Hope you’ve all had a great June; it’s been a hot one that’s for sure!
We seemed to miss out on a nice gradual build in temperature this year and jumped directly into the 30’s. This was both home and abroad and we also seemed to have humidity thrown into the mix too which is very unusual for June in the UK. Only yesterday they announced it was the hottest June on record since records began in 1884.
Many of you will have been impacted by this in racing this month, some more so than others. The layer of extra difficulty and stress this adds to the body when the temps hit 30 + cannot be underestimated. I’ve seen athletes I know who are in their best shape ever fall by the wayside and be impacted by this massively. Many of whom were doing heat prep work as well. For many just making it the finish line on freak days like this is the biggest win, it certainly isn’t the time to be focussed on setting PB performances. So well done to all that persevered, dug in and managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. There were some truly gutsy performances out there.
Just to give you a good example of the how heat can impact performance I did 80-mile hilly bike ride on a day when it was 30 degrees C and very humid recently. I purposely left later in the day to get the full heat of the day. My goal was to do it all within my Zone 2 heart rate range which is 120-130bpms. Quite simply if I went out of this range I would slow down as much possible. The ride took me 5hrs 50mins, my avg HR was 124bpm.
10 weeks ago, when I was far less fit than I am now I did the same ride in Z2, the temp was 12 degrees C. It took me 5hrs 15mins at an avg HR of 125bpm, nearly 35mins faster. If that doesn’t illustrate the extraordinary impact of heat on the body, I don’t know what will. I should also add that I have done quite a lot of sessions in the heat up until that point so was reasonably well adapted. I certainly felt more comfortable in it than I did at the beginning of June.
A final note on heat was from a swim one to one session I did recently with a businessman from Hyderabad, India. He was passing through London on business so came to see me. This newbie triathlete was in training to do his first Ironman. I was a little bit surprised when he asked me about where he could do his first Ironman, he wanted a race where temps would be between 18-22 degrees C. It’s one of the smartest questions a novice triathlete in training has ever asked me. The reason being is despite living all his life in India where temps regularly hit 45+ degrees he knew that he didn’t perform well in training when the temps got anywhere near 30 degrees. To overcome this he regularly trained at 4am in India when the weather was at it’s coolest. This just goes to show that some people are just way worse in heat than others and even living in hot conditions doesn’t guarantee full adaptation.
It also highlights how choosing the right race at the right time of year based on many factors is crucial to finding race day peak performance. There are quite clearly some races out there that are always cooler than others. It’s also the reason why some of the greatest athletes on the planet have never won in Hawaii.
The ‘triathlon lizards’ as I like to call them come alive in heat and perform way worse when it gets colder. I’ve seen this in many of the athletes that I have coached to success in Hawaii. How they do what they do in the temps they race in astounds me; I certainly couldn’t do it. But give me rain, wind, cooler temps and I could always come into my own. That’s the Welsh boy in me, I guess.
Should this mean everyone should fear heat when we get a spike? Absolutely not, but what you need to do is revisit your approach to training and racing, so it allows you to cope better. Quite often this means re-adjusting targets & goals, HR, pace, power so you can produce the best performance on the day with the conditions factored in. If you are sensible the reward will come, it might not lead to a lifetime best performance, but it will ensure you do yourself less damage or potentially risk a DNF.
- Vicki Hill
- Splits: 1:25:15 swim / 5:59:12 bike / 4:12:25 run
- Total Time: 11:47:31
- 1st in 45-49 category/ 3rd female overall
- Next up: Ironman World Champs Hawaii
Kona qualification boxed ticked with this typically gritty performance. All I need to tell you is that Vicki pretty much raced through a storm on to get to the finish line. When your athlete tells you ‘I considered not starting it was so bad out there’ you know what they went through to gain that slot. Nice work tough girl, you got the box ticked & your old friend Hawaii awaits.
