Thursday, 28 January 2010

Eating prior to exercise

The pre-race or pre-training meal is important but remember that what you eat and drink throughout the rest of the week is just as important. Food consumed before exercise is only useful once it has been digested and absorbed by the body. Only then can it be used a source of fuel for exercise.

You must not only time your food intake so that the fuel becomes available during the exercise period but you must eat the right food also . Food eaten before exercise should provide adequate carbohydrate. It should also be low in fat and moderate in fibre to make digestion easier and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort (belly ache!). Click here to get more detailed information about eating before exercise.

How much carbohydrate and how much protein should a triathlete eat as part of their diet? This continues to be a topic of much debate and there are a number of opinions out there. For more information about carbohydrates and protein intake in relation to exercise just click on the appropriate macro-nutrient!

This info should help you get through our Sunday morning double-header! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Our coach on Sunday was Dan Bullock from Swim for Tri. You can see more info about his drills here and here. He also runs a Thursday night course that might interest you.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Hi all, this is the route we ran in group 2 this Sunday...

Map your run in UK - route355489: LF TRI CLUB 24TH JAN 2010



Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Hi Everyone,
Here's an intial design for the club's kit.
Hope you all like it and would be great to have your comments.
(Click the image to enlarge)
Cheers Guy

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Set yourself an end of season goal

I know it's still a long way off but races sell out pretty quickly these days. The North Norfolk Triathlon could be great finale to this year's race season. The race is held on the 12th of September. The swim takes place in the historical harbour at Wells-Next-the-Sea, the multi-lap cycle winds it's way through Holkham Estate (think scaled down version of Blenheim Palace) and the run is fast and flat along the North Norfolk Coastal Path. It's a great event complete with chip timing. I did it last year and thoroughly recommend it. If we can get enough members from London Fields Triathlon Club to sign up for it we could make it an inter-club challenge, complete with trophy, between us and the North Norfolk Triathlon Club. So if you fancy testing yourself with standard distance race (1500m swim/40km bike/10km run) at the end of the season give this one a go.

Support triathlon at the grass roots level (I've signed up already)! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Fancy an early morning run?

Rob Popper has been taking early morning running sessions at Millfields Park for the past year. The park is well lit, has railings to lock up bikes and a 1km well lit path for circuits, intervals and general training. Rob is happy to open up the session to members of the London Fields Triathlon Club. Sessions start promptly at 6:00am on a Tuesday morning. They run for about an hour and go something like this:

  • 15-20 min of warm-ups
  • 30-40 min of main set
  • 5-10 min cool down and stretching

They also talk a lot about various training goals people have planned in their triathlon training year ahead, as well as things like the importance of hydration and nutrition for all the different skill levels and distances people might be training for.

They cater for all skill levels from complete novices for whom a 30-40 min main session is a challenge but one they want to achieve, up to European and World Age Group champions, Iron-people, and ultra-marathoners. Rob will teach you how to train smart, keep improving, and work with other athletes to be motivated and effective.

For the next few weeks, they will be doing some fun runs, with about 15 minutes of warm-ups and then 45-75 minutes of running along the canal and the marshes at an easy, conversational pace. They would usually structure it so that people who want to do the shorter run will be led back to Millfields Park by 7:00 am, and then the rest can carry on for another 30 minutes or so, depending on how much time people would like to spend running around the marshes or when they have to be back home.

Here is a location map: If you want to attend send us an email and we will put you in touch with Rob.

Go on get up early! Tim (LFTC Coach) and Rob

We are just too popular!

It seems we have created quite a stir with the establishment of the London Fields Triathlon Club. That’s great! However it means our swim session is very popular and tends to be fully booked well in advance. We only have one double lane available to us. To keep the session enjoyable and to have the right coach to athlete ratio we have to limit numbers. I have a few suggestions for those people that miss out:

  1. Have a look at our blog. Choose one of the sample swim sessions (or a part of it) and swim in one of the other lanes on Sunday morning so you can join us for the run.
  2. Have a look at the Outdoor Swimming Society's website. They also run coached sessions on a Sunday at the Lido. The block of sessions for Jan/Feb has already started but there may be places available. The sessions are coached by Swim For Tri.
  3. Swim for Tri also run a number of other coached swim sessions throughout London including Clissold Pool. Have a look at their website to see if there is something that suits.

I hope that helps solve your swimming woes! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Sample run session plan 1.

Sadly I won't be there this Sunday for our first club run. However you might like to follow this session plan. If your not sure where to go I am sure one of the the local lads/lasses can act as your guide. Having just survived Xmas and New Year it may have been a while since you were out for a run. This is a simple even paced session to help you get your running legs back before we move into more challenging sessions in the next few months.

