Archive for the ‘Triathlon’ Category

Photo: Getty Images

There are three major forces that will hold you back when riding your bike on a flat to rolling course: These are mechanical resistance, rolling resistance and wind resistance.

Something has been lost in the recent bike-fitting craze. We’ve forgotten that it’s not just about the bike. The typical fitting is all about setting up the bike to support an assumed position of the rider. The goal is a setup that creates an optimal blend of comfort, power and efficiency, but to actually get this result, a fitter must devote just as much attention to the rider’s position, which cannot be taken as a given. Unfortunately, few fitters know much about rider positioning.

Worse, many triathletes don’t even bother to seek out qualified fitters to work on their positioning. On many triathlon forums, people post side-view photos of their positions and ask board members to critique them. The problem here is twofold. One issue is that air hits you from the front as you cut a hole through it, not from the side. The second issue is that most of the people replying with positioning advice have never been in a wind tunnel nor are experienced fitters. In other words, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Let’s look at what wind tunnel testing and real-world experience at the elite level tell us about proper positioning.

There are three major forces that will hold you back when riding your bike on a flat to rolling course: These are mechanical resistance, rolling resistance and wind resistance. Mechanical resistance is the least important. It is generated by the gears of your bike, which are fairly efficient, especially on a race-tuned bike, and in the bearings, which are also quite efficient. Rolling resistance is a little more complicated, as it varies by tire construction, inflation pressure and surface smoothness.

Both mechanical and rolling resistance increase in a linear manner, but wind resistance is different because, assuming that there is no change in your body riding position, it increases at the square of the increases in speed. The drag on a cyclist traveling at 20 mph is four times as great as the drag at 10 mph. Thus, the faster you go, the more power is required to overcome wind resistance. In any given riding position, you need about 33 percent more power to go 10 percent faster. The good news is that you can reduce wind resistance at any given speed by manipulating your position. The key is to cut down the frontal area of your position, forming your body into a more streamlined shape on your bike. Watch the Tour de France and you can tell which teams and athletes take this streamlined position seriously and which do not. The same goes for the front of most professional non-drafting triathlon fields.

A rule of thumb developed by Steve Hed, of Hed Cycling Products in Shoreview, Minn., is that you can save three seconds over 40 kilometers for every 10 grams of drag dropped. There are 454 grams in a pound; therefore, dropping a pound of drag can save you roughly 2.5 minutes over 40 kilometers and more than 11 minutes over an Ironman bike course.

Reducing Drag
The most effective positioning change you can make to reduce drag is to lower your head as much as you can toward your hands. This change alone has been shown reduce drag by more than 200 grams in the wind tunnel. Taller athletes typically cannot get their head as close to their hands as shorter athletes because of the length of their upper arms. They can overcome this disadvantage to some degree by angling their forearms upward. When this is done properly, you can actually hear the wind resistance decrease.

The next biggest time savings comes from repositioning your shoulders. The objective here is to narrow your shoulders by rolling them inward. To do this, get into your riding position indoors and look directly into a mirror. See if there is a way to “shrug” your shoulders to be narrower. Modifying your elbow and hand position might make it easier.

The more your shoulders roll in the narrower your shoulders will get and the faster you will be. This can save you another 100 to 200 grams of drag. Again, angling your aerobars slightly upward might enable you to narrow your shoulders more comfortably. Moving your elbows closer together may also help. We use giant calipers that we call “manipers” to measure shoulder width and ensure that as the elbows come closer together, the shoulders follow. Eventually, you will get to a point where your shoulders are unaffected by further reductions in the distance between your elbows, and that’s the point where you’ll want to stop.

Aero Positioning
There is no apparent effect of aerobar shape and aerodynamics. S-bends offer the most powerful position but are not necessarily the most comfortable. Finding a balance between power and comfort is important. While pulling up on the bar (which is a real power position), the more rotated your wrist becomes, the more leverage you can generate. The more angle there is in a single bend, the less power you will have pulling up. The variety of hand positions that are possible with S-bends makes it easier to find a position that optimises power and comfort. The key to proper S-bend positioning is to make sure that your ring finger is lined up with your elbow. This will prevent the wrist and forearm discomfort often seen with ill-fitted S-bend aerobars. Also, avoid angling your aerobars downward. This not only increases your frontal area, it also raises your effective bar height, causing you to ride “taller” and further increasing your frontal area.

