Author Archive for James Eacott

How to improve mental toughness for racing

Most endurance-based sports such as triathlon require the individual to have a good level of mental toughness. Purely to even consider doing the sport would likely mean you have a level of mental resilience anyway. However, sometimes we can let our minds get the better of us and when certain circumstances occur mid-racesuch as bad weather or a puncture we can lose it and let our minds get the better of us.

This aim of this blog is to provide some methods to practice in training to enable you to develop mental toughness so that, come race day, nothing will stop you.

  1. Train in all conditions. It’s rare to have ‘perfect conditions’ on race day and the weather is entirely out of our control. We all frantically observe the weather forecast in the week leading up to the race, praying it stays dry and the wind is minimal. But in the UK in particular, this is wishful thinking! Therefore, we should practice training in all elements. If it’s raining and you are due to head out on a long ride, don’t opt for the turbo – get out there and embrace it. Same with running. If its ridiculously windy don’t opt for the treadmill, get out amongst it and get it done. You aren’t going to have the option of indoor training on race day and if you can tough it out in training you can certainly get through it in a race situation where adrenaline and nerves are high unlike other training sessions where motivation may not be quite as high.
  2. Train harder than your race. If you have endured tough training sessions and have pushed through longer rides and runs than the actual race distances, you will go into the race feeling a lot more confident in your ability. Like anything, the more you push your limits and learn to ‘suffer’ the easier race day will feel. Your body is a remarkable thing and it has the power to remember certain feelings and experineces. The more you put the body and mind through tough and difficult situations, the more prepared and ready you will feel for the race.
  3. Discomfort and uncertainty is a great thing. We are all stronger and more capable than what we think – racing exposes this. We always seem to find that extra 1% when we really need to. Things that are uncertain or that scare us are great and should be embraced. Nothing ever grows from a comfort zone. Going into the unknown on race day not knowing what the day will hold might be scary, but it’s great for building resilience and a strong mentality. There are high chances of things not going to plan during a race and it’s having the ability to keep calm and get through it.
  4. Believe in yourself. This is a great one to end with. You have to truly believe in yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will, and that doubt will show on race day. Give yourself a race day mantra and repeat it over and over when training. Engrain it in your mind and use it. Replicate the race you want and believe you’re capable of. Also, make sure you go through potential issues that could occur and visualise handling them on race day. Going into a race with all the scenarios covered will give you a high level of confidence.

Now that you’re armed to tackle any race day scenarios, take a look at our events and get your name down – you’re set to smash it!

Run your way to a PB in your next triathlon

Of all three disciplines, the run seems to be the determining factor / make or break in a triathlon. It’s what it all comes down to. If the legs aren’t there when you hop off the bike, it could be a very slow and slightly uncomfortable run to that finish line.

Here are a few tips to get you quicker and more efficient on that final part of your race.

1 Get used to running on tired legs

Practicing ‘Brick’ sessions (running straight after a bike ride) or running the following day after a long/hard bike session in your training sessions is a great way of getting the legs adjusted to this feeling. Sessions like these will help replicate the similar movement patterns used when you get into T2 and out on the run. It will help your body and mind remember this feeling and know exactly what to do and how to cope when you really need those legs to turn up and produce the goods.

2 Get Stronger in the swim and on the bike

If you notice a huge difference in your running when ‘fresh’ (i.e just running) to when you run in a triathlon off the back of the swim and bike sections, you may need to look at getting stronger in those two disciplines in order to help you support the run. By getting strong in the water and on the bike will help you sustain better endurance and become more aerobically efficient. Try to build up these two elements in your winter training and see how this effects the run for the better.

3 Up the run volume

Like with anything, the more you work on things, the better you will become. Look to increase the mileage gradually each week and up the volume to allow the body to adjust and get stronger as we head into the new year.

Happy Running!

How to choose the right triathlon

With the triathlon scene becoming more and more popular each year, there are now thousands of races to choose from. It can all become a little overwhelming (not to mention expensive!) when sitting down to pick which races you are going to enter.