Warm up:
  • 5-10mins jog around London Fields to warm up. RPE 11-12.

  • If you prefer to perform static stretches pre-run this is the time to do them. I use the drills below as a form of dynamic stretch and perform static stretches post-run only.
Technique drills
  • Perform the drills in my Running Tips 1 blog
Main set: RPE 13-15
  • The route: Head down through Broadway towards Regent's Canal. Cross the road and head onto the canal heading East. Follow the canal until you get to the first gate to enter Victoria Park. Enter Victoria Park.

  • Short route: Follow the path from the canal and then turn right on the main path. Follow the main path that loops around the West end of the park and back to the gate that you entered the park from. Return to London Fields Lido via the same route (total 4.5km).

  • Medium route: Follow the path from the canal and then turn right on the main path. Follow the main path that loops around the West end of the park, exit the Crown Gate West and cross the road entering the Crown Gate East. Follow the main path around the outside of the East end of the park to Royal Gate East. Exit the Royal Gate East and cross the road entering the Royal Gate West. Follow the main path straight in front of you around to the gate that you entered the park from. Return to London Fields Lido via the same route (total 7.5km).

  • Long route: Follow the medium route above but complete two laps of the Victoria Park (total 12km).
Cool down:
  • Jog/walk 5-10mins in London Fields

  • Static stretches for calf, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, gluteals and trunk.
Now children take care crossing the roads! Look both ways, cross on the green man, use the zebra crossing not the bicycle crossing (between Crown Gates of Victoria Park). But seriously please be careful not everyone will be looking out for you on the roads.

Have fun! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Planning your own swim sessions

I was going to write this blog myself but upon opening this months 220Triathlon magazine Dan Bullock of Swim for Tri had done it for me! Dan breaks the session down into 1. Warm-up, 2. First sub-set, 3. Main set, 4. Second sub-set and 5. Cool-down. He then goes on to describe different types of swim session including: speed, interval, heart rate based, negative splits, even split and mixing strokes. I recommend you take a look.

In addition there is a great article on 'Group Riding Etiquette'. This is something you should know for when we start getting out on club rides. It will mean the risk of accidents can be kept to a minimum. Funnily enough there is also an article on Technique Drills for running but I had already written that blog!

220Triathlon is a good read this month. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Swim Tips 3

In Swim tips 1 we introduced some sculling drills to improve your 'feel for the water'. Here are three more drills to help you develop a smooth and efficient FC technique:

1. Kicking on your front: Push off from the wall, arms out-stretched in front of you with hands overlapping and face in the water. Remember when you kick your body should remain horizontal and streamlined, kick from the hips (not the knees), keep your feet and ankles relaxed but pointed with your heels just breaking the surface of the water. Kick for as far as you can on a single breath and then complete the length either FC or BrS.

2. Kicking on your side: Push off from the wall, keep your left arm out-stretched in front of you and your right arm at your side as you roll onto your left side. Your right shoulder and arm should be at the waters surface and your chin should be on your left shoulder. Again kick from the hips (not the knees), keep your feet and ankles relaxed but pointed. Kick on your side for as far as you can on a single breath and then complete the length FC. Repeat on your right side with right arm out-stretched and left arm at your side. It's harder than it looks but if you get this drill sorted your FC will improve massively.

3. Breathing out: Sounds simple but a lot of people get this wrong. Not breathing out fully and/or holding your breath is a major cause of that breathless feeling you might have when swimming. Whenever you swim FC when your face is in the water you should be breathing out. Breathe out evenly and with sufficient force to empty your lungs ready for your next breath. Don't hold you breath at any point. Ever tried running or cycling and holding breath for even a second or two? It makes you breathless! Try focusing just on your breath out while swimming FC and see how much better you feel.

Try performing drills 1 and 2 as part of the technique set in your own swim sessions. Repeat each drill four (or more) times. You should try drill 3 any time throughout your session but especially whenever you get that breathless feeling!

Once you've tried these let us know what you think. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Planning your triathlon training

Some of you have been asking what you should be doing during the week in addition to the Sunday club swim and run sessions. This depends entirely on you as an individual. You should consider each weekly plan as an integral part of a monthly plan which is an integral part of your annual plan. Ask yourself the following questions before you start planning:
  • What is it that you are trying to achieve by participating in triathlon?

  • Have you set a goal(s) for the season/month/week/session?

  • Do you have a race(s) that you plan to compete in?

  • If you have more than one race in mind which race(s) will you make a priority?

  • How much time do you have to devote to training?

  • How much time do you want to devote to training?

  • Could you fit training in as part of a regular daily routine such as biking or running to/from from work?

