Gift ideas for future triathletes

2 Dec Children's trisuits

At this time of year, there are plenty of gift guides aimed at adult triathletes, but what about the younger members of your multisport family? I’ve put together some ideas for what you could buy your future triathletes…


  • Funky swimming hats
  • Children’s goggles
    Funky Zoggs Finding Dory goggles
  • Nose clips
    Nose clips
  • Ear plugs
    Children's ear plugs
  • Swimming costumes
    Children's swimwear
  • Towels
    Children's towels
  • Swim bags
    Children's swimming bags
  • Training aids
    Swim fin
  • Children’s wetsuits
    Saltskin animal print wetsuits



  • Frog balance bike
    Frog tadpole mini balance bike
  • Isla bike
    Isla Bike
  • Children’s bike helmet
    Children's bike helmet



  • Children’s clothes
    Children's running clothes
  • Children’s trainers
    Newton shoes
  • elastic laces
    Elastic shoelaces
  • sunglasses

Children's sports sunglasses

Children’s trisuits

Children's trisuits

There are so many options out there that hopefully you’re feeling inspired to search out the perfect gift for your little athlete.

Kids Racing – triathlon stockists

The best children’s triathlon clothing reviewed

What to do if your child is a talented triathlete

Monday Morning Motivation: In the swim

23 Apr

This weekend is Swimathon, so I thought I’d theme my Monday Morning Motivation around it. Enjoy!

Are you taking part in Swimathon? Good luck if you are!

Monday Morning Motivation: The Storm

2 Apr Swissman walls of snow

Swissman Xtreme Triathlon

SWISSMAN Xtreme Triathlon is a unique point-to-point iron-distance triathlon with a total ascent of 5400 m. The journey begins at 196 m above sea level, with a 3.8km swim in Lake Maggiore.

Transition is in the town of Ascona. The athletes cycle 180km through the Alps with three major mountain passes (the Gotthard Pass, the Furka Pass and the Grimsel Pass). This tough leg reaches an altitude of 2436m above sea level.

From the second transition in Brienz (567m), the triathletes have to run an uphill marathon to the village of Kleine Scheidegg (2061m altitude).

This is not a race for the faint-hearted. The 2016 video shows just how tough it is against a backdrop of stunning scenery and stirring music.

This year’s race will take place on 23rd June 2018. Entry is via a ballot system.

Swissman walls of snow

Monday Morning Motivation: This Girl Can Weightlift

26 Mar

Last year I qualified as a fitness instructor. It was the first time that I had been in a gym since I was pregnant, and it reminded me how much I enjoy free weights. Fewer women seem to worry about lifting weights making them bulk up and #strongnotskinny is a commonly used hashtag. For this week’s inspiration, I thought I’d share some images that show the collaboration between the This Girl Can campaign and British Weightlifting…

What’s your favourite free weight exercise?

Monday Morning Motivation: Get your gameface on

19 Mar

OK – those of you who know me know that I rarely wear make up, but I like this This Girl Can advert as to me it emphasises that sport is for all, not matter what your appearance.

What do you think?

Monday Morning Motivation: Yusra Mardini

12 Mar Yusra Mardini

This week’s motivation is provided by the inspirational swimmer Yusra Mardini.

From refugee to Olympian – Yusra Mardini’s incredible journey

Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini competes in the Women’s 100m Butterfly heats on the first day of the Rio Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on 6 August in Brazil. Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Yusra Mardini represented Team Refugee as a swimmer at the Rio Olympics in 2016; less than a year beforehand she had fled war-torn Syria and made the 25-day journey to Europe.

During the sea crossing from Turkey to Lesbos her dinghy got into trouble and Mardini and others jumped into the open water to help guide the boat to safety.

Yusra Mardini now lives in Berlin. On 27th April 2017, she was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

Film to follow teenager who crossed the Mediterranean and competed at Rio

International Women’s Day 2018

8 Mar

Today is International Women’s Day, so I thought it would be relevant to ponder the role of women in sports. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I’m passionate about equality for women (and often share inspirational images from the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign… I love the campaign although I hate the slogan – surely it should be ‘this woman can’?!)