We’ve jotted down these tips to help you figure out which ones might be right for you:

1 What are your goals?

Before picking any races, make sure you have all of the goals you are looking to achieve within the season beforehand. If you are looking to qualify for certain races such as AG European or World champs for example, you need to know which races you can enter which will enable you to try and qualify for them. If your goals are a little less serious and just want to enjoy races and see what happens then your decisions on what races to enter would likely be different. Be sure that whichever races you chose, they have relevance to you and your goals.

2 What is your level of commitment to triathlon?

Another point to consider is what level you feel you are at within triathlon. Are you a beginner looking for a few low-key friendly races to do as a bit of fun? Or are you season professional with aims of turning pro? Regardless of where you sit, be sure you can commit to what you have entered.

Will you have enough time to fit the training in and be ready for these races? Think about how much you can realistically do next year and then chose the races from there.

3 Time of year

Bear in mind what time of year the races are before you book them. If you intend of racing in hotter climates or in the peak of British summer (I know this doesn’t really matter as we don’t really have much of a summer!!), ensure you are able to prepare for them and know what it will be like to train in these kind of temperatures.

4 Race location

It goes without saying, but make sure you know where the races are locared when you sign up! I know a couple of people who have entered a race only to realise it was a complete pain in the neck to get to. So ask yourself: how easy is it to get there? Will you need to get there a few days off work? How early do you have to get there to rack / register? Weigh up all this information before you press enter.

5 Read race ratings and eedback

Do you know others that have done these races you are looking to do? If so, try to gain as much information about them as possible to gauge what their experience of it was and whether it sounds like a good one to do. There are also plenty of race review websites available on line that can also help with this. Feedback is always a great way to make the decision on whether to enter them or not.

We hope these tips help you in choosing your perfect races for 2020! Don’t forget to check out our range of DB Max triathlons – there’s bound to be one or two that fit your schedule!

COMPETITOR STORY – LIZ AND ALAN RENNO

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Liz & Alan Renno who took part in the Chilly 10K with us.

My mum was diagnosed with blood cancer on 13th March this year. Unfortunately this is terminal. Also my dad suddenly passed away on 7th July. I wanted to to do something positive as it was such a sad time in my life. My husband Alan suggested raising money for the Haematology unit that is caring for my mum and in memory of my Dad. We looked online and the Chilly 10k was the first event that came up. There were 16 of us that ran for my mum’s charity.

The 24th November is my 50th birthday and my nickname is Chilly Liz (I’m always cold and I love hot food) we thought this had to be a sign !!

COMPETITOR STORY – SARAH FULHAM

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Sarah Fulham who took part in the Chilly 10K with us.

My Nan is 75 Years old and in March this year she was diagnosed with a very rare type of blood cancer. Following her diagnosis her husband, my Grandad, died at the age of 79. Due to the rarity of her illness she will need to have chemotherapy and blood transfusions for the rest of her life. She’s being treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and has received top class care and support from all of the staff there. When my Grandad died it gave me and other family members the motivation to raise money for the hospital that is doing such a great job of looking after my Nan and will continue to do so for the rest of her life.

The Chilly 10K happens to fall on my Aunties 50th birthday which seemed like the perfect time to get the family together to support this cause  and have a celebration. This will be my first ever run and I’m looking forward to doing it as well raising money for a really important cause“.

COMPETITOR STORY – LEE FELLOWS

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Lee Fellows who took part in the Chilly 10K with us.

Movember is the only charity movement focused solely on mens health, tackling issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and the shocking rate of male suicides.

Ive been fundraising with Movember for the past 4 years, I’ve seen firsthand what poor mental health can lead to, its such an important message to spread, go and talk to the doctor about your niggling health concern, open up to a friend or relative about how you’ve been feeling, we need to remove the stigmas that still surround mens health.

I’m proud to raise money for the Movember foundation“.

