Holy Island Swim Run

At Tri & Run we believe in really getting to know our athletes, so we can offer personalised coaching. We also truly believe in athlete-centred coaching, wherever it benefits the athlete. So, when Lindsay, one of our dedicated triathletes suggested I do a swim-run event with her (a year ago), I naively agreed as I’m always up for any endurance challenge…and I had a year to prepare and it would be a great opportunity to develop our athlete-coach relationship. So, I purchased an end of season swim-run wetsuit and thought nothing more about the event.

We were entered in the ‘longer’ LoveSwimRun event, which consisted of a run-swim several times along the west coast of Holy Island, Anglesey – 20k running and 3k swimming. Furthermore, we were entered as a team, aptly named Tri and Float (by Lindsay) which meant we were tethered for the swims. Lindsay had participated in the event before, so had the ‘kit’ and experience. We realised we would need practice so used our local supervised outdoor lake…once. As swimrun wetsuits are short (due to having to run in them), there is a lack of buoyancy for the legs, plus you have to swim in your shoes, so a pull buoy is needed – no problem there and I borrowed a strap from a friend, Rachel (who had participated in such an event), that ingeniously meant I could swim with the pull buoy and then turn it around and run with it, too.  The only other kit needed was a pair of trainers – again, no problem there but they had to be light (otherwise that would counteract the pull buoy and my legs would sink when swimming) but also they needed some grip for the rocky trails, so I used an old and much loved pair of fell shoes.

With one practice, in a lovely calm lake and less than 3 mile run, I felt less prepared than normal challenges; I know how tough sea swims can be and I’m a slower swimmer and runner than Lindsay. But, this was a ‘fun’ event, a break from the norm, where we would enjoy the scenery and work together.  

The event started with a coach ride to Southstack, a quick rush for the toilets, with the queue being long because it takes several minutes to get out of a swimrun wetsuit and the bib number. It was a very relaxed start, with a countdown from 5, and we were off on the first run (5.75k), which started pleasantly downhill to find the coastal path. The run seemed to fly by, we had several ‘kit’ adjustments (pull buoys misbehaving, opening of wetsuits so that we didn’t ‘boil’) but even the weather was pretty perfect, with the sun trying to break through and not too much of a wind. At the first swim, we had to descend to the shore where we met the sprint participants and we had a lovely sheltered channel before turning left to follow the coast around. We tethered ourselves, and Lindsay took the lead so wore the paddles. All well until we encountered the headland and the waves increased and for each stroke forward, we seemed to be pushed towards the rocks. Lindsay headed away and I tried to follow but a fellow competitor was in the way…ending up between us somehow!  We stopped, checked we were ok and pushed on, getting into some sort of momentum and very soon we saw the beach and had completed the first 700 m swim. Getting onto the beach, Lindsay had to manage the tether, I took the paddles and we both faffed for several minutes…an area where we can definitely improve upon!

Run 2 was only 1.41 k around to Porth y Post, for another swim of 780 m. There was a beach entry and the advice was ‘look for the kayak, then turn left’, which was tricky as the waves were too high to always spot the kayak. I took the lead on this one, so popped on the paddles and off we set.  It was like being in a washing machine, although we didn’t do any full spins but there were a lot of ups and downs. We found the kayak, turned left and then tried to stay away from the rocks, again getting into a sort of rhythm although we certainly weren’t getting any swim PBs, with this being our slowest swim.  As  we reached the shelter of the beach we swam over long fronds of seaweed and I really thought this was just so beautiful and that I was on holiday! Then, it was onto the beach,  more faffing, a quick stop at the food station and then around to Trearddur Bay for swim 3.  This was, as the name suggests, a sheltered bay and a mere 500m.  Lindsay took the lead and we were really getting the hang of this tandem swimming and this felt so much calmer than the last swim. However, from about half way, we clearly hit some undercurrents and the last half of the swim seemed to take longer than it should have done.  We then had a really short run of 410 m (which I should have known from Lindsay’s excellent idea of jotting the distances down on the paddles), where we lost a lot of time faffing.  Onto swim 4, which was only 360 m but was an entry from the rocks.  After a brief Team ‘meeting’ we opted to climb in, rather than jump in.  Both of us were starting to get cold, but we soon got into our rhythm, and before long were on the beach.  

