Author Archive for James Eacott

Now is not the time to peak your training

If everything was “normal” right now, a lot of us would be well into our 2020 race season and coming into top form before tapering for our A races.

The hard work and prep for this season would have already started way back in the winter months of 2019, big training blocks would have been banked way before the dreaded COVID-19 reared its ugly face, and all race plans would have been put into place and tapering segments laid out all ready to crush this season.

Sadly, this wasn’t to be and it’s affected us all in different ways. A lot have taken their foot off the pedal and accepted that their time will come one day, but right now the training can be eased and the focus can be shifted elsewhere. Others have gone the opposite way and continued to ramp up the training and race “virtually” and use the extra time they now have to smash out hard training blocks where perhaps they may not of had time to of done so if “normal” was still happening.

Now, neither of these are right nor wrong, everyone has to find their own coping mechanisms. However, we’d advise those that have continued to train hard and “race” hard to remember that this isn’t the finish outcome. Who knows, there’s still a chance some races could still go ahead towards the end of the season so we suggest playing on the side of caution and being sensible with the training. We don’t really want to be breaking PB’s and crushing hard blocks back to back in training. After all, if we were in normal situations right now, we wouldn’t go straight into a hard block after just finishing another one would we? We would always take time to recover after a big race – the same should apply now.

The last thing you want to do now is burnout or risk injury.

Be smart, keep the consistency and training in place each week for sure, but strip it back a little. Save some of that hard work you put in over those winter months, play around with the training and mix it up a little to keep the fire alight. Ultimately, do it because you want to. Don’t feel like you have to push yourself every day because others are. If you don’t feel up for training one day and would rather sit in the sun with a good book, go for it! Right now is not the time to be “winning” at training.

How to maximise time in lockdown

Another 3 weeks of quarantine has been forced upon us. You may have settled into a routine of work, rest and play each day but if you haven’t here are 8 things to help you find some traction in your day.

1. A little goes a long way:
Research shows just some activity will help minimise the loss of fitness. Whilst improvement requires larger doses of training that progress from one week to the next, maintaining fitness doesn’t need nearly as much: just the odd nudge to remind the body that the demand for fitness is still there. Small volumes of regular exercise can reduce or even prevent loses entirely.

2. Find your spark:
Enjoy the lack of training structure and have fun. Join in any one of the plethora of YouTube or live online classes at your disposal. Get creative and set up your own challenge. Or, if you are not sure where to begin, there are any number of core, speed, strength and crazy challenges to get involved with.

3. Get back to basics:
You read a lot about ‘knowing your WHY’ in training and competing. It is useful to keep you motivated day on day. Not everyone has a really clear idea of their ‘why’. But there’s proof that it is a very useful tool. It would be a valuable investment in the metal side of your training to unpick your ‘why’. Use the time to take a step back and unpick why you love it, what is it you love and what is your motivation for hitting your target. Read why you should train through covid-19.

4. Training focus:
Think about your training and, when normal routines resume, how can you optimise your time and do more of what you love.

5. Prioritise your strength:
Do you get a repeated niggle or feel that your core could be stronger? Now is a great time to focus on that valuable and oft neglected area of your training. Here’s 6 top exercises to get you started.

6. Strength from within:
Your immunity needs to be firing on all cylinders at the moment. Relentless bouts of hard training will reduce this and leave you susceptible to illness. The message is work hard which will help you to maintain fitness but not so hard that you are leaving yourself fatigued. Sleep, good food, exercise and a healthy dose of positivity is the balance we are aiming for.

7. Review your wardrobe.
Take a stock check. Piff the old t-shirts that aren’t serving you and the trainers that have done so many miles the soles are worn thin. This is a great website which recycles sports clothing.

8. Read, research, think and learn.
Use this time wisely to develop your understanding of optimal training, recovery and nutrition. Think about you as an athlete, what are you good at, what needs development and then start building ideas of how you are going to optimise your training and yourself.

Kerry Sutton is head coach at Perpetual Motion Coaching

Why you should keep training through COVID-19

With no real time-frame of when this period will end, it’s understandably hard to find the motivation or reason to train right now. However, we have a number of reasons for why we believe a level of consistent training should remain in your weekly schedule…

Get that endorphin high

We’ve all enjoyed the post-session ‘high’ and we’ve all heard the saying of how you never regret the session once its done. So now more than ever is the time to keep those feelings alive. Exercise has been proven to not only boost your mood but also help improve other areas of your life too, such as sleep, stress and that all important feel-good factor about yourself.

