• Dan, our app-man, talks climbing and coding

    Posted in upmysport on November 24, 2014

    We thought we’d introduce the world to a member of the upmysport team- Dan Hough, who’s been tinkering away on the upmysport app for the past year or so.  We chat tech, climbing, and what the future could have in store for coding..

    dan hough

     MC: So Dan, how did you get into coding/app design?

    DH: I started when I was about 12, when a very liberal teacher decided to go off the curriculum and teach us html for a day. One thing led to another to another to another, and when I did computer science at Newcastle Uni I learned some of the more advanced parts of programming-  it became a career from there.

    We know from your Strava updates that you go on the odd run, but how seriously do you take jogging? Do you do any other sports?

    Uhhh, I take joggoling, jogging, well, actually, I like to call it running, thank you very much. I try to go pretty fast, I think I take it seriously enough to try to get to 20 minutes for 5 km, and I’m not quite there yet, but I tend to go 3 times a week on a 5-10k run.

    I’m one the few people you meet who takes their stretching quite seriously, and general strength work to do with running. So maybe quite seriously? In terms of other sports, I love climbing, bouldering in particular- the kind where you haven’t got ropes.

    I do that three times a week at The Arch climbing wall in Bermondsey and I recently went to France to do a bit of bouldering, which was awesome.

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    Is it me, or do loads of people in the tech scene seem to be into climbing?

    It’s not you. That’s very true. If you go to the bouldering walls and speak to a random person, there’s a 50-50 change that they’re in a tech company. And I think its because a lot of geeks like to approach bouldering from a problem-solving perspective. Climbing is all about problem solving and so is bouldering, so there’s a tonne of cross over.

    And, nerdy folk like me often aren’t great at team sports, but they love socializing, so, it’s a good way to do a sport, meet people and discuss a challenge!

     You volunteer at Code Club, how’s that been?

    Really rewarding, I know that that’s an obvious thing to say but it really has. It’s taught me a lot about how children learn, and interact with each other. I haven’t spent much time with kids since I was one and, its amazing how quickly they grasp the basics of it. It can be quite stressful- they’re a handful, but I really enjoy it.

    Do you think coding will be become part of mainstream education and be taught alongside Geography and Politics etc.?

    I think it’ll be part of main steam education but won’t be taught quite as ubiquitously as Geography and Politics. It’ll probably be somewhere between, like, German and Maths. Well, no, I guess German is quite popular.

    Ok, a lot of people think that it’s gonna be as ubiquitous as maths, but I can’t see it getting that popular. I think it’s going to be one of these things that gets taught a bit in primary school, and if kids enjoy it, they’ll continue it at secondary school, but if they don’t, they won’t.

    I think you can kinda tell when you’re about ten whether you’re interested in programming or not. And I can’t see it being a sudden switch, but its definitely on the up, and needs to be.

    The Arch in Bermondsey

    The Arch in Bermondsey

     Do you think you can gain something from learning the basics of coding, even if you don’t want to be a developer?

    I think so. I teach programming at a company called General Assembly, and the thing that I always tell my students is that even if they’re not in it to have a career in programming learning about it can help change the way they think about basically everything.

    If you start approaching the world from a programmers perspective, you can see everything in a much more logical manner. And you can see the way that systems work in a much more intricate way. I don’t just mean computer systems- any kind of system at all- so like, the kind of systems that operate public transportation or those that help a company function. Knowing a bit of programming can really help you understand how complex systems interact.

    How do people get into it if they’re curious?

    A good first step is to check out websites like Code Academy and Treehouse and if you want to get serious about it then maybe check out a course at somewhere like General Assembly.

    Lastly, if you could moonlight as a pro in one sport, what would it be?

    *Long pause*  A pro in any sport? Skydiving.  Does that count as a sport?

    I don’t know, can you do that, competitively?

    I don’t know. Do you mean like professional competitive kinda person?