Our next run was 5.4k, and was well timed, as we both needed to warm up. We secured our kit and off we set. The run took us along the coastal path with stunning scenery. After 5-10 minutes we had warmed up and then we had the challenge of the wetsuit rubbing against your neck. With a swimrun wetsuit you can open up the front, and whilst this gave some instant relief, it wasn’t until later, when we’d feel the extent of the damage to our necks (a lesson for the next swim run event would be to apply even more lube and vaseline!)  We got to a small beach area for swim 5 and this looked extremely calm.  We set off with Lindsay leading and it became quickly obvious that something wasn’t right as I was too close – the tether was still around Lindsay’s shoulder rather than her waist. In deep water, we decided to swim untethered for this swim (some swimruns would have disqualified us for this, but not this one). Swimming solo felt so ‘odd’ and I lost sight of Lindsay and when we made the beach, on what was probably the calmest swim, we both admitted that not being tethered had felt really uncomfortable…and we would not do that again.  

We headed off on the penultimate run of 2k, the weather had been perfect, although our necks felt like sandpaper had been applied. Then it was the last swim across Silver Bay and onto the last run of 2.4k. I had real mixed emotions of starting to feel tired and ready to stop with wanting to continue on and for it not to be ending. Most of the last run was on road, heading slightly uphill, and as we headed around the final corner, we could hear the finish and increased our pace. We ran through the finish line, with the news that we were first female pair and overall 3rd Female, which was an added bonus, to what was a very special day.

Coached swim sessions

Tri & Run are offering coached swim sessions at Bollington Health and Leisure centre.  The sessions will focus on developing your technique and physical conditioning, with a primary focus on front crawl stroke.  You should be able to swim 100 m front crawl continuously (these sessions are coached rather than ‘learn to swim’ lessons).  

We have to hire the pool for 3 months and therefore we require upfront payment for all the sessions, which will be on a Thursday evening, 19:15-20:15. We will confirm the start date (hopefully 7th Oct to ensure the paperwork is sorted and we are safe to go ahead).

To be able to join the sessions, we need two things:

  1. Payment of £120 for twelve sessions
  2. Fill out a health questionnaire.

Please note any information provided will remain strictly confidential.

Payment

This is a new initiative for Tri & Run and we hope that it will be a success.  We are charging £10 per session for an hour’s coached swim – this covers all costs to ensure you have a safe swim.  We have to sign a 3 month agreement and therefore require commitment from our participants. 

If you are keen to get involved, then please pay £120 (per participant) to  Tri & Run bank account, as detailed below, using the reference for us as Yournname-Swim21 (e.g LyndaC-swim21):

HSBC
Mrs Lynda Jane Cook and Mrs Victoria Martin
40-11-00
38164959

Health Questionnaire

Before we can get started, we need you to fill out the health questionnaire found here. To do so

  1. Go to File -> Make a copy
  2. Fill it out
  3. Email the completed form to trinruncoach@gmail.com

We can’t wait to see you soon! If you have any questions, please contact Lynda via email trinruncoaching@gmail.com or text/Whatsapp 07743 717 384.

5 Trigs

This blog comes from Dave Ward – one of our coached athletes.

When the suggestion of a run in the Peaks taking in 5 Trigs and covering approx. 22 miles was muted I was straight in. Living in Knutsford with it’s multitude of hills meant I was more than ready for a trot round the Peaks! It was only the night before when my oldest daughter saw the route and casually commented “You’re doing that for fun, you must be mad” the reality of what I was about to undertake hit home.

As readers of this blog will know, the Tri & Run Leaders are trained professionals and put the SAS to shame with their faultless navigational skills and map reading. So what could possibly go wrong?

I do like an early alarm especially on a bank holiday Saturday so a 7.10 call to meet Vicky for a drive to Wildboarclough for an 8am start was ideal. Thinking that there was no way Lynda and Lindsay would be there before 8, I’d have ample time to faff and sort my kit out. Not this time so a quick rush to get kit on and we were off.

