Thursday, March 8, 2018

New to Duathlon

The Duathlon

Run-Bike-Run
What you need to know!
Beginning your race with a solid hard run rather than a swim can have a significant affect on your bike and second run.  Therefor you will notice a difference between competing for a Triathlon and competing in a Duathlon. But they are both just as fun and challenging!

The Equipment:

Remember to check all your gear the day before.
Race morning is always more stressful when you forget your shoes or a piece of your equiptment.  So avoiding any unessecery stress is always the best policy.

Make sure your bike is in good working order. A lot of people tend to neglect their bikes and run into problems on race morning. Making sure you have a mechanical check and/or service of your bike leading into the event will give you confidence in your equipment and go a long way in relieving some of that race mornign stress.
Don’t forget to pump up your tires before you leave home.

I mentally go through the race in my head as I’m packing my gear and as I go through my race (see below) I put the gear into my transition bag. 
Starting with the first run

  •     The clothes I’m going to wear. (Clothes aren’t optional apparently)
  •     Shoes and socks to run in
  •     Watch / Garmin or Heart Rate Monitor if you want to track/record your result
  •     Hat
  •     Sunscreen
  •     Glasses to run in
  •     Race belt (if I need one) Inlcuding Race Number
  •     Nutrition – if I need to carry any on the run


 When I get to my bike
  • 1   Helmet,
  • 2 Cycling shoes if I’m changing them
  • 3Hydration/electrolytes (bottles are on the bike and ready)


Off the bike
  • 1  All the gear I used for the first run (Should be there waiting for me)
  • 2    Plus an extra drink, so I can keep hydrating for the second run


The Venue

  • 1    Know were the venue is and where to park
  • 2    Rack your bike and know how to get to it. Walk though transition so you know how to get in and out. Remember things look different when there are less or more bikes around, so pick a land mark
  • 3   Bring a bright towel to mark your spot/bike in transition.


Pace

Duathlons are very important to pace correctly.
There is no point in smashing the first run, only to end up walking the second run because you’ve spent all your pennies.
Start the race at a strong but “sustainable effort” You will benenfit from a more conservative start.

Bike Pace: Remember a constant effort is always better than riding really hard, then really easy. Constant speed on the bike will enable you to run better than having your heart rate spike up and down.
When you spike your heart rate you “burn a match” and after you’ve spiked your heart rate 5 or 6 times there are no more matches left to burn. This is when you start to slow down!
Keeping the effort constant/steady will ensure you hit the 2nd run feeling Like Mo Farah at the Olympics.

Nerves:
It’s ok to be Nervous. It’s normal and it means you’re excited and ready to race.

Ensure you keep sipping on an electrolyte drink during the morning “pre race”. Sometimes the nerves get the better of us and we forget to do the simple things. Like drink and hyrdate.

Final Notes:
Make sure you have fun, stay in the moment and enjoy yourselves!!

Guy and Kate




Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Open Water



For most of us when it comes to race day we are going to be swimming in the open water and if your living in Asia there is a good chance it’s going to be a non-wetsuit swim. 

So how do we deal with our anxiety or fear when it comes to racing/training in the open water?

Below we described a few techniques that have helped us in the past. 

1)    Practice: We spend hours biking and running and often we’ll do cycling or running time trial’s to simulate race day effort. BUT seldom do we practice getting in the “washing machine” that is a race day swim start. We know it’s not practical to go to the open water all the time. But you can practice a lot of these things in the pool. Share a lane with other swimmers where you’ll be forced to make contact, and swim side-by-side to become more comfortable.
It may sound a little crazy BUT mimicking the chaos of a swim start in the pool can help you realise you’ll be ok in the open waterMore often than not, it’s not the open water that causes the anxiety/loss of breath BUT the swimming in close proximity to other people. 
Practicing these skills along with swimming in the open water more regularly will make a difference.