Lee’s donation link is https://mobro.co/costakeynsham

How to get the most from your swim sessions

Whether swimming is your favourite or worst of the three triathlon disciples, it’s a vital part of the sport and an area you can’t afford to neglect…unless you come from a swim background.

For most triathletes, swimming is their least favourite discipline. If this describes you, start introducing some new training methods into your schedule, such as the ones we’ve shared below. The off-season is the best time of year to do this – time in the pool now will pay massive dividends come 2020!

Here’s a few tips to help mix things up and get the best out of your pool time:

1 Have a plan.

If you only take one piece of info away from this article, let this be it! Whatever you do in the pool, don’t go into it without a plan, making the session up on the fly. Either write a session beforehand (there’s tonnes online for inspiration) or if you have a coach, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Like all training sessions, it’s much easier to get the work done when you know not only what the session is, but what purpose is serves.

2 Join a swimming or triathlon club.

This is a great way to improve your swimming. Swimming with others will give you a huge boost and reap big gains. Swimming solo is fine, but if you can swim with others once or twice per week, you’ll be pushed more and get more from the session.

If you have the opportunity to be watched by a coach on deck to provide technique feedback, even better.

3 Use tools.

Mix up the training and start introducing swim tools into your sets. Pull bouys and paddles, for example, are great for building shoulder strength and enable you to power through the water more efficiently. They also help improve technique.

4 Use your time effectively

If you only have time to swim two or three times per week (or even less), ensure that the time spent in the water is high quality. Quality out-trumps quantity tenfold when it comes to swimming.

It’s admirable to aim to swim four or five times per week, but if you’re rushing sets or solely focused on getting the time / distance in, then quality will suffer. Much better reduce the frequency you hit the pool per week and ensure that the sessions you do do are of good quality.

Sign up for a DB Max triathlon

Now your winter swim training is on the right path, why not put it into practice next year? We’d love to see you at one of our events in 2020, and entires are open for some events already! Check them out:

#51FIVER Cotswold triathlon – 17th May 2020

Westonbirt sprint triathlon – 25th May 2020

Titan Brecon middle distance triathlon – 20th June 2020

How to balance life and triathlon

Triathlon, as we know, involves three different sports. This means a lot of time training and planning your life around swim / bike / run is crucial if you want to maintain a healthy balance between triathlon and life. It’s about prioritising your time, making sure that time with loved ones isn’t placed at the bottom of the pile! If done right, it can all work in harmony.

Time is undoubtedly the biggest challenge most endurance athletes face, however it’s important to remember that this sport is something you picked – it should be enjoyable and not a stress. If you find yourself struggling with the triathlon / life balance, we’ve some tips to get you back on track:

  1. Create a schedule. Unless you have a coach to do the planning for you, take time to plan out a race(s) and training schedule. Don’t just wing it as you go along. Start by working out what your current weekly schedule looks like – including work times, family time and other social engagements – and ensure that the training you are adding to this schedule is manageable.
  2. Think outside the box. Get creative with what time you do have. Chances are you’ve a lot more ‘free’ time than you initially think. If you struggle fitting the demands of training for triathlon in, think about incorporating it into your day to day routine. For example, start cycling or running to and from work each day. This is a great way of banking some miles. You will be surprised how much this adds up over the week.
  3. Quality not quantity. If you are time-poor, ensure the hours you can train focus on quality rather than quantity. You’ll do yourself no favours wasting valuable time and hours on sessions which serve no purpose to you just for the sake of banking training. It’s much more effective to have two or three quality swim / bike / run sessions per week than adding a load of junk miles.
  4. Don’t over-commit. Recognise your limitations. If you are going to do something, ensure the demands and goals you are placing on yourself are realistic and achievable. Think about the sacrifices you will have to make and be cognisant in deciding to tackle them. It’s right to include loved ones in your decision making process too, as their support will be crucial to your success.