First Trig was Shining Tor which went pretty smoothly with no issues apart from the first track  which is uphill and pretty much made of boulders. Soon the Cat and Fiddle pub came into sight and we were straight over onto Shining Tor. There was a bit of excitement from the man or women (who scared the life out of me by saying hello) as they were hidden behind the wall. Otherwise, there were no issues and we were onto the next Trig at Burbage Edge.

Second Trig was pretty straight forward until we decided to take on the heather which was cleverly camouflaging a bog. Slight concern that one of us may break something but after successfully negotiating it and finding the elusive wall we were on the path and touching the second Trig.

This point was where Lindsay was going to leave us. The plan was to drop her back at the car and then me, Lynda and Vicky carry on to bag the other three. Whether it was FOMO or madness (my money is on madness) she suggested that she would like to join us for the third one. Game on – here we go.

Third trig again pretty straight forward no real navigational issues, great views of Buxton, sun shining, semi naked farmer of retirement age out for a walk, but other than the fact the trig looked like it was 20 miles away, no issues! At this stage Lindsay decided to head back to her car and leave us to the final two. Lindsay would be the first to admit she is not great on navigation so after a briefing from the professionals with a turn left at the semi naked farmer she was off and we continued onto the fourth trig at the Roaches.

Fourth Trig slight navigational issues, nothing that made me want to reach for my phone to call Countryside 999, and a visit from Lindsay with some much-welcomed cold drinks, although big shout out to the man without mains water who gave me and Vicky some of his bottled water. After a brief catch up with Lindsay we were off to the Roaches and the famous Ice Cream Van (now offering Hot Dogs) and half of the population of Cheshire mostly all wearing sensible shoes. Another shout out to the two old people making an effort to get to the top. Straight to the top and back down again giving Lynda barely a minute to catch her breath.

It wouldn’t be a Tri & Run adventure without us meeting someone either Vicky or Lynda know and this one didn’t disappoint – not only friends but a husband as well. Sorry Steve – didn’t even clock you!

That’s it! One to go 17 miles in and the comment of “I think it’s only a 10k from here”. I could have cried, especially as it was what appeared to be all uphill! After having a stern word with myself we were off and before I knew it staring up at the famous Shutlingsloe. with a final “let’s do this” we were on the top admiring the view albeit through the crowd of midges. Touch of the Trig and straight back down to the car past a woman shouting “Are you after a PB?”. No – just the car so I can fall apart.

Sausage butties awaited with a choice of sauce, no tea though (maybe next time Lynda) and poured myself into the car to travel back to reality.

Another great run from the team with views to die for. 4,228ft of elevation gain and 22 miles, top company meaning the time just skipped by. Thanks all and here’s to the next one.

Snowman Triathlon Race Report

Today’s blog comes from Tri & Run coached athlete Marc Bradford. Well done Marc!

The snowman triathlon had been on my triathlon bucket list for a number of years. The combination of a challenging hilly course combined with picture perfect scenery make this an easy entry onto my triathlon to do list. The legend distance is 1900m, swim, followed by a 57 miles cycle, incorporating 5518ft of climbing. The final leg, the run, warms you up with 8 miles undulating along the Nant Ffrancon Valley, with a final leg destroying run to the top of Moel Siabod. 

The race was had a 7am start, which necessitated a 4:30am alarm call, to drive over, get racked up and ready to go for 06:30am. The temperature was hovering around 14C and the discussions in transition were centred around whether a bike top was needed, I was still undecided as left for the walk over to the swim start. 

Racking the bike up before we got started

Early swim start of 7am, I was in wave 1, so was first into the Lake. My expectations of it being freezing were wrong as it was a barmy 16C. The swim consisted of one large clockwise lap follow by a smaller lap. The vista of the Snowdon horseshoe dead ahead made it one of the most picturesque starts to a triathlon that I have ever done. First half lap went well, no washing machine moments as everyone was spread out, so was able find my stroke quite quickly and settle in. I had been working a lot on my stroke with Lynda and felt much more comfortable maintaining my race pace, without feeling like I was blowing up. The second buoy turned me straight into the rising sun, which made sighting quite difficult. The second loop went quickly and soon I was out of the water heading into transition.   

