Outdoor Training 2016

Jeremy Lefton

With the arrival of summer the airs getting warmer, the sky’s getting brighter and the nights are getting lighter, for me its the perfect conditions for training. I have a couple of big events coming up a little later in the year and I need to be on top of my game. That’s why with the brighter nights I’ve decided to step my training game up!

Instead of just doing my normal cardiovascular exercises, I am now also focusing on my strength training, in the wild. Never mind being on the gym floor, with this perfect summer weather I have decided to start my strength training outside. I don’t take equipment or weights with me, instead I look for the routines that are all around me.

I’ve started with, Lifting big rocks, performing pull ups on (secure) tree branches, open water swimming (caution should always be taken), log rolling, tree climbing and stone wall building. I’ve never felt better, something about being outside taking in those deep fresh breaths and feeling yourself connect with nature really inspires me to perform better than ever. I think being stuck inside the gym all the time really dampens spirits, you forget why your there in the first place. Its not to become obsessive with your body image or to overly use one piece of equipment, we are there to better ourselves and train to better our performance.

It’s no secret that in hot countries like America and Australia, outdoor and beach gyms are everywhere. What could be better than exercising for free, outside, getting some sun light and fresh air. Besides when it comes around to competition time, it’s all outside, so why sit all your training indoors?

Going up against the elements on a regular basis can take its toll so it’s important to be prepared.

I would advice a good pair of running trainers (no expense spared). When it comes to running trainers it’s always best to spend a little more money and get a pair that are going to protect your knees and ankles.

Keeping your body temperature regulated is very important if you want to be well enough to exercise night after night. While your exercising your body is getting warmer and warmer, as it gets later into the evening the temperature naturally drops. So make sure you have Underarmer under your t-shirt, or better yet wear a light jacket.

Pushing logs, lifting rocks and pulling your body weight up on trees is a lot of work for your hands. Get yourself a pair of good fingerless lifting gloves, you will thank me for it – that’s all I need to say on this one.

So I challenge you to take the Jeremy Lefton outdoor challenge. Take your normal gym routine but adapt it the wild, cut free from the memberships, the florescent lighting and the droning air con.

Prepare your body and mind for the great outdoors, get back to the wild and earn your stripes!

 

Jeremy Lefton

Merry Christmas everyone

Phew, it’s been such a busy run up to the big day over these last few weeks that I almost missed my chance to post my Christmas wishes to everyone!

Christmas shopping

For some reason, fitting this year’s Christmas shopping around work and occasional training sessions proved to be much more difficult and hectic than last year, or any of the last few years in fact. I think I was hoping that the particularly miserable weather would keep most people indoors to do all their shopping online, but it turns out that made absolutely no difference whatsoever.

I had three full shopping days out in Leeds and York over the last few weekends and it was heaving every time, almost to the point where I was the one returning to the confines of my cosy lounge and buying all gifts online! But me and my partner had made the trip so decided to just brace it.

Thankfully, everything is now wrapped and ready to go. We’re both away visiting family from this afternoon until the 30th, so I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas and a very happy New Year as well!

Triathlon tips for the off-season

Yes it’s that time of year again when the chilly weather creeps in, the wind picks up and the rain hammers down, although it must be said that, as we approach December, it has been particularly miserable over the last month.

christmaspudding

Source: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/food/ic/food_16x9_448/recipes/christmaspudding_87598_16x9.jpg

With good reason, this is well and truly the off-season for triathletes. However, it is important to remember that there are things you can do to sustain your fitness heading into the New Year and make 2016 just as successful as 2015, if not more successful!

So I just wanted to share with you this fantastic little blog post I came across recently by triathlete David Glover on Training Peaks. He outlined his top 5 of what not to do for triathletes during the off-season and I just wanted to reiterate some of them on here.

Don’t do it all: With the weather, it’s ultimately a case of get out when you can, but overdoing it can be detrimental to your efforts going into the latter stages of next year. While overindulging in training may mean you hit top form in early-2016, you will more than likely burn yourself out by the summer and risk what would’ve been preventable injury.

Still do something: The festival period is no doubt the time to allow your body to rest and recover from the efforts of the previous year, so while intense training is to be avoided at all costs, so too is doing no training at all, even if just light practices. Keeping this up allows you to make a seamless transition back in action when your training properly picks up again without wasting a month getting fully back into the swing of things.