2)    Breathing and pacing: Before the race/swim start you are naturally more on edge. Your heart rate is elevated and you are nervous/excited for the day ahead: When the starters gun goes off you put your face in the water and start swimming. There are two things you should be focusing on. 
Exhaling: Instead of holding your breath as soon as your face is in the water you should be exhaling a steady stream of air. This helps when you go to take a breath and instead of trying to exhale and inhale in the split second your mouth is out of the water you have plenty of time to inhale only. This breathing method limits the chances of hyperventilating and is especially important to focus on during the start of a race. 
Pacing: During the start of a race your nerves can get the better of you and you may start TOO HARD. If you avoid sprinting the first 100 meters of the swim not only will you have a better all round swim, but you will feel better and have less anxiety/breathing issues. Experienced swimmers can swim the first 100-300m fast and then settle back into a steady pace. Don’t get sucked into thinking that will work for you. Most of these guys and girls come from a swimming background and have practiced the things we are talking about here a lot. In time, as your swimming and confidence improves you’ll be able to push harder. But for now building into a swim is the key for success.

3)    Warm up: It’s important to get in the water before the start. Being familiar with the beach, water temp, course, sun, wind direction and chop are great things to know before you start the race. Knowing these things will ease your mind and leave you feeling confident about the swim ahead.

4)    Starting Position: Avoiding the middle of the pack. The middle of the pack is where “the washing machine” is at its worst. You don’t want to get caught up in a sea of human limbs. So where to start? 
Either the left or right of the start line. There may still be people around you but there will be less than if you were centered. This is a great option if you want to be competitive throughout the race, but struggle with the swim starts. If you have a favorite breath side. Lets say you like to breath to your LEFT. Then I would start to the right of the start line/main group of swimmers. This way whenever you take a breath you’ll be looking at the majority of the swimmers. Thus keeping you swimming in a straight line and also help avoid swimming into a mass of people.  
OR Start near the back and wait a few seconds after the starters gun goes. You won’t lose much time, but you’ll keep out of the washing machine and be able to settle into your rhythm straight away. 

5)    Equipment: The simple things. 
Make sure your goggles do NOT fog or leak. Not being able to see where you are going is never fun and doesn’t help that anxious feeling. 
Swimwear: DO NOT choose baggy clothing. Try to avoid anything that doesn’t fit snug to the body. Things like pockets or loose fitting tops are like anchors in the water. The best thing to do is use a swimskin in Non wetsuit races or a one piece tri suit that fits snugly to the body without causing that tight chested feeling. While the material in a swimskin is textile it still makes you feel like you’re sitting higher in the water than a standard Tri Suit. Use a wetsuit (that you have worn before and practiced in) for all swims where you are allowed to. We practice in the pool using wetsuits every few weeks. So there are no surprises on race day. 

6)    What happens If I still panic: Stay Calm. Move out to the side. Turn and float on your back. Do some relaxed breast-stroke. A lot of people think you have to swim freestyle in the race. This Isn’t true. You can do breaststroke if you need to. Take your time, re-group, focus on your breathing and think “one swim buoy at a time”. Focusing on small goals along the way is far better than focusing on swimming the entire course. 100m at a time!
Hopefully we’ve helped you understand how to tackle the open water.
Preparation and practice are key.

Cheers
Guy and Kate. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Preparing for race day




So your tackling a triathlon for the first time? Or maybe you’re a repeat offender?

Here's a little list of the things we've learnt over the years. Rest assured we've made plenty of mistakes. We hope this list allows you to learn from them.
Pre-Race
Lay your gear out the night before (write the check list of swim, bike, run to check through) Set two Alarms. (being late or missing the race because you over slept would not be great!)

Race morning
Allow plenty of time to get to the race venue
Rack your bike and do a walk through of transition. (Knowing how to get to your bike after the swim is crucial) 

Using a colourful towel to mark your spot is also good idea.
Make sure your bike is in an easy gear when you rack it.
Wear sunscreen (probably don't need to elaborate on this one)
Know the course. (Don't think, I'll just follow every one else! It's important you know where you’re going)
Try your race gear before race day. Got race wheels? Put them on and ride them. Haven't worn your wetsuit for a year? Put it on and swim in it, even in the pool!
Hydrate and fuel. Make sure you replace your fluids before, during and after the race.