Back in transition I ‘ummed and ahhed’ over whether to put on my cycle top eventually deciding to leave it and head out in just my tri suit. The start of the cycle heads down the valley, giving you time to adjust from the swim. Got a quick bar on to give me some sugar, just before hitting the first hill a short sharp accent to Pen-y-pass. The car park was busy as I passed by, with people making an early start on Snowdon, as I passed through and dropped down into the Llanberis pass. A technical and fast descent had me quickly passing through Llanberis, over the hill and down the valley to Beddgelert. 

The first of the hills, Rydd hill soon arrived, it’s short and sharp and I was quickly descending down the other side towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. I knew the second hill was the tough one, so was trying to get as much food on as possible to give me some energy. At mile 36 the ascent began and it was relentless, 1200ft of climb, legs were starting to fade by the time I reached the top of the Crimea pass. Thankfully it was followed by a nice rolling descent into Betws y Coed, giving my legs a bit of a break. One last hill out of Betws y Coed got me back into Capel Curig and into transition. At this point my legs were a bit jelly-like to say the least. 

I slotted my bike on to the rack and dropped on to the ground in a big heap- I was knacked and I still had the run to do! Pulling myself together I slipped on my trail shoes and chucked my running pack on and headed out of transition. The first section of the run heads down the nant franc valley and is an out and back with a slight uphill on the way out. As I turned the bend into the valley I could see down the Tryfan in the distance. My initial quick pace slowed to a walk on the first small hill. Seeing a few runners off in the distance, I downed a gel and tried to pull myself together and make up some places, I had lost on the cycle. 

At the turn around the gel kicked in and I picked up some speed, and with the descent managed to get up to a semi normal trail running pace. Ahead lay Moel Siabod, rising steeply from the transition, it looked like a long way up. With the first 8 miles under my belt, I ran back into Plas- y Brenin across the bridge and started the accent. At the bottom of the hill I grimaced at the marshal and said ‘straight up ‘ looking up at the steep  tree lined footpath, she grinned back and said ‘yep straight up’. The steep path slowed my pace and immediately I fell into a fast striding walk. Soon I was out of  the forest and heading up the side of the mountain. It was busy with runners coming down having already ascended and others making the accent. 

A mile in and I started to feel truly knackered, the path was steep and rocky and my pace had slowed again.  I stopped and set on a rock for a break, a guy sat down opposite me grinning  ‘that looks like a good idea’. After a brief exchange we were both off again, pushing each other on. I had underestimated the time it would take me to do the run, on paper it was only five miles, I maybe should have looked at the contours a bit more! After a few false summits I finally reached the checkpoint at the top of Moel Siabod. I turned briefly, took in the spectacular view and then started my descent.

The summit

On the first bit of rocky descent I fell forward, and the shock of the stumble caused both my calves to cramp and spasm. All I could do was lie down on my back and wait for the cramp to pass. The cramp meant my descent was slowed to small steps, my dreams of springing down the path at full fell running pace were a distant dream. Stopping at a stream I filled and downed a full water bag before carrying on. The water seemed to do the trick and I felt my legs returning back to normal. Once I reached the bottom of the hill I was able to pick up the pace and caught two people before hearing the tannoy of the finishing line. The last 200ft was a steep path before a sharp turn onto the finishing line, I came in just under 8hrs. 

Me with my finisher’s medal

It was a fantastic, well organised and probably one of the toughest races I have done. The best races are the ones that really push you out of your comfort zone and this one certainly did that.

Wales in a day

Today’s blog comes from Ben, one of our coached athletes.

Back in 2019, I signed up to a massive sportive with 50+ members of my Tri Club. The ride entailed cycling from Cairnarvon to Chepstow in one day. That’s 300km and 4500M of climbing.

It was a pretty intimidating ask, and I was concerned I might not be up to it. However, I was convinced by members of my club that it’s “Not as bad as it sounds”, and that I should just “break it down into 6 short rides”. Like everything, the event was put on hold due to the COVID pandemic, and a few weeks ago we finally got to get started.

