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TRICLUB

Periodization in Training

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 21, 2017 0 comments

There is no magic formula to help you achieve your desired goals however success in triathlons, or the lack of it, is determined by how you blend the stresses of frequency, duration and intensity into a comprehensive plan while taking into consideration the training principles of progressive overload, specificity, reversibility and individuality.

Most triathletes follow one training system or another by the mere fact that their workouts progress from day to day, whether it’s a random system, mixed system or a periodization one.

In random training, the triathlete does what s/he feels like doing every day with little or no forethought when making the decision. In mixed training, the athlete puts more thought into what to do on daily basis. On the other hand, periodization is a training concept in which the training season or annual training plan is divided into periods, in each period the triathlete focuses on improving a specific aspect of fitness while maintaining the gains made in previous periods. Even though periodization is quite effective in producing fitness peaks at the right times while preventing overtraining and burnout, it is not the only path to peak performance. Training by following the concepts of periodization is, however, the most likely way known today to achieve athletic success.

Periodization in Training

Periodization is not just dividing the annual training plan into periods, it also employs the training principles of specificity, individuality, reversibility and progressive overload.

Principle of specificity:

training should progress from the general to the specific.

Principle of individuality:

training should emphasize the unique needs of the triathlete. For example, early in the season a triathlete needing greater swimming strength may work with weights to develop general fitness. Later in the season, and closer to the target race, this triathlete should spend more time simulating race intensity and less time working with weights.

Principle of reversibility:

workouts should be arranged in such a way that fitness gains achieved in earlier phase of training are maintained.

Progressive overload principle:

arranging workouts that address new elements of fitness and improve them gradually.

While following a periodization plan may help you achieve your goals, it should be used only as a road map and not as a formula – Flexibility and willingness to change are essential to achieving your desired goal(s).

By Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

Ever-wanted-to-do-a-triathlon
TRICLUB

What triathlon distance is suitable for me?

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 21, 2017 0 comments

There are different variations of triathlon distances. The Super Sprint (not a common distance), the Sprint, the Olympic/5150, the Half Ironman, and the Full Ironman distances. First you need to choose one of those various distances, consider your family/work/other social commitments and then start putting in training that is specific to that distance, so what you’re doing is relevant and appropriate to your desired outcome.

Here’s how to decide which distance is right for you:

Super Sprint

Swim 0.25mi (375m), Bike 6.2mi (10km) and Run 1.5mi (2.5km)

If you are completely new to triathlons, starting with a super sprint might be the best distance to sign up for, you need to put in 3-4 hours of training doing 1-2 sessions per sport weekly. So that means 1-2 bike workouts, 1-2 swims, and 1-2 runs per week.

Sprint

Swim 0.5mi (750m), Bike 12.4mi (20km) and Run 3.1mi (5km)

If Sprint Triathlon is what you wish to tackle, then make sure you’ve got 4-6 hours to spare weekly for training to do 1-2 sessions per sport weekly.

Olympic/5150

Swim 0.93mi (1500m), Bike 24.8mi (40km) and Run 6.2mi (10km)

If you are able to swim 1.5km in open water, bike 60-80km and complete a 20km run (separately), then Olympic distance is right for you. You’ll need to spare 6-8 hours weekly for training and your longest workout will look like: a ‘brick’ workout, consisting of a 60- to 80kme bike ride, followed by a 14-16km run.

Half Ironman (70.3)

Swim 1.2mi (1900m), Bike 56mi (90km) and Run 13.1mi (21.09km)

Typically the major training for half ironman distance will happen on your weekends – on Friday 80-100km long bike ride followed by an easy transition run directly off the bike, and on Saturday a 15-20km long run. If you can commit to heavier training loads than those for shorter distances, then half ironman distance is suitable for you.

Full Ironman

Swim 2.4mi (3800m), Bike 112mi (180km) and Run 26.2mi (42.19km)

Similar to 70.3, your major training will happen on your weekends but with longer distances. Your longest workout will be a race simulation consisting of 1hour swim followed by 160km bike ride and then topping that off with a 20-25km long run.