Many triathletes assume that the surest way to increase the aerodynamics of the riding position is to drop your bars and lower your torso, but this is not always the case. A better indicator of aerodynamic positioning, from a side view, is how low the head is. A greater sternum angle may actually facilitate a lower head position because the rider is not forced to keep his or her head back to see forward. Using a goniometer, we measure an athlete’s sternum angle rather than hip angle. It is certain that if your sternum angle goes below five degrees, you will be slower than if it were at five to15 degrees. We actually raise some riders because their net drag is unaffected by going a little higher, as the steeper their torso angle is, the more they can lower their heads.

This is not to suggest that your back position is not important to aerodynamics. However, what matters is not how low it is but how you hold it. You want to strive for a slight curve in your mid-spine, almost like a hump. This will help integrate your aero helmet into your streamlined position. Specifically, it will help smooth airflow over your aero helmet, integrating your aero tuck into a neat little package and lowering your drag numbers another 50 to 100 grams.

There is a principle in aerodynamics that states that air likes to flow over curved surfaces as opposed to flat ones. Consider the toroidal bulges of aero wheels versus flat sidewall wheels. If you have a naturally flat back, work on curving your back into a hump, and if you have a humpback, rejoice, because it will help you ride faster.

It is important to note that the best time triallers and triathletes in the world all work very hard to make the unnatural natural. Almost everyone who attempts to modify his or her position according the guidelines I’ve just given you comes back to me after the first few rides complaining about feeling uncomfortable. Be patient, as it takes time to first get into the right position and then learn to pedal, steer, corner, drink and feed in it. When it does become tolerable and eventually comfortable (and it always does), your persistence will be rewarded with significantly faster bike-splits.

Jason Goldberg is the director of operations for FIT Multisports, a professional sports marketing, management and coaching company. FIT Multisports uses cutting-edge scientific modalities and surrounds itself with industry leaders to achieve optimal results for professional athletes such as Bjorn Andersson, Richie Cunningham and Bryan Rhodes, as well as age groupers. Their website is

Leanda Cave

Triathlon chiefs have confirmed they have resisted the temptation to pick a trio of Welsh women world champions for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

Current champion Non Stanford and double world golden girl Helen Jenkins have been selected but veteran Leanda Cave has missed out in favour of Swansea rising star Holly Lawrence.

Cave won the world triathlon title and a Commonwealth Games silver medal in 2002 before moving up to the Ironman distance and winning the global crown in 2012.

The 36-year-old had signalled her intention to drop back down to the triathlon distance this year and help Jenkins and Stanford in their quest for medals.

But Cave, who won International Triathlon Union Continental Cup events over the Olympic distance in Mexico and Chile this year, revealed last month she had been overlooked by triathlon chiefs and Lawrence has taken the third place alongside Stanford and Jenkins.

There will be an individual men’s and women race alongside a mixed relay event which will included two men and two women. Cave believes her unsuitability to the super-sprint distance meant she was not an ideal candidate for the team relay.


Delly Carr ITU
Helen Jenkins


Lawrence has only been competing as a full-time athlete for a short time but has already impressed selectors with a seventh place finish at the Quateria ETU Cup in 2014 and a second place at the 70.3 UK in 2013.

The 23-year-old went onto compete in the elite women’s ITU World Series in London last weekend where she finished 47th.

Jenkins finished as the top Britain runner in this race last Saturday with a seventh place finish to continue her revival from the back and knee injuries which ruled the Bridgend star out for 18 months after the Olympics in London 2012.

The 30-year-old, won world triathlon titles in 2008 and 2011, has already recorded second and third places finishes on the ITU world circuit in Cape Town and Auckland this year.

Stanford has been unable to defend her world title after missing the first four races of the series with a leg injury. The 25-year-old hopes to return in the European Championships later this month.


Non Stanford celebrates her amazing win
Non Stanford


Joining the three female members of the team will be 19 year-old Morgan Davies from Bridgend.

Now studying and training in Loughborough, Davies’ best result to date is an eightth place finish at the ITU World Junior Championships in Hyde park in 2013. He will compete alongside Liam Lloyd and Alex Matchett, from Llanelli and Haverfordwest respectively.