I’d done a decent amount of training. Every weekend over the winter, I was either doing focused sessions on the turbo, or heading out into the hills. I was feeling as ready as I could be in the weeks leading up to the ride, despite having a tough ride the week before where I was in a dark place after only 50km. I was struggling to work out what kit to take with me to handle any weather scenario, but as the event got closer, it became apparent that it was going to be a scorcher, which made packing a bit easier. I’m not generally great in the heat. I don’t eat or drink enough, and I was beginning to worry that this might make the event even harder for me. It didn’t help that I was getting texts from my Dad such as “I’ve just seen that the government has announced a Severe risk of death warning for Saturday. Good luck!”

We all travelled down by bus; our precious bikes being transported down in a van separately. When we arrived on Friday, it was a quick turn around before we all cycled down to registration together. Once that was out of the way, we all went to the pub for a bit of dutch courage, had an amazing carby tea, a team pep talk, and then a very early night.

I managed to sleep surprisingly well, but that didn’t make the 3:30AM alarm any easier. It was a shock to the system, but after some porridge and a coffee, I was itching to go.

The start line


A couple of groups had set off an hour earlier, and had started the event at 4AM, but the rest of us left the hostel at 4:30, arriving at the start line at 5. As we cycled down, we were passing cyclists already en route travelling the other way. We set off as a group of 6, and swiftly joined up with another group to become a strong train of 12. We started off super easy to make sure that we didn’t get tired in the first few hours. After about an hour and a half, we started climbing the first major hill of the day. We arrived at the top of Llanberis Pass just as the sun was coming over the top of the mountains, and dropped back down the other side. The views were stunning, and I’m definitely planning to go back and do some more riding in the area.

Snowdonia as the sun came up

Before we knew it, we were at the first checkpoint, where we were given a bacon sandwich, some pastries and a coffee. By this point it was 7 AM, and already starting to warm up. By the time we’d rolled into the second checkpoint at Bala we were taking the opportunity to hide in the shade. The heat was getting really intense, and we were getting through water at a hell of a rate. We decided to split up into 2 separate groups so that everybody could ride at a pace they were comfortable with.

From Bala we went straight up Hirnant Pass and around Lake Vrynwy (The flat was much appreciated!) Soon after, we saw the Tri Club support vehicle which gave us all a lift. We’d seen a few cyclists already struggling, and I’ve got no idea what we’d have done without the extra water supplied by our excellent support crew.


A few hours later, we rolled into the third checkpoint at Tregynon, which roughly marked the halfway point of the ride. There were lots of other KTC groups there having lunch, and it was great to catch up for a while. Amongst them was Lynda, smiling and chipper as ever, who had set off with the 4AM group.

Me and Lynda enjoying the shade

One of the volunteers at Tregynon was handing out ice lollies, and another was spraying cyclists with a hose. It’s hard to decide which of the two was nicer!

Starting again after a long lunch was mentally tough, but the route planners had been uncharacteristically kind to us. After an hour or so grinding uphill, we had an hour of very gradual descent where we could get some speed up and rest our legs a bit. By the time we got to 100 House (the fourth checkpoint), I was feeling like I’d got a second wind. Finding out that the checkpoint had run out of cans of coke nearly ended the high, but we’d recently passed the 200K mark which was a bit of a milestone, and spirits were up.

All day we’d been gearing ourselves up for the biggest climb of the day – Gospel Pass. It’s the highest paved road in Wales, and we were hitting it after 140 miles. However, nobody had warned us about the warm up event. Llanbedr Hill came out of nowhere and ramped up to 20%. After grinding up in granny gear, my heart sank as it carried on around the corner. I could hear some of my teammates losing their sense of humour at the steepness of it, and one of them nearly threw in the towel. However, by the time we’d come down the other side he was ready to press on and after a fishfinger sandwich from our great support staff, we headed out of Hay on Wye to Gospel Pass.

Gospel Pass


We hadn’t seen many riders for a while, but as we hit the bottom of Gospel Pass, it was a surreal sight. All along the road, riders were off their bikes, wheeling them along and carrying their shoes in the other hand. Everybody was looking broken. By the time we hit the summit, it was about 7:30 PM, and the sun was setting. The views were stunning, and more importantly, the temperature dropped a few degrees. We found ourselves with a few KTC groups, and sped down the other side of Gospel Pass into Abergavenny.