  • What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?

  • Are you prone to injury in a particular discipline and why might this be?

To give you some idea of how a twelve week off-season training plan might be structured for sprint, olympic, middle or long distance triathlon take a look at these training plans prepared by Joe Beer of 22oTriathlon magazine. Just click on the distance: Sprint, Olympic, Middle and Long.

Joe Beer will be at this year's TCR Show and doing short 1-2-1 sessions to answer your questions about training, nutrition and equipment etc. at the Tri Clinic Live.

I hope that helps you! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Running Tips 1

Running drills are an important part of any run session. They should take place after a 5-10min warm-up such as a light jog. The drills mimic and often exaggerate movement patterns that take place when running. Thus they provide a dynamic stretch to the muscles used when running, help train correct muscle activation patterns used when running improving running efficiency and prepare your body for the physical challenge that lies ahead. Here are some drills to add into your run sessions:

Double Hops: Hop on the ball of your left foot then swap to your right. The hop should be small and quick. Perform on the spot for 20-30sec or slowly moving forwards over 15-20m.

Skipping A's: This drill is just skipping like you did as a child but with an exaggerated action. Exaggerate your knee lift, arm swing and the height of your skip so that you hip flexes to 90deg, your hands come up to shoulder level and you 'leap' 10-15cm into the air. Perform slowly moving forwards over 15-20m.

Hamstring Flicks: With a slight forward lean of the body 'flick' your heels towards your buttocks. Your hip and knee should flex so that your heel comes up under your buttock rather than straight behind you. Perform slowly moving forwards over 15-20m.

Pendulum Swings: Standing on the spot on your left leg swing your right leg forwards and backwards. Your right knee should remain slightly flexed (bent) to that the ball of your foot brushes the ground underneath you with each swing. Your trunk should remain upright and relaxed. Perform 20reps on each leg.

Skipping B's: This is a little tricky to describe but it is essentially a combination of Skipping A's, Hamstring Flicks and Pendulum Swings. As you skip your left heel moves towards your buttock then the knee lifts to it's highest point, as it does this straighten your left knee by gently 'kicking out' then bring the left foot down underneath you. Your right leg performs the same movement in a reciprocal action. Think of a horse scraping the ground with it's front hoof. Perform slowly moving forwards over 15-20m.

I prefer to perform each drill twice to ensure that I am properly warmed up and ready to go. This link shows some of the drills and others you might like to try. The athlete in the video really exaggerates her movements. You could tone it down just a little!

Try them out in your next run session. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Sample Swim Session 2

Here is the session put together for Sunday January 10. It was a bit of a monster session with a few of you completing the whole thing and most of you doing very well to get through the majority of it. My description might differ slightly from what you did on the day. That is because the session was modified on the spot to suit the needs of the group.

Warm up
  • 4x100m 100m FC, 100m kick on front, 100m FC, 100m catch up. Rest 10sec between each 100m. RPE 11-12.

Main set

  • 5x100m FC, RPE 13, rest 20sec between each 100m.
  • 5x150m FC, RPE 15, rest 30sec between each 150m.
  • 5x200m FC, RPE 13, rest 45sec between each 200m.

Cool down

  • 100m alternating 6 strokes FC with 6 strokes BaS, RPE 11-12, rest 20sec.
  • 100m FC, RPE 11-12, rest 20sec.
  • 100m alternating 3 strokes single arm FC with 3 strokes FC, RPE 11-12, rest 20sec.
  • 100m FC, RPE 11-12, rest 20sec.

Abbreviations: BaS = Backstroke. The other abbreviations you have come across in previous blogs.

You can modify this session to suit your own level of fitness. For example, you could just complete the 5x100m, or the 5x150m, or the 5x200m as your main set. You could also combine the 5x100m with the 5x150m or the 5x100m with the 5x200m to make a tougher main set. Changing the sequence of the main set is another option. For example, performing the set in reverse. Each change will give your body a slightly different physiological challenge. Try this in your own swim sessions to keep your workouts interesting.

Leave a comment to let us know what you thought of the session. Happy training! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sample Swim Session 1

Here is a sample session plan to incorporate the sculling drills in the previous blog. In the video you will see the first three drills. The fourth sculling drill is performed by pushing off the wall with your arms at your sides. Bend one elbow to 90deg allowing your wrist to flex (bend) then straighten your elbow and extend your wrist so that you thumb brushes your thigh and you finish with your fingers pointing to the bottom of the pool. As one elbow bends the other straightens. Hard to picture? Think of a duck's foot as it swims through the water. Works for me anyway!