Both combine their training with their studies for degrees and both inspired to take up the sport through their fathers, Lloyd currently lives and trains in Leeds and finished in second place at the European Junior Duathlon Championships in 2013.

Matchett will be 21 when he competes at his first Commonwealth Games and previously finished third in the British Junior Triathlon Championships in 2012.

Beverley Lewis, General Manager at Welsh Triathlon said; “Non and Helen are world-class performers and fantastic ambassadors for Welsh Triathlon and an inspiration to all our Welsh triathletes.

“Our younger team members, Holly, Morgan, Liam  and Alex will be exciting to watch as they race in Welsh colours.

“Personally I am looking forward to the relay race which will be fast, furious and a fabulous spectator event.  Welsh Triathlon wish the team the very best in the build up to Glasgow 2014.”

Chris Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales, the organisation  responsible for selecting and sending a team to compete for Wales, added “It’s fantastic for Wales to see triathlon back in the competition schedule.

“It’s a sport that we excel at and with two of our World Champions selected to compete for the team in Glasgow I can’t wait to see them in action.”

Triathlon biographies

Morgan Davies

From: Porthcawl, Bridgend

DOB: 05/08/1994

Morgan is from Porthcawl, Bridgend and now studies and trains in Loughborough. He is a member of the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class Performance squad, coached by Mark Pearce.

Morgan’s best result to date is 8th at London 2013. He has also featured internationally in medal winning Great Britain Youth relay teams, winning a silver in 2013.

6ft tall, the 19 year-old classes his run as his best strength in triathlon and being selected for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ticks off one of his ultimate goals for his career in the sport.

Helen Jenkins

From: Bridgend

DOB: 07/03/1984

Helen Jenkins finished 5thby a British woman at an Olympic Games. Helen was in medal contention up to the final stages when the four other athletes in the lead group began to pull away.

Helen was the ITU World Champion in 2011, having won the title on 11 September 2011 in Beijing, as well as also winning the title in 2008 on a rainy cold day in Vancouver.

Jenkins became the first British woman to win the world title since it changed to a series format. She won in London, finished second in Beijing, Kitzbuhel and Madrid and was 4th Lausanne.

Helen was born in Elgin, Scotland but moved to South Wales when she was very young. She is married to fellow Welsh triathlete and her coach, Marc Jenkins.

Holly Lawrence

From: Swansea

DOB: 10/08/1990

23 year-old Holly Lawrence has only been competing as a full-time athlete for a short time and is set to represent Wales at her first Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Holly’s best result to date was a seventh place finish at the Quateria ETU Cup in 2014 and a second place at the 70.3 UK in 2013.

Holly’s excellent results this season gained her a place on the starting line for Great Britain at the London leg of the women’s elite ITU World Triathlon series last weekend and selection for Great Britain in the European Championships at the end of June.

Liam Lloyd

From: Llanelli

DOB: 17/05/1994

20 year-old Liam lives and trains in Leeds, combining his training with studying for a degree in Sport Science at the University of Leeds.

He was introduced to the sport through his father who used to regularly compete in 10km and half marathon races; he got the bug and started doing local fun runs at the age of nine before going on to join Llanelli Triathlon Club.

The Llanelli-born athlete’s best result so far is a second place finish at the European Junior Duathlon Championships 2013.

Alex Matchett

From: Haverfordwest

DOB: 21/07/1993

Alex Matchett will be 21 when he competes at his first Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

From Haverfordwest, he combines his training with his final year studying for a sports science degree having studied two years of medicine at Bristol University.

Alex finished third up the sport after watching his father compete in triathlon events.

Non Stanford

From: Swansea

DOB: 07/01/1989

Non had made a very successful transition from track running to triathlon. 2012 was a breakthrough year with senior gold in the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay and U23 gold at the ITU World Championships.

2013 started with real impact with a win on the ITU World Triathlon Series in Madrid and she went on to win the ITU entire series and being crowned world champion. Along the way she achieved podium finishes in San Diego, Hamburg and Stockholm.