Swim
Do a short warm up. Warming up relieves tension and gets your body ready for the day.
Take time to put your wetsuit on properly. Make sure it's fit well. (nothing worse than fighting your wetsuit for the swim)
If your worried about the swim start. Make sure you start to the side where the chaos is to a minimum

Draft: If you can get on someone’s feet and draft them, you'll save yourself energy that can be used later in the race

Bike
Make sure your cycling shoes (if you’re wearing them) are undone and the straps are loose so you can get your feet into them.
Wait for 3-4min before you start taking on Nutrition after the swim. This gives you a chance to get away from transition and other cyclists. It also allows your heart rate to drop a

little before starting to take on nutrition and fluid.
Use the corners or U-turns to get out of your saddle for a few pedal strokes. This will allow you to use different muscles and help prevent fatigue and discomfort
Aim to consume roughly 1 bottle of electrolytes per hour. This will ensure you don't get dehydrated.


Run
Start slow and build into your run.
(Starting fast and fading usually ends in tears)
😉
Use the Aid stations to drink/eat. (If you need to walk, time it with an aid station, allowing you to get that nutrition in).
Break the run down into smaller segments - it may be aid station to aid station, 1km at a time or lamp post to lamp post. But focus purely on that short term goal in front of you and repeat! Before you know it....you will be on your way home!

Most importantly - Soak up the atmosphere, dish out a few high fives to fellow competitors and spectators and enjoy that Finish Line!!!!



We look forward to seeing you race this weekend.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cold water swimming and some helpful tips!



Conquer The Cold Water
Really there is no excuse to not swim!! Open Water can be a year round thing!

Conquer The Cold Water

While cold water isn’t something we should fear, it is something we should respect and prepare for. Like any swim or triathlon, we do the work before hand, preparing yourself for a cold water race is exactly the same. 
Below are a few facts I’ve learned over the course of my racing career. All of these helped me not only survive the cold water, but thrive in it when others floundered.

THE WETSUIT

We’ll start off with the gear needed to make cold water swimming more bearable. The wetsuit, no matter the make, should fit well. Not too loose! This will cause ‘flushing’ through the suit, basically allowing the cold water to flow through the suit bringing your core temperature down with every minute that passes. But also consider having a wetsuit that fits too tightly will cause shortness of breath; this will be amplified by the cold water and is a combo you really want to avoid. The sizing / fit topic is easily solved; talk to your training partners, research multiple brands and try-before-you-buy whenever possible. Try to purchase locally where you can it fitted professionally by your local dealer.
blueseventy introduced the THERMAL HELIX in 2015 and it’s the perfect wetsuit for cold water adventures. It fits great, has thick 5mm panels through the torso to keep me buoyant and its super flexible allowing me to swim with my normal stroke. Most importantly the entire suit features a fuzzy orange jersey liner that makes the suit really cozy in the colder waters. Note, triathlon wetsuits aren’t allowed to exceed 5mm in thickness, so you won’t find anything thicker.

NEOPRENE CAP

neoprene cap, also known as a skull cap, is a rubber cap that you put under you swim cap. This insulates your head a lot better than a silicone or latex swim cap. blueseventy’s is 3mm thick and features the fuzzy orange zirconium lining giving it a real advantage in colder waters. If you can’t wear one the next best thing is to wear two silicone swim caps. 

NEOPRENE SOCKS AND GLOVES

Extended exposure to cold water often results in an awful throbbing feeling in those extremities. Having neoprene on your hands and feet allows you to slowly adjust to the temperature and avoid this painful annoyance. I will add that swim gloves are not legal in nearly every race, but they are a fantastic training tool. Neoprene socks are perfectly legal to race in. A few pro’s that I’ve spoken with use socks as pre race warm up accessories and take them off once their bodies have adjusted to the temperature.

EAR PLUGS

Probably one of the most underrated items for cold water swimming. If you have ever felt dizziness, sickness, vertigo or nausea then this may be the answer to all your problems. Doctors such as Jeff Shilt who shared this information with me some years ago, often drip small amounts of cold water onto a patients ear drum to test for things such as vertigo. Most open water swimmers and triathletes will experience some form of discomfort/vertigo when the cold water hits the eardrum. The way to remedy this is to simply use earplugs and stop the water from entering the ear canal. 

