TTH Athlete Q&A: Kurt Winship

This is the first in a new series of blogs where we will be doing short question and answer sessions with a variety of our athletes so you can get to know them a little better! You will hopefully learn from these that we cater to all athletes, from beginner to elite level across all of our coaching services. 

Kurt Winship has been a TTH athlete for over two years now and has taken part in multiple training holidays and is also a coached athlete. Kurt completed a lifelong ambition earlier this year by completing an IRONMAN event, which was a dream he thought would never become a reality after suffering heat exhaustion in a long course event last year, proving that anything is possible if you really want it!


Kurt with his IRONMAN medal,
the day after his race
Over to the questions...

Where do you train in the UK? 
In and around Oxfordshire and the Cotswold area

What’s your favourite training route?
For me I don't like the same training routes over and over again. I found I prefer to make my routes as varied as possible to keep me interested so often will get driven somewhere, then make it about a journey home.

How often do you train and how do you fit training around work?
Training varied from anything between 4 sessions up to 10 sessions a week, heavy weeks I would utilise lunch hours at work for strength and conditioning work and interval runs, used commuting to and from work too for medium distance rides up to 2hrs then all long rides would take over my weekends to achieve my goal.

Swimming was always done on my way home from work, I always tried to get the sessions done before I got home as when my bag hit the floor in the kitchen I didn't want to go out again so really tried to get things done before I was home. My work were brill towards the end when training ramped up as they allowed me extra time if needed as long as my work for the week was managed and completed I could take the extra time.

How long have you been working with Tri Training Harder?
As an athlete in the loosest sense of the word I've been working with TTH for almost 2 years.

What do you do when your not doing triathlon? 
To switch off from triathlon I grow bonsais and when they are all sorted I like listening to music and cooking, which I've missed a lot of due to my diet.

Why do you do triathlon?
I partake in triathlon to help give me a focus and to meet new people.

What’s your favourite experience on a TTH Training Holiday?
Meeting like minded made people and connecting with them about triathlon

How have you found having a triathlon Coach? Positives and negatives?
It's been an interesting experience for sure, having never had a coach for anything the positive is that there is always someone to turn to when the going gets tough, but also someone understands what you are going through. It's all very easy to blow up at those around you because you are hurting, but having a coach allows you to vent at them as they know and understand the sport better thereby saving arguments with your loved ones over nothing.

Also not having to worry about when you are training next as it's all done for you, it just appears in training peaks and away you go. The coaching set up on training peaks allows you to also switch your program slightly as work commitments change you can adjust the plan with ease making it more acceptable for the working week. The biggest positive of all though is you don't feel alone with it all, someone is always with you when the going gets tough.

So the negatives to having a coach? I'm not sure there is one from my point of view, but I'm that person who likes showing off when it goes well but also likes to understand why it might not have worked out too.

What’s your favourite workout?
Believe it or not it was a 1hr 45 swim endurance session, I hate swimming at the best of times, but this session really gave me the sense that actually I could do the full swim, but love all the core strength training as this sets you up for all the other sessions.

What is your favourite distance event?
Interesting question, I would say it was the uk triathlon events Ultimate half distance race in Shropshire, beautiful course and such a fantastic set up by the event organisers, really does show off the sport in its best light, and the half distance gives you a huge sense of "yes I can do the full distance" feel.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
The rest of the season is now about just enjoying life for a few months, catching up with friends who I haven't been able to see due to training so much. Hopefully get to have a few weekends away with some of them too, but more importantly throw a kick ass Halloween party

What are you planning for next season? 
Next season is mainly about preparing, I've come up with a hair brained scheme to go sub 11 hours for ironman, so must of next year is about losing weight and a huge strength and conditioning program to fire me into 2019 and have a crack at Copenhagen again in this daft time. But triathlon wise 2018 will be about enjoying the sport and doing sprints and half distance ironman events for fun, not watching the clock too much for them.
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Course Review: IRONMAN Wales 2017

You have stepped up to a significant challenge in what many say is the toughest IRONMAN course of them all. We have put together this course review to give athletes detailed insight into the course so that they arrive fully prepared and ready for the big day.