Non was born in Bridgend, lived in Swansea, went to University in Birmingham and is now based in Leeds and is part of UK Sport Lottery Funded British Triathlon World Class Podium.

see more:

Angela Naeth. Photo: Richard Sibbold/Triathlon Magazine Canada

Pro Triathlete Angela Naeth. Photo: Richard Sibbold/Triathlon Magazine Canada

Canadians pros cleaned up in Kona today. Brent McMahon and Angela Naeth won Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. McMahon dusted the field in a blazing fast time of 3:59:35 almost eight minutes ahead of second place finisher and former world champ Craig Alexander. It appears Alexander has been disqualified which puts McMahon almost 20 minutes ahead of Benjamin Williams who moves from third in the rankings to second in 4:18:36. Karl Bordine was officially third in 4:22:08.

While the top women swam and rode pretty close in times, Naeth pulled away on the run to finish in 4:30: 53 while Melanie McQuaid was third just four minutes behind and Magalie Tisseyre was 4th in 4:38:22. Rounding out the Canadian sweep was Karen Thibodeau in 6th in a time of 4:41:22.

see more:

Related Photo:

Low carb high fat ketogenic diet can work well for endurance sports, says Tim Noakes

Kim, Loccisano/Getty Images

Carb-loading is so synonymous with endurance sports it may come as a shock to learn it’s not optimal for performance.

Sports science expert Dr. Tim Noakes said endurance athletes can perform as well as — or better than — those following a high-carb diet.

Low-Carb Diets Enhance Weight Loss and Fat Oxidation

According to Noakes, a physician and professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, athletes who become adapted to a low-carb diet can use fat as fuel instead of relying on huge amounts of pro-inflammatory carbohydrates.

“Studies of elite athletes chronically adapted to low-carbohydrate diets have uncovered one unexpected finding — their extraordinary ability to produce energy at very high rates purely from the oxidation of fat,” Noakes wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Noakes and his colleagues, Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, said the field of low-carb sports performance is underinvestigated and in need of further exploration. Meanwhile, in 9 of 11 low-carb performance studies, a low-carb diet was better than, or just as effective as, a high-carb diet for endurance performance.

Drs. Volek and Phinney are the co-authors of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, widely considered a seminal LCHF diet book.

Ironman Triathlete Followed a Ketogenic Diet

Drs. Noakes, Volek and Phinney aren’t the only proponents of low-carb diets for endurance athletes. Fitness expert Ben Greenfield trained for the 2013 Ironman Triathlon World Championships by following the LCHF ketogenic diet, and completed the epic endurance race in an impressive 9:59:26.

The Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and then a 26.2-mile marathon, done in that order without a break. Greenfield’s breakfast the morning of the Ironman was a half-stick of butter, two shots of MCT oil, and a cup of coffee — a stark contrast to the vats of pasta most endurance athletes inhale before a race.

Ben discussed his ketogenic diet experiment on a podcast with fitness trainer Sam Feltham (see video). Feltham himself made headlines after experimenting with a 5,000-calorie-a-day diet that underscored the weight-loss benefits of eating more fat.

When Sam followed a low-fat, high-carb diet for three weeks, he gained 16 pounds and almost 4 inches in his belly. Surprisingly, when Feltham ate a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet for three weeks, he gained only 2 pounds but lost 1 inch from his midsection.

Greenfield joins a growing number of endurance athletes who are sold on the health benefits of a high-fat diet for endurance training. Ben previously followed a high-carb diet but switched after realizing that too many carbs fuel inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

“Two years ago, I came across research about pancreatic fatigue and failure, loss of insulin-cell receptor sensitivity, and surges in blood glucose leading to inflammation,” said Greenfield, author of Beyond Training. Greenfield no longer follows the ketogenic diet, but advocates consuming plenty of healthy fats.

Weight-Loss Expert: Eat Fat and Get Thin

Meanwhile, recent scientific research and reports suggest that unprocessed saturated fat is good for you and can protect against heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Weight loss expert Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Duke University Obesity Clinic, has helped hundreds of morbidly obese people lose thousands of pounds on the LCHF ketogenic and Atkins diets. He said eating more unprocessed fat can enhance weight loss and improve health across the board.

“I tell my patients not to fear the fat,” said Dr. Westman, author of New Atkins for a New You. “Eat lots of fat. Fat makes you feel full. There’s no problem with fat. In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we’ve been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat.”

see more:


  • Date: Saturday 31 May

Coverage: Men’s and women’s triathlons on BBC One from 14:00 to 17:10 BST

Paralympic swimmer Lauren Steadman has fellow Briton Faye McClelland in her sights at this weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Series event in Hyde Park.