PRACTICE and PRE-RACE WARM UP

Once you’ve got all the gear, we then need to head to the water! Practicing in the cold water makes perfect sense. Ideally you want to get into the water at least 2-3 times before race day. This lets you and your body know what you’re in for. You don’t need to spend hours in the water, 15 minutes at a time is plenty.
The ‘ice cream headache’ is something we have all experienced. This occurs when your face is submerged in water - remember its important to exhale when swimming - this will reduce the effect and shock of the cold water. Don’t hold your breathe when your face is in the water. This ice cream headache effect causes you to hyperventilate and adjusting to this is an important part of your swim session and race day warm up. Take your time pre-race, wear your neoprene socks, skull cap, ear plugs and have your wetsuit fitted. Do a good warm up, make sure you get your face and body adjusted to the water temperature and you’ll have a great swim.
Good luck and happy swimming! 

SHOP ALL THERMAL PRODUCTS

Guy Crawford wrote this article for us. Guy is a long-time blueseventy employee, product tester and professional triathlete originally from Auckland. He now splits his time between Perth in Western Australia and Boise, Idaho when he's not on the road competing in long-distance triathlons.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Claire Davis takes on Kona!

We are so proud of this amazing lady as she tackled Kona for the first time. Her time of 10:08:32 scored her fifth place in the 25-29 age group... SUPERSTAR!!! Make sure you read her race report right to the end.. it has a fantastic conclusion ;) 


KONA RACE REPORT by Claire Davis



This year's world championships theme was Kupa'a. It means strong, steadfast and immovable. It was something I thought about in the lead up to the race. I got to Kona just over two weeks prior to race day and managed to see all parts of the course. There is nothing easy about it. The swim can have a current and waves, the bike course is hilly and windy and despite being an out and back course, riding out into a headwind does not guarantee that you will have a tail wind coming back. The run is for the most part lonely, and the lava fields are beautifully barren and never ending. 

Kate and I had spoken about the importance of being patient until at least the last 10 kilometers of the run. I hadn't raced an ironman since November 2015 and on my training rides on the Big Island, the lure of blasting out of town was difficult to ignore. I hadn't raced an ironman since Malaysia in November 2015 and I couldn't help but feel like I had forgotten how to do one. 

Getting to Kona early meant that I got to experience the town without the craziness of ironman. By Monday of race week it all changes. Everywhere was busy and you could feel the tension in the air rising. I stayed about 2 miles from the pier and only went down Ali’i drive when I absolutely needed to. Friday rolled around and I went to bike check in. If you assume that everything is easier at Kona, compared to other races, think again. When I got there the line was all the way up to the traffic get lights on Palani.  I sent Luke off to get some more water as it was going to be a bit of a wait. Then there is a line of people from all aspects of the triathlon industry hanging over the fence and looking at all of the components you have on the bike. Bike brand, saddle brand, rear hydration, front hydration, handle bars, peddles, power metres. You name it, they wanna know how many of each there are.  When you finally get in to transition, you are assigned a volunteer to personally takes you to where your bike needs to be racked, gives you a run down of how it will work and then takes you to drop your bags. There are almost 5000 volunteers for 2500 Athletes and they are all amazing!


I couldn't help but shake the feeling of "what happens if I have a bad day" But just before I fell asleep, I thought about what was going to happen the next day. I knew my swim was close to my best; I was running pretty well and had done so much work on my bike. I did a quick calculation on what I thought I could swim bike and run and told myself to stop being ridiculous, as the time I guessed was still pretty good and refused to let myself think about having a bad day again.

I was stupidly calm on race morning. Nothing was going to faze me and I even tried to gee myself up about being at a World Championships because I felt so relaxed. There were long lines to get in to transition and so many processes to go through, but I hardly had to do anything other than pump my tires and put on my bottles and I went to meet Luke, Kate and Guy near the hotel pool for last minute pep talk, hugs and sun cream application. 


