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Escape from the snow – Joe Beer Triathlon Training Camp.

~ by Paddy Finn

8th – 13th February 2019. Venue: Club La Santa.

It was with some trepidation I decided to go on this training camp. When I initially signed up, I envisaged a successful heart procedure and a gradual recovery to get me close to my fitness level of September 2017.

As many of you know, it has not been a straightforward journey. Even so, the thought of twenty degree heat, sunshine and an amazing choice of activities in February swayed me to go ahead
anyway. I messaged Joe Beer and he said I could do as much as I liked, and I would get lots out of just by being there.

Joe’s training philosophy is summed up in 80/20. 80% of your training should be in the aerobic zone (55-80% of maximum heart rate), 20% over your aerobic threshold. As an athlete who always felt that training should feel like you are working hard, on or near my aerobic threshold, this has been a new approach for me to adopt. Seeing is believing.

Minus four, surrounded by snow and ice, we headed off for Liverpool airport. So, a four hour flight to Arecife in Lanzarote and back to the special place that is Club LA Santa. Here exercise and activities are the norm, where the three outdoor 8 lane 50m pools are often buzzing to the sound of international swimmers enjoying their spring training camp. Ironman tattoos are commonplace, I did spot a few Olympic Rings tattoos, and the individuals looked like they had earned them! You can do almost any activity you can imagine, and mostly they are included in the price of the accommodation.

We had the welcome session on the first morning and my take away was, ‘you do as much as you wish, don’t smash it in the first couple of days, because the programme is six days long, and if you drop a session or two, no problem, join in when you are ready.’ That suited me.

For the swimming sessions we had six lanes for 30 swimmers, I was in lane two, the second slowest, with a group of similarly paced swimmers. There were four coaches headed up by Dan Bullock, of ‘Swim For Tri.’ I chatted to Dan a lot, he is a great guy. Masters swim champion for several years, a collegiate swimmer in the states and in the GB squad for the Games, but just missed out. He has a coaching style that identifies the one improvement he wants you to make, explains it simply, repeats it and it works. Our last swim session of an hour and a half was 3k, including a 20 x 50m set, where each 50m we were asked to focus on one key aspect of technique. He managed to time the 50m for three lanes, and the seconds kept falling away until the 13/14 th 50m……. Anyone who wanted to could have a short video of their swimming, from above and underwater. Dan reviewed this later, and made one comment per swimmer on how they could improve, for me it was head position.

There were other improvements he identified for me, which I am now working on. There were a couple of inputs, which I found helped put in context what we were doing, and helped cement the learning. Clear messages; Consistency of training, gradual improvement, the importance of rest and recovery and the importance of feeding. I took the feeding information to heart, making sure every 20 – 30 minutes on the bike I ate something, drank frequently and stole Kath’s electrolyte powder and Jelly Babies. It worked.

I was concerned about the biking. I know I struggle to keep up on the hills. This is a great dent to my pride, but I also did not want to hold people up. We had 4 groups, I was in group 4, I was nearly the slowest in the group up the hills. I explained my health issue, and my group were amazingly supportive. They would go at a reasonable pace, I could keep up on the flat and was the fastest and most confident going downhill, but uphill, they would gather at the top, then without fail congratulate me on getting there. They insisted I come on the four hour ride, with a long climb. I joined them, and when I did eventually reach the summit of Mirador, I was greeted as if I had just won the hill climb! I was some minutes behind the group. Mind you, I skinned them going down!

I did see the other groups on the road, they were going at an appropriate pace for their ability, which I can only dream of. But they seemed to be having a grand old time. One day it was very
windy, so the biking was cancelled and we had a spinning session. This focussed on cadence, pedalling technique and breathing on the bike, much easier than practising on the road. More improvements to adopt.

The running sessions were relatively easy, lots of drills, including some breathing drills which I had not come across before. By coincidence I am now reading a yoga book, that describes the same technique, watch this space for another one-off session for the tri club. The big take-aways for me were, run on soft surfaces, warm up slowly, use practice drills (just as you would swimming), jog/walks are good, keep your heart rate in the lower range (55-80%), practice nose breathing (possibly another session). Used regularly, it helps you become more efficient at respiration at lower effort levels, that transfers to harder efforts when they become necessary, racing!

