs (223w NP and 202W AP) but at half way my IF was 0.82, which is higher than the normal figure a Pro who wins these full IM races puts out..... So I actively backed off where I could for the second half and managed to finish on 0.79....

Which coincidently is the common figure for the winning pro at most races...... I felt awful, felt hungry although I knew I couldn’t be, and generally felt like I had had a very weak bike leg.

This was until I rolled down the hill to T2 and saw Ian Dempsey and Robbie Whittaker both coming out of T2 together. That was the spark I needed, I then thought I must have had quite a good bike leg if they were only about 4 mins ahead.

Jason: all smiles at the finish line!
So out onto the run I was determined to run a good marathon, Phil shouted I was 12th out of T2 in AG, and to run the first 10km to start the loop focussing on form and good strong technique and not to worry about pace or time. I had a time in my head of 45 mins to get to the loop and I was absolutely bang on as I turned to start the first of 3.5 laps around town. I then switched off and just thought about being relaxed and smooth with a good technique, taking on a gel at every feed station and carrying an extra one to drip feed throughout, I felt comfortable as I went through half way bang on my target pace (1:37) I had caught a fair few people and despite a gap of over 7 minutes opening up behind Ian, I slowly reeled him in and passed him at 18 miles, I had passed Robbie about 7 miles in too. Then as you know the last 10k is where it begins to hurt.

Jason, head down on the run course

I tried to ignore the miles and just maintain this good form I had done up until then and hopefully unleash some effort over the final 6-7km. I finished with a 7:04 and 7:15 final 2 miles but it was so hard to run at that point, the legs where certainly on the way out but I crossed the line with a 3:22 and 10:14 overall.
I feel I fuelled right and ran a good strategy so I don’t think I would have changed anything. My previous pb time of 9:54 was gone well before the marathon started at about half way on the bike, but once running I thought I could equal or better my marathon of that day (3:19) and I wasn’t far off. So I’m really happy that my running is finally getting back to how it was in 2013.

9th Age Group and 37th overall (24th Age group athlete) Missed out on Kona by 12 minutes and 3 places.

Jason on the finish line in Bolton

My nutrition was as follows:
Breakfast - 100g of home made muesli - 75g carbs 500cals
Bocadillo - 22g carbs 99 cals

Hour before race start - high 5 plus sachet. 44g carbs 176 cals

Bike - 118g carbs per hour
6 litres of water

Run - gel at every feed station and one to drip feed as I fancied.
Water at every feed station and Coke from mile 22/23 for 2 feed stations.

Not one blip in energy at all and no bloated stomach either.

Next stop Ironman Barcelona in October...... sub 9:30?? I’ll give it a go!
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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Elaine Garvican: Ironman 70.3 UK Race Report

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Elaine Garvican, Tri Training Harder Race Team, competed in the IRONMAN 70.3 UK event last weekend and finished 1st in her age group. Elaine is currently training for her A race for the year which is IRONMAN Weymouth in September. Read her Race Report for IRONMAN 70.3 UK below...

Although I raced my first middle distance triathlon nearly 8 years ago, Wimbleball was my first experience of an Ironman 70.3 event. This meant an opportunity to look at a distance I was familiar racing with new eyes, and review some important general race lessons.

Pre-race interview with Joanne from Tri Talking Sport

After a good in-water warm up, we all got out of the lake again and lined up in our appropriate pens for what seemed like ages, slowly drying off and, in my case, eyeing an ominous-looking sky. I was making idle chat with those stood around me, when a guy just to my right let out an anguished cry as his breakaway wetsuit zip popped open. He was immediately convinced it was broken and no doubt images of struggling through 1.9km dragging a billowing neoprene parachute flooded his mind. His friend started to assist him, but both were panicking that the starting gun was more imminent than it was in reality. I noticed the edges of the zipper were a long way apart; as this video demonstrates, you need a helpful assistant to pull the suit towards your spine, or there will not only be too much pressure on the zip, but your shoulder movement will also be impaired. 