The pair battled it out at the recent World Series event in Yokohama, with McClelland triumphing by 11 seconds.

And they face each other again on Saturday with Steadman aiming for the scalp of the four-time world champion.

“It will take courage and hard work to beat her,” Steadman, 21, told BBC Sport.

“Faye is a tough racer and has a lot of experience but she knows I am hunting her down.

“She has always beaten me by quite a distance but Yokohama was the closest I had come, which was a surprise given my lack of training coming into the event.

“I tend to get out of the water ahead of her and then she catches up on the bike, which is probably her best discipline, and she is also a strong runner. So I need to perfect my bike and run elements.”

Lauren Steadman facts

  • Born: 18/12/1992
  • Just finished Psychology degree at Portsmouth University
  • Made Paralympic debut in Beijing aged 15
  • Won freestyle relay gold at 2009 and 2011 IPC European Swimming Championships
  • Won 400m freestyle bronze at 2009 Euros
  • Won European Para-tri gold in 2013

Steadman, who is one of BBC Sport’sParalympic Ones to Watch for 2014 , has just completed a degree in psychology at the University of Portsmouth and is a recent convert to para-triathlon.

She represented Great Britain in swimming at the Beijing and London Paralympics before opting for the sport which will make its Games debut in Rio.

She competes in the Tri4 category for athletes with arm impairments, along with fellow Britons McClelland, 35, and another former Paralympic swimmer Clare Cunningham, 36, who won the world title in 2009. She knows that she faces difficult competition from her rivals.

“When I was a swimmer, my category (S9) was very tough and to go to major events you had to beat the best in the country, who were also the top in the world,” she explained.

“It is the same with para-triathlon so as long as I am up there with Faye and Clare, I know I am up there with the best in the world.

“I like a challenge and I wouldn’t be doing a sport that is easy to do.”

While Steadman had just one discipline to deal with in her former sporting career, she now has to master three as well as the transitions from the 750m swim to the 20km bike ride and the 5km swim.

“I have a handler, usually my dad, working with me in the transition zone but learning the best routine and what works best was a bit challenging at first,” she admitted.

Lauren Steadman

I have to change out of my wetsuit, attach my prosthetic arm and put on my shoes and helmet and then change my shoes and remove the arm for the running

“I have to change out of my wetsuit, attach my prosthetic arm and put on my shoes and helmet for the cycling and then change my shoes and remove the arm for the running.

“Now I have it down to a tee and the only issue I have is with the clasp of my cycling helmet, which caused me some problems in the race in Yokohama.

“You have to find what works best for you. I’ve looked into having a lighter arm made but at the moment I am confident with the way it feels and with the bike set up.

“It has taken me time to get used to the bike, which is very light and has been specially adapted for me with the brakes on the left-hand side and my confidence has gone from strength to strength.”

And Steadman, who has recently started working with coach Trevor Payne in Portsmouth, is hoping to gain as much race experience as she can before Rio and get the most out of Saturday’s competition on home soil.

“I can’t think of a better place to race than London,” she admitted. “I’ve raced the Hyde Park course three times now so I know it very well. The crowd get behind you and gives you a sense of resilience.

“After London, I will be hoping to retain my European Championship title in Austria in June but the World Championships in August in Canada will be a big event for me.

“With trying to finish my degree, I didn’t know how my fitness would be early in the season and I knew the fitness would definitely be there later on.”

see more:

Non Stanford: Cannot wait to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games

Non Stanford: Cannot wait to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games

World champion Non Stanford says she is devastated to miss this weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Series event in London due to injury but remains focused on competing for Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

Stanford made history last year in London when she became the first woman to win the World Triathlon Series the year after claiming the U23 title.

But a foot injury sustained during the Trafford 10k race in March forced her to miss the first four events this season including this weekend’s London meeting.

The 25-year-old admitted she is not yet firing on all cylinders, but is optimistic about returning to competitive action next month in preparation for August’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.


“I’m really hoping to be at the European Championships towards the end of next month but we’re just taking it each day as it comes at the minute.”
Non Stanford


“It’s ruled me out for the first half of the season and it really has been a massive step back for me,” Stanford told

“I had to spend a long time in a boot and on crutches and I’ve only just started back running. When you’re within touching distance and you’re just not quite ready it’s really frustrating.

