• Some of our favourite athletes keeping the Olympic legacy alive!

    Posted in expert insights on May 11, 2015

    Last week part of our community descended upon the Olympic Park for some masterclass antics led by three-time Olympian Yamile Aldama and GB triple-jumper Julien Allwood.

    masterclass chat

    upmysport organised the masterclasses, in partnership with Nuclear Races and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust to get competitors in ship-shape for an upcoming obstacle course event- The Nuclear Rush. It was pretty cool to have some some top athletes on board to lead our session, and there’s something about getting your sweat on at the Olympic Park that just feels right, you know?

    DSC_8559

    And for Steve, one of upmysport’s co-founders, the masterclass was an exciting way to kick-start our new partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust: ‘we were really excited to bring something a bit special to Londoners looking for a great workout. The Trust is literally teeming with inspirational, world-class instructors and mentors, and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to meet them.’

    hills print

    The warm-up was tasty.. We were pushed through some circuit training and all-body movements to get the heart-rate up at the start of the session.

    mastercalss warm up

    There was some intense focus out there. With the event looming large, people were making sure they got the most out of this chance to train. Julien gave us his training philosophy: ‘elite performance is a combination of pushing through barriers, working closely with others and discipline. The Masterclass gave individuals an opportunity to understand this cocktail for success!’

    circuit

    Then, if there’s one thing world-class triple jumpers know how to do, it’s stretch.

    masterclass stretch

    Speaking to some of the guys there, it sounds like the everyone worked hard but had a giggle or two along the way.

    Instructors know that word-of-mouth and reputation are key to growing a successful business. That’s why we’ve brought the benefits of these marketing tools online; George, Alex and Anthony all left reviews on Julien’s upmysport profile.

    DSC_8670

    It was also a good chance for us to get some feedback on our app. For Julien, the instructor app meant that he was able to accept people onto the masterclass, take payment and chat to his clients on-the-go. Julien is a busy dude; training himself, looking after his clients and growing his business all take time.

    We’re pretty stoked with his feedback: ‘before I was trying to arrange this stuff via whats app, the next minute I get a txt, then I have to chase a voicemail. It was all just a bit much. The upmysport app means that I never miss an opportunity, and the stress is taken out of organising a big group session.’ 

    app demos

    We’re always improving our tools, and based on the feedback we’re getting from some of our top coaches we know we’ve made a lot of progress towards making it as easy, and as simple as possible to manage an instruction business.

    But there’s a lot of sport to be played this summer; lots of new instructors to meet and lots of ideas to be shared. So if you’re an instructor that wants to join our community and help us build upmysport, or a participant that wants to be kept in the loop next time we organise some masterclasses- drop us a line! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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  • Sophie, Chamonix and Trail Running

    Posted in running on January 21, 2015

    Trail Running is in. It’s gaining popularity left right and centre and shows no sign of slowing down. We caught up with Sophie Radcliffe, trail running enthusiast and adventurer-extrordanaire to find out why she loves trail running in her home town, Chamonix.

    sophie radclifee

    ‘After an intense summer completing the Alpine Coast to Coast expedition, which involved cycling the Alps and climbing their highest mountains, I was looking for something that would enable me to stretch my legs and keep my fitness up, but something that would fuel my soul and energy without demanding too much from me. I found this in trail running.

    IMG_9403

    I love how running in the mountains makes me feel; strong, and free. It opens up my mind and relieves the pressures I have when I’m at my desk. It challenges every part of me to push harder, to run faster and ignore the desire to stop and catch my breath. Some days I feel as though a weight is pushing me back down when I’m trying to go up. Some days I feel like I can run up these mountains almost effortlessly. The effort is hard but the rewards are plenty.

    IMG_9136

    The views, the colours and the beautiful mountains take my breath away as I run and look at what is going on around me. I normally run at sunrise or sunset to amplify the beauty of my surroundings. 6 months ago I lived in London and ran on the streets there, this world is so different and I feel so lucky to live here and call this place home. Running has never come easy to me and I’ve always found it a struggle until now. It doesn’t feel like training, it feels like my favourite thing to do.

    IMG_9200

    Come and run here and you’ll see what I mean. It gives me energy, it feeds my life and it makes me smile. Getting ridiculously fit is great too!’

    As 2014 drew to a close the upmysport team convened in Chamonix to chat about their year, discuss plans for 2015 and meet with some friends by a warm fire. Seeing as Sophie had got us all jazzed about trail running, Michael and George decided embark on a little adventure themselves.

    chamonix running

    You can run or hike your way through Chamonix and the surrounding areas on well-kept trails which comb the hillsides between Servoz and Vallorcine. The majority of the trails close as the snow sweeps in, but they were lucky enough to get a few days of excellent trail-running in during our trip.

    chamonix view 1

    The first excursion took them through the city centre and out onto the trails where they crossed the bridge and followed the river up into the mountains.