- Angus Pollard
- Splits: 30:25 swim / 2:28:51 bike / 1:29:16 run
- Total Time: 4:33:58
- 6th out of 141/ 25-29 category
- Next up: Ironman Italy
What a difference a few weeks makes with far better lead up preparation. A performance to be proud of on a very hot day, just touching distance of the top 5. It’s only a matter of time now…
Challenge Wales (middle distance)
- Andrew Reardon
- Splits: 38:19 swim / 2:48:03 bike / 1:46:06 run
- Total Time: 5:15:56
- 6th out of 30/ 45-49 category
- Next up: Swansea 70.3
As middle distance courses come this one has proven to be one of the toughest the UK has to offer. This proved to be a baptism of fire for Andrew’s first outing this year. I’m pleased to say that despite the brutally hilly course and bad cramping on the bike he managed to push on through to a solid performance. He also managed to qualify for ‘The Championship’ in Samorin, Slovakia next year. Just getting started with this one and so much more to come.
- Charlotte Drummond
- Splits: 34:08swim / 2:59:16 bike / 2:10:58 run
- Total Time: 5:50:38
- 30-34 category
- Next up: 70.3 World Champs, Finland
What a difference a few weeks and 32 degree heat makes to a performance for an athlete who I know is on her best shape ever. A solid swim and a gutsy bike all then let down by stomach cramps on the run. Still very proud to see you battle your way to that finish line.
SPECIAL NOTE: What was even more amazing was Charlotte had some of the fastest transitions in her age category…an outrageous improvement on last time…bravo!
- Joep Van Meerwijk
- Splits: 33:06 swim / 3:21:35 bike / 1:44:13 run
- Total Time: 5:50:25
- 45-49 category
- Next up: Ealing half marathon
- Arnaud Marchal
- Splits: 33:11swim / 3:44:23 bike / 1:54:37 run
- Total Time: 6:29:53
- 45-49 category
- Phil Shields
- Splits: 30:48 swim / 3:08:24 bike / 1:40:25 run
- Total Time: 5:32:39
- 50-54 category
Huge congrats to the boys for having to deal with over 30 degree heat down on the Cote’D’Azur. If that wasn’t enough they also faced one of the hilliest bike courses on the 70.3 circuit. Joep also had to contend with a car crashing into his bike the day before race day which didn’t help but he held his cool! Terrific performances from all on a day that just doesn’t come much tougher.
Dambuster Olympic (National Champs)
- Steve Phillips
- Splits: 29:24 swim / 1:08:47 bike / 41:05 run
- Total Time: 2:22:33
- 7th in 45-49 category
- Next up: British 50mile time trial champs
Not Steve’s usual distance or focus so it was terrific to see him break inside the top 10 at the National Triathlon Champs. Nice work Steve you more than held your own.
European Triathlon Championships (Madrid)
- Tony Jarvis
- Splits: 7:00 run / 31:48 bike / 18.41 run
- Total Time: 1:01:29
- 45-49 category
- Next up: Cardiff Sprint Triathlon
Cardiff Sprint Triathlon (Qualifier)
- Tony Jarvis
- Splits: 14:25 swim / 32:07 bike / 19:42 run
- Total Time: 1:08:20
- 45-49 category
- Next up: Dorney super sprint qualifier
This was the perfect demonstration of how to overcome race week adversity; a cancelled flight, a cancelled swim, a tri converted to a duathlon with a 4.2km run course. He then travelled to New York and got sick the week before the Cardiff Sprint Triathlon. All I saw from this guy was positivity at every stage and a can do attitude. Huge congrats TJ on finding two typically gritty performances. That luck will change soon enough!
JLL Property Sprint Triathlon (Dorney lake)
- Toby Dean
- Splits: 12:43 swim / 34:17 bike / 20:51 run
- Total Time: 1:10:05
- 1st in 45-49 category / 22nd male overall
- Next up: World Champs Hamburg
What a way to bounce back from a potentially season ending bike fall a few weeks ago. The miracle man has somehow recovered and put in himself back on top of the podium once again. Cracking work Toby, just the boost needed ahead of Hamburg World Champs!