    Yeah

     Ah, well its gotta be snowboarding- that’s such a cool sport to be professional at.

    * Nicola interjects *

    NB: You can be a professional skydiver- one of the champions lives in our village. Do you mean professional as in you earn a living from it?

    Well, I meant, competitively. 

    NB: Yeah that’s definitely a thing too.

    Oh. 

    DH: In that case I stick with my original answer!

    Check out Dan’s blog and Twitter to keep up with all the exciting stuff he’s up to. And if you fancy having a go at climbing, we’ve got some great climbing instructors who can show you the ropes!

     

     

  • upmysport go off-road

    Posted in startups on October 20, 2014

    So the upmysort team had a pretty sweet friday.

    We started the day in style with some Bacon and Egg Naans from Dishoom, arguably the best breakfast in town, before strolling over to the Olympic Park.

    But before we got there had second and third breakfast at the awesome E5 Bakehouse.  You’ve gotta refuel if you’re to perform at your best..

    Mobot/ Lightening Bolt/ ambiguous

    Lightning Bolt/ Mobot/ ambiguous

    Having Carbo/Caffeine/Chocolate Brownie-loaded we checked out the Olympic Park. Beautiful sunshine, and for those of us who had been at the Olympics two years before, great memories. We headed over to the Velodrome where it’s pretty safe to say team GB smashed it in 2012.

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    It was time for action. At the Lee Valley Velo Park there are all sorts of cycling antics you can get involved in. You can ride on the track, road, BMX park, velodrome or go  mountain biking. Whilst deliberating which to go for we suddenly realised that Neil was nowhere to be seen..

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    Mountain Biking. No- brainer.

    With different trails of varying difficulty- blue, red and black, there really is something for everyone. We explored the trails for a couple of hours, Michael tried to do a black trail and fell off and broke his bike, and London delivered a bit of sunshine. All good.

    As the afternoon drew to a close we stopped off at the local Crate Brewery.

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    Delicious pizzas, beers and a great spot right on the river. It was a lovely opportunity to welcome Antonia to the team and enjoy all being in the same city. We meandered back to our Old Street home feeling good.

    There’s something hugely rewarding about trying something new- especially when you’ve got someone who knows the ropes and can make sure you enjoy the experience as much as possible.

    Follow us on twitter, Like us on Facebook, and say hello if you’ve got a sport or activity you think we should try..

     

  • ‘Three lessons from my first year as a rookie triathlete’

    Posted in triathlon on July 30, 2014

    Following on from England’s amazing triathlon success at this year’s Commonwealth Games (men’s gold, women’s gold and relay gold!) we caught up with Lucy Fry, an extremely sporty journalist who has kindly shared three lessons from her first year of triathlon.

    DSC_1453a Luce with bicycle

    Lucy at the Hyde Park Tri

    I’ve spent nearly a year trying to immerse myself in the fierce and fabulous world of Triathlon. During that time, I’ve done five Triathlons – three so-called sprint events (though they take me around 90 minutes, so the word ‘sprint’ doesn’t really cover it), and two longer, Olympic distance ones. I started out as a fairly fit 31-year-old, and I’m now a fully-fledged 32-year-old triathlete. It doesn’t take much after all, and triathletes are a notoriously welcoming bunch; you don’t need to run to glory like Jodie Stimpson to be called a triathlete (though that was pretty awesome, huh?); you just need to do one event and smile and you’ll be welcomed into the fold.

    Here are three things I learnt as a rookie triathlete in their first season.

    1) Open water acclimatisation - yes, this really does matter. Every time I’ve seen a swimmer on the start line of a triathlon who hasn’t yet dipped their feet into open water, I’ve discovered later that they struggled a lot, during the swim. That’s because open water, wonderful though it is, is a completely different experience to pool swimming and requires just a little bit of practice. Don’t assume you can get by on lengths alone; you’ll need to practice sighting drills (lakes don’t have lanes to keep you on track), wetsuits (ouch! An ill-fitting one will slow you down, a lot, during a race) and long, uninterrupted sections of swimming. So get yourself an instructor – I used Swim Lab’s Salim Ahmed – and do an open water session or two. It could make the difference between an awful first race experience and a fantastic one.

