Author Archive for James Eacott

6 schoolboy mistakes to avoid at your first duathlon

  1. You go off too fast. Despite the relatively short distance of many duathlons (ours included), they can be a rather painful affair if you pace poorly. Aim to finish the first run with plenty in the tank for the bike and second run. There’s nothing worse than hitting two wheels and within moments knowing your legs are shot. Although it’s difficult to execute, aim to run the second leg faster than the first (assuming they’re the same distance, of course!).
  2. You forget where you racked your bike. We’ve all been there. Flying into transition having nailed a great run, but you’ve absolutely no idea where your bike is. Cue panic stations, ruffled feathers and stressy-outbursts. Even if they’re racked in number order, do a ‘walk-through’ from entry to exit before the race and take note of markers around you to help you locate your bike.
  3. You decide today is the day to attempt a flying mount. Running with your bike over the mount line and hopping on in one fluid motion certainly makes for a rapid transition time. But we’d encourage you to practice this before race day. Some make it look easy (it’s not) but we’ve seen it all: an overly eager “hop” right over the bike, leaving you in a heap on the opposite side; painful saddle landings onto delicate bits; running too fast and not getting your leg over in time; not going fast enough and coming to a standstill before you’ve got your feet in the shoes / onto the pedals. It’s a hazardous game this, so give it a crack (on a quiet road) before race day.
  4. You decide today is the day you’re going to attempt your first flying dismount. Well, rather like #3, a flying dismount can be a thing of beauty and certainly impact your overall time. But, again, we’ve seen it all and this is where most accidents happen. Coming in way too hot into T2, dismount line approaching all too fast and you’ve still got one foot attached to your steed. Oh dear! Spectators shudder, family members pretend you don’t belong to them and you’re left to pick yourself up and sheepishly trot into T2. So please, practice this and show us all how it’s done in the event.
  5. You end with a sprint finish. A sprint finish sure does look good and it might leave your proud kids thinking you’re a superhero for coming in so strong, but chances are it this means you haven’t quite given it enough effort during the rest of the race. Finish strong, but try to hit the whole of that second run hard. It’s a tough gig running off the bike, but your time will be considerably faster if you push the whole way rather than only sprint the final 100m.
  6. You sit down immediately after the finish line. Your legs will be toast at the end, but we’d urge you not to collapse in a heap immediately. Not only does it give our volunteers bad backs having to scoop up sweaty bodies, but more importantly you’ll stiffen up very quickly. A duathlon, perhaps even more so than triathlon, is tough on the legs and the shock to the system will result in a few muscles tears! If you can walk around for 10 – 20 minutes at the finish, this will pay dividends the following day when you’re trying to descend the stairs backwards.

If you’re feeling ready to take on your first duathlon, our Summer Chilly duathlon on 5th September and Winter Chilly Duathlon on the 18th November both still have spaces so sign up here!

Running in the heat

As the mercury rises, you’ll notice your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) increase when you run. In this article, we share tips on how to stay cool and cope with the heat. But before we do, it’s worth understanding why it’s harder to run in the hotter temperatures.

Aside from simply an increase in body temperature (just like when you have a fever), when your temperature rises, blood is diverted to the skin. The body does this to allow for cooling through sweating and then evaporation – this is your body trying to cool yourself. However, as blood is diverted from the skin, your muscles have a decreased supply, which means less oxygen transportation to the muscles which you use to run, thus increasing your RPE at various paces.

As a final straw, increased heat means a higher risk of dehydration which compounds the problem as your body finds it harder to cool itself, further limiting performance.

Adjust your pacing strategy
Simply put, slow down! Understand why you are finding it harder to hold your normal paces, accept it and make the necessary adjustments. Mindlessly pushing yourself in order to stick to normal paces will only mean you’re working too hard – you’ll either be training in the wrong zone, will become dehydrated or you’ll take longer to recover…or all three!

Don’t stress if you need to wind it down. Keep your RPE (and heart rate, if you track it) in the right spot and you’ll still be getting the physiological benefits even if you’re running slower.

Nail your fluid intake
As we mention above, adequate hydration is critical to letting the body perform its cooling duties as optimally as possible. If you neglect it, it won’t get the job done, and your RPE will continue to rise and dehydration will creep up.