Did you know that the world’s first recorded female-only sporting event was the Heraean games in Athens in 776BC? However, women weren’t invited to take part in the Olympics until 1900. At the games, women were only allowed to take part in three events: golf, tennis and cricket.

In the 20th century, there were a number of ground-breaking female athletes, including Gertrude Ederle (an American women who was the first female to swim the Channel in 1926) and Alice Coachman (the first black woman to win a gold Olympic medal in 1948). However, it took until the 2012 Olympic Games for every team to include at least one female competitor.

Girls basketball team

If you want to learn more about the role of women in sport, check out these links:

Monday Morning Motivation: Sarah Thomas

5 Mar Sarah Thomas

Most people will never swim a mile (64 lengths), so the thought of swimming 100 consecutive miles is incomprehensible, but that’s exactly what Sarah Thomas did in August last year. She swam further than anyone has ever swum before without the aid of currents.

Sarah Thomas

A Colorado athlete was the first person to swim at least 100 consecutive miles

What kind of dedication and training does it take to accomplish an incredible feat like this? Most days, Sarah Thomas gets up at 5am to train and swims 5-6000m before going to work. I’m not a competitive swimmer, but I swim quite a lot and I’ve only ever swum 5000m three times. However, even a strong swimmer will take over an hour to complete 5000m swimming at race pace. It took Thomas three days and nights to cover 104 miles, nonstop. She had to stay awake for 67 hours. “Not sleeping was the hardest part,” she admits.

Another part of the challenge that cannot be overlooked is the need to stay fuelled and hydrated. The crew used a long pole to pass her caffeinated energy drinks at the twice-hourly feed stops — Marathon Swimming Federation rules forbid swimmers from touching the support boat. When Thomas had had enough of sports drinks they substituted her favourite food, risotto.

Thomas is a surprisingly modest swimmer. She doesn’t seek out publicity and many of her amazing feats of endurance swim(such as 2016’s 82 mile swim) have received little press coverage. She doesn’t even have a sponsor.

The longest ever open water swim was 139.8 miles in the Adriatic by Veljko Rogosic, but his swim was current-assisted. There are currently only three swimmers who have completed “current-neutral” swims of 63 miles or more. Interesting they are all female – possibly because women have a higher percentage of body fat which helps with buoyancy and insulation. (Official open water swims do not allow wetsuits). An alternative theory is that women have increased confidence and mental strength when it comes to open water swimming and have learnt that they are able to beat men.

Thomas did so well in her challenge that she caused herself a problem – she ended up so far ahead of schedule that she finished at night instead of in daylight. This meant that strip lights had to be set up to guide her into the slipway!

When asked about her future goals, Thomas responded, “I don’t think I’ll try to swim further… there are a lot of fun and challenging swims to do between one and 104 miles.”

Sarah Thomas – 104-mile Lake Champlain Swim (raw footage) from MSF on Vimeo.

Tips for your first Ironman

1 Mar

A little while ago, I posted a question on social media asking for some tips. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses. I thought it might be helpful to categorise them and share them with you…

What is the one thing you wish you had known when training for your first Ironman?



  • Get a good coach.
  • Fink is a plan NOT gospel. Move it around, play with it and get it to suit you from one day to the next.
  • I wish I’d had a coach for the first one. Fewer hours training, better sets, and less weight lost. An hour better and healthier afterwards. Fink nearly killed me!
  • Fink was just too many hours and junk miles. If you don’t want to lay out for a coach, join a club. Loads of experience and the head coach will probably write you a plan free of charge.

Brick sessions

Brick wall

Photo by Kristina Kashtanova on Unsplash

  • You can never do too much brick training.
  • Long rides followed by long runs.
  • Long rides followed by runs off the bike.
  • Bike to run sessions.
  • More bike to run.
  • I was told a training split of 50% bike, 35% run and 15% swim.
  • Jumping rope. Skipping. Whatever you call it, strengthens the feet and makes those Achilles ultra stretchy.
  • Train alone. You wouldn’t do 112 miles in a group in an Ironman, so why go on club rides when training? Running the same – do all long runs alone at your pace, not somebody else’s.