    2) Cycle more than I did. In my wisdom, I felt that a regular 60-90 minute cycle session on a stationery cycle bike would be enough to sustain me in the cycle part of a triathlon. That and the odd 100km long ride, I’ll admit, but those were few and far between. When it came to the triathlons, I couldn’t understand why I was constantly being overtaken by women who neither looked a whole lot stronger than me nor had better kit for me to blame their prowess on. Riding to and from work on a daily basis will make a difference to your cycle time in a Tri – it’s hours in the saddle, along with those hard interval sessions, that’ll make you a better rider. I was lazy about biking and I regretted it in the end!

    3) Practice your transitions. If I had a pound for every time my friend, the exceptionally-experienced triathlon coach, Rob Popper, told me to practice my transitions, I’d be able to afford a better wetsuit. It is boring and might seem pointless, but practising the process of taking your wetsuit off under time pressure and when you’re wet, and slipping into cycle shoes, helmet on, ready for the ride… Those things actually make a difference come race day. Time taken off your Transitions is also virtually ‘free’ in energy terms – much easier to gain a minute back by making friends with your wetsuit than it is to make it up on the final run.

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    The Hever Castle Evening Series- water acclimatisation is key!

    Lucy Fry is a freelance writer and author (www.lucyfry.co.uk). Her narrative non-fiction book on women in triathlon is to be published by Faber & Faber next year. If you fancy a lesson with Swim Lab’s Salim Ahmed then check out his listings here.

  • New Digs and New People

    Posted in upmysport on July 4, 2014

    We thought we’d bring you the low down on what’s been happening at upmysport HQ.

    We have a new office, new team members and an ever-growing community of brilliant instructors. Our London office is now based at TechHub; an exciting environment in which several young companies are coming up with cool solutions to a wide range of problems .

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    Our new office overlooks London’s Silicon Roundabout. The area is now home to over 5000 tech companies. The sun has been shining and we’ve been settling in nicely.

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    It places us squarely in the middle of the London’s buzzing start-up scene whilst also providing us with a little bit of peace (the table tennis room has hosted many a meeting.)

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    George works on his backhand

    We share the space with several other start ups. Companies doing all sorts of things- ranging from food to real estate, from lifestyle to education.

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    And our team is expanding. Despite a broken elbow one of our new interns, Hetty, is taking names with her paddle..

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    Hetty dominating the table

    And our other new intern, Michael, is desperately trying to live up to his self-proclaimed title ‘The King of Spin.’

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    Michael, not so much

    We’re also hiring. We’re looking for an experienced software engineer and team lead to work with the CTO and help lead the current distributed development team.

    We’ve got lots of exciting things to share with you this summer. But before we do, I think we’re popping out to get some ice cream.

  • Boris Johnson, Sochi Olympics and Ski Instructors

    Posted in skiing on February 25, 2014

     

    Inspired by Sochi and need a ski instructor? Don’t worry, things are not as bad as Boris thinks…

     

    Team GB’s haul of four medals at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was the best showing by a GB team since 1924. With British winter sports on the up at elite level, Ski Club of Great Britain is expecting a mass exodus of British people to European ski resorts like Chamonix and Morzine over the next few years. But what hope is there for people to learn when Boris suggests French instructors, “cost this country millions in the treatment of wholly unnecessary broken legs as well as retarded our progress up the medals rankings in the winter Olympics”?