We can’t give you an absolute amount of how much you need to drink – it varies for everyone – but a good way to figure out your sweat rate is to weigh yourself before and after a hot run and take into account how much fluid you consumed. For example, if you run for 60 minutes and lose 0.5kg, but drink 500ml, then your sweat rate is about 1,000ml per hour. You need to try to drink this much going forward.

Get your kit right
This one is probably rather obvious, but ensure you’re wearing lightweight, easy-wicking fabrics that help your body cool.

Electrolytes
Sodium is the predominant electrolyte here, but potassium and magnesium are also important. Electrolytes are crucial because they help your muscle cells retain the right amount of water. This balance is key, and if you drink too much water but do not get the electrolytes in, you could be in trouble.

Most sports drinks these days include more sodium, potassium and magnesium than they used to, just be sure to buy a brand which places emphasis on their inclusion.

7 Race Day Triathlon Tips For Beginners

With the Titan Brecon middle distance triathlon just around the corner and our Portishead sprint soon after, we wanted to share some handy tips for you beginner triathletes out there.

1. Lay your kit out 48 hours in advance.
Unlike the simple sport of running, there’s a lot of kit admin to be dealt with in a triathlon! It can be a right faff getting everything together, but we’d strongly recommend you lay all your kit out a couple of days before the event. Even if you’re totally convinced that your trisuit is in the bottom of the drawer, get it out just to be sure.

Don’t be that person on the startline who’s forgotten their wetsuit and is facing a chilly swim!

2. Don’t forget to pack the ‘extra bits’
It took me years to remember to take these extra bits, but they will come in handy someday. Spare goggles, towel, talc (to line your bike shoes with to help your feet slide in), anti-chafe lube and sunglasses.

3. Walk through transition
On race day, once you’ve laid your kit out in transition it’s worth walking the whole route from swim exit to bike mount to visualise the order in which you’re going to do everything. Hat and goggles off, wetsuit off, shoes and helmet on, shades on.

It can be a hectic moment when you emerge from the water and it’s easy to lose your bearings. A little walk-through will help you do it on autopilot on race-day.

4. Finish your pre-race meal 2 to 2.5 hours before the start
Yes, some triathlons do start early which does mean you might be chewing breakfast at something like 4:30am, but your gut will thank you later. Keep it simple and only eat what you have before and make sure you hydrate with your meal too.

5. Warm up!
The swim instils fear in most of us. All those people to negotiate around, it can lead to a panicky, stressful first few minutes. But it doesn’t have to be this way! The cause of panic in the first couple of minutes is often due to a surge in heart rate, after all you’ve suddenly gone from standing still to swimming fast.

Warming up is a key factor in reducing this heart rate spike. If you can swim before the start, then take the opportunity. If you can’t, raise your heart rate with dry-land movements. Swing your arms, use stretch cords, jump on the spot. This will warm your body and create the expectation that you’re about to swim, resulting in a less-defined spike and increased perceived effort.

6. Rein it in on the run
At least to begin with, anyway. You will (hopefully!) feel great jumping off the bike, if for no other reason than you’re delighted to get off that saddle, so it’s easy to start the run too fast. But this is the biggest cause of melt-downs in the second half of the run. Aim to run a negative split (where you run the second half faster than the first) and you should find your pacing is much steadier throughout the whole effort. It should feel easy to begin but it’ll creep up, trust us!

7. Focus on the process
If you find yourself stressing about the outcome, worrying about the competition or concerning yourself over what your girl/boyfriend might make of your performance, stop! You’re focusing on the performance and outcome of the event, which is often out of your hands. Instead, focus on the process of how you’re going to get through each phase. Don’t look at the big picture, try to keep yourself in the here and now.

During each phase, focus on what you can do in the here and now to improve the process. So, in the swim think about keeping a high elbow, strong core and controlled kick. On the bike, keep those pedal strokes smooth and your cadence consistent. During the run get those knees up, don’t over-stride and focus on standing tall. Keeping tabs on these things will ensure you’re focussing on the controllable factors of the process which will ultimately lead to your performance outcome. Worrying about the outcome itself is often fruitless.