Location

IRONMAN Wales is hosted by Pembrokeshire and based in the seaside town of Tenby. Although it is a long drive for the majority of participants coming from the rest of Britain, it is well worth it. The scenery is totally unspoilt and what a good excuse to see a part of the British Isles you might not have ventured to otherwise.

Accommodation

Tenby has a range of B&B's and small hotels as well as many campsites in the local area, all very reasonably priced. We would advise staying in or close to Tenby, as this is the location of the swim start, race HQ, T1 and T2 and the finish.

Swim

To view in high resolution, click here
The swim course at Wales is one worth recceing. The beach has a shallow gradient and as such is one where competitors can make a great deal of progress off the start line hurdling over the shallows and dolphin dipping/diving as it gets a little deeper. Good sighting is paramount over this course as there will be waves, wind and current to contend with. The first leg heading to the left of the beach as you look out to sea doesn't have many landmarks in the background so regular sighting to the buoys will be vital. The second leg is much easier as you have the harbour, headland and very handily the old and new lifeboat houses to site from depending on the exact location of the buoy. This leg also usually benefits from a little assistance by the local currents and it also happens to be the longest stretch. The last leg into the beach keeping to the left of Goscar Rock is by far the easiest to navigate as the houses atop the cliffs make for easy reference points.

The swim comes in on the near side of Goscar Rock from this point of view, houses on cliff top useful for sighting.
On the morning of the race the beach turns into a natural amphitheatre the cliffs make the swim feel as if it is in a bowl and the crowds lining the top beach road make you feel like an athlete centre stage in a stadium. Enjoy the atmosphere!

Cut off: Athletes have 2hrs 20 to complete the swim course and an further 10 minutes to exit transition on the bike.

T1

Important! At IRONMAN Wales, there is an extra "Shoe Bag" at the swim exit so that you can run up to T1 (1km) without hurting your feet. In here, have some trainers that are easy to slip on and off and perhaps some arm warmers for the bike so that you can put these on as you go. Please note that these trainers are separate to your trainers to complete the marathon in, you will need to bring TWO pairs in total.

Once you have made it to T1 you will find your own numbered BLUE bag (given to you at registration) in which you could have the following:

-Helmet*
-Race belt with number attached*
-Bike Shoes (if not already mounted on pedals)
-Sunglasses 
-Talc for your bike shoes to soak up any excess moisture
-Small towel
-Nutrition for the bike (if not already attached to bike or in drinks bottles)
-Spare water for rinsing your mouth out after the swim
-Socks (if used)
-Warm layers

*mandatory

Your wetsuit and any other swim kit that you are finished with is to be put in this bag and passed to a volunteer to be re-hung.

Bike

The bike is split into three sections, as seen below in this elevation map. The first section "The Angle/Pembroke Peninsular Loop" in blue, followed by the "Narbeth" loop in green which is repeated on the third loop.


The Angle/Pembroke Peninsular Loop

Within the first kilometres of the bike there is a small rise just after the popular Kiln Park holiday site, but nothing too much to worry about. The first proper climb doesn't come until you have got all the way to Pembroke and the drag out of there takes you up onto the peninsula to Angle. There are some technical sections around St Petrox and down through Coldwell Wood, these are well worth checking out before the race. Take extra care at Castlemartin as you go past the Army base for the cattle grids as these will not be covered - free wheel over them.

To view in high resolution, click here

Sharp Corners indicated by Red, Descents in Yellow and the climb out of Pembroke in Blue.

Take care on the single track road going into and coming out of Angle, don't risk overtaking here-  wait for the wide roads to Pembroke for that. The first aid station at Angle (40k) is at the bottom of a narrow descent so again, this is something worth checking out before race day.

Once in Pembroke itself the support here is good and you are nearing the completion of this section of the course for the last time. Once you pass through Lamphey you turn left onto the next loop (blue on the elevation map above) that you will do again later on, and here is the second aid station at 60k.

Narbeth loop

The next section is lumpy but as a reward at the end of it you get a great view of Carew Castle as you cross the bridge over the river here again there is some excellent support here. The good news is you are now climbing all the way to Narberth and beyond to Princes Gate which is the highest point on the course. Even better news is that it is split up with flat bits and short sharp relieving descents along the way.  Usually there is stellar support at Narberth too which is great as your legs are starting to feel it!