    They climbed for another half an hour or so, climbing around rocks and navigating over the many streams that dot the hillside. The hard work paid off and the guys were presented with a beautiful view of Chamonix as they turned the corner.

    We can see what all the fuss is about.

    IMG_9559

    If you want to follow Sophie as she takes on more exciting challenges, make sure to catch her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and check out her awesome blog.

    And if you fancy having a crack at trail running, the season has just finished in the mountains but you can get yourself ready to take on those hills with any of the brilliant running instructors we have in our community.

     

     

     

  • Ben, Anniversaries and Puppies

    Posted in tech on January 6, 2015

    Ben, our VP of Business Development and puppy-provider, has jumped on the blog for us to give a little introduction to himself and the sporting landscape as he has experienced it. He talks about how the relationship between sport and technology has changed over the years in his eyes, and has a brief look at what the future could hold…

    big ben

    In June 2014 I reached my tenth year in work. I am in shock, the time has gone by so quickly! Maybe it is because luckily I have been involved in 5 fantastic organisations in one exciting sector.

    Old school 2004 – 2011

    My first four roles were at sports governing bodies, fantastically rewarding roles, working in organisations that provide the framework for sport to happen; education, competition, membership, participation growth, rules and regulations, support to the club community, the list goes on and is difficult to prioritise!

    Swimmers in Triathlon

    The challenge throughout this period was growing sport, and importantly evidencing it. With fragmented routes for sport to be delivered and marketed, it is a difficult task – particularly when the sports participant has so many different things to consume! I remember thinking at the time that there must be better ways of doing things. My gut told me that it was through technology but for some reason the sector seemed under supplied with great technology.

    New school 2011 – 2014

    The second part of the decade led me to technology, working with companies that help empower sports event organisers and more recently sports coaches to run their business more successfully via technology. The crossover between the ‘old school’ and the ‘new school’ has been fascinating.

    From my National Governing Body days I remember the issues that sports coaches had managing the day to day running of their ‘business'; they are incredibly passionate and knowledgable about their sport, but bored and frustrated by the admin, chasing money, paperwork and organising people (rightly!)

    Another KI Invoice

    Even back in 2004, it was obvious technology was going to be increasingly more important to sport. Obvious right? It’s very easy to forget facebook was founded February 2004.

    Growth is challenging when you don’t have an online presence, reputation and a simple way of taking bookings, enquiries and payments from potential participants. It’s difficult and confusing for everyone – whether you are a single coach or a collection of coaches.

    Male personal trainer with male client lifting weights

    There are so many examples of new technology companies supporting, empowering and growing completely new industries. Communities of people sharing their expertise, knowledge and assets to create new incomes or expand existing. I get pretty excited about the potential in companies like AirBnB, BorrowMyDoggy, Tinder (I am not single, but a bit of vicarious tindering is great fun) but a company that helps sports coaches, brilliant! 

    The best thing is that by empowering a community of sports coaches, giving them the tools to grow themselves, you maximise their chance of success. Helping them to stay in sport and giving more people the opportunity to meet their perfect instructor.

    app phone

    Future School 2015 + ?

    The fascinating thing about working in a tech company like upmysport is that whilst we have a core goal, we iterate quickly to make sure that we are able to provide valuable tools to our instructors and coaches. Being nimble, evidence based and reactive to peoples needs are hard baked in to the way we do things. Technology allows you that! Our core mission will not change, but how we deliver it is always subtly improving and developing.

    team

    The best thing is I know we will categorically show that our work has made a difference to the sporting landscape. I know that over the next ten years we will have had a progressively bigger effect on sporting participation and I can’t wait!

    Oh and the icing on the cake, in the new and future school, you are allowed to have an office dog!

    Pepe catching some Zs

     Be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook as we get stuck into 2015!

  • 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.

    photo

    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..

     

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

    Posted in triathlon on October 1, 2013

    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.

  • Swimming Drills – 3 Golden Rules

    Posted in swimming on May 9, 2013

    Expert swim coach Glenn Shepherd talks as through how to get the most out of you training drills.

    As a swimming coach, a previous competitive swimmer, and spectator of the sport, I see many coaches and swimmers regularly use drills in their training sessions.

    I am a firm believer of practising drills in most if not all sessions, as it promotes skill resilience, which refers to one’s ability to maintain correct stroke technique during pressurised or fatigued conditions. Furthermore, regularly practicing drills can allow a swimmer/coach to identify different areas in the stroke technique that may need tweaking, such as:

    Body position, balance, coordination, and proprioception (feel of the water).