If it looks too hard you could reduce the main set to something more manageable. For those of you who find it difficult to put your face in the water, get some well-fitting goggles and just try doing the sculling drills while calmly breathing out in the water and then lifting your head to take a breath when you need it by performing a few breaststroke strokes. Put your face back in the water and repeat for 25m. Then just perform breaststroke for 25m.

Warm Up:
  • 200m FC, RPE 12 (easy).
Technique set:
  • 4x100m Sculling drills 1-4, perform each drill for 25m then FC 25m and repeat x2 (=100m), RPE 12.
  • 2x50m FC, perform 25m with a closed fist then 25m with an open hand, RPE 12. How many strokes did you take for the first 25m versus the second 25m?
Main set:
  • Novice - 3x200m FC, RPE 13-14 (somewhat hard to moderately hard), 40sec recovery.
  • Intermediate - 5x200m FC, RPE 13-14, 40sec recovery.
  • Advanced - 8x200m FC, RPE 13-14, 40sec recovery.
Cool down:
  • 50m FC, 50m BrS, 50m FC, 50m your choice. RPE 12.
Abbreviations: FC = Front Crawl, RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion, BrS = Breaststroke

Let me know what you think of the session by leaving a comment if you like.

Enjoy! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Swim Tips 2

When you have a significant number of people sharing a lane, especially when you have mixed abilities, 'lane etiquette' becomes an essential part of a swim session. A few simple tips can mean that everyone enjoys the session a little bit more and we reduce the risk of people swimming into (or over top of) each other. When you next swim think about these 'lane etiquette' tips.

1. Swim in the appropriate lane. Most pools and lidos will have lanes marked as slow, medium and fast. A fast swimmer in the slow lane can be a bit scary for those lacking confidence in the water. Equally a slow swimmer in the fast lane can mean faster swimmers have to constantly overtake which can be dangerous if you meet someone coming in the opposite direction!

2. As you approach the end of the pool, glance over your shoulder to check the coast is clear and then drift towards the opposite side of the pool to turn, push off and begin your next lap. This can help prevent congestion at the end of the pool.

3. Give yourself enough space. Try not to push off and follow right on someone else's heels. Pause and leave a gap. This way you may not have to overtake a slower swimmer. If someone is on your heels, pause at the end of the pool and let them past and then continue on.

4. Keep close to the lane rope. That way you are less likely to have a head on collision and if someone does have to pass you (and hopefully they won't - see Tip 3) they will have enough room to do so without endangering anyone swimming in the opposite direction.

5. Watch where you are going! As a triathlete you will have to get used to 'sighting' (looking up to see where you are). It is easy to have a quick look ahead to see if you are about to swim over someone or see if someone is about to swim into you (and hopefully they won't - see Tip 3 and 4).

By the way, your 'lane etiquette' in the first session was great, but for those of you joining us in the future, follow the above tips and we can all continue to enjoy the club swim sessions.

See ya! Tim (LFTC Coach)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

A Simple Measure of Training Intensity

The Borg Scale is a simple method of rating perceived exertion (RPE) and can be used by athletes and coaches as a way to gauge exercise intensity during a training session or competition. This is one method that we will use to quantify exercise intensity during our club training sessions. The Borg Scale is a 15 point scale starting at 6 and going up to 20. For example, a rating of 7 is very, very light exercise or a 30% effort and a rating of 19 is very, very hard exercise or a 100% effort. 20 is exhaustion!

Why start at 6 and go to 20? A high correlation exists between a person's perceived exertion rating times 10 and the actual heart rate during physical activity. A person's exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during activity (Borg, 1998). For example, if a person's rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is 14, then 14 x 10 = 140; so the heart rate should be approximately 140 beats per minute. Of course heart rate is very variable between individuals and depends on genetic factors, environmental factors and an individual's physical condition.

To get the best out of your training think about want you want to achieve in that session and consider what exercise intensity would be best to achieve the desired result. It is not desirable to always push yourself as hard as possible. This could result in over-training and/or injury.

See you at the next session. Tim (LFTC Coach)

Swim Tips 1

This week in our first swim session we will introduce 'sculling drills'. Sculling drills are an excellent way to develop a feel for the water. By that I mean rather than dragging ourselves through the water with maximum effort and minimal efficiency we will develop the ability to 'catch and pull' through the water with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. Sculling drills are also a great way to warm up your shoulders and arms in preparation for your main set. A thorough warm up structured into your swim session is a habit you should get into. It can help you avoid injuries associated with swimming. It is no great suprise I am sure that the most common site of injury in swimmers is the shoulder. If you would like to see sculling drills in action take a look at the link below produced by Swim for Tri. See you at the Lido! Tim (LFTC Coach)