I did not do every session. But the two I missed, I did something similar, if not a bit shorter, a bike ride of an hour instead of an hour and a half, and a jogging session on my own on the grass instead of a 30 minute run on the road. Everything else I did, including the ‘mini tri’. I have never got so much pleasure from completing an event.

Was it worth it? Absolutely, definitely. I feel mentally and physically stronger. I am clear about my current level of fitness and I am at last comfortable with that reality. I did 21 hours of exercise in six days, and felt fine. I have completed my first tri in over 17 months. I have met some great people, both coaches and participants and hope to see them again. The venue just makes it easy to do stuff, facilities, weather, restaurants, CLS staff. I am planning on returning next year, by then I hope my fitness will have improved and who knows I may move up a group!

10 Christmas Present Ideas for Triathletes

1. Kendal Tri Club Hoody / T – Shirt

2. Sports Laces – £8.85 (£5 with club discount)

Extensively used and endorsed by the amazingly speedy Chris Stirling.

3. Swim Tempo Trainer – £32 – £34

A great piece of kit to help you keep focused during training sessions

4. Swim Fins – Approx. £20
These fins help develop ankle flexibility and are invaluable when performing technical drills

5. Swim Paddles – Approx. £14
These are the best paddles to have to help improve your hand entry and alignment in the water

6. Learn to Swim Front Crawl DVD – Approx. £30

7. Medal Hangers – £20 – £35
Somewhere to put all your bling

8. Book: Roar – £7.50 – £15.99

ROAR provides Women with training and nutrition advice to build a rock-solid fitness foundation. Using what she calls “getting fit to get fit,”

9. Book: The Science of Running – £9.99 – £18

10. Kendal Tri Club Kit (Range from £45 – £110)
Our kit ordering “window” opens early in the new year, so you could give your loved ones some money towards some nice new club kit

TriMark Accreditation

After much hard work it is a great result for us as a club to be able to state that we are TriMark Bronze accredited!! But what does this mean? Well take a look at our certificate!! If it was ever in doubt this is to certify what an amazing club we are all part of!!!

And just why noTT?

First time trial? Why not give it a go?

What is the worst that could happen? The usual excuses thrown at me don’t hold water here. You won’t hold anyone up, or cause anyone else to crash or get tailed off. It is a test purely of yourself against the clock – known as ‘The Race of Truth’.

Why do them? They have lots of benefits. They are a great way of measuring your progress with fitness, they provide very good focused training opportunities and they are excellent as sessions to think about your technique. Most people think you just get on and ride a bike, done it from childhood, simple. It really isn’t quite that simple. I rode faster than someone the other day who is stronger
than me and should be faster. Better technique, position and pedalling efficiency brought me in several minutes in front.

‘So what?’ you may say if you are not competitive. But more efficiency means more miles for less effort and less risk of
injury. So whatever you fancy doing, it is a benefit. Touring or tea shop visiting are two worthy examples I can think of.
Why not do them? They do tend to be hard work! ….. and a bit of a dark art. I can demystify the dark art but you have to do the work!

There are two places which make ideal starter routes locally. Both are run regularly so you can see improvements. One is ‘The Milnthorpe 10’ which goes from Milnthorpe to just before the Pine Lake roundabout and back, on the A6. This is organised by Kent Valley Road Club. The dates are on their website but this route is run regularly throughout the season from April to the end of August
on a Wednesday.
There is one on a Thursday from April to the autumn at Salt Ayre Circuit in Lancaster. This is a 0.8 loop of tarmac with no traffic and you ride it 12.5 times non stop. The hardest part is counting your laps but if you get it wrong you won’t be alone.