If the balance is right, the goals are realistic and everyone knows where they stand, triathlon is a hugely fun and accessible to fit around work and family commitments.

Now you know how you’re going to manage your time, how about entering a race?!

#51fiver Cotswold standard distance triathlon – 17th May 2020

Westonbirt Sprint Triathlon – 25th May 2020

Titan Brecon middle distance – 20th June 2020

How to keep motivated during the off season

The ‘Off season’ is exactly that. It’s a time to switch off, a time to leg go of the season that’s passed and enjoy a little break away from the usual regular routine.

This is more appropriate for the longer endurance athletes amongst you, but it applies to everyone who’s competitively involved in sports also. The demands placed on the bodies of those who compete in endurance-type sports such as running, cycling and triahtlons is great, and the hours of training and racing over the season is mentally draining. It takes it’s toll, hence why an off-season is really important.

It is highly recommended to give yourself a good couple of weeks (between 2 and 4 normally optimal) of complete rest after the season finishes. And I mean complete rest! Not a little jog here and there or a dip in the pool. Absolutely zero exercise. Now this may scare some of you – the thought of zero exercise and the feeling of doubt as to whether you will return to those ‘peak’ form days. But not only will this help reset your body, it’ll also get you fired up and motivated to get the head down and back in that “pain cave” ready to start a new block of training for the next season.

During the off season, it’s totally fine – and expected – to lose some fitness and put a little weight on too. It’s normal, natural, healthy and genuinely good for your longevity within sport. You shouldn’t expect to be in peak condition – both fitness and weight – year round. Try and you’ll burnout fast.

Omitting this rest is a recipe for distaster and the likelihood is you will either pick up an injury or permanently lose your mojo in due course!

However, once that rest is done and you’re eager to get back on the horse, ease yourself back into general exercise. This is a great time to try new sports because you don’t need to dive straight back into structured workouts. Triathletes spend a lot of time swimming, biking and running and don’t have a great deal of time for much else – the off-season is a perfect time to mix things up a little.

What about investing in a cheap mountain bike and hitting the trails with some mates? Or visit your local rock climbing centre and spending a few hours doing that? These are both great ways to expend that energy you’ve amassed but also allowing you and your mind to focus on something different.

If you take the rest seriously and give yourself that separation, I can guarantee your motivation levels will rise through the roof and you will be ready for a fresh new block of training.

Recover like a pro post-run

Whether you’re a professional or a couch to 5k runner, it doesn’t matter: recovering from your run sessions is vital regardless of the level you are at. Not only will it help aid muscle soreness or injuries and niggles occurring, but recovering properly will enhance your performance next time and that’s something ALL of us want right?

Here are some tips to help you nail that recovery!

Warm down. This is just as important as warming up. Just a gentle jog and 10mins of light stretching at the end is all that’s required to kick-start that recovery phase. Adding this into your regime, although may feel like a bit of a burden and pointless but it will help you a lot long-term.

Refuel. Aiming to consume some nutrition post-run should be high on the list. Research suggests to take full advantage of that key window (20-30min) post session to get some food in. This is to help repair, build and replace what was lost throughout.

Rehydrate. Again, another priority on the ‘recovery list’ is hydration. Not only should it be an essential post session or race, this should also take place pre-run too! This helps reduce the chances of cramping or dehydration creeping in mid-session, especially if you are running longer distances such as half, full and ultra marathons. Rehydrating after is very important and helps to replace what was lost through sweating throughout the run.

Sleep. Everyone knows the importance and benefits sleeping has on our bodies. Aim for 7-8hrs each night – this enables the body time to rest and repair and its especially important after a big session or race.

Listen to your body. If you’ve had a hard training session or race and are no doubt feeling the effects of it, such as fatigue and muscle soreness, be sure to take it steady for the next few days before jumping back into training. A suggestion would be to implement some cross-training such as swimming or spinning into your week to help the body moving and flush out that lattice with little to no impact on the body.

Give your body the respect it deserves.