    People young and old, all across Britain have been inspired by Team GB’s contingent of ‘Fridge Kids’ who took part in Sochi 2014 this winter. Off the back of Sochi, Ski Club of Great Britain is predicting a myriad of British people to descend on dry ski slopes in the UK, and on French resorts like Chamonix and Morzine. 95% of people who skied last season are expected to return to European resorts this winter, and 75% of inactive skiers intend on returning within the next three years.

    However, Boris Johnson warned on Sunday that by booking ski lessons through one of France’s big ski schools, British holiday-makers are likely to be matched with a native French, and possibly non-English speaking, instructor. He argued that ski schools run by UK nationals were difficult to find, and that the partnership of British student and French ski instructor is unlikely to be fruitful for the student - “wholly unnecessary broken legs” being the probable outcome.

    In fact, there are lots of fantastic British ski instructors working alongside French ones all across the Alps, and the reality is that for most Brits learning to ski, the nationality of their instructor is irrelevant. What’s most important for any student is that their instructor matches their learning style and helps them to improve their skiing in a fun and safe environment so that they’ll come back year after year. The problem that Boris really alludes to is that finding an instructor who fits that profile can be difficult, and often left to chance.

    It’s a problem that Nicola Broom, skiing enthusiast and co-founder of upmysport.com, is familiar with. She recalls, “In 2011 I was looking for a brilliant instructor to help me improve my skiing, but I found it hard enough to find any independent instructors, let alone the perfect instructor for me. Lots of my friends had the same problem; they often ended up giving up skiing after a poor learning experience at a big school or even started teaching themselves.”

    To help solve the problem, less than a year later Nicola co-founded a London-based startup called upmysport. upmysport is dedicated to helping people meet their perfect instructor. It is a web and mobile experience bringing together the community of passionate sports instructors, and connecting them with the millions of people in the UK who need guidance in sport.

    upmysport co-founders Neill, Nicola and Steve

    Upmysport co-founders Neill, Nicola and Steve (in need of running coaches…!)

    Launched in 2013, the community is growing, now featuring more than 400 lessons by instructors in both London and the Alps. That includes skiing and snowboarding lessons offered by both British and French instructors working in the French resorts of Chamonix and Morzine, and the 400 is set to grow as the instructors currently listing on upmysport are joined by others from resorts all over Europe and from the UK.

    Those who have booked instructors from the UK before going on their skiing holidays have found the website particularly useful. Nurette Stanford was delighted to have found Alison Culshaw, a ski instructor in Chamonix, she tweeted, “@upmysport@Offpisteperform great holiday made AWESOME by Alison’s instruction!! Glad we found you both!

     

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    Nurette, after she met her perfect instructor, Alison Culshaw, through upmysport!

    With a successful Sochi for GB over, now is the time for Britain to shake off the tag of being a non-winter sports nation. As more people take to the slopes in the footsteps of their new sporting idols, upmysport are connecting them with their perfect instructor, increasing the chance that they’ll return the following year, and helping to make sure that the Sochi legacy is a long-lasting one.

     

    To find your perfect snowsports instructor in Chamonix and Morzine, or to search for London-based instructors across lots more sports, click the links below:

    Snowsports Instructors in Chamonix

    Snowsports Instructors in Morzine

    Sports Instructors in London

    upmysport is a UK-registered company, co-founded by Steve Brindley, Nicola Broom and Neill Pearman. The team is based in Central London, among a cluster of technology startup companies, and in the mountain town of Chamonix, France, the adventure capital of Europe and host of the first winter Olympic Games in 1924.

  • Snowboarding tips from Onyx: perfecting the Chuck Norris 50:50

    Posted in snowboarding on December 13, 2013

    Have you always wanted to do a Chuck Norris 50:50?

    Here’s an awesome tips video from Baden at Onyx Snowboarding giving you some great tips on how to pull it off:

     

     

    Awesome!

     

    The Onyx Team are totally passionate about helping you improve your snowboarding. They offer lessons in Portes du Soleil, France (Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets), and Hemel Hempstead, UK. They also have some awesome summer camps in Les Deux Alpes, France.