So you’ve decided to do one, chosen it and now you need to enter. For the Milnthorpe 10 you phone Giant store, 01539 728057, after 12 noon the day of the time trial and put your name down, first start time 7pm. After that people are set off at one minute intervals.
Next turn up – what do you need to take? You will see all kinds of funny kit at some time trials but to start with a bike, helmet and working back light are good. Money for the entry fee, £3. And possibly a tool kit unless you want to walk home if you puncture.
When you get there you have to sign on – for Milnthorpe this is in the car park after the lights, going towards Carnforth, opposite the Spar. Sign on is normally the back of a van. Take £3 and sign your life away …… In exchange for this Tony Dixon, who is normally sign on man, will give you a number with four safety pins – and if you are really lucky, a smile. :) The number is the number of minutes past the hour that is your start time. If you are 18 you are going at 7.18.

The number needs to go on your back, low down so that when you are bent over on your bike it is easy to see. If it is too high recorders can’t read it. It can also make it easier to read if it is slightly to the left of centre. If you receive the number 13 put it on upside down so that the bad luck drains out. Honest. Even if you do have your number on correctly please also shout your number as you
come over the line – if you have enough breath. This makes the time keeper’s job just that bit easier.

After this, it pays to do a warm up. Go and ride for 20 minutes at a variety of paces, raising your heart rate, encouraging your nerves to fire properly and your muscles to wake up. For Milnthorpe do this by going from the car park to the main traffic lights, turning left then turning right just before the bridge over the river. This will bring you to ‘the flats’ where you may well find others doing the same thing. Or bring a turbo trainer and a spare wheel and warm up in the car park. You are asked not to warm up on the course as it creates confusion. Make sure you are back about five minutes before your start time. Too early and your warm up will lose its efficiency. Too late and you will be in the doghouse and may not get a ride. Considering the sport revolves around precise timings, and improvements of seconds are greeted with great glee, being late is a bit of a faux pau. I have managed to persuade officials to alter my start time before but it is not a popular move – be warned.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]But remember the sods law of cycling that the wind will always be a head wind when you are tired and just accept it![/perfectpullquote]

Make sure you are in a gear suitable to use from a standing start. Its a common error to have incorrect gearing at the start. It is better to have an easier gear than one which is too hard. A hard one uses more energy – and you’ll need that. The start is out of the car park and turn right, about 50 yards away. Normally there is a small huddle of three people. There must be two – one to record your start time, the other to hold you up. This is a bit weird. They will call you forward after the person in front has gone. Its worth getting there a little early to see how the start is done. Go up to the start point and, with about 30 seconds to go, you get on your bike and someone holds the seat post, or saddle, and top tube so you are held upright and can put your feet on the pedals or clip in if you have cleats. This means you are ready to start as soon as they say so. You will get a count down and the clock is in the grass in front of you so you can see the countdown. Tell the starters that its your first time and they will then know to reassure you! If you don’t feel comfortable just ask them not to hold you and that’s fine. Then just pedal! Try not to start too fast and flood your body with lactate within the first half mile. Get into a rhythm you can sustain for about half an hour. Get down on your drops. If you don’t normally ride on them it may pay to practice a bit first. This will make you more aerodynamic. As you come up to the turn point there will be a marshal waving. The turn involves being in the fast lane of the dual carriageway then doing a right handed u turn. You have to give way to traffic, but there usually isn’t any. The turn point also means you are half way. and that you expect that head wind to become a tail wind. But remember the sods law of cycling that the wind will always be a head wind when you are tired and just accept it!
Then pedal back to the finish – simple! Volunteers will record your time and that’s it. You have done your first time trial. Congratulations.
Remember to give your number back at the van and sign off. This means re-signing the sign-on sheet to let people know you finished safely. Then go for an easy ride for 20 minutes or so to spin your legs out and help them remove some of the waste produced by your efforts. Sometimes you can see the results on the night, but they are swiftly published
on facebook and web pages.
Good luck, enjoy!

Apples have cores, not cyclists!