The final checkpoint felt like a bit of a party. The food was freshly made pizza and cups of flat coke. At the time it tasted like the best meal I’d ever eaten. As I was filling up my water bottle, the man next to me dropped his lid. He looked at it, looked at me and said “There’s no way I’m bending down to pick that up. I can get by without water for the last stretch”.

After waiting for all remaining KTC riders to roll into the checkpoint, me and the 5 riders I’d been riding with all day set off again. It was after 9 at this point, and we were losing light. We switched our lights on, and settled in for a bit of night riding. A couple of draggy hills later and we were rolling into Chepstow, finishing just after 11.

Me crossing the finish line

It was an amazing feeling to get through the day, and even better to finish with the great group I’d started the day with. It had been brilliant to share the experience with such a nice group of people. We all went back to the hotel and had some warm cans of San Miguel to celebrate. That was even better than the flat coke! At 3:30 we called it a night and went for a few hours of sleep.

I absolutely loved the event. I was on such a high all day, and a lot of that is down to the preparation. Thanks to Tri & Run I was physically and mentally ready for the ride, as well as having a strong plan for nutrition and fuelling.

Since the event, I’ve been desperate to find the next challenge. After discussions with Vicky, I’ve decided to take the plunge and sign up to Ironman Bolton next year! Already looking forward to getting stuck in, with the help of the brilliant Tri & Run coaches of course.

Has the Olympics inspired you

The closing ceremony of the Olympics marks Team GB’s phenomenal success, gaining a medal is the widest selection of disciplines to date.  Some of the highlights for us included the mixed triathlon relay, the women’s madison, men’s omnium, both men’s and women’s 1500 m and far too many more to mention here!  

So, has the Olympics inspired you?  If so, which discipline?

Having selected one, you may well ask yourself where do you start? Starting to take up any sport or exercise is often the most challenging stage for anyone and this links to our blog after the long distance triathlon held in Bolton in July

What is it about a particular sport that inspired you?  Is it the personal challenge of the training or event?  The thrill and excitement of the risk? An opportunity to learn new skills and buy more kit? Are you looking to prove to yourself you can do something different and outside your comfort zone?

Whilst the vast majority of us will never make the Olympics, everyone can still follow the same pathway of Team GB athletes, by training and enjoying a new found hobby, that may well turn into a passion.  

Get in touch for a free 10 minute consultation and find out how Tri & Run can help you put that inspiration into action.

Newsletter – June & July 2021

Welcome to our second newsletter.  We are well and truly back to events for our athletes and it’s been a busy couple of months.

Cholmondeley duathlon

We are delighted that Kim could put her experience gained from the Go Tri events that Tri & Run held, into the Cholmondeley duathlon.  Kim took part in the sprint event on 19th June, which involved a 5k run, 20k cycle and 2.5k run to finish.  Kim came 2nd in her age group, which is absolutely brilliant and all down to her hard work and superb determination.  You can read more about Kim’s event in her blog here.

New collaborations

Vicky has been working with junior members of a local Pony club.  Specifically, Vicky has been working on running skills with the athletes to help improve when competing in triathlons and tetrathlons.

Cotswold middle distance triathlon

Joining Lynda at the Cotswold Classic, Lindsay made her middle distance race debut. Although there were a few challenges (no swim was one of them), both athletes performed brilliantly on a fast but busy  bike circuit and then a mixed trail/road run. Great work, Lindsay & Lynda. 

Chelford round

One of Dave’s challenges for this year was the Chelford Round.  This is an ‘anytime time’ challenge consisting of a 19 mile circuit about the village of Chelford (more information can be obtained, here.) Vicky joined Dave, on what was the hottest day of July.

Swim training for triathlon

Marc joined us for some tips for his swim, in preparation for a couple of triathlons he has planned for this year.  Marc’s first event is the Snowman triathlon on 1st August.  We look forward to sharing how Marc got on in the next newsletter.  

Wales in a Day

Ben and Lynda took part in the Open Cycle cycle sportive, along with other members of KTC.  The cycle ride starts in Caernarfon and ends in Chepstow, 185 miles later and after 4500 m of climbing.  You can find out more about how Ben prepared and tackled the sportive in his forthcoming blog, available soon.