     

    Take a look at their profile here.

  • New Partnership: time for upmysport to FOCUS

    Posted in upmysport on October 1, 2013

    upmysport is all about connecting people with great instructors so they can more easily reach their potential in sport & fitness. Our mission is a really positive one. We help instructors, and we help people – that really motivates us to do our best.

    As we continue on our mission, we are always excited to see anyone connect. It’s even more satisfying when we know we can help particular groups of people who will benefit from our service, so we’re really pleased to be able to support FOCUS, the UK’s expat community.

    FOCUS is a unique community for expats and international professionals in the UK. The multinational team share their first-hand knowledge on all aspects of living and working here. FOCUS members gain access to personalised information, events and seminars, including a career development programme for spouses seeking employment in the UK. FOCUS is considered their ‘network away from home’, and provides advice and referrrals for services that members would have asked their family and friends at home. Operating as a non-profit organisation FOCUS is proud to have been supporting expats for over 30 years.

    Alessandra Gnudi, FOCUS Executive Director, said: “FOCUS is delighted to recommend upmysport to our members who want to stay active and practice their favourite sport. For such busy professionals it is essential to find the right coach and trainer to make the most of the very little free time they have.”

    Steve, upmysport co-founder said, “We’re delighted to support FOCUS with the great work they do for expats in the UK. They are a fantastic team, providing a worthwhile service. We look forward to helping many expats with their health, fitness and sporting goals, and to developing the partnership over time.”

    If you’d like to find out more information about FOCUS, feel free to browse their website here.

  • Nick Compton, City professional – from novice to GB age group triathlete in 3 years! (Part 2)

    Posted in triathlon on

    Nick Compton finished 22nd in his age group at the ITU World Championships in Auckland last year.

    Having shared the initial steps in his journey in Part 1, here we learn more about effective training, avoiding injury and taking your performance up a notch, as well as balancing that with work and other commitments.

     

     

    Happy, after finishing 22nd in Auckland!

    Happy after finishing 22nd in Auckland!

     

    1.       What’s the best piece of coaching advice you’ve received?

    From a physical training perspective, I’d probably say ‘listen to your body’ – if you’re not feeling great and working harder than you should, skip the session and pick up again in a day or two – it saves you getting ill or getting an injury.

    Mentally, the best tip I’ve been given is ‘remember what you love about triathlon and have fun’ – when training starts to feel like a chore, that’s when you begin to resent it and can quickly fall into a downhill spiral from there.  I do the sport because ultimately I love that feeling of crossing the line knowing I’ve competed really well, I had fun and the training was worthwhile – remembering that instantly makes me excited to take on the next session and want to do even better at my next race.

     

    2.       Is it right that you now get coaching online? How does that work? Does it feel like you are on your own a lot because your coach isn’t physically around when you train?

    Yes I do – my coach, Dave, actually lives in France.  At the outset, we had a skype call to discuss my goals, time I could commit to training etc and he produced my training plan – a spread sheet showing my overall plan and then specifics I need to do in each session.  I then send him what I’ve been doing each month with any notes, and we have a skype call occasionally to discuss challenges, changes needed etc.

    Given that a lot of triathlon training is more volume focused (i.e. running for 45 minutes or biking for 90 minutes with intervals), you don’t need someone watching over your technique.  In terms of swimming, I’ll work through the sessions in the pool, and for technique improvement will then work with a different coach, on a one to one basis who will give me pointers and drills to work on.