Some of my fave things this month…
I had the pleasure & privilege to meet and work with two remarkable characters in triathlon last week. Meet Sam and his Dad Tony Holness who is his Coach. They are on an inspiring mission to help Sam become the first ever person with autism to become a professional triathlete. Sam has already broken down many barriers in relation to the stigmas associated with health and fitness in relation to autism. In doing so he become the first person with autism to finish an Ironman, he then became the first person with the condition to finish the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. An extraordinary achievement in itself.
They’ve asked me to come on board and help Sam with his swim. The goal being to swim 60mins for an Ironman swim at some point in the future (he swam 76mins in Hawaii). We made a great start last week and it was such an amazing challenge to work with someone like Sam, he’s quite the personality!
His Dad Tony helped to teach me how his brain works and we made great progress together. This young man has the most incredible engine and combine that with his laser like focus I don’t doubt he will achieve his dreams at some point in the future. I will keep you updated on his progress.
You can also follow Sam on instagram at samholnesstri
Tour De France – Unchained
If you love cycling, then you’ll love this new 8–part series from Netflix. Even if you don’t love cycling you’ll love this docu-series! There is more excitement & drama on show here than in 1000 episodes of Love Island…I promise you’ll be on the edge of your seat with this one. Netflix you are to be applauded!
This is a superbly honest film about England Captain in Ben Stokes. A once in a generation cricketer who’s life has been a series of the highest highs and the lowest lows. A hugely inspirational figure who has also suffered with his mental health during his career. This is a warts and all documentary and no stone is left unturned to show you the pressures of playing sport at the highest level.
HUGE congrats to these two triathlon lovebirds. He popped the question and she said yes! May you have many happy years turboing side by side.
BIG shout out to Triathlon Tom (here seen with Triathlon Charlotte) who completed his first ever triathlon at Staffs 70.3! You finally make the perfect triathlon couple haha
Seems to be a couples theme developing here so here’s one more of Andy not running in the Scottish hills, but one where he was taking a much needed training break. Food and wine was the order of the day in Italy, couldn’t keep him away from his bike though. Who thought a Scot could be so cultured, must be the other half rubbing off on you. No cumberland sausage korma on show here.
Just because…the man loves…Pinarello
Just when you think you are taking training and life too serious…think of this guy. Love you Peachy! (Taken from his military style training camp in Tenerife)
Name: Philippa Paxman
Star sign: Scorpio
Years in triathlon: 4
Occupation: Operations Manager
In another life you would have been a..?: Property developer … or a professional gin taster –it’s not too late to be either I guess!
Who is your athletic alter ego?: I literally have no idea but I’ve always admired Kat Matthews practical attitude and ability to be calm and composed
Favourite training session: Anything on a bike when Im not injured, especially turbo intervals
Least favourite training session: 30 x 100s swims
Favourite training track (music!): This changes every week I swear. ‘No name’– NF for anything with some intensity, otherwise ‘Take you Dancing’ – Jason Derulo goes down a treat
Favourite book: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Last book you read: Grit by Angela Duckworth
Favourite training venue/location: Club La Santa hands down
Favourite race experience: Ironman Switzerland was the most beautiful race and I got to watch Daniela Ryf go down the red carpet to win there for the 8th consecutive year. It would have been a lot cooler if I didn’t have 40km of the run left to go.
Top 3 race bucket list:
- Alpe D’Huez Triathlon
- Challenge Roth
- Granfondo Stelvio Santini
Favourite mantra: Quit talking and begin doing
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be & why?
Elon Musk & Mark Zuckerberg so they can have their fight at my house and Taylor Swift can referee
Training hours per week: 7-8 hours – am being very patient while trying to overcome a back injury
What are your training & race goals for 2023?
- Consistency in training without any serious injuries cropping up
- I have Portugal 70.3 booked in October just to see what I can do