Watch your meals: You always expect to put on a little weight over Christmas and New Year with all the get-togethers and tempting treats, and that’s all part of the festive fun, but it’s again important not to overdo it. Attempt to keep your diet as balanced as possible and avoid exceptionally fatty or sugary foods – there are still plenty of Christmas snacks and dishes you can enjoy in moderation without feeling guilty afterwards.

Escape from Alcatraz ups the cost

What a whirlwind few weeks it’s been! Back from a holiday that absolutely flew by for two of the three weeks I was away, losing my luggage, losing my running shoes, and then injuring myself on my first run out when training resumed.

team-alcatraz

But, as I keep telling myself – it could be worse – I could be competing in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

This was a news story I came across earlier this week about the changes to the entry fee for one of America’s most in-demand triathlons. Set on the island of Alcatraz that served as an isolated federal prison up until 1963, the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon consistently attracts competitors from all 50 American states, countries across the globe, and a host of world and Olympic champions.

It is certainly one of the most iconic triathlons, situated in one of America’s most iconic places, but registering for the 2016 edition would now leave you just under £490 ($750) out of pocket. That’s right, almost £500 to compete in a 1.5 mile swim, an 18 mile bike ride, and an 8 mile run!

There is a Gold package available for the triathlon too, but as you probably expected, this is also extremely pricey – just under £2300 to be precise. Need I say anymore?

Somehow I think I’ll be catching up with this one online this year, but it just goes to show how dedicated some triathletes are to shell out such a large amount of money to compete in their favourite pastime.

3 weeks of holiday bliss

Well it’s that time of year again, slightly later than usual this time, where the triathlon training is put on hold and I’m about to jet off on my holidays tomorrow afternoon to one of my favourite destinations: Barcelona.

Barcelona Beach

It’s been a few years since I last went there with my partner, so we’ll no doubt have a few days of sightseeing balanced out with some long afternoons on the beach. There’s even an FC Barcelona home fixture scheduled for this weekend so I’m expecting the streets to be even busier than usual!

We’ve even got plans to break up our time there with a few train trips all around Catalonia and up and down the Spanish coast so we may even end up seeing so much more than we originally planned.

There is one slight drawback to how the dates have fallen however, and that is I’ll almost certainly miss the conclusion of the ITU World Triathlon Series that’s currently taking place in Chicago, with the overall champion named on Sunday. As a dedicated triathlete competitor and spectator for a number of years now, there’s nothing more frustrating than missing one the sport’s biggest events.

That said, at least the holiday is an exciting excuse not to, and I’ll be able to catch up on it all when I’m back in England in just over three weeks time!

World Triathlon Update: Final Three

Stockholm, Edmonton and Chicago are now the three destinations that stand between some of the world’s best triathletes and their quest for glory as the ITU World Triathlon Series 2015 nears another thrilling climax.

ITU_rankings_July_2015

This weekend in the Swedish capital current leaders Javier Gomez of Spain and the USA’s Gwen Jorgenson will both be looking to extend their already 400-point margins at the top of the men’s and women’s rankings respectively.

France’s Vincent Luis may be ready to mount a late challenge for the title following his victory in the Hamburg Triathlon a couple of weeks ago, but it’s already looking like an extremely tough task to break the Spanish dominance in the men’s category, as with the American dominance currently on show in the women’s.

With the final two meetings taking place in Canada and the USA, it would be highly surprising if the home support didn’t push the American women on to a clean sweep of gold, silver and bronze.

From a British perspective, Olympic 2012 bronze medalist Jonathon Brownlee was last year’s winner in Stockholm, and he’ll need a similar performance this weekend if he’s to push on from his current eighth position in 2015 to mount a challenge in the final three meetings of the season. Likewise for his older brother Alistair who’s currently sitting in sixth despite an injury-hampered start to the season.

In the women’s rankings, Gloucester’s Vicky Holland still has an outside chance of catching the four competitors above her, so a solid performance in Stockholm would go some way towards closing the gap on the already runaway leaders.

 

Ironman Triathlon returns to Bolton

A great weekend for the British triathletes who claimed all three podium positions in both the men’s and women’s races at Ironman UK Triathlon that took place once again in Bolton.
UK_IronmanLike last year, I took my place on the sidelines by Victoria Square in Bolton town centre to cheer on the competitors as they entered the final few yards of what was surely an exhausting yet incredibly rewarding experience.