    – Weaknesses in the entry, catch, and recovery arm phases

    – Strength of the kick

    – Timing of the breathing

    – Muscular strength imbalances (affecting stroke mechanics)

    – Flexibility weaknesses

    All these areas will subsequently affect the overall efficiency of stroke mechanics and technical ability, and as I’m sure most of you will agree, drill repetition should be recognised as an important part of swimming training.

    Choosing what drills to use, however, can be difficult and needs to take into account age, ability and experience.

    Nevertheless, there are 3 Golden Rules that can help as a guide to the best drills. These are:

    RULE 1

    The drill aims to improve propulsion

    RULE 2

    The drill aims to reduce drag

    RULE 3

    The drill aims to increase overall efficiency 

    So next time you are thinking about a drill set, see if your chosen drills satisfy at least 2 of the above conditions. If not, they could be cowboy drills, and not worth bothering with.

    To help get you started here are some Front Crawl Drill examples that use a minimum of 2 out of the 3 golden rules:

    Shark Fin – reduces frontal drag via a better body position, which will improve overall efficiency of the stroke.

    Hold a high elbow position in the recovery phase for a second and then continue with arm stroke.

    Finger Drag – reduces drag through better body and hand entry positions, improving overall stroke efficiency:

    Lightly let the finger tips drag through the water during the recovery phase.

    Fist drill – improves propulsion via forcing correct forearm positioning (and improved feel for the water), improving overall efficiency of every stroke pull.

    Clench your fists gently and maintain this position throughout the entire stroke phase.

    Remember:

    “Drill for Skill not just to Thrill!”

    GET AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION

    For more expert advice and guidance, you can book a training session with Glenn here.

  • Sporting highs from 2012 and New Year’s resolutions

    Posted in Uncategorized on December 24, 2012

    2012 has been a fantastic year for British sport. The Olympics and Paralympics, Ennis, Farah and Rutherford’s golden hour, the Ryder Cup, Andy Murray’s historic US Open win and Bradley Wiggins did alright too!

    Beyond the headlines, we wanted to find out what your personal sporting highlights of 2012 have been and what sporting resolutions you have for 2013 – it’s inspiring stuff!

    Mobot Lightning Bolt!

    Highlights of 2012

    Watching paralympics in the Olympic park with my niece, nephew and their little friends and seeing Wenlock do a Bolt celebration!”… “Running a 10 mile road race in Singapore”… “The Olympics opening ceremony”… “Completing the Trail Des Aiguille Rouge“… “Skiing first tracks in champagne powder at the Grands Montets in Chamonix – Amazing”…

    Ellie Simmonds flying down the pool!

    “Doing my first ice climb in well over a decade”… “Skiing at Mount Buller in Australia“… “Leading a bike ride from Cologne to Brighton – 352 miles over three days with a troop of super unfit novices and raising £10.5k for Games Aid“… “Climbing on Lundy island, completing all the VS routes on Stanage in a day and running the Loch Ness Marathon sub 4 hours having only managed 6 training runs due to launching  new business the previous month!”

    Ice Climbing!

    Resolutions for 2013

    “To justify my gym membership”… “Do the Crookhaven Run, a lovely run around a natural harbour in West Cork”… “Start running again, drink and smoke less”…“To run the CCC ultra trail”… “Be injury free”… “Do pilates everyday”… “Going to Brazil for a first ascent of a route on a 1200m cliff.”

    Time to get running!

    “Balancing sport with everyday life and a new job, doing a channel relay swim and taking up ocean rowing”… “Develop a training programme for 2013 which incorporates all the stuff I need to do – like lots of stretching and core work – along with a running programme which will help me get around the Mont Blanc half marathon.”

    Sarah Outen inspiring others to take up ocean rowing

     

    Anything is possible!

    A very Happy New Year from all the team at upmysport. Thank you for inspiring us and we look forward to helping you achieve your sporting resolutions in 2013!

     

  • So what’s this blog all about?

    Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2012

    Showcasing the talent of professional footballers and rugby players isn’t really our thing.  We think there’s lots of great coverage of the major pro sports out there already and we’re regular readers of bbc.co.uk/sport – (although we’re still struggling with the new design…)

    We know it’s almost seen as a rite of passage for startups to start a blog but we feel passionately that we want to do our little bit to cover those sports and fitness activities that perhaps don’t feature so prominently in the mainstream media.

    We’re big on participation and helping people of all abilities get better at the sports and fitness activities they actually do and love (or will grow to love!). So some of our content will be for first timers and beginners and some will be targeted specifically at intermediate or advanced/expert level; other posts may have more general appeal.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll be writing about a range of subjects from the essential startup services to the best fitness apps, and we’ll start the first in our series of guest interviews.  Oh and there may be the odd competition or two.  Because everyone loves free stuff, right?

    You can help us determine what you’d like to see on the site and blog (and what you wouldn’t), by letting us know in the comments box below or email us at hello@upmysport.com. All feedback is very welcome – good, bad or ugly!