Are you thinking of doing an ‘iron’ distance triathlon or long endurance event?

This week I have been involved in a number of conversations with triathletes considering entering an iron-distance triathlon next year.  Inspired by observing fellow athletes completing the challenge and some exceeding expectations has been a key driver.  Other reasons  include ‘doing something for myself when the children leave home,’ and getting the famous tattoo.  What is your motivation?

Why do you want to dedicate so much time and effort to participating in one event?

How will you feel when you achieve this goal?

Whatever the driver is for you wanting to complete that ‘full’ triathlon, you may well be facing more immediate questions, such as, how will you get the training done?  The biggest barrier athletes perceive is fitting in the training.  One element of working with a coach is problem solving – with a coach who knows you, they can find workable solutions to fit the training in such as:

Can you integrate training into the commute to work?

Can you link with a local group or club to train with other local athletes?

Can you go for a day out  with the family  and cycle the long way home?

If you want more help with solutions to this and other key concerns, get in touch either through our contact page or email us at trinruncoach@gmail.com

Fancy trying a triathlon?

6am on Sunday 4th July, saw the start of Ironman UK.  Thousands of triathletes swam, cycled and ran their way round the Bolton countryside.  The endurance event, which includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run tests the ability of professionals and amateurs alike, but for all, it is the culmination of months (and more often, years) of training.  

Are you inspired by the heroic efforts of thousands of athletes?  

Are you thinking of stepping up or taking on a new challenge?

No idea how to train appropriately and stay injury free?

There is plenty of free advice available online, or from club mates and fellow triathletes. But, how valid is that free advice and is that information applicable to you? 

Are you conflicted and confused by everything you hear and see related to triathlon?

At  Tri & Run we are well qualified, experienced, passionate and invested coaches that work with our clients on all aspects of their performance; not only swim, bike, run but all the supportive elements such as mental strength and kit.

Choose Tri & Run to help you maintain motivation to stick to a progressive training plan.  Contact us via our website www.trinrun.co.uk to find out how the accountability of working with our coaches can help you reach your goals.

Supporting our athletes with a race day practice

Two weeks out from race day, Tri & Run athletes and coaches took part in a do-it-yourself triathlon – a great opportunity to test out kit, nutrition, pacing, and preparation.  Having this local race practice also gave an opportunity for the coaches to support, observe, encourage and reflect.

Athletes thoughts;

Great swim, with a good moderate pace.  T1 was smooth and I recognised that by not rushing everything felt a bit easier.  The bike started well out of transition but the first 5 miles was tough into a headwind.  A great opportunity to get another ride on the TT bike, but I need to try and relax a bit more.  Nutrition was better than usual, but still an area for improvement.  Overall pleased with the bike leg.  T2 was also fairly good.  I know I set off too fast in the run – so I’m going to focus on starting at a more moderate pace at the race.  Seeing the coaches on the run was a great boost and really kept me going as fatigue was definitely settling in.”

“Overall a great practice, really helped knowing that others were there suffering too.  It has given me the confidence that I’ll get round, but I’m still a little worried about maintaining pace with extra miles.  Also the ridiculous pre race nerves!  Thanks so much Tri & Run for organising, joining me and supporting.

Coaches perspective

The first benefit of this mock triathlon is to test out everything from preparation the day before and kit, to nutrition and pacing.  Although we really wanted the athletes to have a positive experience, it is also a great opportunity to learn from mistakes and test out nutrition and pacing strategies.  Having a coach taking part and also observing means we get feedback from different perspectives, that give a very rounded view of the athletes, that can be used to aid individual progress.

Watching so close and being able to ride alongside and communicate with the athletes was also a positive experience.  To see and hear how they look and feel at different parts of the race and how they deal with different elements of the race is valuable information for a coach.  This information can help provide relevant, individualised support and advice for the upcoming race as well as the rest of the season and the years ahead.  Supporting this mock race has further enhanced the coach-athlete relationship which is a positive enhancement of the coach-athlete journey.

Working with age, not against it

With an increase in the population of ‘aged’ individuals (over 50’s), endurance sports such as triathlon have also seen an increase in the number of ‘aging’ participants – from complete beginners to those switching from other competitive sports. So, what should aging athletes  be looking for in a coach to support their needs?

At Tri and Run , we believe in knowing our athletes and planning a tailored training plan.  When working with athletes we apply sports science to ensure our athletes can meet their sporting potential, which includes accounting for age; so we work with it, not against it.  Training plans are aligned to an individual’s needs, goals and athletes feedback on their health and wellbeing.