Supporters base at Wiseman's Bridge
Once you are through Narberth you are over half way and once to the top of the course at Princes Gate it is downhill, yes downhill all the way down to the coast through Summerhill and into Wisemans Bridge. Again more support here from alongside the beach inn and again a section well worth recceing before the race.

You will turn inland after 105k having done roughly 15k of downhill and see something like the sign below. Fear not this is just a sign to help feeble motorists - you are an Ironman in the making!

Once over the top of this climb is a technical descent under trees which can be slippy when wet, again this part of the course is worth being familiar with. The great news is that once down here you are into Saundersfoot you will drop at speed into town and through some more excellent support.

The aid station at the top of this climb (New Hedges) signals the end of the work for this lap and indeed the end of the bike course after the shorter second lap, all that is left is a fast simple descent down into Tenby when you whistle through on the first lap you can look forward to shouts from friends and family.  Coming down the hill into Tenby be aware you are going to turn right at the roundabout to head out on the second lap of the Narbeth Loop and do not follow an athlete in front who has finished the bike and turns left towards transition. This lap goes back out to Lamphey but turns immediately right to what was the second aid station on Lap 1 without going out to Angle and back. There isn't much to say about this section apart from here is where you will find out how well you paced the first lap, especially during those last couple of drags up to Narberth.

In summary it is a course where conserving your effort for later on in the ride will reap rewards.

Cut off: 10hrs 30 minutes after the start of the race

T2

In Wales the weather can be changeable so the arm warmers you may have had on during the bike, can be kept on and if not desired perhaps they can be tucked into and looped over your number belt a couple of times to secure them.

Run

To view in high resolution, click here
Run Special Needs - Useful access points for support at red circles.
The run consists of 4 laps of just over 10km each, with each one heading uphill out of town, looping round and then an easy downhill section back into town. It is well worth enjoying the flat section out of T2 as it won't last long. Focussing on the positives of the run and your technique will pay dividends on this course. The more efficient you can be early on with this course the better given the lack of flat sections. The run in and around town is fantastic with good crowds and enthusiastic ones at that. The special needs assistance for the course is down by the harbour where supporters can hand up anything required for the run.

In summary, this is a hard course, but it also has an excellent atmosphere and support from the crowds throughout the day from the moment you leave your accommodation to walk to transition at dawn to the moment you cross the finish line and beyond. A lot of time can be gained by knowing the bike course well and we hope you can proudly look forward to the looks on fellow athletes faces when you tell them you have tamed Ironman Wales.

Spectators

Our top tips for having the best experience at IRONMAN® Wales as a spectator:

Parking in Tenby is limited and is full early on race day morning.  We would reccommend using the Park & Ride service based at Carew Airfield to drop the car and then it costs a few pounds for a day ticket to get you into Tenby, on to Saundersfoot if you wish, back to Tenby and then to Carew at the end of the day.  Athletes travel free.

1) Where is best to spectate for the swim? 

For the swim from the cliff top above the beach is fantastic to have an almost birds eye view of the swim. A small number of spectators will be able to get onto the beach depending on the tide but the swimmers will soon become specs in the sea. Make sure to get here once your athlete has gone into transition to get a place near the front.

2) Where is best to spectate on the bike? 

The easiest place to get to is the bottom of the hill as athletes pass by the petrol station on there way out onto lap two. But here the athletes will be travelling at high speed and it will be a blink and you miss them experience. It may be better to walk along the road a little towards the Kiln Park climb where athlete will be travelling a lot slower. Either that or the short trip to the Saundersfoot climb which has a party atmosphere with the crowds parting as the riders climb. We would reccommend using the park and ride to get there.

3) Where to spectate on the run?

Anywhere in Tenby is great and the crowds will be deep in most places. For the athletes benefit though some spectators out on the climb out of town are always welcome! You will be able to see athletes coming in on the bike and also going out on the first lap of the run. So this is a great place to start spectating the run and then gradually progress into town to see your athlete finish.