When you know you’re ready to commit to putting in the training hours, it’s always better to start with a short distance triathlon (e.g. super sprint or sprint) and work your way up. Once you’ve got a couple of short distance triathlons under your belt, you’ll know whether or not you’ll enjoy moving up to longer distance.

By Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

Best 5 Apps for Triathletes - train smarter and keeps track
TRICLUB

Best 5 Apps for Triathletes – train smarter and keeps track

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 21, 2017 0 comments

Whether you’re looking for a coach to help plan your training, a tool to track your athletic activity or a way to share your progress with friends, there’s an app that can make it happen. These 5 apps will help you train smarter and keep track of just about any performance metric you can think of.

Strava

Strava is both a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity via GPS. Its slogan is “The Social Network for Athletes”. It tracks your swimming, cycling and running and turns every iOS and Android devices into a sophisticated running and cycling computer and it works with your GPS watches and head units, too). Start Strava before an activity and you can track your favorite performance stats, and afterwards, dive deep into your data. Strava is a free app but with a premium subscription you unlock more advanced features such as setting custom goals, training videos and more.

App available on www.strava.com/mobile

MyZone

MYZONE is a physical activity belt which helps to keep you motivated by offering accurate tracking of your effort levels through live heart rate monitoring, goal setting, social accountability, fun challenges and points to reward effort. MYONE app links to other training tools such as: WATT Bike, Strava, Garmin, Mapmyrun, Myfitnesspal and Apple watch.

To find out more or to get a MYZONE belt contact one of our clubs today.

For Android download goo.gl/brk9Cg

For iPhone download goo.gl/FJeKPN

Training Peaks

TrainingPeaks is a great tool for you and/or your coach to make informed training decisions and measure your progress over time using scientific tools and metrics. with this tool you can set goals, find expert instruction, perform structured training and receive immediate feedback throughout the process.

Access www.trainingpeaks.com/TrainingPeaks on iPhone/Android/web, and choose between a free Basic or paid Premium version of this great platform.

Garmin Connect

When paired with a compatible Garmin device, you can track your steps, sleep, calories, floors climbed, analyze your running, cycling, swimming, cardio activities and more. You can also create and compete in challenges with friends, document personal records and sync with other apps like Strava, TrainingPeaks and MyFitnessPal.

If you are ready to join a massive community of users who walk, run, bike, swim, hike and strive to beat yesterday? Learn more about Garmin devices and how they work with the Garmin Connect Mobile app at Garmin.com.

Wattbike Hub

The Wattbike Hub is the perfect partner for your Wattbike training and it has personalized coaching capabilities, real time performance insight, provides you with unrivalled technique feedback through it’s  and performance analysis.

App available on hub.wattbike.com/hello

By Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coac
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

TRICLUB

CHARLOTTE STEBBING – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 6, 2017 0 comments

Full disclosure here, I work in the fitness industry and have done for my entire career. Most people think that everyone who works in the industry has some kind of healthy superpower and that everything fitness related comes easy… I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case. Most of us are just like our members and regular gym goers. We face similar struggles with time and motivation so please be reassured we do not all jump out of bed every morning with our surfboard abs and make videos for social media or fitness models on shoot.

Now please don’t get me wrong, we absolutely believe in what we do and we practice what we preach, especially at Fitness First Middle East.

So when I was first approached to join in with a Triathlon, I had visions of how hard it could be and how complicated I thought it would be considering I’d never trained for this kind of event before. The good news is the initial concerns I had, became curiosities and eventually, I realized there was no need to be so overwhelmed with this type of event.

I’ve always been an average jogger, I hadn’t ridden a bike properly since I was a kid and swimming was more of a weekend dip in the pool to cool down in the Dubai heat. So the thought of swimming 1.9km, cycling 90km and running 21km back to back seemed like a BIG challenge. I accepted the challenge and decided to take the training 1 day at a time. I had 6 months to prepare for the DIT back in 2015. Everyone thought I was crazy to be doing the 70.3 as my first triathlon goal, but I was all in. I broke down the training and started with some runs, rides and swims at my own pace and each week I just tried to go a little further and a little longer – and that’s it! There is no big secret how to train for your first triathlon. The key for me was to not over complicate it or overthink it, do what I was capable of week on week and gradually I was improving. 