  • Mental strength!
  • Consistency.
  • Patience. Both in training and on the day.
  • Be humble.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude.
  • You are not alone. Ask for help and you will get it. Everyone is scared during the journey and on the start line.
  • Work on your weakness and work across all your training zones.
  • Plan around kids’ school holiday and don’t book a race at the end of the summer holidays.
  • Don’t faff in transition. Get in, get out.
  • Consider how much it will cost financially (and physically 😬).
  • Treat it as three separate races and prepare for each.
  • You will feel like a million bucks and then like a piece of crap many times in the race (this is normal).
  • You never get to do your first one again so enjoy the whole experience and trust in your training. Don’t put a finish time on it save that for the next one.
  • Enjoy the journey. It’s tough, but so rewarding.


A swimmer

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

  • Don’t underestimate the swim!
  • Practice open water swimming as much as possible.
  • For a crap swimmer, a top quality wetsuit makes it easier than a cheap wetsuit. I didn’t believe it until I swapped!
  • Learn to draft in the swim (i.e. on someone’s feet) as it saves heaps of time and energy.
  • Attach a second pair of goggles to your thigh. Practice losing goggles in water to then attempt swimming in both salty and lake water without goggles.
  • If your swim is lousy and it drains you, your race could be messed up. The swim is the base of the race… if you get out of the water drained, it will be a difficult day and could cost you later in the race. It doesn’t have to be super fast, but you need to feel good when you get out of the water to get through the long bike leg, which needs to be executed to enable you to run 26.2.
  • I came out of my swim and a masochistic thought of “I actually quite enjoyed that” went through my mind. That’s how it should feel. I was slower than my predicted time but I knew what was ahead and just went steady away.



Photo by Josh Nuttall on Unsplash

There was a common theme in the comments:

  • Bike, bike and more bike.
  • Ride more, ride more, then ride some more.
  • Bike, bike and more bike.
  • Do more long rides.
  • More bike.
  • Spend more time on the bike.
  • You can’t run if you can’t bike 🚴. So bike… lots.
  • More bike, more bike, more bike.
  • Oh, and bike. The run (run/walk) is just survival: you’ve done the ‘hard’ part by then.
  • I had a strong background in running, so I took the approach of minimal bike training assuming my run strength would see me through – I did not anticipate how much the bike would take out of me leaving me tired and sore before I even started the run.
  • My train of thought exactly with my first half last summer. I never made the massive time lost on the bike up with good run. So for my second half next summer – bike training it is.
  • I fell for this train of thought also. This time it’s bike, bike, bike. I’ll tick over my running as per my plan, rather than adding more runs.
  • No junk miles and ride a lot. 2-3 minutes improvement in the swim is no good if you’re 30mins off the pace on the bike.
  • Bike… bike… bike… bike… and then when you can’t take no more… bike some more!


  • If you’re doing Bolton, hills, hills and train in the wind… And more hills.
  • I wish I’d done more hills on bike.
  • Hills on the bike.
  • Someone said push the bike training on hills until you literally can’t pedal any more. It really worked for me. It doesn’t have to be massive distance for this type of training.


  • In carbon we trust.
  • Buy a carbon 🚲 and don’t under-estimate a technical bike course.
  • A professional bike fit. This is the longest discipline and where the most time can be saved, plus you get the on the run feeling less tired.
  • For cycling, putting plenty of road miles using a mountain bike gave a really good resistance workout.
  • Spend time in the saddle on your turbo trainer.
  • Make sure you service your bike close to race day.
  • Not too close though, bike shop f**ked mine up on race week. 😉
  • Learn to pace on the bike and get a power meter and learn how to use it.
  • Once I started doing 3-8 centuries in training, my run really improved.
  • Bike on the road, in the heat, in the wind, in the rain. Don’t wimp out and get on the trainer because it’s not “perfect” weather.
  • Make sure you can beat the bike cut off time. A couple of friends got DNFs on their first attempts due to this. If you can ride the course a few months before do. It’s a good confidence boost and will tell you how much work you need to do to get round in time.
  • Don’t train too fast. Plenty people leave their best efforts out on the Sunday club ride, when most of your training should be easier paced than you might think as training constantly too hard only leads to injury. Make the hard, very hard and the steady, very steady. Too much middle ground hampers progression.
  • There’s no such thing as a good bike and a poor run. The difference between a great swim and a poor one is 15 minutes, but get the pacing wrong on the bike and you risk a poor run that can cost you hours.



Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

  • More runs.
  • It’s all about the run. There’s no point in going 30 minutes quicker on the bike than you genuinely anticipated if it adversely affects your run.
  • For running, completing a marathon plenty of time before adds great confidence, so you can concentrate on the cycling!
  • Don’t go too hard during the early stages of the marathon.


Healthy food

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

  • Nutrition is the 4th part of the triathlon
  • Cut out sugar and use fat for fuel 😎
  • Special super awesome powders from Switzerland may not arrive in time for race day. Plan an alternative fuel strategy.
  • Don’t blame your bike when climbing hills is tough. Lose the body weight instead!
  • You can’t out-train a sh*t diet.
  • 80/20
  • Nutrition is a discipline that’s needs to be prepared and planned meticulously.
  • I bonked HARD in IMUK last year – 70 miles in and lost all energy. Only realised then I hadn’t eaten anything in the last 90 minutes. Flapjack was my saviour; my partner prefers malt loaf; for some people it’s gels all the way. Work out what works for you!
  • Nutrition is key on the bike and run.
  • Get nutrition nailed.
  • Get the nutrition right on the bike so you eat enough not to bonk, but not too much that you are too poorly to do justice to the run! 🏃‍♀🏃💩🚽😂

What do you wish you had known?

Monday Morning Motivation: Enough is enough

26 Feb The simple fact that you care, that you want to do your best, that you strive to enjoy life and love, this makes you so much more than 'enough'.

I’m not convinced that the imagery in this video matches up to the speech, but it’s worth listening to 🙂

The simple fact that you care, that you want to do your best, that you strive to enjoy life and love, this makes you so much more than 'enough'.