“I’ve just got to keep my head up and keep working away and hopefully I will be on that start line raring to go in Glasgow.

“I’m hoping to get a few races in before then. I’m really hoping to be at the European Championships towards the end of next month but we’re just taking it each day as it comes at the minute.

“One of the things that really kept me going over the last few months was racing in front of a home crowd in London where I raced so well last year.

“Without a doubt that was the highlight of my career, nothing else comes close. You can’t ask for any more than becoming world champion on home soil in front of all your friends and family.


“It was definitely special and I think now I can really appreciate it. At the time I took it in my stride but now that I can’t actually race you look back and realise how special it actually was and how much you have to enjoy those victories when they come.

“We tried really hard to get me to that start line and I was really looking forward to going back there and hopefully having another great race but it’s not meant to be.


“There are always ups and downs and everyone has to endure a tough year in sport. It just means that when it does all finally come together the rewards will be much sweeter.”
Non Stanford


“It’s part and parcel of what we do. There are always ups and downs and everyone has to endure a tough year in sport. It just means that when it does all finally come together the rewards will be much sweeter.”

Stanford revealed she cannot wait to represent Wales in this summer’s Commonwealth Games and could also feature in the 5000m.

“The Commonwealth Games has been on my radar since well before the Olympics. It’s my first memory of a large international Games,” she said.

“In triathlon you only have one chance every four years to represent Wales and that’s at the Commonwealth Games. It will be really special. Standing on that line to represent Wales is something I’ve always dreamed of.

“If I could get a Commonwealth Games medal I’d be absolutely over the moon especially after such a testing few months.”

“I’d love to be able to compete on the track as well. We’ve looked at the scheduling and it would probably be more plausible that I race the 5k rather than the 10k.

“But because of my injury status the main aim will be just to get to the triathlon start line in one piece and if I make the track it will be an added bonus because I would absolutely love to walk out into that stadium and experience the atmosphere in there as well.

“I couldn’t have too many expectations (if I raced in the 5000m) because I’d be racing against some of the Kenyans and a lot of other top athletes who are some of the fastest 5k runners in the world.

“Hopefully I can get in there, get in the mix and race smart and come out with the best result I possibly can.”

see more:

As you may recall one of my major aims in preparation for the Windsor Triathlon is to lose a few pounds. Not only do I want to be able to comfortably slide into my wetsuit for the open-water swim, I know that being lighter is a good way to get significantly quicker.

According to Joe Friel’s Triathlete’s Training Bible, losing 10lb of body fat would mean I could complete the 10km run section two minutes quicker and cycle hills 7 to 10 per cent faster (page 321 if you don’t want to take my word for it).

Balancing act

Up until now I’ve always been unsure of how to get the balance right. I want to have enough fuel in the tank to power through training sessions and I want to make sure I’m getting the right nutrition for recovery afterwards. But at the same time I don’t want to be piling on more calories than I’ve burnt off.

As a few refreshing pints of ale followed by a large pizza doesn’t seem to be doing the job, Powerbar kindly arranged for me to speak to Ironman Wales champion Scott Neyedli, who’s in slightly better shape than me, to get some nutritional advice. Here’s how it went…

Scott Neyedli post-race

Me: What’s the best way of balancing losing weight but also ensuring I’m taking on the right nutrition and energy to fuel training?

Scott: What I try to do to stimulate a fat burning session I’ll run or cycle for my commute to work several days a week and I’ll do that in a fasted state. I won’t have any coffee or food when I wake up in the morning which is only about 30-45 minutes depending on whether I cycle or run but it’s a smart way to optimise the session. If you’re commuting to work it’s not really a training session but if you are doing it fasted your insulin levels have levelled out while you were sleeping so everything should be at a base level. You don’t want it to be a high intensity session though, keep your heart rate at zone one.

Me: What about recovery after a training session. How do I make sure I don’t pile the calories back on?

Scott: I’ll have a low carb whey protein shake to help repair the muscles 30 minutes after exercise. The best way is to limit the carbs but try to replenish the muscles so you’re able to go and hit the sessions the day after and the day after that.

Me: What would you recommend days leading up to the race so you’re fuelled but not going in feeling bloated?