5 Taper tips for a 10k

Experienced runners may not need to taper for a 10k – after all, for the experienced runner a 10k isn’t too long a distance. But we love that a large proportion of our events attract first timers and we want to make sure you have the best day possible, so this advice is for you!

  1. Cut your weekly mileage in half in the week leading into the 10k. One of the main purposes of a taper if to arrive at the start line feeling fresh and ready to hit your targets. Reducing the volume of your training will let you recover from the fatigue you’ve developed over the previous few weeks.
  2. …but you don’t want to become sluggish, so keep some speedwork in there during your taper. On the Tuesday before the race, do 5 x 400m at your planned 10k pace with a very easy 200m jog between each. This session shouldn’t feel too tough, but it’ll remind your legs of how to run at pace.
  3. Take a full rest day two days pre-race. If you’re racing on Sunday, this means taking Friday completely off. Rest, relax and enjoy a day of moving as little as possible!
  4. Run the day before. Many people take a full day off the day before the race, but this can leave you feeling heavy and lethargic on race morning. You don’t need to do much, but if you can get out for a 15 to 20-minute run with a couple of 10 second strides thrown in, you will keep your body in tune for what’s to come tomorrow.
  5. Don’t overeat on race morning. You don’t need to carbo-load for a 10k! Even if you’re taking 1:15hrs or longer, a good breakfast will ensure you have enough energy to complete the distance. Eat too much on race morning and you’ll feel heavy as you toe the line…

Introducing our new partner for the Westonbirt triathlon

Drum rolls please. We’re delighted to announce a new partner for the Westonbirt Sprint Triathlon which takes place on 28th May: Pulsin.

Pulsin sponsored the #51Fiver Cotswold Standard triathlon at the beginning of this season and, well what can we say, the relationship has blossomed! They’re a great team of people with a super ethos and quite frankly we really rate their products.

As you’re going to be seeing more of them over the next week or two, we wanted to introduce you to a couple of Pulsin’s key products which can be used in both your triathlon training and racing.

Bars
Raw choc brownies. Anyone who’s tried these will know that despite managing to create a nutritionally packed snack, Pulsin have gone to great lengths to ensure taste isn’t compromised. The choc brownies come in a range of sweet and savoury flavours and are dairy, sofa and gluten free.
Protein boosters. With 13g of plant protein, these bars are ideal for post-training (or race) recovery. A little tip for you…with a cookie dough taste and texture, we highly recommend the vanilla choc-chip flavour.
Porridge oat bars. The goodness of porridge. In a bar. Simple. Using 100% natural ingredients and 30% less sugar than other oat bars, we particularly love the Apple and Cinnamon flavour.

Pea protein powder
Protein is a key nutrient, particularly for anyone taking part in sport. Some of us get enough in our diet naturally, but there’s certainly a place for supplementation. The protein supplement market is saturated with many brands claiming to make the best, tastiest flavoured powder. But the problem with most protein powders these days is they taste very synthetic and artificial. You might be getting the grams of protein you need, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re doing your body a favour. And that’s where Pulsin’s pea protein powders come in.

You can choose from four vegan powders or three natural whey powders, so whatever your diet you know you’re covered. And rather than create the most appealing sounding flavour, they’ve gone natural (flavourless) on them all. It’s a bold statement, but it leaves you with ultimate versatility on how to use them. Chuck a scoop in your morning smoothie, add some to your cereal or even throw some in your spaghetti bolognaise for an extra protein punch.

Other stuff
It’s worth checking out their Kids range too, with a selection of fruity oat bars that are perfect for their lunch box. Slow release energy to keep them focused all afternoon and one of their five-a-day, they’re low in sugar and high in fibre. The Beond Organic Fruit and Nut bars are also a great choice for snacking options through the day (you can never have too many snack options).

We hope all you DB Maxers taking part in the Westonbirt Sprint Triathlon next week will try some of the products and say hi to the Pulsin team – it’s great to have them on board.

See you next Monday!

Running Awards 2018

We like to think we’re a modest bunch here at DB Max HQ, but we have to say we’re delighted to have provided the timing services for some of the big winners at the Running Awards 2018.