Remaining fit

One of the main reasons we’ve heard why motivation may have slipped is due to the fact they can no longer replicate the same level of training volume and intensity as they had done before all of this – and although this is likely to be true because of pools being closed and time restraints on how much we are allowed out etc – it does not mean that you cannot still retain a good level of fitness.

A reduction in volume and intensity will not affect the body too much for a short-period of time and fitness isn’t lost as fast as you may think. Do what you can and maximise what you are able to do – you’ll go further than you think. Time spent stressing is time wasted. Instead, focus on the smaller areas you often neglect or don’t have time for, such as strength and conditioning or stretching.

Think of the bigger picture

We all have to remember that this won’t last forever and we will be back training and racing one day soon. Just keep remembering your ‘why’ and keep your goals fixed in your mind so that you’re ready to let rip once the opportunity presents itself.

Although we have to be realistic, positive thinking goes a long way in situations like this. Reminding yourself that there is still a chance some races will go ahead later in the year and even if they don’t there will be many more seasons to come…

Keep going everyone, remember the bigger picture and why you were training before all of this went down.

Get strong at home

Just because you’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t get strong. These five exercises will build strong, powerful and injury-resistant muscles – a perfect foundation upon which to add more aerobic training once we’re allowed out and races are back on.

These exercises require no equipment, so you can do them anywhere:

Squat
Stand as tall as you can with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then drive yourself up and back to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Do two sets of 20 reps.

Watch out for: Make sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes. Keep your upper body “tall”—don’t bend too much at the hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunge
Stand with your feet staggered, your right foot forward. Squat down through your hips so that your left knee is lowered toward, but not touching, the floor. Lower down to a count of two, and rise back up to a count of two. Repeat on the other leg. Do two sets of 20 reps on each leg.

Watch out for: Ensure your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes, keep a 90 degree angle between your quadriceps and your shin. Keep your upper body “tall”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent, arms out, and palms down. Draw your belly button in, and lift your hips up by pressing your feet into the ground. Contract your core, your glutes, and then your hamstrings in this position. Hold for three to five seconds. Do two sets of 15 reps.

Watch out for: Keep your hips level—don’t let one side dip—while raised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plank
Starting at the top of a pushup position, bend your elbows and lower yourself down until you can shift your weight from your hands to your forearms. Your body should form a straight line. Contract your abdominals and hold for 45 seconds.

Watch out for: Don’t drop your hips or raise your bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clams
Clams are great for strengthening often-neglected glute muscles. Here’s how to do them:

  1. Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand as shown. Bend hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should now be well aligned – your feet should be in line with your back.
  2. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale set your core muscles.
  3. Inhale and whilst exhaling float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another.
  4. Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position.

Repeat 15 times each leg. If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip bone (gluteus medius and minimus) working hard.

Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted with leg movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single leg squat
Balancing on one foot squat down, bending at the knee and sitting your hips back as if you are going to sit in a chair behind you ( have a chair behind you when you start and you can sit onto it before coming back up again). Once down to about a 90 to 115 degree angle in your knee, extend your leg back up to standing. If this is too challenging allow the toes of your hovering foot to lightly rest on the ground. Complete eight repetitions then switch to the other leg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Bradford-on-Avon based personal trainer and run coach Kerry Sutton Perpetual Motion for the images and words.

What to do if your event is cancelled

What crazy times we live in. We live to organise and execute events and the satisfaction we get from every single one of you crossing finish lines of our triathlons, running races and time trials is what gets us out of bed.

But, like all of you, we’ve had to adapt to the coronavirus and make changes we wish we didn’t have to make. Our current coronavirus information will answer many questions, so please read before emailing us, but also please note that this information is correct as of 17th March 2020. Things are changing rapidly and we’re rolling with updates as they come as quick as possible.

While you guys are stuck largely indoors, we wanted to share some advice on how best to manage your time, fitness and look ahead to events and races which will happen, hopefully sooner rather than later.


With everything going on in the world right now, we shouldn’t shed too many tears over cancelled races, but of course it’s gutting to adjust to these times, particularly considering you’ve invested time and resources into preparing for your big day.

