Ever wanted to do a triathlon?

So what’s a triathlon and specifically, what’s a sprint triathlon? A sprint (or novice) triathlon is a short distance triathlon, which is ideal for the beginner athlete, comprising of a swim, a bike and then a run (all in succession, with no breaks!). Sprint triathlons can vary in distance, but typically a sprint triathlon consists of a 400-750m swim, a 20km bike and a 5km run, well within the capabilities of most active people (with some focused training).

So what training do you need to do to complete your first triathlon? It depends on your current fitness levels; however, you must feel comfortable about being able to complete each discipline (swim, bike and run) on its own, before stringing them together one after the other. So you must be happy that come race day you have enough fitness to be able to complete the 400-750m swim without too much trouble, be able to bike for 20km and be able to complete a 5km run without dying! As a triathlon uses many different muscles and different energy systems, varied training is required in the three disciplines; however with some focus most people are able to train to complete their first triathlon.

How about equipment? For your first triathlon, you really only need the minimum of equipment; some swim-wear and goggles, basic biking gear (bike, helmet and clothing) and running gear (trainers and clothing); and that’s it. You don’t need to invest loads of money on your first race, I think most people probably own the majority of the required equipment, or at least can borrow some from friends and family to train with and use on race day.

On the day of the race you will usually be asked to arrive nice and early to register/check-in, at this point you’ll receive your race number (if you hadn’t already received it in the post) and some final instructions regarding the race itself. Now it’s time to set up your transition area, this is where you rack your bike and lay out your cycling helmet, running trainers, etc ready to change into when transitioning from one stage to the next stage of the race.

Now you’ve set up your transition area, you’re ready to race! The swim is up first, depending on the race the start will either be a mass start (everyone starts together) or a wave start (small groups start at the same time), so make sure you know what time your start is (it might be different from your friends start time). Once out of the swim you’ll make your way to the transition area, here you’ll change into your bike gear (helmet on!) and set off on the bike course (usually very well marshalled and signposted, but make sure you have an idea of the route before starting the race). At the end of the bike course you’ll return to the transition area, jump off your bike, change into your running gear and set off for the final leg of the race. This is usually the hardest part of the race as you’ve already swam and biked for maybe up to an hour, so you’ll be pretty fatigued before setting off on the run. No matter, you’re nearly done, but don’t forget to smile for the camera (there’s usually a photographer at the finish line).

That’s it, race over. You’ve just completed your first sprint triathlon!

Breakfast before your early morning run?

A few people have asked if missing breakfast before going for a run is a big deal, well, here’s our response. 

Cardiff sports nutritionSome people feel they can get away with not eating anything before their morning run, but I guarantee that unless they are fuelling during their run, then they’re not getting in an optimal training session. Studies show that people who train without eating anything run at a slower pace AND it feels much harder than it should.
In saying that, it doesn’t have to be a full English breakfast. Something simple and light will suffice, perhaps some toast (with peanut butter), some Greek yoghurt, a small bowl of porridge or cereal, some fruit, a smoothie or even a few small bites of an energy bar; all washed down with a glass of water. Simple. 
Remember, by fuelling your run correctly you’ll feel better during your run, you’ll be getting in a much better workout and you’ll recover much quicker. Eating something is much better than eating nothing! 

Porthkerry 5: multi-terrain running race

This morning Mark took part in the Porthkerry 5, it's a 5 mile off road (multi-terrain) running race held in Porthkerry Park, near Barry. Porthkerry 5It's a tough race, all off road, with some tough, tough hills thrown in at several points in the race, plus some running on grass and a short section on the beach just to spice things up a bit!

Mark was using this race as a training race in the run up to his 'A' race of the season (a triathlon in Holland in July as part of the GB off-road triathlon team) and managed a very creditable 7th pace in a very large field of runners!

Read more: Porthkerry 5: multi-terrain running race

Open water swim training for triathlon

With the triathlon season almost upon us, and many more people deciding to undertake bigger and longer triathlons, I thought it would be timely to highlight a few tips and tricks regarding the open water aspect of triathlon.

Because open-water swimming includes many variables that differ from normal pool swimming, the only way to get better is to practise; therefore you must get out and swim more in the open water. This is one of the biggest fundamentals of open water swimming, nonetheless, here are my top tips to help you excel at your next open water triathlon race:

1. Train in the open water
If you have a race in the open water, then you must train in the open water! Do not use the triathlon race itself as your first open water swim session, if you do you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Read more: Open water swim training for triathlon

7 tops tips for healthier and fitter living


Fitness Cardiff

More and more people these days are getting sedentary jobs instead of physical jobs. Sitting in office chairs all day long has become the norm for many of us. The stress, busyness and rush make us forget about regular food, instead we stuff our stomachs with convenient pre-packaged fast food and sugary drinks, which don't do anything good for our bodies.

As a result of such crazy life rhythm, we rarely find time for exercises, gyms or balanced nutrition. As a matter of fact, it's one of the reasons why there are now more that 60% of U.S citizens that are overweight. However, it is possible to change your lifestyle and lose your weight if you are willing to.
These 7 day-to-day life tips provided below will help you to drop your extra pounds, become more energetic and healthier.

1. Drink More Water
Our bodies need a lot of water. Water removes waste from our organisms and carries various nutrients into all our organs and cells. Your body also loses water by using it for various processes within the body. For this reason you have to replace it and drink water more often than you are used to. Start your day with a glass of water in the morning. Drink a glass of water before any meal. Take a bottle of water with you when you go to work. Your body needs approxim
ately 3-5 liters of water during one day. So don't hesitate to drink plenty of water wherever and whenever you can.
Read more: 7 tops tips for healthier and fitter living