Scott: I’ve seen a lot of people get this idea of carb loading with heaps of pasta and heaps or rice on their plate, but it’s two or three times what they would normally eat. That’s just going to lead to gastric issues or bloatiness. A week before the race you shouldn’t be doing the same amount of training that you normally do (tapering). So the frequency of your sessions will reduce but your meal size stays the same – you  might reduce protein and increase the carbs. It results in carb loading anyway because you are reducing your training and getting more rest.

Proof is in the (lack of) pudding

While I am not yet quite up to Scott’s racing standard I have certainly dropped some weight in recent weeks after taking his advice. Having a bumper lot of goodies from the fine people at Powerbar has certainly helped, particularly munching on protein bars straight after exercise which has helped stave off any cravings for less nutritional snacks.

This has resulted in markedly improved cycling and running times, and with Open-Water Season just about upon us I guess it will soon be time to see if I can also shoehorn myself into the wetsuit…

see more:

Photo: Nils Nilsen

In his late 50s, Tony caught the triathlon bug. Like most of us, he started exercising a lot and spent too much on equipment. He eventually joined a local team and raced four to six times a year. He loved it. Tony’s wife of 30 years appreciated the passion behind his new activity but didn’t understand the craziness of it all. She was supportive, but not interested enough to subject herself to a long, hot and admittedly boring day of watching him race. It just wasn’t her thing.

That was until one day, when Tony finally convinced her to come watch a local half. His requests were simple: cheer him on, and of course, give him a Gu at mile 8 of the run. She agreed, dropped him off at transition and wished him luck.

Six hours into his race, suffering from serious fatigue, Tony approached mile 8. This was his shining moment. And sure enough, he saw his wife. But as he got closer, he noticed a problem. She wasn’t waiting patiently waving a Gu above her head. She was sitting in a lawn chair, reading The New Yorker.

With each labouring step, Tony’s enthusiasm turned to searing anger as his wife continued reading, oblivious of his approach. In a frantic last-ditch effort he screamed, “Gu! Gu! Gu!”

Alarmed volunteers rushed to give Tony a Gu, but in a boiling, dehydrated rage he rejected them with wild swats from his hands. As he passed, the commotion pulled his wife from her reading. But she missed him, it was too late, and Tony bonked his way to the finish.

This tragic (and true) story is a perfect illustration of the classic conundrum that all triathletes and their family and friends face. As athletes passionately pursuing a challenging sport, we want to be supported. And many of our family and friends want to support us. But the expectations and demands of that support can often be daunting, confusing and too intense for our supporters to handle.

So to save us all from a painful bonk and an awkward conversation with family and friends, I asked my social media followers the most important do’s and don’ts of supporting a triathlete at a race:

Do: Try Your Best To Reduce Worries Or Responsibilities Outside Of The Race
Preparing for race day is like being assigned the longest to-do list of all time, while simultaneously trying to rest as much as possible. It’s the worst feeling ever. Obviously, we’ve all got responsibilities outside of racing, but the biggest help a supporter can provide is to remove as much from the racer’s plate as possible. @HenleyFenix writes, “I know the schedule for the day, I let him focus on setup, etc. I herd the family and friends.”

Don’t: over-talk / over-analyse / over-ask questions about the race
For super-excited, nervous and sweaty athletes, having family around can be a perfect distraction. Or it can make it worse. I’m a reasonably relaxed racer, but I still get nervous. Constant questions about the race — How do you feel? What’s your plan? Oh my, won’t the water be cold? — are just constant reminders of the pain I’m about to put myself through. But I realise my family wants to know that stuff so they can better watch, help and cheer me on. So I set a time when I answer my family’s questions about the race, rapid fire. When the inquisition is over, I ask them kindly to talk about normal stuff, like “The Mindy Project” and my son’s latest poo.

Do: yell loudly and enthusiastically every time any athlete goes by
Triathlon supporters endure long days with very little of it watching their specific racer. The best thing they can do to pass the time is cheer for other athletes out on the course. @calquist writes, “Cheer for everyone! It’s sad to run past supporters just staring at you.” I agree. I watched Kona this year with the Specialized corporate crew, and they had a computer to look up people’s names by their number, and a megaphone to cheer them on as they came down Ali’i Drive. The racers were stoked! And it was one of the most fun spectating experiences I’ve ever had. If you don’t have a computer, just make up names, like @ Rose_A_Waggin, who says, “You got this, sponge guy!”

