Welsh Aquathlon Championships 2013

Yesterday WhittleFit head coach, Mark Whittle, took part in the Welsh Aquathlon Championships in Poppit Sands in west Wales. The aquathlon race consists of a swim, followed by a run and this particular race was a 1km sea swim followed by a 5km off road run.

The bay at Poppit Sands was very calm so the swim was pretty flat, no swell, no waves to speak of, and almost perfect swimming conditions. The run was a combination of a flat off road trail, with a small undulating section on the road, followed by a very tough final few km’s on soft sand!

Coach Mark had an excellent day coming 13th overall and 2nd in his age group, well done Mark!

WhittleFit athlete qualifies (again) for Triathlon World Champs!

Very pleased to report that WhittleFit triathlete Andrew Martin qualified yesterday to represent Great Britain at the World Triathlon Sprint Championships in London in September.

The qualification race was held in Bristol, which consisted of a 750m open water swim, a 20k bike ride, followed by a 5K run. Andrew had a great day, coming home 4th in his age group which qualifies him to represent Great Britain in Hyde Park in September. Andrew has now qualified for both the triathlon championships (swim/bike/run) and the aquathlon championships (swim/run), so it looks like he has a tough few weeks of training ahead of him!

Great work Andrew, excellent racing and a well deserved qualification place to the World Champs!

Running Strides?

Running Strides cardiffThe term “strides” or "pickups" often comes up in running and triathlon training plans. We use strides with our WhittleFit coached athletes, however, occasionally runners aren’t exactly sure what they are, when to use them and why. 

Well, the term “strides” refers to a faster section of running, often before a race or a planned faster paced training session. The strides are relaxed, easy sprints, at approximately 70 to 80% of your all out max effort for anywhere between 40n and 100m. In fact, the actual speed or distance is not that important, the goal is to run in a smooth controlled manner, with good form. 

The purpose of strides before a race or a faster paced training session is to get the body used to what is about to happen to it (i.e. run fast!) and to encourage the athlete to run with a smooth economical style; this is significantly more beneficial than warming up in a slow, steady manner, which only encourages a runner to run slow and steady. 

Strides should be smooth and quick, your head should be held high and not looking directly at the ground, you should feel very little tension in your neck and shoulders, your feet should feel light and fast as they quickly contact the ground. This fluency of motion should transfer seamlessly across to your “normal” running style, which will enhance your running economy and speed. 

Read more: Running Strides?

The myth of the taper

The Ironman triathlon season is upon us and that means lots of swim, bike and run training, checking in with your triathlon coach, watching your nutrition and, hopefully, staying injury free. As the race itself approaches you have to think about your taper. Taper? What’s all that about? 

Mastering the taper for a long distance event is like the Holy Grail of triathlon, get it right and you’ll be flying, get it wrong.......and it’ll be a long, long day! I alluded to some of the mystery surrounding rest and recovery and losing fitness in a previous post, however this post is more about my thoughts on the mysteries of the taper.

Read more: The myth of the taper

Treforest 10K

Yesterday Mark took part in the Treforest 10K, it's a brand new local running race held in Pontypridd. The race director announced the race as "gently undulating" for the first 5K or so, which I understand to be a slight understatement! It was described by most of the racers as "hilly"!

Mark was using this race as a training race and a hard training session in the run up to his 'A' race of the season (an off-road triathlon in Holland as part of the GB team) and unofficially have him coming home in 10th position. A good result on a surprisingly tough course! 

Head Coach Mark provides one-to-one running, cycling and triathlon coaching and online training plans, so if you're in Cardiff, Penarth, Barry, Cowbridge or further afield in the Vale of Glamorgan and are contemplating getting a coach to guide you through your 2013 season contact Mark or visit the coaching pages here on the WhittleFit website for more details on the running, cycling and triathlon coaching services that Mark provides.