     

    3.       How do you manage training and a full time job. How do you get the balance right?

    I’m very lucky in that I don’t have to travel too much with my job, so can get into a pretty consistent routine.  I also work for a large firm that provides fantastic facilities such as secure cycle parking, showers and a great managed gym which really helps.  I’ve managed to fit as much training before or immediately after work as possible so it doesn’t eat too much into my time at home.  My typical week at the moment in preparation for the half ironman (work permitting of course) is:

     

    Monday – 1 hour swim before work and a 1 hour interval bike session in the eveningTuesday – An hours interval run before work

    Wednesday – A 2 hour interval bike before work and a 1 hour circuits set during the day

    Thursday – 1 hour swim before work and a 75 minute run in the evening

    Friday – rest day which is very important to take

    Saturday – swim in the morning and a 90 minute run in the afternoon

    Sunday – long ride (around 3-4 hours) in the morning

     

    I’ve found that the most important thing is keeping an element of flexibility – if I can’t fit it all in for work or personal reasons, I don’t beat myself up about it – it’s much more risky to try and catch up by overtraining as that’s how you’ll get injured.

     

    4.       What’s your advice for anyone looking to get into triathlon and/or looking to move their triathlon performance up a notch?

    For people looking to get into triathlon, the first thing I’d recommend is to find an event you like the look of (probably sprint distance in the first instance), book it and tell your friends and family about it.  That’ll then help you get motivated to train and quite literally take the plunge.

    If you’re new to the swimming side, definitely try and get a few pointers either from friends or actual lessons – it’ll definitely pay off.   Just like when training for a marathon or half marathon, aim to slowly build up your distance and speed over time.

     

    What an achievement!

    What an achievement!

     

    Finally, think about that amazing feeling you’ll have when you cross the line and can officially call yourself a triathlete – that’ll keep you smiling and motivated whilst training.

    For those looking to step up to the next level, I’d recommend getting a more structured training programme and sessions – there are lots available online and getting a coach will help you work with focusing on your longer term goals.

    The other key thing is developing consistency in training – it’s far better to do 6-7 hours of solid training week in, week out than 12 hours one week, and 2 the next etc.  You’ll really start to see the gains in your endurance and technique.

    Finally – for either those starting out or looking to pull on a GB tri-suit at the end of the year, don’t forget to enjoy it – it’s an amazing sport with camaraderie like no other (probably down to everyone secretly recognising how crazy it is to be bobbing up and down in a freezing cold lake or running through mud at 6am on a Sunday morning) – but that’s half the fun!

    If you’ve been inspired by Nick and are looking to find the right guidance and support to help you achieve your aims, take a look at upmysport.

  • Nick Compton, City professional – from novice to GB age group triathlete in 3 years! (Part 1)

    Posted in triathlon on September 5, 2013

    Nick Compton finished 22nd in his age group at the ITU World Championships in Auckland last year, after taking up the sport just a few years ago.

    As this year’s ITU World Championships Grand Final is about to take place in London, we spoke to him to find out more about what he loves about triathlon, coaching and training and how he balances that with a successful career in the City.

    Suited and booted Nick

    Suited and booted Nick

     

    1.       Congratulations on your performance at the world championships. Please tell us a bit more about your journey to competing for team GB triathlon.

     

    I’ve always been fairly sporty and have taken part in a few marathons and half marathons in recent years and was looking for a new challenge.

     

    By chance in August 2009, I went to support my friend Liz who was competing in the London Triathlon at Docklands. I knew instantly I had found my new sport – The challenge of combining the three very different disciplines and the thrill of it all (particularly seeing the hundreds of nervous but smiling faces bobbing up and down in the Docklands) instantly grabbed me.

     

    I set myself the target of completing the Olympic distance event at London in the following year, set about learning to swim front crawl, bought myself a bike to train on and enlisted a personal trainer to put a training plan together for me.

     

    Novice Triathlete Nick

    Novice Triathlete Nick

     

    2.       Was it difficult?

     

    I found it very challenging at the start, particularly with the swimming.  I quickly realised developing a good technique was key and would advise all those starting out to get some lessons – they’ll pay for themselves in no time.

     

    I also quickly found that I loved the variety of the training – unlike marathon training where I found myself pounding the pavement two to three times per week and quickly began to resent it.