Gear and Equipment

Swim

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.

Bike

This is a relatively hilly course. For IRONMAN® Wales due to the short, sharp nature of some of the climbs, a compact gear set up would be advisable for the majority of athletes. However, if you don't have a compact chainset then a 28 tooth rear cassette should be enough to prevent most riders from churning a gear that is too big. 

We would recommend front wheels with sections less than 50mm due to some exposed sections on the bike course. 

Make sure you have enough bottle 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 yourself (or anyone else riding near you) in danger.

Ipods, MP3 players or similar are not permitted, and your race number must be worn on your back and clearly visible.

Run

The terrain is tarmac for the majority, making lightweight trainers the obvious choice. Make sure trainers are well worn-in pre race, the last thing you want are blisters on 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.

Nutrition

All your hard work and dedication in the lead up to this will be 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 38km (Angle), 59km (Lamphey), 91km (Narbeth) 177km (New Hedges), 125km (Lamphey), 157km (Narbeth) and 174km (New Hedges).

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

Run Course Feed Stations:

There are 4 feed stations on each of the 4 run laps and in total, athletes will pass 15 aid stations on the whole run course.

At these feed stations you will find: PowerBar Drink, Gels, Water, Cola and Bananas (cut in half)


Tri Training Harder's training holidays in Portugal. Training is never as hard in the sunshine!








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Tears, sweat and chocolate: 1000 mile Adventure, Renata’s longest race

The 1000 miles adventure is an unsupported race across the breadth of Slovakia and the Czech Republic over the mountains; through areas of bears; across rivers and all sorts of other 'fun'. Portugal Holiday Manager, Renata took on the race in July and here’s her account of how it went!

Some facts about the race:

Total distance: 1619 km
Climbing in total: 43,193 m
Crossing: 3 rivers
Duration: 18 days 4 hrs 14 mins
Weight loss: 5.7kg
Average hours of riding per day: 14

Out of breath


‘Are you alright?’ I heard after my bike crash. I was trying to respond but I couldn’t catch my breath… It was the first day of the race, approx. 30 kilometres and thoughts in my mind were not very positive: 'It’s over. Months of preparation and this is the end.' I felt pain from the fall when handlebars crashed in my ribs. I kept asking myself 'Why has this happened to me?! And just at the very beginning?' after a while I accepted it and asked instead 'Why not?'. I knew that I had to be very careful after the fall, my ribs were very sore and one more bad fall would mean that I would be out of the race. I took this race more seriously and was considering my abilities with every terrain, more conscious about the path and my journey there.

The person asking if I was alright was a Slovak girl Daša and since my bike crash we continued together most of the time until the second checkpoint at 500 miles. Let's summarise it: My fall caused my bigger consciousness and a friendship, I felt like a winner.

Watch out for the bears!

Territory of brown bear.
There are areas in Slovakia known for the high presence of bears. One of the emergency rules was to take small jingle bells on our bicycles, this was meant to scare bears away. Bears are a protected species in the Slovak mountains and got used to human presence, often migrating from their usual 'homes' searching for food close to people’s homes. We made fun about this before the race but when you are actually out there in the prohibited section (prohibited because we could not be there at night) you can almost feel their presence and you kind of think that you will meet bears around every corner. There was one crossroads in the mountains where I was waiting for my friend Daša and I heard weird noises from the woods. All the jokes that we were making before and now here I was, standing next to my bike, talking out loud and ringing my small jingle bells like crazy.

Don't forget to be mindful

Beautiful landscapes of Slovak mountains - one of the
bears areas. Photo credit: Daša M.
I can honestly say that I have never felt so alive as during this race. You are out there, at one connected with nature, trying to ‘read’ the paths and also the weather, feeling the wind playing with oats on the field, cycling between cows and in the darkness of woods at night. You start to perceive those things more intensively because you don't have any distracting objects during the day. The whole day you think only about basic things: Am I too hot/cold? Do I need water? Do I have enough food? Where will I sleep tonight?

What a change from my days beforehand. You realise soon that you don’t need a lot for living.