Having recently finished my first stint as Spin Coach I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about, planning and delivering the various sessions. In the most part sessions are generally focused on speed and/or strength with an underlying theme on how that is developed.
In looking through many an article I came across one on British Cycling that discussed stability and strength. As those of you that have been part of my recent sessions will attest to I bang on about engaging you core and lower back to promote stability and reduce pressure through your shoulders, arms and wrists.
In a somewhat “buzzword” style British Cycling have moved away from this trend of Core Stability and have almost re-branded it as Functional Trunk Strength and Robustness. The gist of this can be seen in the diagram above. Basically, the red tip is your cycling specific fitness and the green base your relevant strength (A). If you were to focus solely on your bike fitness your point would be higher but your base would remain largely unchanged – this creates a tall thin pyramid which could quite easily topple (B) and toppling translates to poor recovery and even injury. If you include some relevant strength exercises you build a much bigger, wider & stonger base from which your cycling fitness can grow (C) – this wide, sturdy base not only represents you being stronger but also the ability to recover and stave off injury too.

Functional Trunk Strength = Cycling Specific Strength
Robustness = Capacity to absorb training and prevent injury

So what should I be doing?? Well, a quick Google will reveal an endless list of Planks, Side Planks, Squats, Weighted Exercises blah, blah, blah, blah. Now you could subscribe to a complicated list of exercises that, yes will no doubt benefit you, but may not be directly aiding your cycling specific strength. However, you could also approach one of the Club’s Level 2 coaches that are both personal trainers, Jane also being a fitness instructor and Paddy British Cycling Level 2 coach.
Whatever, you choose to do make sure you seek professional advice first as any exercise done badly is definitely not going to help. Below is British Cycling’s strength routine.


Try A Tri Workshop

Half awake – what time is it? The clocks change and I can’t be late, it’s the “Introduction to Triathlon” workshop and I’m involved in delivering it!
In my half awake state I can’t remember which clocks I’ve changed and which, if any, change automatically. Once I’ve got up and checked every clock in the house I am not going to be late – its 6.30am for real – aaarghhh!
[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” color=”#00ad22″ size=”13″]
I’ve delayed for 12 months because of the fear of the unknown, now I know I can do it – thanks[/perfectpullquote]
We are so lucky, it is going to be a beautiful morning and the early frost doesn’t matter because the sun will have melted it by the time people come out of the pool. I’m there in time to drive the bike route checking for hazards then help set up transition points in the room, set up gear and reference books and talk quickly through the programme. We have risk assessments, participant forms, registers, session plans and four coaches and we are all really excited.[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” class=”” color=”#00ad22″ size=”13″]
Great to practice all the bits, especially getting out of the pool. It takes the nerves away.[/perfectpullquote]

Before we know it athletes have arrived and we chat and go to poolside and chat some more:
“No you don’t need fancy kit to do a tri, a swim suit, bike and running shoes is enough”
“Yes someone does count your lengths in the pool in case you forget”
“Yes you do put cycle gear on over your wet swimsuit, you are disqualified if you are naked in transition”

So lets practice getting dressed over a wet swimsuit then take to the roads in the sunshine.We ride part of the bike route and talk about staying safe – no medal for finishing if you are lying on the tarmac. Talk about balancing your bike downhill and where to put your weight. Practice riding with cadence at 90 (number of times you turn your pedals round in a minute) be reminded that this is the same rate you should turn your legs over when running – I don’t so there is something we all need take away and practice!
.[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” color=”#00ad22″ size=”13″]
Great to be able to practice cycling with more than one person, I have never done this[/perfectpullquote]

Then back to practice transitions including running holding your bike behind the saddle. Some wondered if they could do running dismounts and discovered that yes they can and they are really lovely to do – smooth and fast.

Coffee and more chat, final questions and commitments to give Tri a try at Kendal Sprint on 22 April. A morning that went very fast and was enjoyed by all.

Good luck to all participants at Kendal Sprint – we will be there to cheer you on and answer any questions.