To build my confidence in the water and in a triathlon setting, I signed up to some shorter distance races in Dubai. I remember my first triathlon vividly. I was living in Abu Dhabi at the time so I drove up the day before and stayed with some friends who were also doing the race but as a relay team. I woke up in the morning, after some broken sleep due to being a combination of nervous and excited about the race. My biggest anxiety was about the swim, I knew that if I could complete the swim I would be fine for the ride and the run. My nerves had me on edge, I could barely speak I was so nervous (very unlike me!). We arrived at the beach, registered and bike racked ready to start the race and I just went for it. I told myself I’d made the choice to accept the challenge and I had been training for it, turning up and doing it was the easy bit! 

And I was so right, I loved every second of it. There was nothing to be nervous about, there were hundreds of people there doing the same thing, cheering and encouraging each other. The experience was hugely satisfying and It spurred me on for the rest of the training. As I prepared for the longer distance I began to find my rhythm. I had a great support system at fitness first which held me accountable and gave me people to train with. I learned a lot about myself in this process as well as training for something new. It changed up my usual style of training which was great for my body and my results. I have since completed triathlons individually and as part of a relay team, it’s worth it!

I would recommend a triathlon to anyone, no matter how short or long the distance or if you’re in a team or individual. It is a fun and enjoyable experience which will stretch you to new realms of results. Check out the sessions available to you and get started. Getting started is the hardest part… Once you start you will love it!

Charlotte Stebbing
National Fitness Programming Manager

TRICLUB

GARETH JONES – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 6, 2017 0 comments

My journey towards Triathlons started in 2015 when I bought a road bike so I could join the growing masses at Al Qudra cycle route. I was injured playing football the summer before and I nearly broke my foot so it was time to hang up the boots and turn to something else. The bug of cycling hit fast and I mean very fast. I went out twice a week and simply loved it. From the freedom of being outside and the time to gather my thoughts I was hooked and saw some rapid weight loss also.

I was then convinced to sign up for the Dubai International Triathlon in November 2015 as part of a relay team so this became my goal. The distance was 90k and it was thrilling to compete and be part of a triathlon team! 

Just seeing everyone competing on the day, the nerves, the fun, the personal stretch gave me a boost and whilst I loved competing I knew my next goal would to be to sign up for all 3 and compete as an individual at some point.

So, in the summer of 2016, I set a goal of competing in my first Triathlon which would be October 2016 and I worked hard all summer swimming, cycling and running to get ready. I took tips, I listened to triathletes and I watched others and began to think I could possibly do this. I even signed up for IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai in January 2017 as the major goal!

My first distance was a Sprint which is 750m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run and I think my time, in the end, was 1 hour 40 minutes. Despite being ill the week before I achieved and completed it and just loved it and this spurred me on.

Over the next 6 months, I competed in 7 Triathlons including IRONMAN 70.3  and I finished this in 6 hours 1 minute. I was hooked. I was inspired. The adrenalin never felt so good.

My tip would be “You never know until you have tried.” Like me,  you could find a new sport, new friends and new goals to aim for. Give it a go and you’ll never look back.

Gareth Jones 
Head of Operations – Mixed UAE and Outer Territories

TRICLUB

Where to get advice on triathlon equipment?

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 5, 2017 0 comments

So you decided to do a triathlon, you chose the distance and joined a tri club in your area, a run club and/or a masters swim group to get prepared. Now to have a good training/racing experience you need to have the right equipment for swim, bike & run.

The Swim:

Most local sports shop in UAE stock high quality swim equipment and gear from Speedo, Arena to name a few. Your local sports shop can help you choose between the countless numbers of:

  • Tri suits
  • Swimsuits
  • Wetsuits
  • Goggles
  • Swim training equipment suitable to your level (e.g. pull buoys, kick boards, parachutes… etc.)
  • Swim watch or triathlon watch that counts your laps, track your activity and monitor your progress.