Reaching 500 miles
Leaving 500 miles checkpoint.
Photo credit: 1000miles team.
We reached the 500 miles checkpoint with Daša at 10pm, Daša was finishing here and I was seriously thinking about giving up. I had plenty of reasons to finish there – my bruised ribs, my friend’s wedding which was in couple days, swollen Achilles tendon, tiredness, etc. the list goes on. But… Can I use bruised ribs as an excuse when I am cycling like that since the beginning? Can I finish at half distance when I am to raise money for kids? I had to ask myself the most important question: What would make me happy? The answer was clear: To finish. I shared my concerns with one of the organisers at the checkpoint, he listened to all my excuses and said: 'Renata, you can decide in the morning. Now, go to bed and we will talk about this in the morning'. I went to bed having all the small maps next to me looking at them and thinking there is no way I can make the whole journey. And in the morning? I knew. I didn’t say it out loud but I knew I had to keep going.

Becoming an eating machine
Find a nice place, stop there and enjoy your lunch.
Photo credit: unknown lady who took a picture of me.
I was quite lost regarding nutrition. I am vegetarian and I have an idea about what to eat during the 'normal' training day, but I have no idea what to eat during a race like this. During the race, we were allowed to use all facilities that were available on the way but Czech and Slovak cuisine is based on meat and I had limited options at the restaurants. I was lucky to have a chance to chat with Helen (http://www.helenmoneynutrition.com/) and that turned out to be a great opportunity. Helen was very helpful and provided me with an exact plan which – to my surprise – involved Creme eggs as a snack. Main meals were ordered from UK and the company Expedition foods, their meals need only hot water and you have a proper meal within a few minutes. Helen made a nutrition plan which for me seemed like a lot of food and I was worried that I would not be able to eat as much as she said. I was wrong! Within a few days I changed into a proper eating machine. I basically ate all the time and the amount of food surprised me. Eighteen days of racing and eating like crazy and I lost nearly 6 kilograms. Honestly, this race should be advertised as a great diet plan...

Ups and downs
Dripping wet. Photo credit: Jindra P.
This race sounds like a great idea for someone who loves cycling as much as I do. Cycling the whole day, meeting new people, being up in the mountains, seeing beautiful views… Yes, there were lots of ups and highlights but you can be sure there were lots of downs too. Sore legs, pain, sore ischial bones, tiredness and exhaustion.

I had two mantras that I repeated in hard times: ‘With every step the finish gets closer’ and during very steep climbs: ‘Every hill has a top’. These two sentences were stuck in my mind and as a broken gramophone were repeated again and again.

What if you are so despondent that you can’t go any further? Well, that happened to me in Slovakia. It was hot, I had problems with my brake pads and I felt absolutely exhausted. I couldn’t go any further. I sat down on the field and started crying like a baby. Then laid down and watched the sky and clouds. What to do now? I asked myself. I found a chocolate biscuit, ate it, calmed down a little bit, took my bike and continued my journey. You know, there wasn't much to do than just keep cycling.

I also experienced hallucinations. Athletes that were cycling on a tandem bike pointed out a mountain hut that should be close to me and I wanted to get there and meet them. It was already late at night, I was slowly pushing my bike, exhausted and trying not to fall asleep. I heard weird noises and tried to do some maths calculations to keep my brain awake - I am bad at maths so I couldn't get any correct result and that kept me awake. It worked and I reached the mountain hut at 1:30am so happy to see the 'tandem athletes' already sleeping there. Another time I heard organ music in the woods, there wasn't any village or anything closer to make such music. I wasn't concerned anymore, I just kept cycling and enjoying the concert in the woods, it was certainly interesting. 

You’ve finished!
At the finish line with race director
Jan Kopka. Photo credit: Libor Č.
I reached the official finish of 1619 km after 18 days. Suddenly I was lost, I didn’t quite know what to do now. I gave a few shy smiles to the camera but my mind was in chaos. I had finished. There was no more cycling towards the finish, no more freezing nights or hot days, no more meetings with interesting people on the way.

I got it now. It is not about reaching the finish line, it is about the experiences you get on the way.

