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Race Preview: Ironman South Africa

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In just two weeks, a huge field of men and women will head to the picturesque yet gruelling Ironman Africa Championship to try and either cross the line, win, or qualify for one of 75 Kona slots up for grabs. This year Daniela Ryf is in the mix and we think she may be able to break the course record that has stood since 2011.

Here’s a break down of the course, and some handy info to help you prepare for the race.

Ironman South Africa Swim

Nelson Mandela Bay is truly picturesque, but the African waters are certainly wild. Tim van Berkel, who placed second last year said:

…conditions for the swim could only be described as tough. The water was really choppy and one of the first things that happened when I got into the swim was I was stung by a jellyfish.

On the plus side, if conditions are tough, everyone suffers so you won’t be the only one battling the waves. Tim Berkel described last years swim:
“The good thing about bad conditions is everyone suffers. Even some of the well known strong swimmers, lost minutes on the swim.”
The swim course is also very straight forward, with a single lap 3.8km swim. If you can, try to prepare with a few open ocean swims before the race, so the waves don’t feel too challenging for you. The water temperature fluctuates year to year, but wet suits will be compulsory if the ocean is below 16 degrees celsius, so have your ready in case.

Ironman South Africa Bike

Strava distance: 179.7km
KOM: Tim Van Berkel, 4:32.15
QOM: Mary Sage, 4:55.48

Two laps of a 90km loop, the bike course starts with athlete taking a sharp left turn after the first transition. A steep climb in the first 10km will help separate the athletes from one another. The first half of the first lap is mostly uphill, and the course is notoriously tough. Matt Trautam, who placed fourth last year said: “You head out with the wind and it’s mostly uphill on the way out inland and then on the way back you’re coming back along the coast into the wind and you’re a lot more exposed, so we never really got much rest. It was work all the way round the course.” Temperatures fluctuate drastically, and last year a heat wave made the ride incredibly tough.

Ben Collins said

The pavement was hot and the air stagnant and as the day wore on the African sun was unrelenting against my Chicago-white skin.

So, check the weather forecast and make sure to manage your hydration. Those who have just raced in Ironman NZ, you’ll be used to the bumpy/poor road conditions. This course is very similar, which can take it out of your legs.

Ironman South Africa Run

The course is made up of 4 x 10.55 km laps. The repetition of laps ensures every athlete has the chance to see where their ranking in relation to the field. At each turn around, you can see exactly how far ahead the rest of the field is. Ironman describes the run as a “very fast and fairly flat route,” with the elevation fluctuations of around 140 metres.
Due to the heat wave conditions last year, many athletes didn’t attain the results they wanted, or ended with a DNF. Ben Collins said:

I maintain that an Ironman hurts less than a short course event, but the duration and the need to push through mental doubt and physical fatigue is a challenge unlike the pain that I’ve trained so hard to tolerate at the shorter distances.

Strava distance: 41.9km
KOM: Ben Hoffman, 2:43.56
QOM: Claudia Harcus, 3:28.06

Who’s tipped to win

Two favourites are tipped almost equally to win this year: Belgium’s Frederik Van Lierde and American Ben Hoffman. Hoffman, who won last year, had a very strong 2016 and is in fighting form as the 2017 season progresses. German Nils Frommold is in with a strong chance after his 2016 season was cut short by a stress fracture; so he’s eager to regain his competitive edge.

  • Frederik Van Lierde: 33% (2-1)
  • Ben Hoffman: 32% (2-1)
  • Nils Frommhold: 21% (4-1)
  • Boris Stein: 9% (10-1)

Remember how Daniela Ryf set the new course record for Kona last year, and absolutely smashed through the women’s field? Well she’s racing at the Ironman African Championship in South Africa and is set to win, by a lot. Jodie Cunnama is in with a shot too, and as a previous winner in 2015, she knows the course and conditions well. Plus Cunnama is a fierce swimmer, so we’re expecting her to be first out of the water, which could be a key determinant in the rest of the race. Siri Lindley, who also coaches Australian Ironman pro Mirinda Carfrae, has been working with Finnish athlete Kaisa Lehtonen (also Ironman SA’s 2016 winner) and we think this, plus her knowledge of the course from last year, may put her in the running for second or third. Laura Siddall and Mareen Hufe have pulled out of the race, but Susie Cheetham of Great Britain and Germans Astrid Stienen and Julia Gajer may also finish in the top five.

  • Daniela Ryf: 69% (1-1)
  • Kaisa Lehtonen: 15% (6-1)
  • Jodie Cunnama: 7% (14-1)

Who won last year- Men?

Ben Hoffman won last year in 08:12:37 thanks to a flawlessly consistent race. He managed to be in the lead pack of the bike, and run consistently without surging for the marathon. Australian Tim van Berkel placed second last year in 8:14:51 with an impressive race that showcased his biking and running skills.
Estonian Marko Albert who raced impressively at Ironman New Zealand 2017 just a few weeks ago placed third last year at Ironman South Africa, finishing in 8:18:52.

Who won last year- Women?

Finnish Kaisa Lehtonen won last year’s race in 9:06:50, three minutes ahead of Susie Cheetham, who ran to the finish with a time of 9:09:49. Two minutes behind her was friend and constant rival Great Britain’s Lucy Gossage who finished with 9:11:43.

Who holds the records?

No one has broken the overall course records set in 2011 by both Raynard Tissink in the men’s race, and Chrissie Wellington in the women’s race. Despite course records being blown out of the water at most other Ironman races, South Africa remains the one to break. We’re confident Daniela Ryf can beat Wellington’s ferocious record of 8:33:56. We’re also betting Jodie Cunnama can beat Lucie Reed’s swim record from 2009; a lightning time of 00:47:40.

Event Info

Ironman South Africa Weather

Nelson Mandela Bay is known as one of the most breathtaking spots on South Africa’s rugged coast, and this event has been ranked by athletes as one of their favourite among Ironman events. That said, both the ocean and outdoor temperatures vary dramatically year to year, so it’s imperative you check what wet suit you need on the day.

You’ll also want to double check the weather as last year’s heat wave took many athletes by surprise and they struggled because of it.

Kona Qualification

Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship 2017 offers 75 qualifying slots for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI.

– Data sourced with permission from trirating.com

A cyclist and tech geek at heart with a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of Australia's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.

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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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