Also, you can chat to your Tri Club buddies and coaches to hear about their experiences using specific equipment for training/racing.

 

The Bike:

You can approach your local bike shop to get professional advice on:

  • Bike frame (tri vs. road)
  • Frame size
  • Helmet that fits you properly
  • Seat height and tilts angle
  • Saddle suitable for you
  • Pedals and cycling shoes
  • Cassette & crank for your riding style and targeted race
  • Your overall position on the bike
  • Bike maintenance
  • Tri suits
  • Cycling computer or triathlon watch to track your rides and monitor progress.

 

The Run:

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of options available in the market go to your nearest sports goods shop and get and advice on the following:

  • Gait analysis to identify your running style so you narrow down the runners’ options to what suits your stride (heel-, midfoot- or forefoot-runner).
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Running watch or triathlon watch to track your training & racing metrics.

Now that you are equipped and have all essentials covered, go out there enjoy the training/racing knowing that you have the right gear for you.

 

Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

TRICLUB

Triathlon distances – What is the difference

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 4, 2017 0 comments

There are various distances for triathlon races to accommodate triathletes of various skill levels, but these distances might vary from one race to another. One of the reasons that may cause any variation from the standard race distance is the race venue. Sometimes, race directors are challenged to find a safe venue for a triathlon event. To keep the logistics and safety concerns of staging such an event to a minimum, race directors wisely select a race course that is slightly different than the common distances mentioned below.

The Half and Full distances are commonly referred to as Half Ironman and Ironman distances respectively. Half Ironman races can also be referred to as Ironman 70.3’s, with the number 70.3 representing the total mileage of the race.

Here are the common distances of triathlon races:

Super Sprint: Swim 0.25mi (375m), Bike 6.2mi (10km) and Run 1.5mi (2.5km)

Sprint: Swim 0.5mi (750m), Bike 12.4mi (20km) and Run 3.1mi (5km)

Olympic / 5150: Swim 0.93mi (1500m), Bike 24.8mi (40km) and Run  6.2mi (10km)

Half Ironman/70.3: Swim 1.2mi (1900m), Bike 56mi (90km) and Run 13.1mi (21.09km)

Full Ironman: Swim 2.4mi (3800m), Bike 112mi (180km) and Run 26.2mi (42.19km)

Most of the above distances are available for you to compete in locally through our events organizing partner Race.ME. For full list of races, please visit http://race-me-events.com/

Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

TRICLUB

Where do I start to do my first race? How to prepare for Triathlons

posted by FitnessFirst Team November 3, 2017 0 comments

Triathlons can seem complicated as there is a lot of equipment, locations and logistics to think about. I’ve broken down what you need to consider when doing your first race.

Choose Your Distance

Shorter distances are usually more attractive for first-timers. It’s fun and can be competitive if you want it to be. I’d suggest starting off with a Sprint distance to get familiar with the way triathlon races work and build up to longer distances.

Decide if you want to be part of a team or go solo

Many races allow you to work as a team in a relay race. This means the 3 legs can be split up by 2-3 people. So you can compete and only do the swim, bike or run leg if you want to. Some people like to complete all 3 legs and do it individually. Think about your fitness level, strengths and goals when you are deciding this.

Check out the events calendar & Pick your race

There are lots of different events happening across Dubai over the coming months. Check out the events calendar and see which race suits you. When picking a race consider; locations, times, availability for supporters coming to watch you, if you can race as a family, race packs, information available to you.

Register & Collect your race pack

Register for the race you have chosen, read more information about the race and collect your race pack. Your race pack will usually include; rules, race numbers, swim hat and general need to know information about your race so you have everything you need.

Show Up!

Arrive on event day in plenty of time. Relax and enjoy the day! The hard work is in the training. Race day is the day to get the medal you have been working towards!

