How To Dry Winter Open Water Swim Kit

One of the delights of swimming is how little equipment is needed - goggles and swimsuit.

All that changes with winter open water swimming.  If, that is, you don't swim 'skins'.

Those of us who wear wetsuits to wild swim year round usually add neoprene socks, gloves and caps to our equipment.

Once home, all the kit needs to be dunked to remove the salt water.  While the wetsuits and vests slip over normal hangers, the other bits and pieces can be fiddly to dry.

Liz found this gadget from Lakeland Plastics, available online for £9.99.  It's a called a 'soft grip smalls dryer', so it's not intended for heavy items.  Mind you, the supporting rubber cables will pull through their holes if overloaded - we have to fix them regularly.  Even so, this one has proved better than a blue/white one we found in the PoundStore and a grey one we found somewhere else.

It's a great way to dry the items outside or in a warm room so you're ready to go again.

10 Things Learnt With A Triathlon Coach

For the last two years coach Joe Beer has guided my triathlon training.  

Our time together has ended, and Joe suggested I write a piece about what I'd learnt.

So here goes:

1. Coaching was cheaper than I expected
I paid under £400 for six months of coaching.  Some charge a lot more.  

I wanted someone who earns a living from coaching, not someone still racing who was just supplementing their income.  

In our weekly phone calls, Joe was focused on me and my needs.  He successfully got me through my first Ironman.  

How To End The Triathlon Season

Almost by accident I found a great way to bring the season to a close, take a holiday, and kick-start the off-season work on improving my swim, a limiter for most triathletes.

We went on holiday to Croatia with a company called SwimTrek.  

As the name implies, it's like a trekking company, except the days are filled with swimming rather than walking.

In the past at swim camps, our coach Dan Bullock has emphasised the improvement to be made by regularly swimming, saying  "If you can swim for seven days in a row, you will improve".

What better way to do this than on a swimming holiday?  Warm water; a main support boat with an experienced skipper; plus two inflatables manned by excellent swim guides who could keep the swimmers together in their different speed groups, provide drinks when needed (the Aegean is very salty), and look after safety.

Ironman 70.3 Pula. Not Great.

I'd like to say it was me, not them, but actually it was a mixture of both.

If you're thinking of doing this race, first read a few race reports from 2015-2017.

Perhaps there are some fundamental issues with this course, time of year and location?

Certainly I was disappointed to bring my Ironman racing time to an end at this event.

Firstly, the superb.  Can there be a better finish area than this?  The ancient Roman Colosseum in the centre of the Istrian city of Pula.  Wow.  The expo and registration is set up just outside the monument but you finish inside a spectacular piece of history.

My Last Ironman Event?

With one more 70.3 race scheduled for 2017 (Ironman 70.3 Pula, Croatia), I've been reflecting on the Ironman brand events I've done so far.  

I started these because I wanted to do an Ironman.  It was a genuine challenge and at the outset I didn't know whether I'd succeed.

Having completed Ironman Maastricht in 2016, 2017 year has been something of an anti-climax.

At the start of the year I decided that a second Ironman would suffer from the law of diminishing marginal returns - the first would always be the best.  So I focused on 70.3 half-Ironman events and tried to go faster.

Aberfeldy 70.3 Triathlon - Notes to Self

August 20th 2017 saw the 21st Aberfeldy Triathlon, but the 1st run by Durty Events, and the first on a brand new course.

Which doesn't go within six miles of Aberfeldy.  Is this the RyanAir approach to triathlon naming?

The over riding impression of this triathlon is of outstandingly beautiful countryside.

I say this as someone who lives amongst lochs and mountains in the Scottish Highlands, so it takes a lot to impress me.  This course did.  If you're from anywhere in England or Central-belt Scotland, this course will blow you away.  In a good way.

Review - Pearl Izumi Short Sleeve Triathlon Suit

Triathlon Plus magazine recently tested a range of male and female triathlon suits, narrowed them down to twelve, then reviewed these as the 'best of the best'.

I confess, I'm quietly delighted my Pearl Izumi triathlon suit did not make the top twelve, and that the sleeveless version was not one of the top picks.

In a race where every other person has a Huub, 2XU, Planet X or Zone 3 outfit, it's nice to wear something a little different.

For Pearl Izumi, it sucks.  For me, it's brilliant.  Because I love racing in this suit.