As we age, there is a gradual decrease in function. Specifically, after the age of 30 there is an increase in body fat and a decrease in muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia). However, a variety of training programmes can decrease or even reverse age-related muscle decline1.  In particular, strength training, along with appropriate nutrition can counteract age-related muscle mass decline.  The intensity, type and weight depends on the athlete’s background.  Aging also impacts bone density, due to a reduction in bone mineral content1.  Bone loss is also linked to hormonal changes, with women at a higher risk.  By using a tailored, individual, progressive resistance training programme, as we do at Tri & Run , the impact of aging can be off-set, reducing the decline in bone mineral density, maintaining muscle mass and preventing fat deposition.  With specific, overloaded and consistent training, the loss of type II (anaerobic) muscle fibres, after the age of 60, can be reduced2

There are a number of age related changes to the cardiovascular system, which include a decline in stroke volume and, therefore cardiac output, along with a reduction in the maximal heart rate.  With a decrease in the surface area of the lungs, which reduces gaseous exchange, the impact is on VO2 max or the maximal oxygen consumption3.  Studies have estimated the decline in VO2 max takes place at a rate of 10% per year, after the age of 30.  Given that even a sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run) is considered an endurance event, addressing the age-related decline in VO2 max is a priority for master’s triathletes and endurance athletes.  A carefully developed training programme can reduce the age-related decline in VO2 max. However, care is needed to allow sufficient recovery and prevent injury.  The optimal changes for any training programme will be observed in a holistic programme which also includes nutrition and recovery. So, whatever your age, you can reach your athletic potential in triathlon or endurance sports with https://trinrun.co.uk.

1Lloyd, R. and Faigenbaum, A.D. (2016). ‘Age- and sex-related Differences and their implications for resistance exercise’. In Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, Eds. Haff, G.G. and Triplett, N.T. pp 150- 152, Human Kinetics. 

2Skelton, D.A. and Dinan-Young, S.M (2008). ‘Chapter 6 – Ageing and older people’. Exercise Physiology in Special Populations. Ed Buckey, J.P. In Advances in Sport and Exercise Science Series, Exercise Physiology in Special Populations,Churchill Livingstone, Pages 161-223. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780443103438000068

3Loudon, J.K. (2016). ‘The master female triathlete’. Physical Therapy in Sport 22:p123-128. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/science/article/pii/S1466853X16300669 

How about a hill climb for some ‘field’ top end tuning?

To give some context, whilst I’m a keen cyclist as part of being a triathlete and triathlete coach, my experience in cycle ‘events’ is limited to sportives and some informal 10k time trials.  So, when my local cycling club advertised a cycle hill climb, it was a completely new experience. In advance of the event, I could only think of the positives – taking part in an organised ‘event’ and as it was my first there were no comparisons so a sure PB!

As the first event approached, I did a bit of research, riders took as much off their bike as possible to reduce weight,and maximise mean power output (W kg-1). So off came my nutrition pack and saddle bag although I was keeping my bottle (half full).

The first event was a mere 2.2 k in length varying from 7 to 12%. I could ride to the start, pick up my number and spend 15 mins riding up and down nearby to keep warmed up.  Each rider starts at 1 minute intervals, with an electronic ‘count-down’ – which significantly elevated my heart rate as it descended, assisted by a friendly marshal.   At ‘Go’, I set off, fumbled with clipping in and started my garmin device. Supporters lined parts of the short route, with cowbells and encouragement (shouting ‘up up up’) and whilst enabling me to ‘dig in’ or ‘keep pushing’, there was nowhere to hide and I had to keep pushing. My heart rate rapidly rose to my zone 5, anaerobic zone…and stayed there! There was a slight leveling off before the final short ascent to the finish.  Increasing my seemingly maximal effort further I felt the tingling feeling in my quads due to lactate  build up.  Then, I was there -at the finish and it was done…in 10 minutes. With what felt like ‘exploding’ lungs I steadily descended to circuit back to the number pick up/drop off.

Since that first evening, I have completed a further three uphill time trials – two shorter ones and a longer one and the reason being, apart from the sense of achievement, feeling of being in an event with fellow ‘competitors’, it is also the training gains.  Compared to flat riding or even flat time trials, there is the additional gravitation force that you are working against. One ‘field’ study1 found that uphill cycling is performed at 90% of maximum heart rate and peak oxygen uptake (VO2 max) .   Whilst comparable efforts can be achieved on the turbo, it can be hard to replicate on an outside bike ride. The other question is ‘seated’ or ‘standing’? Several studies have looked at this question and the general consensus is that whilst power output is increased in standing, speed is similar to seated, due to additional mechanical forces in standing2, so the choice is yours. So, if you want to include some ‘top end’ training and enjoy being outside, think about incorporating some hill intervals.