Coaches corner

Vicky has successfully completed the 1st year of her sREN accredited MSc in Sports and Exercise Nutrition.  Lynda has completed the 2nd year of her BSc in Sport, Exercise and Coaching.

Vicky and Lynda spent most of last  weekend together on England Athlete’s Coach in Running Fitness course, Vicky as one of the tutors and Lynda as a student.

Eagle eyed athletes may well have noticed Vicky popping up on Run Northwest photos. Vicky is now Event Coordinator at Run North West.  She also made Triathlon 220’s August 21 edition with her top tip!

Planning ahead

We are in the process of planning and organising a number of one-day and multiday adventures.   These include another run of the Chelford Run, the 5 trigs run and a mini-dualthon, as well as a weekend away…possibly under canvas!

What do Tri and Run offer that is different to other coaching companies?

We invest time with our athletes, so our coaching can be truly bespoke. We use a variety of approaches, such as our monthly adventures, which enhance a community feeling and that ‘team’ spirit.  We aim to enable our athletes to feel motivated so they can succeed in their goals.
If you are interested in joining us, please get in touch and we can arrange an online call to see if we can help.

Every day’s a school day

Today’s blog is from Kim, one of our coached athletes. Thanks Kim, and well done on the duathlon!

With the aim of kick starting my mojo, I dusted down my bike and I joined the Tri & Run May duathlon training. It did the trick, I loved the variety of training and I had loads of fun. I learnt lots, mainly that I had a lot to work on, including my faffing and general untidiness in transition! 

Fast forward a few weeks to 18th June and there I was at the start line of the Cholmondeley Castle sprint duathlon!

I’d diligently watched the race briefing (online given covid times), studied the routes and found that wave 6 was for me. Kit was sorted  and I was super strict about what I was taking into transition – I was going to be tidy! 

Getting through registration, sorting sticky labels and racking my bike etc went smoothly. Well I just copied everyone else and all was good. Next, bumping into a smiley faced friend and fellow participant in the Tri & Run sessions, was just what I needed and calmed the butterflies!

Now that transition area is a funny place.  I got offered many pieces of advice ( why does that happen just before a race 🤣 ), – chose to politely ignore all of it, as well meaning as it probably was ( If I want to stick my jelly sweets on my crossbar, then I can! ). I got life stories, family stories, chat about the weather, questions about my bike, what races/events had I done, where do you live etc . Before I knew it, we were called to the briefing area and onto the staggered, covid compliant start line .

Away we went and I was really happy to get started before my nerves had a chance to take a grip again! I kept reciting blue / yellow/ pink – blue/yellow/pink. The route colours I needed to take for the run/bike/run!  

The first 5k run was over in a blink and although the terrain was tougher than I expected, I loved it. Onto my tidy transition area – all my kit neatly laid out on a towel. Running shoes off, bike shoes on and off again, they didn’t feel right. Back on again and all good. Helmet on, extra layer not needed, glasses on and the lens fell out. Don’t panic or faff Kim! I left them behind and off I went.  The roads were busy, full of Saturday traffic but very considerate to the cyclists. I felt very focused, just aiming to go as fast as I possibly could whilst avoiding the potholes. Two guys that were well behind me at the end of the first run overtook me at around 18k on a hilly section – cycling uphill is another area I need to work on! 

Into run two, a slightly different route (remembered pink!). My legs were heavy, and I was just urging myself to run. I set myself little targets of picking off other runners as a distraction tactic and this worked well – who knew I had a competitive streak?  

There was a lovely grassy downhill to the finish area (bliss!), and over the line I went with a big smile on my face. I’d done it and at that point, it felt like the whole race was over in a flash.

Kim with her medal at the finish line

All the marshalls, volunteers and athletes were super friendly and it was great to chat about the course and exchange stories at the finish line. I loved the whole race experience and even better, it made me feel very happy. This was evidenced by photos of my grinning face from various points around the course and I can’t wait to do another one. The question is, am I confident to have a go at a standard distance ?

Thanks Vicky and Lynda for helping me find that pesky mojo!