Get plenty of sleep – it boosts your immune system

But there’s still plenty you can do to keep in good physical and mental shape so you’re ready to hit it once this does all pass. Here’s our tips to help you structure and plan the next steps of this weird period:

1 Rest and recover
With no foreseeable races/events/competitions approaching, now is not the time to be ramping up the training. Not only will hard training weaken your immune system (which none of us need right now), but pushing the body through hard efforts and specific race-pace sessions is pointless without a goal on the horizon.

But that doesn’t mean do nothing. Just focus on the consistent, easy and enjoyable sessions. You don’t need a structure, just do what you feel like and keep it relaxed. Think of what you would do post-race. You’d ease back into some gentle exercise and keep the body moving, right?

Rest now and you’ll be ready to crank things up a notch once races are back in the calendar.

2 Try something new
Now more than ever is a great time to experience new training options. Why not head out in search from some off-road/trails and take some time to notice the beautiful countryside around us.

3 Leave the watch at home
Pacing, clock watching and timed splits / efforts are not needed right now.

Make the most of just enjoying being out running and leave the watch at home. Experience running to feel and go with what the body feels and keep that pace easy. This will do your mind the world of good.

When you can get outside for a (solo) run, go for it and feel the sun on your back

4 Use this time to work on weaknesses
This is the perfect opportunity to work on areas that you often don’t have time for. It’s a great chance to do more mobility and strength sessions at home. A lot of this stuff can be done using minimal equipment and mostly all body-weight. It gives us chance to all work on our core strength and even hitting up some virtual yoga/ stretch sessions which are available online to watch for free right now is a great shout.

All of this will massively benefit you and get you in great condition and injury-free for when those races are back in the calendar.

5 Stay safe and look after each other
Let’s get our priorities right. Look after each other and think of those ‘at risk’. Follow government advice and let’s do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus – the sooner we do, the sooner we can be back racing!

How to become a successful athlete

The off-season gives you the perfect chance to relflect on the previous season. Address things that went well but also those that didn’t go quite to plan. This is necessary to develop as an athlete – capitalise on strength and figuring out why less positive things happened and from there deduce ways to prevent them from happening again.

As the new season is now just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start making plans and laying down the foundations whilst you can. By addressing these and testing them now in the off-season will allow you to create better habits early on in order to become a better athlete.

Below are a few tips to help you to become a more rounded and successful athlete in 2020.

Time management
We already know how time-consuming Triathlon is as it involves 3 different sports in one, so we are aware that it requires and awful lot of time and commitment in order to see results. Being time-efficient is key to becoming a successful athlete. Using the time you have available between work, and family life can be tricky but certainly do-able if you use that time effectively.

There are a number of hacks that you can try. Many with busy work schedules find themselves getting up extra early to cram a session in on the turbo before driving off to work…or they head out for a late-night run once the kids have gone to bed. But an event more time efficient, and super-effective training method is to incorporate training into your commute. If you have to travel a reasonable distance by car everyday, is there a way of switching the car for your bike and banking some solid miles on the bike to get you from point to point and back again?

Or if you are struggling to fit in some longer sessions at the weekends due to a busy social schedule, is there a way of travelling to trips via bike and meeting them there? This is a perfect way to bank that long ride and it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your weekend plans with the family.

Listen to your body not your ego
This is a real error that athletes struggle with (and more often than not try to ignore). One of the keys to being a successful athlete is learning to listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. If you feel tired and fatigued but your coach or TrainingPeaks is telling you that you have a hard interval session planned for that day, it would be wise to raise how you are feeling with your coach and either alter the session to something easier, or take it off completely.

A reminder that rest plays a vital part in performance and a long successful career. Taking rest days does not make you weak!

Preparation
This falls similarity under the time-management bracket. Being prepared and organised will make anyone’s life a lot easier to manage, but this is crucial for any athlete. For example, making sure you know what your training sessions are for the day and what kit you need to take with you. Or knowing what splits you need to hit in your sessions beforehand and not working them out mid-session. Creating good habits and routines that work for you helps take away any unwanted pressures or stress to your already busy lives.

Mental focus
An athlete who is able to mentally prepare themselves and ‘zone out’ is an effective athlete! Having the ability to maintain focus through sessions when nobody is watching ensures you hit rep after rep. In the cold, wet, dark winter nights throughout off-season is where PBs are made. Focusing on goals, training the mind to endure and face all potential problems that may arise in competition and learning to deal with them is something all athletes should work on.