1 Peinado, A.B et al (2018). Physiological Profile of an Uphill Time Trial in Elite Cyclists. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2018, 13, 268-273

2 Boulliod, A. and Grappe, F (2018). Physiological and biomechanical responses between seated and standing positions during distance-based uphill time trials in elite cyclists. JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCES, 2018 VOL. 36, NO. 10, 1173–1178 https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2017.1363902

What a weekend!

Go Tri

The weekend started early Saturday morning with the final of a series of 6 Go Tri sessions.  Our budding duathletes had individually set targets for each element of the carefully designed course to give them all something to aim for.  Neither the damp and slightly chilly start nor the flood at the base of one of the hills deterred their spirits and all finished delighted with their progress and achievements.

The group did 3 virtual sessions which included strength and conditioning plus advice and discussions about upcoming races, kit, and different elements of training.  We also had an information sharing session specifically about pre, during and recovery nutrition.  The three face-to-face sessions built confidence on the bike, developed skills for transition and running off the bike.  With all of the group participating in a duathlon in the coming weeks, the final session was a race format closely matched to the distance and gradient for the challenge to come. Here’s what some of our duathletes had to say.

I have loved these sessions.  Great coaches and great participants.  I’ve picked up loads of tips and had fun along the way.  Thanks Vicky and Lynda!” 

What a fabulous few weeks and a really great duathlon organised this morning.  Big thanks to Vicky McKinnon and Lynda Cook – such professional and knowledgeable coaches but always put fun 1st!  Definitely recommend you take part in the their next one.”“What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!  The grey drizzly stuff didn’t detract from the fun either.  The session was so well organised and I came away with lots of learning points and a little more confidence – thanks VIcky McKinnon and Lynda Cook.”

Knutsford Marathon

Whilst this was going on, Al McKay was off on his very own virtual Knutsford Marathon.  Not to be deterred by the cancellation of the Edinburgh Marathon, Al was determined to see the reward from this very very hard work.  With months of S&C, road and hilly trail running in his legs, Al was supported by other Tri&Run and Run Knutsford athletes as well as his wife Louisa providing checkpoint refreshments!  A really fantastic effort by Al, smashing his goal in a perfectly paced run.

I felt like I got the best out of myself and took some great learning points for an actual race in the Autumn.  Thanks for all your help Vicky McKinnon.

Tour of the Peak

Covering 190 km with 3500m of climbing, our very own Lynda Cook completed the Tour of the Peak on Sunday morning.  A big adventure and the longest cycle ride for 2 years the route included Winnats Pass, Holmes Pass, and then Cat & Fiddle at 150k!  Not an easy feat and made even harder with persistent rain and a constant headwind.

“Big thanks to Vicky McKinnon for super coaching and confidence in my ability,  Bike in tip top shape after great work by https://www.custombikebuilds.co.uk

If you want to get started in triathlon/duathlon, running or that endurance challenge you’ve always wanted to do, get in touch with us!

Celebrating our first birthday

We are celebrating a year of Tri & Run evolving from Vicky to Vicky and Lynda.  So, here’s a look back at some of the highlights of the last year.

2020

Our first outing for a catch up after the end of lockdown one. It had to be in the hills.
The fact that there were no races meant that we needed to set up a challenge for our athletes. We ended up with a great 20 miler, with some flat and quite a bit of hill work. Needless to say there were food stations and a lot of cake. 🍰
With some triathlons starting back in the summer of 2020, we had goals for our athletes to focus on. With limited ‘B’ races to practice, we did our own versions of swim, bike, run…and combinations of the three!

Our athletes are starting to get taste for some undulating runs, so we have at least one monthly adventure, often with some sort of challenge to complete, in all weather conditions!

2021 – So far

Kick Start 2021

Entering another lockdown in January we instigated Kick Start 2021 – an open challenge for anyone to sign up, whether a triathlete, runner or duathlete.  This month-long challenge provided an opportunity for some competitive challenges against others and coached sessions – running or cycling (turbo). With over 60 individuals entering the challenge there were many smiles and laughs within a virtual social environment.

Katy (one of our Kick Start 2021 athletes) enjoying the snow

Spring out of lockdown

The easing of lockdown restrictions and possible restart of races prompted an Easter 🐣 promotion.  Training plans were adjusted to support more athletes in getting ‘race-fit’ for the summer season.