Video: How to put a wetsuit on

Only slightly hindered by his mounting worries and pre-race inability to follow simple physical instructions (such as “arms out, please!”) I hoiked him safely back inside his wetsuit. Such was his gratitude that he then enveloped me in a massive bear hug, which made me laugh and forget any of my own pre-race nerves. I’ll happily credit it with some of my resultant good fortune too!

Lesson One: Spend the time learning how to put on your wetsuit properly.

Lesson Two: Never be afraid to offer assistance to fellow racers – being helpful to each other is what makes our sport so great.

As part of the Ironman Swim Smart initiative, many races are now turning to a rolling start. There are pros and cons to this format, in my opinion – it allows people to self-seed, and hopefully reduces a lot of the anxiety and hence risk of cardiac-related deaths (definitely a good thing) but also changes the dynamics of the race slightly in that knowing where you are in the field is made more difficult. In retrospect, I lined up too far back, and as a result, didn’t benefit quite as much from a good draft as I might have done. There is still a lot of work to be done on my swim, as currently it still leaves me a long way down the field, and this was no exception.

Photo Credit: Huw Fairclough photography

Once out of the swim, it’s a long, uphill run to transition. Once onto your bike, it’s a long, uphill start to the bike course, and with the adrenaline pumping, it would be easy to burn far too many matches early on. I had my power targets and was determined to stick to them, so my mantra became holding back on the hills, and pushing on through the descents. There is only one significant descent, but it ends with a No Overtaking zone in which tri bars are also forbidden, for reasons of safety. Having driven the course with TTH Head Coach Alan Ward the day before, however, I was confident I could stay aero right up until the start of this zone. The resultant 72.6 km/hr was probably equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, but it also helped me leapfrog several other cyclists and earned me a comment that “it took quite some balls to come down that hill that fast” when slightly less brave/foolhardy (delete according to your own descending proficiency!) guy re-passed me a few kilometers later.

Lesson Three: Time spent in course recce is rarely wasted

For the remainder of the first lap, I was continuously trading places with a couple of other girls, who would climb quicker, but whom I would leave behind on the flats and descents. This was frustrating for me, as I am a good climber, and I felt that my power cap was holding me back. But as we started the second loop, they dropped back and although I continued to overtake people until T2, I was never passed again.

Lesson Four: An even paced bike leg will ultimately be quicker than early spikes in effort followed by a slow drop off.

I’d spent the best part of a half hour during the bike leg pondering what I would do about the fact I was wearing socks. T2 was situated on recently mown, but still quite lengthy grass, which was wet and I couldn’t decide whether running in my bike shoes would cost me more time than changing wet socks. In the end I went for the path of least resistance, and simply kept my bike shoes on until the change tent. The resultant 1:46 probably wasn’t worth quite such a lot of thought after all.

Lesson Five: Make a plan in advance and try not to become too fixated on soggy socks.

Onto the run, and this was the point I was looking forward to the most, as I knew my support crew would be out there cheering for me. It was also as a result of not having recce’d the run course and hence being in slightly blissful ignorance regarding it’s terrain. Sadly, 3 laps gave me more than ample opportunity to dread the forthcoming hill repetitions – this run course is truly brutal! Each climb did result in an equally steep descent though, and again I discovered a hitherto unknown skill for disengaging the self-preservation senses and barreling downhill as fast as gravity and my leg turnover would allow.

Photo Credit: Huw Fairclough Photography

Lesson Six: If you’re going to put in the effort to fight gravity on the way up, make it work for you on the way down.

The original plan had been an increase in effort and speed for each of the three laps. I delivered on the former, but struggled a little on the final loop. I did manage to run my way through the rest of my AG though, to take the win and finish 6th overall. All things considered, I am pleased with this result – Philip and I are still learning how hard I can push and we still have a lot of quality training ahead of us before my A race of the year.

Photo Credit: Huw Fairclough Photography

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