So when you are preparing for your 2020 season, be sure to look back over these tips beforehand and try to incorporate them into your daily routines. Create good habits now even if they don’t seem necessary just yet. You will be thankful for them on race day.

How to calm pre-race nerves

Nerves are a pretty common experience prior to a big race or competition. They’re not a bad thing as nerves get your adrenaline pumping and raring to go. However, they can sometimes get the better of you and your performance suffers as a result. If you’ve suffered from nerves and find they impact you negatively, we hope these tips will help you keep them under control and use them as a force for good.

#1 Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are something to practice in the weeks leading up to the event. Used correctly, relaxation will help you feel more confident and less anxious because your shift your mindset from one of dread to one of excitement.

There’s a tonne of relaxation tips online, but they can include listening to calming music or a podcast, reading a book meditating or simply sitting peacefully not doing anything. They just need to help your mind switch off, clearing out any negative emotions or thoughts.

#2 Distraction
In the weeks leading up to a big race, sometimes all you can about is race day. No matter how hard you try to block it out, you can’t escape it and the nerves begin to tighten their grip.

In this instance, try to detach yourself from the event by doing other activities to distract your mind. For example, meeting up with friends, going for a coffee, keeping busy at work or planning a new project. Distracting the mind with other things will help you avoid unnecessary (and unhelpful) overthinking.

#3 Respect and acknowledge your thoughts
Having the ability to accept your feelings and emotions is key in dealing with – and overcoming – them. Being able to control these thoughts is a really important skill to have as an athlete.

#4 Visualisation
Our minds are incredibly powerful and if we train them well they can be a huge asset for optimal performance on race day. Visualising how you want a race to pan out and rehearsing every detail can really comfort the mind and increase confidence in your ability. Being able to visualise yourself achieving your goals and the race going perfectly can help remove anxious thoughts or elements of doubt and what could go wrong.

Now that you’re going to be cool as a cucumber on race day, check out our range of running and triathlon events and obstacle course races.

3 tips to race a faster triathlon

Whether you are a newbie to the triathlon scene and have just entered your first race, or you’re a seasoned pro heading back to a previous race to try and shave a few seconds off your PB, everyone is looking to get a little faster. Here’s 3 easy tips to shave seconds for no extra effort.

There will always be room for improvement when it comes to racing in triathlon, After all, you are dealing with three disciplines, not to mention the transitions and nutrition that also go into a successful race – there will always be areas you can refine and make better. Here are three common problems we see at our races that athletes lose valuable time on, so keep reading and let us help you.

Don’t lose sight in dark, murky waters

  1. Sighting. Let’s start with the first discipline and that’s swimming. The key issue we see in the swim is sighting. Most of us train in a pool, following a straight black line up and down. However, when it comes to race day, most swims are in open water and this can be troublesome for many. You are often (very) lucky if you can see your hand in front of your face, and the route often navigates a few turns, not to mention contending with weeds, moss and – God forbid – jellyfish! The key is practice – get a handful of open water sessions under your belt before the big day and practice sighting. Most venues have bouys set out in place for you to practice and this will allow you to replicate a similar style to race day.
  2. Transitions. Valuable seconds – minutes, even – can be lost of saved here. Unfortunately there is no pause button in a triathlon and transition times count towards your overall time so the faster yo can make your way through T1 and T2 the better. In order to do this you need to practice. Practice stripping off your wetsuit and getting into your bike kit. Ensure you know where everything is and where you have left your kit before you run out of T1. The same applies for T2 – practice dismounting and running into transition, taking your helmet off and donning your kicks. The more you prepare, the more seamless it becomes – by race day you’ll be on autopilot.
  3. Pacing and fuelling. The adrenaline, nerves and excitement of racing will certainly be high and it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and forget certain things as soon as the race begins. It’s easy to go off too hard and easy to forget to take on nutrition, but both will cost you dearly down the road. Mitigate against these avoidable mishaps by practicing pacing and fuelling on training rides and runs. Train at race intensity and see how easy (or not) it is to eat and drink what you plan to consume on race day.

These simple gains take seconds to practice but could shave minutes off your next triathlon.

Now that you have those nailed, check out the triathlons we’re organising this year!

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!