What went well?
Having a consultation with Helen about my nutrition
Training in Portugal and getting used to the heat
Sending parcels to the post offices on the way to get meals and some goodies
What was hard?
Sleeping outside alone
Mornings without coffee! :-)
Getting up to cold from the sleeping bag
What could be better?
Better sleeping bag to not get cold at night
More off-road training with loaded bags

What surprised me?
How much I can eat! Suddenly a giant size pizza wasn't big enough!
Kindness from people

If you liked my journey and the idea why I was doing it please take a look at my justgiving page:
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/renata-cycling-1000miles

Big thanks to:


Tri Training Harder - for support and messages during the race
Coach Rhiannon - for encouraging me during my preparation for the race and helping with setting up a fundraising page
Coach Alan - for suggesting last year that I should do some long cycling race (he probably meant on road bike and probably something like 200 km long, but I understood it my way)
Helen Money - for providing me a great nutrition plan
Scott and Lynn - for their never ending support
Philip - for bringing me a lot of Creme eggs
Zdenek and Barča - for updating my Facebook page Pastel Re Nata with my messages
Tomáš S. - for taking me and my bike to the train station and for messages during the race
Daša M. - for sharing half of the way of the race and sending supporting messages when I was cycling the second half
My mum - for picking me up at the finish and messages during the race
All the people that helped us on the way - for water, biscuits, insoles, places to sleep and shower.
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2017 Race Update 4



James enjoying the red carpet in Copenhagen

James Tugwell came to us for coaching early in December of last year with the goal of completing his first IRONMAN. James was hoping to finish below 11 hours. In his fourth triathlon ever (and his first IRONMAN) James finished IRONMAN Copenhagen in an outstanding time of 9hr43mins to take 9th in his age group and 127th of 2625 starters. A well deserved result from a highly committed and diligent athlete!





Graham Poole also raced in Copenhagen and after visiting us in Portugal for a Holiday at the very end of April started coaching a month later in early June, just 11 weeks before race day. Grahams goals were "Short Term for 2017 is to set PBs at each of the events I have signed up for which I have completed annually in the past - London, Salford, UK Ultimate Half" having knocked all these goals over Graham moved onto the "Main goal for 2017, to complete IM Copenhagen in under 15 hours". Graham finished yesterday in 13hr48 a huge leap forward and just reward for his focus and commitment not only over the last eleven weeks but also all the work he did independently early in 2017.
Colin with his trophy!


Andy Cowen toed the startline and tackled his first ever long course triathlon at IRONMAN Copenhagen. Andy has been being coached by Coach James this season  and finished the event in an impressive 12:25.

This weekend also saw Colin Teevan race his way to 3rd in his age group at IRONMAN 70.3 Dublin. This was enough to qualify for the 70.3 Worlds in South Africa in 2018. Congratulations Colin, great work!





Elaine ran to victory with her compass and map!


Elaine Garvican continued her winning streak this weekend. Elaine finished first overall woman at the Wensleydale full triathlon and 10th overall in what was a truly beautiful event. She is the happy winner of some Wensleydale Cheese!







Belinda exiting the water



Belinda Vohra took part in the Race New Forest standard distance. This is a local race for Belinda and it was lovely to race in a familiar environment almost on the doorstop. The race involves a 1.1km swim in Ellingham Lake, a 1 mile T1 (yes you read that correctly: 1 mile!....), a 20 mile cycle around the Forest roads and a very hilly 5.5 mile run. After a very busy few weeks, Bel raced really strongly over all three disciplines to finish in 2 hours 54 for 6th in age category. This was a great performance in the build up to Belinda's main event for the season which is Weymouth 70.3 in 4 weeks time. 





Kurt Winship's results have been well-publicised on our Facebook account but they are also well worth another mention:

Kurt Winship is a longtime friend of TTH, attending a number of training holidays in Portugal and being coached by Philip Hatzis. Kurt has always dreamed of one day completing a full distance IRONMAN event. He may well have even shared this dream already with you personally!

Last year Kurt had his first bite at the cherry. He competed in IRONMAN Florida and unfortunately his dreams were shattered halfway into the run when he was picked up by the medical team at the side of the road after running himself to exhaustion, whilst also being very dehydrated.