Check out some pictures from the workshop here

– Kath

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”true”  color=”#00ad22″ size=”13″]
With 4 enthusiastic coaches the session was very flexible and able to respond to the different needs within the group.
Extremely well planned and organised.
As a relatively novice triathlete I was thrilled to learn from Kath how to do a running dismount from the bike![/perfectpullquote]

AGM & Social

So just over 3 weeks ago was the club AGM & Social night (yes I know I’ve been rubbish in taking so long to write this!)
It was a great turn out not only of ham sandwiches and chips but club members alike! Much was discussed and you can read the full minutes by downloading them below. After a quick “Hi my name is..” session where the committee introduced themselves and their roles we proposed and voted the new committee, whilst it predominately remained the same Jude Swan is now our Social Rep & Ladies Rep with Kath Finn being a General Rep on the committee. A bit more chat about stuff like money and our all important club development plan (download below) all lead to the most important part – beer and food!!

There was much banter and discussion over the night along with some club award presentations. The following were the all deserving winners from 2017.

Male Club Champ – Ben Hodgson for a narrow club victory (30 seconds!) at Windermere Tri
Female Club Champ – None for 2017 :-(
This years Club Championship race is Ullswater so lets make it a great turnout from KTC and have some fun!!
Inspiration Triathlete – Chris Stirling. Having won Celtman and Canadaman Xtreme Tri’s Chris has secured 1 of 15 male elite places for the Norseman. An outstanding achievement following many years of hard work and dedication.
New to Tri – Nina Caygill. Nina completed a coast-to-coast triathlon over 2 days in September ’17. Day 1 consisted of a 115 mile cycle from Whitby to Lake Windermere, day 2 was a 1 mile swim across Windermere followed by a marathon from Lakeside to Walney Island.
Single Discipline Achievements –
Heather Wood – Completing Buttermere swim in horrendous conditions
Vikki McGarry – Windermere One Way Swim
Angela White – Lakes in a Day & Cotswolds Way

Congratulations to all the well deserved winners this year – there are still 4 unclaimed prizes though so if you weren’t there to collect let us know and we will get your award to you!!

VACANCY ALERT!! –  We are still seeking to recruit a Male Club Representative so if you have the time for a committee meeting here and there and to be a little more involved in our club drop us a line!!

Download AGM Minutes
Download Club Development Plan

A case of curiousiTRI

Do you suffer from curiousiTRI ??

Have you entered your first event and are thinking “What have I done!?!”
Maybe you’ve not competed in a while and want to brush up on some skills?

Questions about kit? Troubled by transition? Stressed about the swim?

Well fear not, come along to Kendal Tri Club’s

Try A Tri Workshop
Kendal Leisure Centre
Sunday March 25th
9am – 1pm

Led by the club’s Head Coach and Level2 British Triathlon Coach Paddy Finn we aim to cover all aspects of triathlon from lane swimming, pool exit, transition, nutrition and more.  There will be opportunity to practice various aspects of  and discuss any questions you might have.

Open to all abilities so come and have some fun and give it TRI!

Open to members (£15) and non-members (£20)
To book your place email

Use the links below to download and share the poster!!

All Singing & Dancing Colour version to share as far and wide as possible on all your social media outlets!

Black & White version to save on ink if you want to print it and pin it up!


As the 2018/19 season is fast approaching, or indeed started for some, it is time once again to form an orderly queue and renew memberships.

This year we have gone digital and our memberships are now handled online at Si Entries. Some of you may be familiar with Si as they host the entry for many races and for those not familiar fear not as it is really straightforward – however if you do have an problems just let one of the committee know and we can help guide you.

Membership will be open from Thursday 1st Feb allowing plenty of time for existing members to catch the early bird price of just £25 before it expires at the end of March.

New members can also take advantage of the early bird discount as as well as getting 13 months for the price of 12 – bargain!!

On top of all our usual benefits including coached swims, coached spins and various discounts from our local store this year, available to all early bird entrants, for the month of March John Bagge Sports Therapy are offering 20% off a massage. What better way to start the 2018/19 season with a bargain AND a little bit of TLC!

You can use the button below to access the Membership page or go to the website to see a full range of benefits and sign up!

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