I made my way to the pier just before the men started so I could make sure I got into the water with time to swim to the front as the start is about 50 odd metres off shore. Once I go in I was excited. I was now part of the iconic ironman images that I had looked at so many times. My friend Jackie swam over to me and I was happy to see her as we can swim about the same time and if I am on her feet, I can trust that she is going the shortest way possible and sighting regularly. It was pretty relaxed on the front. Half a dozen of us were trying to attract the underwater cameraman's attention but he was too busy snapping sea turtles he didn’t look at us. And then we decided that maybe holding our breaths underwater trying to be photographed was not the best use of energy and oxygen before the start of an Ironman! 

BANG! The cannon went and I took off. My plan was to sit in the group until the turnaround and hopefully launch myself off the front towards the end. However after about 200m, I found myself with Jackie, off the front with another girl about 10 meters ahead and the group already about 15m behind. We caught the leader after about 750 and sat on her hip but I noticed a significant slowing in pace and the chasers catching us quickly so I went around and Jackie came with me. So much for sitting in and letting the pack do the work!! We swam side by side to the turn around.

We started catching AG men and I worked really hard making sure I was following Jackie’s feet. At about 3km I started to lose contact and she took off and I got to the pier about 40 seconds after she did. She was still in the tent when I got there and we had a bit of a laugh about how it was a bit of Ironman Malaysia déjà vu.  

On to the bike. I was racked almost as far from the mount line as you possibly could be. And I can’t do a flying start. So I carried my shoes and bike about 150m closer to the line and saw a gap where I could put them on without cutting off anyone else. Winning. That bit was causing me some stress. Up Palani and first time round the “Hot Corner” There were so many people. Luke was up on the Queen K where there was not many spectators and was good to see a familiar face. Down Palani for Hot Corner again. The crowd was about 10 deep and so loud. I think I cried a little bit because I didn’t really believe I was racing Kona!

The road was crowded and you had to sit up to make sure you didn’t touch wheels. I managed to jump into a gap and get around and went past Jackie. She said she was boxed in and I told her to be aggressive and push your way in!

We had a tailwind to Waikaloa but it soon turned into a straight head wind. I led the women’s race until almost the end of the Queen K. I was thankful for a headwind up Hawi as it is easier to manage than the cross winds. You just have to keep working in to it, but at least the wind is not trying to flip the bike out from underneath you! I was pretty happy to get to the turnaround. I decided against special needs as I still had a full rear bottle. About a kilometer later that blew off going over a bump. Argh. Thankfully I remained calm, and had run through this possible scenario in my head, I have enough concentrated infinit for about 1.5 more bottles but Oh well Gatorade Endurance for the rest it is! Not the end of the world, I just had to realise that I would not be getting as much calories and salt as anticipated to adjust what I was doing through aid stations.



Despite having a headwind up Hawi, I also had a headwind coming down. Which is not unusual on this course. I was pretty happy to get back on the Queen K but I didn’t feel like I was riding that well.  I can’t explain it, I just felt I was lacking some power and speed and never felt as comfortable as I had been on my bike. A couple more girls past me, although not in my AG and I had to tell myself that I was passing more men than there were girls passing me, so I can’t be riding that bad. I was happy to get to Scenic Point as there was only 30km to go. And there was a tailwind. BOOM I’m going to be back so fast! Nope. About 2 mins later is was right back to headwind. I tried to keep positive as although I was not riding as well as my training had dictated but was still going to ride a PB. My legs were hurting and I tried to make sure I got to T2 in the best shape to run a good marathon.

I felt awful getting off the bike. I had diluted the Gatorade Endurance to make sure I could process it, but probably left myself short on calories and salt. My legs did not want to run a marathon but after standing up in the tent, they were slightly better. I took a salt tablet and off I went. 4th place exited the tent just in front of me. I sat about 20m back from her but was running too fast. Kate was on the bike and she asked what my pace was. I told her 4.20 and she said “You know you can’t run that for a marathon. Slow down and don’t worry about anyone else”. It was now more important than ever to embody Kupa’a.