Many of us feared the worst when dark clouds were looming over the North West as the triathletes took up their positions on the starting blocks for the first leg swim in Pennington Flash, but the grey sky and early drizzle had cleared almost completely by the time the majority had completed their laps of the lake.

As the competitors then embarked on a 112-mile two-lap cycle from Pennington Flash to the Macron Stadium, the home of Bolton Wanderers, I made my way to Victoria Square and was there to witness David McNamee cross the finishing line in first place, just under five minutes ahead of his closest rival: fellow Brit Fraser Cartmell.

In the women’s category, Lucy Gossage destroyed the rest of the field to finish a whole half an hour clear of second place! She may have looked like an outsider after emerging from Pennington Flash some time behind her fellow British rivals, but Lucy clawed back valuable minutes in the cycle and run to even beat a majority of the male competitors.

Another fantastic day for all involved whether spectating or putting your body through its paces on the track!

Summer training rota

I know it is summer, but it’s still quite remarkable how little rain we’ve had in June so far. I’m afraid I can’t speak for anyone outside of Yorkshire, but we seem to have gotten so used to downpours after promising patches of brilliant sunshine, that it’s just refreshing to have early mornings and weekend afternoons that you can do nothing else but just make the most of.

Yorkshire summer

My alarm still gets me up at 6am on weekday mornings to work on the two week rota I’ve had since the start of March to divide my time equally between jogging and swimming. Depending on how I’m feeling during a ‘running’ week, I’ll be out for approximately half an hour, covering around 7-9km and, no kidding, it must have only rained once out of all the days I’ve been on out over the last month or so! Unbelievable!

Maybe I’ve just been incredibly lucky though in how the weeks have fallen with my rota as on a ‘swimming’ week I’ll call at my local leisure centre on my way in to work and there have been particularly miserable days. I give myself 45 minutes in the pool to do as many laps as possible and then it’s off to face the day.

Saturday or Sunday afternoons are then reserved for the cycling training and I always try and get out to really challenge myself in the midst of the Yorkshire Dales if the weather is great as it has been recently.

So all in all, with a rest day always penciled in for the day I don’t cycle on, summer so far has been a real boost to my triathlon training

Triathlon World Series comes to London

This Sunday, May 31st, will not only see some of the biggest names in the triathlon world flocking to London for the latest installment of the ITU World Triathlon Series, but it will also have the two Brownlee brothers going head-to-head competitively for the first time this year.

Brownlee brothers

Younger brother Jonny found his form at the end of March after a difficult series opener in Abu Dabi with back-to-back victories in Auckland and then on Australia’s Gold Coast just a couple of weeks later. Injury unfortunately ruled him out of the next two meetings in Cape Town, South Africa, and Yokohama, Japan, just as older brother Alistair burst back onto the scene after missing the first three races.

It truly was a superb return for Alistair in Cape Town who, in his brother’s absence, edged out Spaniard Javier Gomez, who himself was chasing a first victory of the season, by five seconds in a dramatic sprint finish.

The tables were turned three weeks later in the city of Yokohama as another thrilling sprint finish this time saw Gomez pip Alistair to the post by an even slimmer two seconds after an hour and 47 minutes of vigorous swimming, cycling and running, leaving the Spaniard with his first victory of the year and sitting comfortably at the top of the current overall rankings ahead of two fellow Spaniards. There must also be a big shout out to Brits Mark Buckingham and Adam Bowden who finished in fourth and seventh positions in Yokohama respectively – a fantastic effort for both!

So with the waiting almost over for the sixth race of the series in London this weekend, one thing can be guaranteed – it won’t be short on excitement, especially with both Brownlee brothers involved!

 

Brownlee leads the way in World Triathlon Series

Great Britain Olympic bronze medalist Jonathon Brownlee has made a fantastic start to the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series, sitting top of the overall rankings after the first three races.

Brownlee_wins_in_Australia

After finishing fifth and an agonising 31 seconds behind Spaniard Mario Mola in the opening race of the Series in Abu Dhabi in early March, Jonny powered to back-to-back victories in the next two races in Auckland and then on the Australian Gold Coast to climb to the top of the rankings.

The younger of the Brownlee brothers will miss the next meeting in Cape Town this weekend, while his brother Alistair is set to return after injury, but Jonny will be aiming to regain the title he last won in 2012 and take can great confidence from the fact he has not finished outside of the top three since 2010.

It really has been absorbing viewing so far and looks set to remain that way for the rest of the Series. Best of luck to both Brownlee brothers!