Within weeks of Florida Kurt was looking onwards and upwards. The fire in his belly was still alive. He wanted to be an IRONMAN.

Yesterday in Denmark, Kurt took to the start line of IRONMAN Copenhagen with one goal - to run down that red carpet.

Playing out his race strategy to perfection, fourteen hours and fifty minutes later Kurt achieved his goal.

Kurt's dedication and commitment to fulfilling his dreams has been unquestionable and we could not think of a more deserving person and athlete.

Congratulations Kurt, we are proud to have played a part in your achievements!!

Time to put your feet up and take a well earned rest!
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Athlete Participation Spectrum

Have you had a change in circumstances, and now have the potential to do more training or do you have a change that means you need to consider your investment in Triathlon? Have you attained your goals and wish to make a change or try something new?

Over the years I have had this conversation many times with athletes, sometimes it is good news (e.g. goal achieved) and it is a case of what now or moving positively on to the next adventure. Sadly at times, it is a forced change, for example, a change in work commitments or a change in family or personal situation that directly affects the athletes time and ability to commit to training and racing.

Over the past few weeks, I have been looking at the athlete development pathway that British Triathlon has recently released. The pathway is centred around first exposing, then exploring, before enhancing and excelling in Triathlon performance.

Graphic obtained from BTF Athlete Development Pathway

To a lot of athletes, this pathway seems like a one-way street. If you don't get to the end of the story you could perceive this as a failure. This can be the case in particular for goal orientated athletes, so that means all athletes then. In my experience change is often the most difficult thing for an athlete to adapt to, it can be an incredibly stressful time. There is little guidance out there as to what to do at a time like this and this simply adds to the stress.

Below is a proposed additional spectrum for athlete participation that has a little more focus on the AG Racing part of triathlon. Perhaps it doesn't place as much emphasis on needing to see the athlete development pathway through to its conclusion.

Which of these types of athletes would you say best describes your position?

  • Unsupported Athlete
  • Social Athlete
  • Club Athlete
  • Training Plan Athlete
  • Coach Supported Training Plan
  • Coached Athlete
  • Full-Time Age Grouper
  • Pro Athlete


Real life factors, such as those mentioned above, that result in a change in your circumstances can cause a change in your position on this scale. It is important to remember that moving up or down the scale doesn’t make you a failure, or equally it doesn't mean that you don't care! You do care you have just made a choice about priorities. Balancing the scales.

  
If you are currently at a point where you are having to take stock, the critical thing to do is to recognise the change and revisit your goals and expectations. 

Examples of change can be a change of job, increase in stress from work, increase in family stress, increase in financial stress, decrease in work stress, change of location or the million other things that happen on a day to day basis. 

It is perfectly ok to step back from things a little and become a club athlete for a little bit and just train with friends and stay reasonably fit to race for competitive fun. Equally, it is ok to become a social athlete and do it purely for fun, this may result in a change in times and a lot more soreness the day after a race but that is absolutely fine if your expectations match this.


I would also add for those athletes near the top it is sometimes important to recognise daily stresses when the other important elements of your life conspire to force a change of plan. We know that consistency really does make a difference in training so if life conspires against you and that 90-minute Fartlek run at pace needs to become a 30-minute fun run with a friend; so be it. You still ran, you still stayed consistent.

The key difference from the top of the list to bottom is the environment the athletes have around them. Is it conducive to performance? This is a huge advantage the pros have! Professional athletes tend to live in a bubble created around their performance. As an age grouper, we have many other demands on our time and it is important that we work with this rather than against it.


The first step in this is making sure that our expectations, commitment, goals for sport and goals for other aspects of our life match up. 

Think about where you sit on the scale and whether or not these elements match each other and you will be on the first step to a stress free and enjoyable approach to Triathlon.

Coach Alan Ward
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Portugal Training Holidays 2018

Join us in Portugal for a high quality, all-inclusive, coaching experience. Our Training Holidays are built around you.

We are pleased to announce the dates for our 2018 Portugal Training Holidays. We will be operating from our stunning location in the South of Portugal from 15th March until 17th May. This means we have 9 full weeks of training holidays to offer you for the 2018 season. If you can't make a full week, don't forget that we also offer a 4 night, long weekend option.