I felt so nauseous for the first 15km. I was running fine, but I felt like I wanted to throw up. I adjusted my aid station strategy, diluting the Gatorade and taking my Clif blocks. I turned up Palani as Daniela Ryf was coming down to the finish line. It was pretty cool to cheer her on and boosted my spirits. Once I got the Queen K I felt instantly better, and it became slightly overcast and more comfortable to run in. 


I was leapfrogging with a German girl in another age-group. I was running quicker uphill and she was rolling down them quicker than me. Kate was trying to encourage us to work together as we weren’t impacting each others place. She was NOT INTERESTED! She sort of half-annoyed, half amused laugh/groaned at me as I caught her up another hill so that was that. Fair enough some people hate running with others.  She was moving quicker through aid stations and I lost sight of her. 

Spectators are only allowed up to a certain point and then you begin the lonely stretch of about 10kms up and back to the Energy lab. I hit another bit of a low point as, there is nothing to look at other than the sad faces of other competitors experiencing the same thing. I saw the leader of my age group exit the Energy lab as  I went in. Damn. She was 6km ahead of me at that point. I descended the mile into the energy lab and every step I took forward and didn’t see another girl made me feel better and better. I saw second place at the bottom, meaning that she was probably only 2km in front of me and 3rd and 4th were even closer. At that point I couldn’t compute what I needed to do other than to keep doing what I was doing. Once I got out of the Energy Lab I told myself there was less than 50minutes of running to go. I was breaking the course down too. 2km to Kona Mountain Coffee. Then 2km to Hina Lani St. Then a mile to Kate and Guy and Luke. Then about 5kms to go. 

Once I got to Kate and Guy and Luke, things got manic. This part just flew by so quickly. Kate said to me “ This is the real race now. You have been patient all day and are in a good position. We are racing NOW!”. I frantically told her there was someone coming up quickly behind me and she told me to focus on the girls in front and I could potentially catch them if 6th caught me. 

Guy and Kate and Luke circled back to me on their bikes every 200 m or so giving me encouragement and willing me onto the podium as I thought about how 6th wouldn’t be so bad. “You don’t deserve to miss that podium!” Kate screamed at me. At the bottom of the last hill on the Queen K I accelerated. I sprinted down Palani, and was probably lucky that my quads didn’t cramp. I was hovering dangerously close to the edge. You can hear the finish, but you start running away from it. The run to Hualalai St felt like forever! But down on Ali’i Drive, the crowds are Tour de France-like and everyone is screaming your name. 

I hit the chute and it was pretty crowded. A friend told me never stop, as he was passed in the chute and finished 6th in Kona. Two guys were lapping it up carrying their flag. Part of me was jealous I didn’t get the opportunity to do that, but I had no idea how far ahead I was and I had sprinted the last 2 miles of an Ironman marathon to get here. I squeezed my way around them and saw my German ‘running mate’ cross the line 1 second ahead of me. 

It was over. I had done what I desperately wanted to do. The finish was a blur of bright lights, loud noises and so many people, volunteers, officials, Photographers and other athletes.  I walked down the ramp and dropped to the floor. My legs said ENOUGH! Two volunteers pulled me up and walked me to recovery (which is about 600m!) I had a cry, some pizza and a massage and shared a big plate of hot chips with the girl who came 4th in my age group. 



It’s so hard to explain how to race this race. There is nothing else that comes close. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I have never forced so much pain on myself. I feel like I understand it so much better and would love the opportunity to do it again (although people who have qualified multiple times tell me each year is different!!!) 

It’s finally over. Something that really started straight after Ironman Melbourne in 2015, when Kate suggested attempting to qualify at Malaysia. I am such a different athlete compared to then and even compared to Malaysia. Thanks so much to Kate and Guy for getting me to where I am and I’m looking forward to getting even better!

For now, it’s back to normal life. Although just when we though October 2016 couldn’t get any better, Luke and I got engaged in Siem Reap last week! 
CONGRATULATIONS CLAIRE & LUKE! xxx