Charlotte Stebbing
National Fitness Programming Manager

cycling
TRICLUB

What does a new triathlete need for racing

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 18, 2017 2 Comments

Triathlon can become as expensive or as inexpensive pursuit as you want it to be. There’s no need to break the bank in order to be race-ready. Here is a list of what you absolutely need to train and race a triathlon.

Essential Gear

For the Swim

Any swimsuit, a pair of goggles that fit and a swim cap.

For the Bike

Any mountain, TT or road bike you have in your garage and if you don’t own one, you can rent one from Revolution Cycles or your preferred local bike shop, a helmet and a shirt for comfort and speed, preferably a close-fitting synthetic shirt.

For the Run

A pair of runners that fit your feet and style of running.

Optional Gear

Tri suit: an upgrade that will take you through the bike and to the run without changing.

Wetsuit: if you plan training/racing in cold water

Clipless pedals and bike shoes: An easy upgrade that translates to more efficiency and speed on the bike.

Sunglasses: Keeps the wind out of your eyes on the bike, and makes the run more comfortable in the sun.

GPS watch: to track your race and share the experience with friends through Strava or similar online platforms.

The most important thing about the gear you use for a triathlon is the comfort.

Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

triathlon-swim
TRICLUB

Who are Triathlons for? Is it for me?

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 18, 2017 0 comments

Triathlon is an endurance sport in which the athlete carries out swimming, cycling and running, in that order, and with the clock running during transitions between swim/bike and bike/run. It is an event won by completing the course with the fastest time. It is a great fun and accessible sport for all. It does attract social friendly types of people and fits in different lifestyles.

Why do triathlons?

You don’t need to be a hardcore super fit athlete to take part in triathlons. Many people use triathlon as a goal or a way to get motivated to do cardio, lose weight and also for its social factor to meet other like-minded individuals. Triathlon offers a great variety for training so you are not always doing the same thing and you’ll never get bored, it also offers event finishers a great sense of accomplishment and presents endless challenges! You can always work to go further and get faster.

Who can do a triathlon?

Are you in search of fitness, motivation, a challenge and/or the social benefits of a sport? Then triathlon is for you and you can absolutely train for and participate in triathlons.

Can I really finish a triathlon?

As long as you pick a triathlon that’s suited realistically to your abilities, you put in the training, surround yourself with like-minded individuals and you want it bad enough, then you will finish it. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re interested in endurance and fitness and the chances are very high that you could finish a triathlon.

Do I need to be strong in any of the three disciplines?

You don’t really need to be a strong swimmer, cyclist or runner. Starting to practice all three disciplines will make it possible for you to do triathlon no matter what level you start at and no matter what weaknesses you have. The swim, bike or run can be a challenge for some, but encountering challenges and overcoming them is what triathlon is all about. You may not be the best swimmer, cyclist or runner, but when you finish your weakest discipline, the game is still ON!

Talal Almoallem
Certified Ironman Coach
ASCA Level 3 Swim Coach

TRICLUB

Top Tips for Starting Your Tri-Training

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 18, 2017 0 comments

Hopefully by now, you have fully committed to your decision to train for a triathlon and you’ve stopped thinking about if you should or not?

Don’t worry, we have all been there!

It can seem daunting and overwhelming when taking on such a challenge… However, the good news is I am here to tell you how easy it can be… yes you heard me right… it can be easy. Now I’m not saying it won’t take some hard work physically and mentally, but we can help you to make the journey as seamless as possible.

Check out some top tips on how to get started with your training.

Don’t over think what equipment you need

There are hundreds of articles and people out there who will tell you about lots of different types of gadgets, bikes, swimsuits and running shoes you will need but my advice is KEEP IT SIMPLE! If you want to explore your options then please do but you do not NEED anything fancy or expensive.

I completed my first sprint triathlon wearing a swimming costume, goggles and mandatory swim hat. For the cycle, I used a standard road bike which cost AED 1500 and a pair of trainers which I then used for the run leg of the race. In fact, even when I did the 70.3 distance the only extra item I invested in was a pair of cycling shoes!

Start Training…

Quit thinking and start moving.  Don’t worry about how much distance you can cover at the beginning. Start working on running, cycling and swimming either indoors or outdoors. The distance will soon start to clock up as your fitness levels increase.