     

    I was now training all three disciplines and some gym work during the week, and could very quickly see the improvements the training was making.  Thankfully, with help from my then PT, a friend who’s a mindset coach and helped me get over my initial fears  and swim coach (who taught me how to survive the open water), I competed in the 2010 London Triathlon and did much better than I expected.

     

    I decided that in the 2011 season I wanted to take it a bit more seriously, so stepped up my training levels and entered a few more events as well as bought myself a road bike.  I also decided I’d like to refer to myself as an ‘international triathlete’, so as an excuse for a short break with some friends and family, I competed in the Barcelona triathlon as the last event of the year and had a great race finishing in the top 5%.

     

    Towards the end of the season, I’d started to see the odd triathlete in Team GB kit and began to wonder if I could ever reach that level.  Always ready to take on a bigger challenge, I found out which races were the qualification events, entered them and then on the recommendation of an existing GB age grouper, found a triathlon specific coach who provided me with a much more specific training programme.

     

    After a strong winter of training consistently and keeping focused on my goal, I qualified and was then selected for the team in Auckland – it was the most amazing experience and definitely something I’ll never forget.

     

    International Triathlete Nick (in Auckland)

    International Triathlete Nick (in Auckland)

     

    I’m now taking on a new challenge and looking forward to competing in my first half-ironman in France in September.

     

    Tune in next month when Nick will be chatting more about training and coaching, balancing that with other work and life commitments, and advice for those starting out in triathlon or looking to take their performance up a notch.

    If you’ve been inspired by Nick and are looking to find the right guidance and support to help you achieve your aims, take a look at upmysport.

    Go here to find out more about the ITU World Championships Grand Final in Hyde Park, London, 11-15 September 2013.

     

     

  • Triathlon Swimming: How to make the rough like the smooth

    Posted in swimming on July 26, 2013

    Triathlon and strength and conditioning expert Roland Kemp talks us through what for many is the most intimidating part of triathlon –  the swim. And, even more intimidating than that, swimming in rough open water!

     

     

    We all hope for calm water, but you never know what conditions will be like. Open water swimming is challenging but racing in rough waters is even more so. Although I may not have the best swimming technique, I am able to keep my cool and so can you! Here are some tips that will help you out in the open water and make your experience a little nicer…

    1. Dive under the waves going out, not over them. Unless they are small waves, below your waist, pushing off the bottom and diving through the wave will prevent you from getting pushed backwards.
    2. Take the out side. The small amount of time you will save trying to swim inside with the pack before getting to the first buoy is not worth it. Taking the outside path will save you from getting punched, swallowing water, having your feet grabbed, etc. Some of this will happen at the crowded start anyway, but you can cut down on it by not going with the pack.
    3. Take wide turns around the buoys. While everyone else is trying to come as close to the buoy as possible around a turn, take the road less travelled and go wide. Again, cutting inside is not going to save you much time and you will have more clear water in the outside.
    4. Breathe only to one side to avoid swallowing water. If you can see the waves coming towards you on one side, breathe to the other side until you can get around the next buoy. I learned this the hard way and ended up with a few pints of salt water in my belly!
    5. Avoid too much sighting. It is tempting to lift your head up in rough conditions. However, you are still better off keeping your stroke long and your head down. Ideally, you will find someone to follow, and you will not have to lift your head up as much (unless they steer you in the wrong direction!).
    6. Before the race starts, pick out an obvious marker on the shore that you can swim towards to the finish (a flag, building,  a tall tree on land) this will stop the embarrassment of having to run up the beach/lake to the swim exit point!

     

    Of course, we would probably all like to have calm water that does not give us these challenges. However, if you come prepared, you can use rough water conditions to your advantage!

    Practicing swimming in a group and doing some race simulations will also help – much better to take a hit from a friend than on race day!

    I hope that’s helpful – good luck!

    You can find out more about Roland’s triathlon coaching here.