- Outstanding coaching
- 5* Accommodation
- World Class facilities
- All-inclusive - you just need to bring money for cafe stops
- Suitable for any and all abilities

All for only £849!

Read more about our facilities and features.

All of our weeks are suitable for any ability level however running directly alongside our standard training holidays we have set out a few weeks where we hope to get like-minded athletes together looking to focus on specific areas of triathlon:

- IRONMAN specific week - 5-12th April 2018
- TRI Something New - beginner week - 3rd-10th May 2018



Remember - you can attend any week you like, regardless of your ability. 

If you need any more convincing that you should attend a Tri Training Harder Training Holiday in 2018 then check out some of the 10/10 reviews past-guests have left us, such as the one below:

"I was unsure whether Tri Training Harder was for me as I am very much a novice triathlete. I was advised that the programme was tailored to suit individuals and that coaches would focus on my specific needs. The reality far exceeded my expectations.


Coaches were extremely supportive whilst pushing you to stretch yourself - very focused on you as an individual and encouraging you all the way.The food prepared each day was fabulous with a menu specifically designed to ensure you were getting the nutrients you needed to support the training. All in all a fabulous holiday that I thoroughly enjoyed." 
                                                                                    - Holiday Guest, Portugal

Click here to find out more and book your holiday!
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2017 Race Update 3

Completing a triathlon is anything but simple. So many moving parts to manage, from training to nutrition and from clothing to rest. All of this is before you even take to the start line of a race and open yourself up to the complexities and intricacies of triathlon racing. The key thing to remember through all of this though is that triathlon is a hobby and must be put into perspective from time-to-time. So with this in mind let's turn to the amazing results we have seen from some of our athletes over the past few weekends and bear in mind the hard work that has gone into each and every one of these performances.

IRONMAN Austria





Catriona battled a tough year at a personal level and was thrilled to be at the start line of IRONMAN Austria, let alone race round in a time just a breath over 14 hours! 

This was a huge personal best for Cat and over 2 hours off her time! Philip, her coach, was thrilled by her result saying “we had to have a very open and honest conversation in May to discuss how to tackle Austria. Cat overturned her doubts and fears and really did conquer this IRONMAN distance race. You can tell this meant the world to her!

Here's to her next challenge!







Our competition winner Paul Hayward also took to the start line at IRONMAN Austria in his A race of the season - you can catch up with the buildup to Paul's race and the journey he has gone through by reading his blogs. He has also kindly written a race review for us!



Coached athletes Tim Matthews and Laura Shulman also toed the startline at IRONMAN Austria and got through to the red carpet to the wonderful sound of those four words.






IRONMAN UK


Emma Wardall finished in 4th place in her age group after a blistering marathon of 3:31 at IRONMAN UK. Emma chased down from the start of the marathon, but was just unable to get onto the podium for this year. The improvements she has made since last year are very apparent as she crossed the line as 13th lady and one of the top 8 amateurs in Bolton.




Phil Lester was unable to re-qualify for Kona this year after a puncture, wheel damage and then brake issues had him sat on the side of the road shivering for almost 30 mins. He is now more determined than ever to make it to the Big Island and has set his sights on qualifying at IRONMAN Wales in September. Watch this space!






Holiday Guest Piers Completed his second IRONMAN in Bolton this weekend smiling his whole way round the course rocking it in the red TTH kit. Well done Piers!





Kurt Winship was also racing this weekend in a local triathlon where he improved on his performance from last year. Kurt progressed up the field from the top 50% last year to the top 25% this year in his preparation for IRONMAN Copenhagen in a few weeks. We wish him well in the final few weeks of preparation!









Ben Wakeling, Coached by Rhiannon, was 5th in his age group and an impressive 19th overall at the Weymouth Middle Distance Triathlon with a time of 5:06.16. Ben is now entering the final stages of his preparation for IRONMAN Wales in 8 weeks time.











Coached athlete Belinda Vohra completed the Etape de Tour on Sunday with thousands of other cyclists, battling her way over the top of multiple brutal alpine climbs, including the Col de L'Izoard.


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