Plan your weekly training schedule

Schedule your sessions around your work, family and social commitments. Consistent training is the key to getting the result you want. This also includes REST! Download a training plan to see what sessions you could attend or to get more guidance on the type of training you should do.

Share your goals!

Tell your family, friends and colleagues what you are training for. This will keep you accountable and will inspire others! Join a group of like minded people who share the same goal and you are guaranteed to stay motivated throughout your training.

Get a Coach

A coach will keep you on track, help you with technique, tips and accountability. You can find a coach within group sessions or 1:1 sessions for a real personalized approach. If you want to get the best from yourself this is definitely the way to go!

Charlotte Stebbing
National Fitness
Programming Manager

Jon Norris
TRICLUB

JON NORRIS – AN INSPIRATION

posted by FitnessFirst Team September 17, 2017 0 comments

My first half iron distance triathlon was my second triathlon ever. I had only ever attempted a sprint in the French mountains a few months before.  A friend teased that I should come and do a real triathlon in Dubai, she was a veteran at 70.3 distances and has a strong understanding of the sport and required endurance. Me…..I was naive and keen to impress.

Jon Norris

“What the hell am I doing” was my only thought as I looked around and saw no one and nothing but sand. My wheels were spinning at 16kmh or at least that’s what Garmin said even though my heart was pounding and legs were screaming. The wind was blowing a gale, I felt like I was back on the piste in a blizzard only now sand for snow. Above, the sun glared down with a strength unknown to any man. I seriously contemplated manufacturing a puncture, wishing an injury upon myself or even better being swallowed up by the nearest sand dune and waking up to realise it had all been a bad dream. Alas……I still had over 40km to go.

I finally finished the worst conditions race possible with a time of just sub 7 hrs. More importantly than leaving with just a medal I left with an urge to continue in this great sport and improve myself both mentally and physically for the next race.

Triathlon is an interesting sport

Triathlon is an interesting sport, a discipline that calls to a select few and becomes a way of life. No matter how you found the sport once there you are addicted. Endless hours in the pool, months running wherever you can find the time and moments on the bike that feel like you have been sitting there for days; not to mention all this whilst juggling your family, work, friends, kids school, piano or ballet classes. Food? That becomes a whole new way of life and understanding. If you are not a qualified nutritionist before entering triathlon you soon will be.

John Norris

After a year of continually spinning my wheels, running around the same courses and swimming the same lengths in the same pool with no gains I finally understood the benefits of smart training. Luckily I was swept up into the Fitness First Dubai Ironman effort and enrolled in the Masters Swim classes. I have always considered myself a competent swimmer although it would take a little persuasion to enter the pool however working directly with a qualified coach, Talal Almoallem (@talal_almoallem) and training on regular days within a group has improved my technique and efficiency in the water that I am now happy to say has shaved almost 10 minutes off my 1.9km swim time. Completing the Dubai Ironman 70.3 in 2017 was a huge goal for me and I owe my PB time to training with Talal and the team at Fitness First.

John Norris

Being taught the benefits of swimming sets and the strategy behind them has made me re-evaluate my other disciplines in the sport. With continual support and advice from the Fitness First team I am confident to say that my swimming and biking have both taken large improved steps towards further successes. Alongside the varied classes on offer and the one to one gym instruction my core and overall fitness has jumped enormously which is beginning to be seen in my day to day running programs. With continued guidance from the experts in their fields and the best equipment available in the UAE I have really found new purpose in my gym visits.

Whatever the reasons to get fit there is added benefit throughout your life from living a healthier lifestyle. My journey has just begun and already I am so thankful to the Masters Swim class for helping me get both my feet on the ground to a more productive training schedule where I can see actual results. I have more energy in my day, my days are longer, I am more focused and I now actually look forward to getting in the pool or on the bike. I still struggle some days with the thought of having to do a 10km run, particularly in the summer heat here but what can I say…..my gyms aircon is almost as cool as the staff!

Jon Norris

Jon Norris
Triathlete