We provided the timing for the 1st and 2nd place events in the ‘Best Half Marathon with 5,000+ competitors’ category for the JCP Swansea Half Marathon and the Ealing Half Marathon.

We also timed the 1st and 3rd placed event in the ‘Best Half Marathon with less than 5,000 participants’ category, at the Llanelli Half Marathon and Nationwide New Swindon Half Marathon respectively.

Although chip timing may not seem like the most glamorous feature of an event, we believe it’s an important component to get absolutely right to ensure maximum enjoyment for runners and thus increased participation numbers each year.

To read more about the services we can provide for event organisers, click here.

10 Training Tips For Your First 10k

Run often
It’s more important to lace-up your trainers three times per week, even if it’s just for 20 or 30 minutes, than it is to do nothing during the week but go for a long run at the weekend. Frequency and consistency are king. The best aim is for two shorter runs during the week with a slightly longer one on the weekend.

Stretch and roll
We’ve been told since junior school gym classes: stretching is good for you. It’s true, but make sure you do it at the end of your run rather than at the beginning. Stretch out your key muscle groups: hamstrings, calves, quads and hip flexors. If you have any areas of soreness, it may be worth acquainting yourself with a foam roller for some targeted self-massage.

Hit the hills
Running a flat 10k? Well, we still recommend you head for the hills! Running on hilly terrain, or completing hills reps, is great for building strength which is crucial to running well in the latter half of a 10k when your legs are tired. The stronger you are, the more resistant to fatigue your muscles will be. Not only that, but stronger muscles mean stronger tendons and ligaments which equals lower occurrence of injury. Win win.

Don’t neglect the speed sessions
Even if you’re “only there to finish”, doing the occasional speed session will not only make you complete the distance faster, but it’ll improve your running economy and posture. Variety is the spice of life so mix it up: sprint between lamp posts, run hard for varying lengths of time or even hit the track.

Have a plan
At the start of each week, plan when you will fit your runs in to avoid clashing with any family or work commitments. Have a structure to most sessions: is this a short easy run? A long one? A speedy session? You’re much more likely to complete the training as prescribed if you’ve written it down in advance. So go on, get those hills sessions booked in! If you’re unsure where to start, there’s lots of training plans online so have a browse for the right one for you.

Do a Parkrun
A Parkrun is a great event to do in the build to a 10k. If you can complete a 5k 4–6 weeks prior to your 10km then you’re well on track. Parkrun provides the support, camaraderie and fanfare to ensure you get the distance done.

Get the right kit for you
Everyone has an opinion on the best brand of shoes, the best tops and even the fastest socks! Ultimately, you must find what works for you. Do your research and ensure you try out different options during training.

Find a partner
Although some of you may relish your training sessions as “me time”, others find having a training partner hugely beneficial. When you’ve got someone waiting for you to go out, you’re much less likely to bail. If you don’t have a running partner, consider joining a local group.

Get off the beaten track
Running on road is all well and good but it can get boring. Explore trails near you to get another great training benefit: running on undulating (and often hilly) terrain is great for strengthening ligaments and tendons and it’s good for the joints too. Don’t worry that your pace is probably slower on trails – that’s to be expected. Off road trail runs should be about pure enjoyment and exploration!

Cross training
Swimming, cycling and lifting weights are all fantastic methods of supplementing your run training. They will all develop aerobic fitness and help to build a bomb-proof body which is less susceptible to injury.

Competitor Stories – Keith Lewis

                                               

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

This week it’s Keith Lewis who took part in the Chilly 10k with us.

‘In 2004 whilst at work I suffered a severe electric shock, leaving me with nerve damage which I still suffer to this day (no feeling in my lower right leg and some loss in my right hand). I spent almost a year in the Wessex Rehab Unit at Salisbury Hospital learning to get functions back to my right side and to help me walk properly again .

My wife suggested maybe to try running so I started the couch to 5k with my GP’s support……..it began!!

In 2012 I completed the Sports Relief mile from there it was the Great South Run 2014 raising £1622 for The Wessex Rehab.

Trauma Care is a small NHS charity that aims to provide every patient across the country the same care in the treatment of severe trauma.

I was given the chance through Trauma Care to run the London Marathon in 2016 which I did closing the book on an amazing journey, and yes tears were shed!!

I still continue to run for fun and to raise monies for my chosen charity. Last year I ran the Great North & South Runs amongst others. I have currently raised over £3,300 via my Just Giving page because of the extremely good care I received, I can now run. So hopefully somebody else will get the same level of care I received due to trauma care, helping to raise a level of equal awareness throughout the NHS.

I really enjoyed the Chilly 10k and will definitely sign up for next year and I also hope to join you on the Chippenham Longest Day 10k run in June.’

 

How to prepare for your first Cycling Time Trial

Time trial season is just around the corner. Our very own Kinetic-One Time Trial Series starts on 18th April and continues each month throughout the summer at Castle Combe race track, so we thought it might be handy to share some TT-specific training tips for those new to the game! We will follow this with some specific training sessions in our next blog.

First off, it may be worth explaining what a Time Trial actually is. It’s a non-drafting bike race of a set distance (normally 10, 25, 50 or 100 miles) where the sole aim is to get from start to finish as quickly as possible.

Warm up
It’s definitely worth warming up, particularly if you’re racing a 10 or 25-mile TT as you’ll be going hard from the gun. Either cycle on the road or bring a turbo trainer / rollers to spin your legs before starting the race. Spend a good 20 minutes warming up, starting easy and building the intensity to get the blood pumping through your legs.

We’ve arrived late to a TT before, with just minutes to kit-up and get ourselves to the start…it’s not pretty!

Position
Your position on the bike is important. Although you want to cheat the wind and hunker down as much as possible, it’s important to be comfortable too, regardless of whether you’re riding a time trial or road bike. There’s no point being super-aerodynamic if you’re so uncomfortable you can’t peddle. Play around with your setup until you find that sweet spot.

Practice proper pacing
As most of us know, the quickest and most efficient way to get from A-B is to pace as evenly as possible, and this is never truer than in a time trial. It’s bound to take a few goes to get it right, but it’s very easy to go off too hard and pay for that energy expenditure in the latter stages! Even at our 10-mile TT’s, which are quite a short distance, we see many people posting rapid first and second laps onto to crawl over their last.

In training, practice riding at your planned pace and focus on keeping that effort consistent. It shouldn’t feel too difficult over the first few miles, but it’ll start to pinch soon enough!

Don’t be intimidated
To be honest, the best tip we can give is just to get out there and ride some TT’s. It’s the best way to practice pacing, nutrition strategies and positioning on the bike.

TTs can also appear to be the reserve of only expert cyclists with £10,000 bikes. That’s just not the case, and certainly not for us at DB Max. Anyone who’s been to our TT series at Castle Combe will attest to the enormous range of abilities riding round the track.


Don’t forget to get your name onto one of our Kinetic-One Time Trial Series events or enter the whole series and get a discount. They’re very relaxed and informal and although we always have a few speedy demons, most are there for a fun evening and to enjoy cycling on a closed road time trial course. We hope to see you soon!

The Team at DB Max

Competitor Stories – Kirsty James

                                    

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

This week it’s Kirsty James who took part in the Chilly Duathlon with us.

‘In September 2017 I was the only female in a team of 5 cyclists who cycled from London to Monte Carlo over 12 days. We had a support crew of 3 to help with our cooking and cleaning and we all camped along the route as we travelled across France.

We cycled to raise funds for a little boy called Noah Stephenson from Barry, South Wales. When Noah was 8 months old he contracted meningitis and almost lost his life. Throughout the illness he lost his lower left leg and the tips of his toes and fingers. He is now 5 years old and walks with a prosthetic limb; the funds raised will aid his future development to allow him to lead a normal and active life.

The weather was not kind while we cycled and we faced some tough conditions, but we all worked together to make the journey and raised approximately £4,000. This was the second cycling challenge that Noah’s father, Gareth had organised and taken part in, but the first event of this size that I had ever undertaken.

This year I am training for a half marathon purely for the mental challenge, however I cannot give up my two wheels, so I chose the DB Max Chilly Duathlon to combine the two disciplines on one event. I have a very supportive group of ladies that I train with and they have completed the Chilly event before. Their recommendations convinced me to give it a go.’