A long day in the saddle

Last saturday (17th July 2021) saw the last Open Cycling’s sportive, Wales in a Day.  The sportive starts at Caernarfon Castle and ends, 185 miles later and after 4500 m of ascent, in Chepstow.  Participants cycle through the Snowdonia National Park, then head for mid Wales, via Lake Vyrnwy and through the town of Newport.  Then, the route heads directly south before veering east for Hay-on-Wye and over Gospel Pass, the highest paved road in Wales, to Abergavenny and then the finish in Chepstow.

Gospel Pass

Riders take anything between 12 to 20 hours and there are 5 food stops along the route, located after 26,23,27,38,37 and 23 miles.  With significant climbs, not only is this a huge endurance event, but it has to be undertaken with some serious training, both mentally and physically to succeed.  

So, how do you train for such an event?  Firstly, having a tailored training plan is crucial to develop your muscular endurance, in a safe, injury-free way.  A tailored training plan not only builds up the distance, but it also provides training sets to ensure you can not only cope but enjoy the undulating terrain of Wales in a Day. In addition, having a bespoke tailored training plan means that you develop aspects of your cycling that are specific to you.  All in all, having a tailored coaching plan will result in your progression and develop your confidence in undertaking such a long endurance event. 

Lynda and Ben finding some shade to take lunch

Our Coach Lynda and one of our coached athletes Ben both took part in the event. Here’s what Ben had to say about it:

“It was the hottest day of the year so the conditions were tough, but not as tough as some of the hills! However, I felt mentally and physically strong through most of the event, and that’s in no small part thanks to the help from Vicky. Over the past few months we’ve focused on my cycling endurance and hill climbing, along getting better at managing my nutrition which is something I’ve been bad at historically (no matter how far I go, I always come back with full water bottles).

Last Saturday was the best day I’ve ever had on the bike. I was able to enjoy watching the sun rise over Pen-y Pass and then set over Gospel Pass with a group of friends and I couldn’t have done it without Tri & Run.”

Sunrise in Snowdonia

By using a coach for your training plan, you have the advantage of working together on the journey from the start of your training to that finish line. Training for such a long event also includes managing your nutrition and hydration and being able to cope with whatever the environmental conditions are, on the day.  You also need your bike, which is going to have to keep you moving for 12-200 hours, to be in top shape.  At Tri&Run we have coaches that can support and guide you in all aspects of training for such a long endurance event, so that all aspects of the journey from your first training ride to the finish line, are covered.  Open Cycling, like many other companies, offer a range of cycle sportives, so once you have identified your cycle sportive challenge, get in touch to find out more from Tri&Run.

The benefit of a supportive network

It would be great if starting or getting back to running was easy.  You could put on some kit and trainers you already have, and breeze out the door for an easy 5 miler.  There would be minimal puffing and panting, lung burn and muscle ache.

However the reality is a little different…the first few runs are likely to hurt a lot – and not just during the run.  Delayed onset muscle soreness can last for 48hours.

It is possible that the trainers you have are not running specific, may not still fit you and may not have too much life left in them.

The running kit you own may no longer still function, fit, and may rub in certain places.

Knowing all this you wonder why you should get into running?

The benefits of having regular running as one of your healthy lifestyle habits are multiple. Improved heart health, prevention of illnesses, positive contribution to mental health, strengthening of connective tissues, improved bone health, prevention of many age related declining health issues.  In addition there are the social benefits of running you can achieve through going to local races, joining a group / club or just running with a friend.

At Tri & Run  we recognise the many factors that contribute to an individual’s performance.  We have created strong relationships with local businesses to ensure we offer a complete service.  

An example of how this great relationship works was evident just last week.  A new runner developed some lower limb pain and Carmichael Clinic was recommended.  A consultation with the well respected local physiotherapist identified a number of minor contributing factors.  Along with specific pre-hab exercises there was also guidance to purchase new trainers to replace the decade old ones.  Another close relationship with local specialist run retailer Run North West will ensure the most appropriate trainers for the individual can be purchased.  This close working relationship between coach, physio and run retailer ensures a multidisciplinary approach and the athlete can get back to their new love, running, as soon as possible.
If you too want to benefit from this multidisciplinary team approach, contact us.