Don’t: yell the wrong thing
So what do you yell? Surprisingly, the No. 1 complaint I heard was, whatever you do, don’t say, “You’re almost there.” Apparently that drives people crazy. I think most triathletes just want to hear the truth. Like @MarisJameson says, “Never say, ‘Looking good.’ I do not look good — I’m in pain, I have snot all over my face and my form has gone to ***t.”

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive. I tend to lean toward stuff that doesn’t insinuate how they’re per- forming—like, “You can do it!” or “Keep it up!” When in doubt, I go full random like, “You’re a LION, grrrrrrrrrr!” or “Spaceman, let’s FLY!” Let the creative juices flow and see what happens.

Do: know the course, the times, and the best places to watch
Again, more questions for a rapid-fire sesh, but I’ll say from experience that it’s pretty awesome when my family has taken a few minutes to do some research on their own. It shows that they care and are excited about creating their own little watching adventure. The race/course/time details are almost always available online via a simple search, and you’d be surprised how little most of us athletes know about spectating the race we’re racing anyway. But “whatever you do, be there when your athlete finishes!” says @pknapp.

Don’t: be on the course
Seriously, it’s not just a nuisance when spectators are on the course — it’s downright dangerous. This was the No. 2 complaint I got from followers. Find that great spot, but don’t run across the course, lean out into it, flail your arms to take the perfect picture, etc. You never know when a speeding bike or dazed runner will come out of nowhere and cause some serious harm. And please pay extra attention to your children and dogs!

Do: go crazy
As Erin Green writes, “Positive cheers, dancing, playing music. Dressing up and making it fun is always a hit with me. High energy is a must!” I couldn’t agree more. When you’ve been out there for hours, in a ton of pain and pushing through your deepest doubts, energy is literally transferrable. Make a sign, jump up and down, scream-cry like Justin Bieber just ran by. My favourite are high-fives—I literally feel the energy transfer. Whatever you do, just make it fun and your racer will love it.

So there you have it, supporters. But athletes, before you show this article to your family and friends and say something that puts you in the doghouse, let me say that I could easily fill an article about the many ways we act like crazy, annoying, self-obsessed tri dorks before a race. Realise that every time they come watch you, they’re subjecting themselves to early mornings, hours in the sun, no Sunday brunch and a dead iPhone battery just to see you cruise by six times for a total of 33 seconds. You could say the definition of true love is watching someone’s triathlon. So take a deep breath, thank your family and treat them with the appreciation they deserve!


Safer, tougher and more challenging, the ROCKMAN Ultra X Triathlon is one of a kind. With diverse and hardcore terrain, one will need stamina, core strength and the mental capacity to become the ultimate “ROCKMAN”. It’s time to take it off road.

The ROCKMAN Ultra X Triathlon will test your physical limits
Distances include a 2km swim, 70km mountain bike, and 18km trail run. The ROCKMAN Ultra X Triathlon takes place on 7 December at the Peninsula on Vaal at the Vaal Dam.

Entries open on Sunday, 1 June with early bird entries closing on Monday, 15 September.

For more information, click here.

Brown rice
Brown rice

Carb cycling is a fat-loss dietary technique that crops up in the media from time to time. There’s very little research on carb cycling, especially with regards to its effectiveness in fuelling triathlon training.

Carb cycling hails from the bodybuilding world, where a person rotates through high-carb, moderate-carb, and low/no-carb days. But all days require a high protein intake. The very fact that its roots lie in the sport of bodybuilding should immediately place a question mark over whether it’s suitable for tri/endurance training.

Bodybuilders train very differently to triathletes, and invariably ‘cycle’ hard strength workouts with longer periods of rest. They also tend to need less carbohydrate and more protein than endurance athletes. Triathletes, on the other hand, are training daily and therefore need constant refuelling with a higher percentage of their total calorie intake coming from carbohydrates.

I’m sure you can begin to see why carb cycling is not altogether suited to triathlon training, and neither is it necessary to use as a method to lose body fat. Fat loss for triathletes centres around eating a diet that focuses primarily on low GI, natural carbs such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa, with copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, balanced with quality proteins and topped off with healthy fats.

I’d focus more on optimising the types and quality of carbs and really sticking with the known and effective principles of tri nutrition.

(Main image: GST HBK)

see more: