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Craig Alexander Interview with Trizone – Triathlons, Training, Diet and Focus for the Future

At the 2010 Ironman Australia Trizone caught up with Craig Alexander and discussed what he had planned for 2010, what shape will his training take this season, will he be doing anything different than 2009, what does Craig’s diet look like and how did he get in to triathlon.

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Craig Alexander Interview

Trizone likes to talk to triathletes and people who inspire us age groupers and hopefully we can learn a little bit more about how to swim, ride and run like a pro.

At the 2010 Ironman Australia Trizone had the opportunity to catch up with two time world Ironman champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander.

Plans for Racing in 2010

Craig Alexander has returned to the USA to get some racing under his belt as he prepares to defend his Ford World Ironman Championship title. His first race in the USA was an Olympic distance triathlon in Florida St Anthony’s in April where he finished 3rd, (10 seconds behind Greg Bennett), followed by the St Croix Ironman 70.3 in US Virgin Islands where he unfortunately crashed on his bike. He would then do some more 70.3 triathlons before working towards the world Ironman championship in Hawaii. Since his result at St Croix Crowie has said that he is thinking about a couple more Olympic distance races. He has obviously got the bug after this great result.

We asked Craig why he had planned to do the Olympic distance triathlon at St Croix. “Greg Welch once told me that a good triathlete can race all distances and with this in mind I always set out to challenge myself each year, mixing race distances in my race program”. Craig still likes to do the shorter IM events as they are more fun, recovery is much easier and they are more lucrative.

Alexander is now based in Boulder, Colarado where he will prepare for Hawaii. Triathletes Steve Hackett and Paul Matthews will also be in Boulder and will train with Craig. Another great mate, Dirk Bockel, will also be at Boulder training. Also in Boulder are a host of other Australian triathletes.

He had been keen to do the new Abu Dhabi International Triathlon but ended up pulling out because of inadequate preparation for the 200km bike leg. “I felt I would have been letting down the organisers” Craig said. This has meant that he has been able to catch up on some sponsorship obligations in Australia which is why we have seen Crowie at many events this year whether competing, commentating or just hanging out and meeting the competitors. Craig even appeared as a specialist on Australia’s “Biggest Looser” to give the contestants some advice as they prepared to tackle a marathon.

Training

Trizone asked Craig about his 2010 training strategy. “At this stage I am not going to reinvent the wheel. There will be 250 pros at Kona who have all undergone similar training”. Consequently Craig believes it comes down to the mental preparation and strategy. Part of Crowie’s mental strategy is that he has the utmost respect for everyone who he races against, he never takes it for granted that he will win a race. In saying this he is adamant that when he turns up to race he is there to win.

What are Craig’s training secrets that might help us all go faster or train smarter. However Craig did not feel well placed to advise age groupers “I can’t give you any advice for age groupers because I have no idea how you work fulltime jobs and train (sometimes almost as much as the pros) and manage families etc”. Craig added ‘Being a pro makes the training / life balance easier’.

With these comments in mind we did manage to delve further into what Craig does to make him the world champion that he is.

Craig is very strong on the theory that you have to train how you are going to race. Or looking at it from a different perspective, you will race how you train.

When preparing for a big race Craig focuses on endurance before speed. When cycling he does threshold sessions with time trial efforts, 5 ½ to 6 hours is the longest ride and he always does some race pace efforts during the long ride. His runs, while in Australia, are through the National Park south of Caringbah. Craig believes running off road is a great way to strengthen core muscle groups and the small muscles around the legs and feet. Craig likes to train on his own but does do group swim squads.

Losing his bikes was a pain for Craig but due to diligent records kept on his bike fit he was able to get the new bikes set up identically to the old ones. Craig uses the Retul bike fit system. It uses sophisticated technology to get the perfect individual bike fit.

Diet

When asked about diet Craig said ‘I don’t believe in fad diets. I just follow normal eating patterns and mix my food. I’ll have red meat, fish and chicken each week and pasta once or twice a week. I am not a big fan of vegetables and I love ice cream and chocolate’.

Craig Alexander has a background in physiotherapy and uses his knowledge to inform his approach to training, racing and lifestyle

Focus for the future

What will you be focusing on in 2010? ‘I don’t change my training routines very much but I am always tweaking them and focusing on one or two areas. This year it is sleep and recovery’. Craig explained that he has spent a lot of time researching how to sleep better and reading books on all aspects of a ‘better nights sleep’.

To aid recovery after every session Craig wears compression garments and takes protein recovery supplements – Body Science protein recovery
shakes.

On the topic of when to use compression garments Craig stated that ‘I use them only after training and when driving long distances and flying. I never use them when training or racing. I am not aware of any data that supports the idea they help you race faster. If I was going to use them when racing or training I would use them on the big muscle groups such as quads and hamstring’.

As part of his new approach to rest and recovery this year Craig will be also doing less training volume and fitting in twice weekly massages.

How did Craig Alexander get into the sport of triathlon?

Craig was always interested in mulitsport and used to watch Daley Thompson in the 1980s dominating the world in the sport of decathlon. Thompson was a phenomenal athlete and inspired a generation of young people.

As a teenager Craig played soccer. A couple of hernia operations caused him to put on a bit of weight and he decided to take up running to try to lose a few pounds. Craig says he has no endurance sport background and starting later than many of the kids these days was probably a blessing.

During Craig’s six years at university he played water polo and was then taught to swim by Greg Rogers. Greg was not only a swim coach but also Craig came to see him as his life coach and mentor. At university Craig joined the running club and learnt how to run and started to build the base that would go on to provide him with the impressive stamina and speed we now see.

A lot of Craig’s triathlon knowledge is self taught. He spent his early days reading every triathlon magazine he could get his hands on. He also read Dave Scott and Mark Allen’s books and engaged Nick White who works for Chris Carmichael. Swim coaching has been with Col Robson and Brian Wilkinson and much of his swimming is done in the Caringbah and Carrs Park pools when in Australia.

Craig Alexander’s Sponsors

Craig’s Blog

Craig’s Results

A few facts and figures:

  • Height: 180cm
  • Weight: 68kg
  • First Triathlon: 1994
  • Previous sporting love: Soccer
  • Hobbies: Watching sport/ sports shows, talking sport
    over coffee, surfing,golf, playing guitar and paddling a surf ski.
  • Married: to Neri for 10 years
  • Children:Lucy 4 years (born May 2005) and Austin 4
    months (born April 2009)
  • DOB: 22nd June 1973 in Sydney Australia
  • Hometown: Cronulla NSW Australia
  • Fav Foods: All things chocolate, seafood, chips, my
    wifes cooking, as long as there’s not too many veggies
  • Favourite workout: Open water swimming in the ocean
    off Cronulla
  • Favourite cities: New York and Sydney
  • Favourite race destinations: St Croix, Phuket
    Thailand, Kona Hawaii
  • Favourite running trails: Switzerland trail Boulder
  • Favourite beaches: Hungry Head, Clovelly ( home of my
    surfing youth) and North Cronulla
  • Favourite Destination: Kona Hawaii
  • Loves: hanging out with his family and to run with
    music
  • Nicknamed Crowie after an Australian Surf Ironman that appeared on Bay Watch also called Crowie!

 

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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News & Racing

Ironman Announces First Full Distance Event in Estonia

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Ironman today announced the addition of the Ironman Tallinn triathlon. The inaugural race will take place on 4th August 2018.

The new race will take place in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn, located at the Baltic sea. Considered one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval cities of Europe, Tallinn is home to 445,000 people and has gained a reputation as Europe’s “Silicon Valley”.

“With its long and colorful history, Tallinn and its people are looking forward to applauding the triathletes’ commitment to Ironman. I believe that the Ironman Tallinn triathlon in our beautiful and modern city will be a very positive experience for everybody,” said Mihhail Kõlvart, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn.

Tallinn will become only the second capital in Europe to host an Ironman event, sharing this distinction with Denmark’s KMD Ironman Copenhagen. The race will be the second Ironman event in Estonia after SIS Ironman 70.3 Otepää.

“Triathlon has seen fantastic growth in Northern and Eastern Europe over the last few years. We are excited to build on the success of SIS Ironman 70.3 Otepää and celebrate Estonia’s 100th birthday with a new race in our capital – a city that has traditionally been a connecting point for travelers,” said Ain-Alar Juhanson, race director for Ironman in Estonia.

“We are thrilled to present our first Ironman event in Northeastern Europe,” said Hans Peter Zurbruegg, Managing Director for Ironman Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Ain-Alar and his experienced team have created a remarkable Ironman 70.3 event in Otepää and we are very much looking forward to our premiere event in Tallinn.”

The race will begin with a single-loop 3,8 km (2.4-mile) swim in the Baltic Sea near the Seaplane Harbour museum. Athletes will then continue on a two-loop 180,2 km (112-mile) bike course which leads along the coastline and nearby villages. The final 42,2-km (26.2-mile) four-loop run will take participants through the historical city center of Tallinn, an UNESCO world heritage site, and finish on Freedom Square.

Ironman Tallinn will offer 40 age-group qualifying slots for the 2018 Ironman World Championship being held in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.

General registration for Ironman Tallinn will open at 4 p.m. CET on Monday, August 28, 2017 at www.Ironman.com/tallinn. Athlete inquiries may be directed to [email protected]

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Gear & Tech

Review: OTTO Tuning System – App for Adjusting Your Bike Gears

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Correctly indexing your gears can be a lost art for some. Enter the OTTO Tuning System. The system looks to remove the complexity by leveraging an innovative combination of tool and app combo to remove the thinking and give you a bike shop like tune up in minutes. But is it worth the investment? Let’s find out.

Nothing annoys a rider more than a mysterious tick on your bike. With your mind-set on smashing out a muffin and a coffee in an  hour, not having your carbon baby performing 100% is frankly too much to handle for you and your riding buddies.

Incorrectly indexed gears often are the cause of this and without resolution can quickly escalate from annoying to dangerous. The chain can slip under load, surprise you by changing gears randomly and ultimately make you feel like you have a gremlin in control of your Shimano Di2.

Tuning up the drive chain comes down to playing with the limit screws on the rear mechanics, nowadays understanding how to do this has become a bit of a lost art, often requiring you to splash out cash at your local bike shop to make even the slightest of re adjustments.

How does it work?

The OTTO tuning system works by tracking elements on a plastic gauge via your iPhone application. On opening the App it kicks off with a small 5 minute tutorial about how to use the tool, simple enough and easy to understand.  You have 2 basic options;

  1. Free: which allows you to check your indexing
  2. Subscription: will provide advice on how to tune your gears.  It’s important to note that to date it doesn’t support Android, which is quite frustrating, requiring me to borrow my mechanics iPhone just to complete the review. Does sound like a little oxymoron doesn’t it?

Subscription service 1-day: $1.99 / 90-day: $11.99 / 1-year: $26.99.

Once you have decided on your options the App asks you to put the tool on the derailleur pulley and align the targets on the gauge to the App. A procedure which reminded me about Luke turning on his targeting computer during his death star run except, this time, it hit the target.

After artificially tinkering with the limit screws prior to see how it would work, it picked up to the millimetre where the derailleur was miss aligned. Bravo!

The paywall service then kicks in, so if you have subscribed it gives you actual advice on how to adjust the barrel adjuster and limit screws, cable tension with complete videos, tutorials and the ability to recheck multiple times to get the adjustment right.

Teach a man to fish….

This surmises my biggest gripe with the product whilst reviewing the OTTO tuning system. I couldn’t help but wonder if my time was better spent actually learning how to adjust my gears rather than looking at video instructions on how to use the tool and App.

There’s several videos online that can take you through it and I’m sure if you buy your mechanic a coffee they will be glad to take you through it.  I can certainly see a place for the OTTO tuning system to check my indexing while learning how to adjust the gears. But for me to pay a subscription service for an App to tell me what to do?  I just couldn’t see the value.

Get thee to a spanner jockey

$50 dollars for the OTTO Tuning System is a relatively modest entry point, ($77 with the subscription service), compared to say 4 services a year your way ahead. However, behind every good rider is a good spanner jockey. Bike mechanics are the unsung heros of the Tour, Kona and Roth, and you need to be best buddies with yours.

Tuning up your bike is more than just adjusting the rear mech, it’s that relationship with your bike, your riding style and common mistakes (sorry for the cross-chaining Jimmy!) and your history that brings the art to the science. So whilst you may save a bit of coin on the mech adjustment, overall I think your life of a cyclist is better off in the hands of a knowledgeable mechanic.

Trizone Review
  • Functionaility
  • Price
  • Longetivity

Summary

Functional, but time may be better spent learning how to tune your gears.

2.3
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News & Racing

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Pro Start List for Chattanooga Announced

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Triathlon’s top talent will come together in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship taking place on September 9 and 10. Boasting one of the most competitive professional fields in the sport, the event will make history in the Southeastern U.S. this September with the women’s field racing on Saturday and the men’s field racing on Sunday.

“The professional field set to compete is unquestionably one of the deepest in recent history,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for Ironman. “Chattanooga will no doubt be an excellent host to the best talent from around the world as they converge on the Scenic City next month. We are all extremely excited to debut this new two-day format allowing for both women and men to have their day of competition and celebration.”

Returning to the lineup to defend her title will be 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence (GBR). With victories already this year at the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship, St. George, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, and Subaru Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, Lawrence’s flawless season has proven that she will yet again be tough competition in an impressive professional field.

The 2014 and 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and defending Ironman World Champion, Daniela Ryf (CHE) will be looking to add a third Ironman 70.3 World Championship title in four years. Also vying for the title will be 2011 and 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship winner and last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship runner-up Melissa Hauschildt (AUS). Ryf and Hauschildt both have an opportunity to become the first triathletes to win three Ironman 70.3 World Championship titles and will push the pace for the rest of the field.

Challenging these world champions is a group of talented women looking to break through, led by likes of Jeanni Seymour, Laura Philipp and Heather Wurtele, who has been on the podium at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship the past three years.

Below is the pro women’s start list for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship:

BIB LAST FIRST COUNTRY REP
1 Lawrence Holly GBR (United Kingdom)
2 Luxford Annabel AUS (Australia)
3 Philipp Laura DEU (Germany)
4 Seymour Jeanni ZAF (South Africa)
5 Crowley Sarah AUS (Australia)
6 Hauschildt Melissa AUS (Australia)
7 Salthouse Ellie AUS (Australia)
8 Pallant Emma GBR (United Kingdom)
9 Wurtele Heather CAN (Canada)
10 Ryf Daniela CHE (Switzerland)
12 Smith Lesley USA (United States of America)
14 Chura Haley USA (United States of America)
15 Kaye Alicia USA (United States of America)
16 Watkinson Amelia NZL (New Zealand)
17 Spieldenner Jennifer USA (United States of America)
18 Brandon Lauren USA (United States of America)
19 Frederiksen Helle DNK (Denmark)
20 Tisseyre Magali CAN (Canada)
21 Huetthaler Lisa AUT (Austria)
22 Seymour Natalie GBR (United Kingdom)
23 Huse Sue CAN (Canada)
24 Morrison Kimberley GBR (United Kingdom)
25 Riveros Barbara CHL (Chile)
26 Roy Stephanie CAN (Canada)
27 Vaquera Judith ESP (Spain)
28 Eberhardt Anna HUN (Hungary)
29 Jerzyk Agnieszka POL (Poland)
30 Riesler Diana DEU (Germany)
32 Wassner Laurel USA (United States of America)
33 Brennan Morrey Ruth USA (United States of America)
34 True Sarah USA (United States of America)
35 Linnell Allison USA (United States of America)
36 Hector Alice GBR (United Kingdom)
37 Tastets Pamela CHL (Chile)
38 Jackson Heather USA (United States of America)
39 Schulz Jenny DEU (Germany)
41 Czesnik Maria POL (Poland)
42 Juhart Monica AUS (Australia)
43 Pomeroy Robin USA (United States of America)
44 Roberts Lisa USA (United States of America)
45 Palacio Balena Romina ARG (Argentina)
46 Lester Sarah AUS (Australia)
47 Joyce Rachel GBR (United Kingdom)
48 Jahn Kirsty CAN (Canada)
49 Furriela Carolina BRA (Brazil)
50 Annett Jen CAN (Canada)
51 Stienen Astrid DEU (Germany)
52 Jalowi Annett DEU (Germany)
53 Cravo De Azevedo Luiza BRA (Brazil)
54 Belanger Valerie CAN (Canada)
55 Wendorff Amanda USA (United States of America)
56 Komander Ewa POL (Poland)
57 Drewett Hannah GBR (United Kingdom)
58 Naeth Angela CAN (Canada)

On the men’s side, an equally determined group will seek to win this year’s title with 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Tim Reed (AUS) returning to defend his title. Sebastian Kienle (DEU), who was the 2012 and 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and 2014 Ironman World Champion, will be looking to become the first man to win three Ironman 70.3 World Championship titles. This year’s world championship also sees the return of 2014 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and 2015 Ironman 70.3 runner up, Javier Gomez to the start line after an accident in 2016 sidelined his goals of an Olympic medal in Rio. With a victory in his only Ironman 70.3 event this year plus a win and top placings on the WTS circuit, he will bring some top-end speed to the field. Unfortunately, a nagging hip injury and season ending surgery has put the much anticipated debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee on hold for this year.

Below is the pro men’s start list for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship:

BIB LAST FIRST COUNTRY REP
1 Reed Tim AUS (Australia)
2 Appleton Sam AUS (Australia)
4 Don Tim GBR (United Kingdom)
5 Kienle Sebastian DEU (Germany)
7 Dreitz Andreas DEU (Germany)
8 Butterfield Tyler BMU (Bermuda)
9 Mendez Cruz Mauricio MEX (Mexico)
10 Von Berg Rodolphe USA (United States of America)
11 Raelert Michael DEU (Germany)
12 Gomez Javier ESP (Spain)
14 Clavel Maurice DEU (Germany)
15 Reid Taylor CAN (Canada)
16 Costes Antony FRA (France)
17 Collington Kevin USA (United States of America)
18 Hanson Matt USA (United States of America)
20 Gambles Joe AUS (Australia)
21 Tutukin Ivan RUS (Russian Federation)
23 O’Donnell Tim USA (United States of America)
24 De Elias Mario ARG (Argentina)
25 Chevrot Denis FRA (France)
26 Thomas Jesse USA (United States of America)
27 Quinchara Forero Carlos Javier COL (Colombia)
29 Heemeryck Pieter BEL (Belgium)
30 McMahon Brent CAN (Canada)
32 Laundry Jackson CAN (Canada)
33 Jarrige Yvan FRA (France)
34 Chrabot Matt USA (United States of America)
35 Van de Wyngard Felipe CHL (Chile)
36 Weiss Michael AUT (Austria)
37 Cunnama James ZAF (South Africa)
38 Dirksmeier Patrick DEU (Germany)
39 Colucci Reinaldo BRA (Brazil)
41 Wiltshire Harry GBR (United Kingdom)
42 Scott Drew USA (United States of America)
43 Kalashnikov Ivan RUS (Russian Federation)
44 Leiferman Chris USA (United States of America)
45 Plese David SVN (Slovenia)
46 Jolicoeur Desroches Antoine CAN (Canada)
47 Kanute Ben USA (United States of America)
48 Amorelli Igor BRA (Brazil)
49 Cartmell Fraser GBR (United Kingdom)
50 Wurtele Trevor CAN (Canada)
51 Carrillo Avila Alan MEX (Mexico)
52 Watson Eric BHR (Bahrain)
53 Polizzi Alexander AUS (Australia)
54 Otstot Adam USA (United States of America)
55 Crawford Guy NZL (New Zealand)

The 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship triathlon will offer a $250,000 total professional prize purse which will be distributed to male and female first through tenth place finishers.

In addition to the competitive professional field, approximately 4,500 registered age-group athletes representing more than 90 countries, territories and regions from around the world are expected to compete at this year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

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News & Racing

Luke Bell and Tim Van Berkel go head to head again

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Two of the biggest names in IRONMAN racing, aussies Luke Bell and Tim van Berkel are returning to IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast to headline the pro field and test themselves on the tough 2016 World Championships course.

The veteran Bell is set to re-invigorate his racing season that stalled with an uncharacteristic and almost unbelievable DNF at IRONMAN Cairns, while Van Berkel is using the Sunshine Coast race as a tune up for his assault on the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona.

Bell’s IRONMAN Cairns was one of the shortest on record, when he was pulled out of the water by the rubber ducky (IRB) no more than fifty metres off shore.

“The main challenge of the first half of the year was supposed to be IRONMAN Cairns but unfortunately when the gun went off and I dived in the water, I dived onto the feet of a couple of guys in front of me and cracked a rib within the first few strokes. So that ended that goal. It was a very quick trip.”

“That is the nature of IRONMAN, you spend a lot of time and effort hoping everything is going to be good on one day. It is either good or it is not, but that is the way it is and we are all used to it. You just put it behind you and move on. I rested up fully for about three weeks and did what I could that was pain bearable, but it took me 4-5 weeks all up to recover.”

Back in peak fitness Bell is keen to leave Melbourne and head north to the warmth the Sunshine Coast and show everyone that at 38, he is still a force in the world of IRONMAN 70.3.

“It has been a couple of years since I have actually raced on the Sunshine Coast so I am happy to hear that they are using the 2016 World Championship course. A challenging bike course is always better than an out and back on a freeway. It keeps it honest and makes sure that someone who is good over all three disciplines wins the race.”

“The Sunshine Coast is one of those places that everyone in Australia likes to race. Whether it is the 70.3, or Mooloolaba. Over the years coming up through the juniors and all the age groupers racing Moooloolaba and the ITU events, it is a place that everyone is very familiar with. You look forward to getting up there hanging out on the beach and spending a few days in an enjoyable family oriented location.”

“Sunshine Coast 70.3 is great preparation for the guys heading over to Kona because it is about four weeks out and you also have the young guys trying to make their mark on the 70.3 world coming up through. It is a great opportunity for them and it gets everyone in the one spot at the one time and we try and belt the hell out of each other,” he said.

One of those athletes looking for a last minute tune up for the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona is Tim Van Berkel who has done IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast twice with mixed results.

“I DNF’d the first time but the second time I won in 2015, so I have good memories there and I am looking forward to having another crack at it.”

“The bike is changed from the year I won it but the swim and the run are the same. It is awesome that they are keeping the World Championship course from last year because it has a harder ride that goes out into the hinterland. Being a smaller guy and it being pretty hilly I think it will suit me. When the bike is hard, packs split up a bit and it takes the sting out of some of the faster runner’s legs. I think the new bike course is the way to go.”

“Everything is about Kona for me I am hoping to get back in the top ten like I did in 2014 and that is the big goal. The last two years I have been really disappointed with my results there and I want a top ten and I am putting all my eggs into that basket.”

“IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast is five weeks out from Hawaii and it is my last solid hit out. It is perfect for me because all I have to do is jump in the car and head three hours north and I am there.”

“I love racing up that way and I am expecting a very strong field to turn up. It is a triathlon Mecca up there in Mooloolaba and Maroochydore with the ITU and the 70.3 racing and the 70.3 Worlds last year. I love racing in Australia and I like to come home in good form so I am really looking forward to it,” he said.

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Training

Triathlon: Changing your life one hour at a time

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Triathlon requires proficiency in three separate disciplines. However, finding the time to train is a challenge for anyone, never mind someone who works full time while juggling family commitments. But that extra hour in your day can be found more easily than you think. I’m going to show you how to overcome some popular excuses that stop people from changing their life one hour at a time.

No Time for Triathlon

I used to laugh at people who’d get up at 4:30am to go training. “You’re insane”, is a phrase that regularly popped out of my mouth. Yet I was also trotting out this little chestnut: “With work and kids, I just don’t have the time to do anything”.

So, how do all these other people do it? Are they all without kids, a demanding job, a house that needs cleaning and a family that’s high maintenance? Are they blessed with an extra 2 hours every day that I don’t know about? Do they also know where to find platform 9 3/4 to Hogwarts?

Every day as we go to work, walk the dog (which is exercise by the way), pass people in the street or sit next to people on the train we are inevitably seeing individuals who do in fact experience all these issues and many more on a daily basis. Yet some of them look really fit. How is this possible?

The answer is surprisingly simple

They set themselves a goal, and make the time.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “yeah sure, how do you just make the time?  It’s easier for them because ……. but but but ……..” Well, hold that thought and let me answer the question with another question:

“Could you find an extra 1 hour each day if your life depended on it?”

Ironically, in some cases this is exactly the scenario. You just need to tune into the Biggest Loser to see people who are inevitably saving their lives by doing just that. Of course this is an extreme example, but don’t underestimate the power that one hour each day can make to your life and wellbeing.

I recently met a single mum with 4 kids that trained for and completed an Ironman. An Ironman !!!! That’s a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42km run. And let me be very clear that the event in itself was actually the easiest part of this whole equation. Training for something like that takes hours and hours out of every week just to get to the start line. Take a few seconds to think about the logistics she faces every day. I know I did.

So how do YOU do it?

In a lot of cases, it all happens in the wee hours of the morning before the rest of the world awakens. I personally exercise in the morning as I find it an amazing way to start the day. Despite getting out of bed at “insane o’clock”, it jump-starts my day by giving me a sense of achievement before most people have even opened their eyes.

Of course, that doesn’t always suit everyone’s circumstances. But luckily, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Excuse Busting – Breaking down the Fortress

Success is often guarded by a fortress of excuses.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. – Benjamin Franklin

How we overcome these excuses defines how we live our life. Getting started isn’t easy, and it takes commitment and perseverance to develop habits. So to help you get started I offer you the following ways to overcome the top 4 excuses that hold people back from changing their life one hour at a time.

#1: Work is too busy

Excuse busting tips:

  • Block out specific times during the day for exercise
  • Prioritise your work and ask yourself “will any small children die if I went for a run instead of doing this other task right now?” How important is it really?
  • Renegotiate delivery times
  • Even on the busiest days you can still aid recovery by stretching regularly, wearing compression socks under your trousers and using a spikey rolling ball on your feet under the desk
  • Schedule walking meetings instead of sitting meetings
  • If you’re the boss:
    • learn to delegate and empower your team
    • ask your PA to keep these times free
    • set a healthy example for your team

#2: There are just not enough hours in the day

Excuse busting tips:

  • Incorporate exercise into your commute to and from work. Drive part of the way and ride or run the other part. Park near a train or bus station so you can get back to your car in the afternoon
  • Go for a run or a swim during your lunch break
  • Go to bed one hour earlier and wake up one hour earlier
  • Do something immediately after work before you settle in to watching the next episode of Game of Thrones
  • Schedule time on your weekends – do something with the kids or put aside one or two hours just for yourself. My introduction to running was Parkrun every Saturday morning.

#3: It’s so hard to get out of bed in the morning

Excuse busting tips:

  • Take a long hard look at your habits and identify trade-offs.
  • I was a TV addict. I used to watch every series, every night and regularly stay up late. I decided that my health was more important than knowing whether the Mentalist eventually caught Red John. I started reducing the amount of TV I watched and began waking up one hour earlier. Initially this was just for 2 days a week, but over time this became a daily habit.

#4: It’s difficult to keep motivated

Excuse busting tips:

  • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I encourage you to join a group, a club, a team or exercise with a friend, your wife or the kids. We all need help to keep motivated and nothing does that better than introducing “obligation”
  • Pay your coaching fees up front. I don’t know about you but the thought of wasting my money is a huge motivator
  • Schedule a future event. Nothing keeps you honest like an impending deadline
  • Keep your shoes next to your bed so they’re the first things you see in the morning
  • My first running group was a free group of people that met twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30am for an hour. If I didn’t turn up I felt like I was letting other members of the group down

Above all, start slow and work towards developing habits. Try Parkrun once a week for the first few months while you get used to running and building your fitness. Begin by walking most of it, then slowly build up the distance you’re able to run each week. Once you’re running the whole way you might even consider riding instead of driving to the start line.

Triathlon is about changing your life one hour at a time and overcoming excuses. It’s about commitment and developing lifelong habits that will not only make you healthier, but also happier.

So take that first step and offer no excuses. A one hour workout is only 4% of your day. Set your alarm for one hour earlier tomorrow morning and go for a walk. Once you give it a go you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve. Maybe one day we might even be on the start line of an ironman together.

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Gear & Tech

Suunto Introduces Compact, Lightweight Spartan Trainer Wrist HR GPS Watch

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The Suunto Spartan family of sports watches grows today with the launch of Spartan Trainer Wrist HR, the slim and lightweight multisport GPS watch for active sports enthusiast. The Spartan Trainer is considerably smaller in size than its older siblings, yet delivers great, versatile training features, daily activity tracking, as well as wrist heart rate measurement by best-in-class biometrics supplier Valencell.

“With Spartan Trainer we are reaching out to active sports enthusiasts who want the features and sport expertise the Spartan family offers, but prefer a smaller, lighter watch. At a suggested retail price from $279, this is a lightweight that delivers a solid, feature-packed punch,” says Daniela Tjeder, Suunto’s commercial marketing manager.

Spartan Trainer keeps up with you every day

Clear, easy-to-follow color graphs provide 24/7 feedback and summaries, while daily targets for steps and calories help you stay active and fit. With heart rate and motion sensing on the wrist, customizable watch faces, and training features for all kinds of sports, Spartan Trainer is ready to take you places.

Weighing only 56 grams (66g with metal bezel), Spartan Trainer is hardly noticeable on the wrist. The well-honed design fits slimmer wrists, too.

The compact yet robust watch is water resistant to 50 meters, so take it for a swim without worry. Ten hours of battery life (up to 30 hours with power saving options) provide plenty of training time. Use Spartan Trainer as a day-to-day timepiece with activity tracking for up to 14 days before needing a recharge.

Indoor and outdoor sports

Exercising with Spartan Trainer is simple and enjoyable. It uses GPS to measure speed, pace, distance and altitude. With 80 sport modes pre-installed, it is ready for nearly any sport, right out of the box. Sport-specific displays for running, cycling and swimming display relevant, real-time information. True to Suunto’s outdoor and adventure heritage, the Spartan Trainer comes with GPS route navigation with breadcrumb view, making it easy to discover new routes and places and always find the way back home. With the Spartan Trainer, Suunto encourages everyone to explore their urban environment. Push the city limits—and go beyond your own.

Wrist heart rate by Valencell

The new Spartan Trainer uses world-leading optical heart rate measurement technology by Valencell, also featured in the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR. In addition to the wrist heart rate measurement, Spartan Trainer can be used with compatible chest heart rate sensors such as the optional Suunto Smart Sensor.

 

Five vibrant designs

The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR comes in five distinctive models: Gold and Steel boast an elegant, urban feel with prominent stainless steel elements at $329 MSRP, while Ocean, Blue and Black offer a fresh, sporty look and retail at $279. The Spartan Trainer in Ocean, Blue and Black variants will be available beginning August 31, while the Spartan Trainer Gold and Steel will start with limited availability in September.

Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR range of watches

Specifications

Glass: Mineral Crystal
Bezel: Polyamide/Stainless Steel
Case: Polyamide
Strap: Silicone
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours in training mode (up to 30 hours with power save options)
Navigation: GPS
Water Resistance: 50m
Weight: 56g
Width: 46mm
Thickness: 14.9mm

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