Go Tri Knutsford

In collaboration with the British Triathlon Federation we are in the process of supporting a group of Go Tri athletes over 6 sessions.  We’re covering skills for swim, bike, run as well as thinking about racing.  Sessions are being held virtually as well as face to face. See https://www.gotri.org for more information.

Planning ahead

We have a number of adventures planned for the next few months. The adventures are open to our Silver and Gold athletes and we have a Bronze package if you want to sign up to a personalised training plan.

If you’re interested in joining us, please get in touch!

A bit about us…

  • Vicky is a BTF level 3 Triathlon coach, endurance coach and EA running coach.  Vicky holds an MSc in Sports Science and is currently studying an MSc in Sports Nutrition.
  • Lynda is a BTF level 2 Triathlon coach and EA leader in Running Fitness. Lynda holds a PhD in human physiology and is currently studying a BSc in Sports Science and BTF level 2 triathlon diploma.

Why join Tri & Run

We pride ourselves on using our experience to provide personalized coaching for our athletes.  We really get to know our athletes and as a bespoke coaching provider we value this attribute to ensure our athletes receive optimized training for their individual requirements.  

We combine our scientific sport and coaching knowledge and experience from participating and coaching athletes of all abilities, to inform and direct our coaching.  Importantly, we continue to develop professionally and stay abreast of the current triathlete and running literature.

You can find out more about what our athletes say about us on our testimonials page.

Tri & Run & Bike!

This week’s blog is written by Ben, one of our coached athletes.

Last Sunday was the next eagerly anticipated Tri & Run meetup. These are always great fun, especially during the lockdown where it’s not been easy to catch up with people. Most of us were only running, but Lindsay went the extra mile (or ten!) and decided to ride to and from the run, meeting us half way.

Having done a long bike ride on Friday, I was a little bit anxious at the start of the run. My fears got worse as Vicky, Dave, Al and I headed straight up Shutlingsloe, but as always the views from the top were worth it. From there, we looped back to near the start where we met Lynda and Lindsay. After an incredible 20 mile run in the lake district the day before, Lynda was in a support role for the day, providing storage for Lindsay’s bike, cereal bars, water and smiles.

Shutlingsloe

Al parted ways with us here, and Lindsay joined us, much to Vicky’s relief (There’s only so much Vicky wants to hear Dave and me talk about the history of the Beastie Boys).

By this point, I was starting to warm up a bit, unlike Lindsay’s feet which were pretty icy from the ride over. However, that didn’t slow her down as we crossed the fields, making a beeline for the famous Cat and Fiddle where Lynda was waiting for us again. From here it was a quick dart up to Shining Tor, and back. I was struggling with tired legs, but the group kept up the motivation and the good mood. Time flew by as we discussed everything from sports (the infamous European Super League) to favorite holiday destinations (apparently Venice is lovely at this time of year) and the joys of cold custard (If you haven’t tried one, treat yourself to a pastel de nata. You won’t regret it). By the time we were back to the history of the Beastie Boys, Vicky and Lindsay had mysteriously disappeared into the distance again.



By the time we were back at the car we’d done 10 hard miles out in the hills, but the company had made the time fly by. And the best was yet to come. As usual, our wonderful Tri & Run coaches had cakes waiting at the car. Vicky had prepared chocolate orange cookies, and Lynda had made some flapjacks. Both went down a treat as we waved Lindsay on her way.

Roll on the next event!

Back to racing

Today’s blog is by Lindsay. Thanks, and well done on your race!

The lockdown blues have ended, and it was time to get back to racing. I prepared just like the elite athlete Goldilocks, with my ‘just – right’ porridge breakfast, and then set off for Tatton leaving the 3 bears (husband and 2 teenage sons) snoring in their beds.

A hard frost and bitter cold hung over the park and the nerves started to kick in. After a proper warm up, I headed to the socially distanced toilets and crossed my fingers that the flush water wasn’t frozen.

The start was socially distanced, with 2 athletes setting off every 30 seconds or so. This felt a little unusual compared to the mass starts of old, but it was really well managed by the organisers.  The course was a little undulating, but it was lovely surprise to see my coach Lynda at the bottom of the longest drag. Her support really spurred me on to push on up the incline – she must have been freezing!  As I made my way to the finish, the parks majestic deer herd made an impressive appearance, showing their support for the racers in the cold. Crossing the finish line in a pleasing 45 minutes, the snow started to fall, and rounded off a lovely morning in Knutsford. Well done to all the fellow racers, being back at racing was a huge lift after months locked indoors.