“Avoid people and situations that upset you. See there are some people that know just how to push your buttons. They know just what to say, but I’m not going to expend any energy arguing with anybody. Life is too short, ladies and gentlemen, and unpredictable. I don’t want to spend my time arguing with anybody, so, I avoid situations that will get me upset. I don’t argue with people. Draw the line, ladies and gentlemen. There are certain things that we just go through life just taking. At some point, you just gotta draw the line and just say, ‘Enough is enough’. You gotta do that with yourself.”
“One negative stroke is 16 times more powerful than a positive stroke and if you have people around you who are not sensitive to who you are – and the people that can hurt you the most, ladies and gentlemen, are the people that you love. They’re the ones that you are vulnerable to, they’re the ones that can get to you and if they’re insensitive, I don’t care who they are. See, if you don’t draw the line with people, if you just let them run rampant in your life and you let things happen to you that you don’t feel good about, if you continue to allow it to happen, you won’t feel good about yourself. Your image of yourself will erode, so you’ve got to draw the line.
Why do people just go to a job where they’re miserable, day in and day out. Why do people stay together and they’re miserable? Sleeping in separate rooms or arguing as the only thing they have in common is paying the bills? Don’t talk. Don’t communicate. Don’t share anything together. Day in and day out. As short and unpredictable that life is. Being mean to each other. Why do people do that?
Known hills are preferable to strange heavens. Because it’s familiar. See life is rough, ladies and gentlemen. It’s rough and it’s scary. It’s scary growing. It’s scary taking a chance. It’s scary acting on your intuition, on your guts. It’s scary. It’s frightening. There are people that are just tolerating things right now and they’re immobilised by fear. They can see the hammer coming and they are afraid to even move, because it’s scary. To go against the dominant thinking of your family, friends and those people you associate with every day is perhaps the most difficult act of courage you will ever perform. See when you start growing, when you start changing the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you act, the way you respond to things, the way you use your time. When you start saying, ‘No, I can’t do that’, ‘Why? Are you too busy, you don’t have the time?’, ‘No, I have my own agenda.’ If people can put you on a guilt trip they will and use you and abuse you over and over and over again. You gotta draw the line. You have to draw the line on them.
Don’t go through life feeling like you’re powerless. Victims are people that are powerless. You’re not powerless; you are powerful. You direct the power in your life. Whatever your life is right now, it is a duplication of your consciousness. It’s a result of how you have decided to use your power. That’s all it is. That’s not who you are, that’s just a perverted use of your power that you aren’t satisfied with and you’ve got the power to change that, wherever you are. How I don’t know, but I know you’ve got the power to do that. But you don’t know what has happened to me. It really doesn’t matter what has happened to you. See the only thing that really matters is what are you going to do about it. That’s all that matters… that’s all that matters.
You can allow it to destroy you, or you can allow it to build you up. We never get to a level where we feel that there’s nothing else for us to do, that we’ve achieved a certain number of goals and we figure that we’re through. No, no, you don’t want to stay there and celebrate too long, like a lot of people do. They do something they consider outstanding and they go around talking about what they used to do. See, let me tell you I used to do this and I used to do that. Excuse me! Used to bes don’t make no honey. What are you doing now? You’re still here breathing. That means you’ve got some more to give. Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter about where you are, doesn’t matter about what you have, doesn’t matter about what you’ve done. Life is about growing, is about being productive, is about stretching, is about challenging yourself. So you start looking around and decide, hey, what else do I want to do? What got me here is a time for celebration, but also a time for reflection. What got me here? What worked? What did not work? What do I need to do, to repeat, so that I can get the same kind of results in other areas of my life? If the goal is to improve my health, if the goal is to improve my relationship, if the goal is to improve my income, if the goal is to improve something in society, what is it I need to do?
Now, don’t get confused with what you do, with who you are. Don’t trip. Don’t go on some type of ego trip. I’m talking about how bad you are. None of us do anything by ourselves. Develop an appreciation for external support as well as good fortune because all of those things play a role. The other thing is don’t go overboard celebrating. You must meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. You look at hey I did it! I feel good about that. Now you’re moving on to the next thing. Things did not work out the way you wanted them to work out, you didn’t produce the results you wanted to produce. Hey, missed that. You win some, you lose them. Next. Moving right on.
Don’t confuse who you are with what you do. Make your mind fertile ground for the seeds of opportunity. I think if you want to experience a sense of fulfilment,  you’ve got to have an open mind so that ideas can come in there and take root and grow. So, part of beginning to have fertile ground you know you got to break that ground up, you gotta break up that hard crust, because if you don’t seeds will fall there and the wind can blow them away… the winds of doubt. When you’re set in your mind and you refuse to grow and you’re not open to new ideas, new methods, new ways of doing things, if your mind is already fixed, you become stagnant. You can’t grow, you can’t have a sense of fulfilment. You become extremely cynical and negative about everything. You know it all. So you want to begin to look at life and have a sense of curiosity. Not know-it-all. You want to keep learning, keep growing, realise that we have a theme. You never find out how much you know until you find out how little you know. There are some people you can’t tell anything – they have all the answers. “I’ve already done that”. So many of us count ourselves out of things prematurely. You don’t know what the possibilities are up in there, so you want to be open. You want to continue to learn. You want to continue to grow. You want to begin to know that there are unlimited ideas out here waiting for you to latch onto them and if you don’t take advantage of them when they come your way because you’re so close minded do understand somebody else will. We’ve all had ideas that we did not act on and looked around and somebody else had the idea and gone with it. So, be open and receptive. Become involved in life.
Live your fantasy! Most people go through life not living their fantasy. Going sitting up in the bleachers, looking out on the field, looking out into the arena, wishing that they were down there, just fantasising seeing themselves running with the ball. Decide to live your fantasy. See in life you can go through life, you can come up with reasons or you can come up with results; you can come up with excuses or you can come up with achievement. You can go through life blaming or you can come up with solutions. The choice’s in your hand: satisfaction or despair, we can choose that. So, look at your life and decide what it is that you want to do that will give your life a sense of worth.
Someone said your life worth is measured by your accomplishments and not by your complaints. Want to have a fulfilling life? Decide not to make your life predictable. Some people, their lives are very predictable. They got a little routine they do, that they follow that day in and day out. Day in and day out. You don’t get much juice and happiness out of life like that. If you’re predictable you want to change it up. Variety most certainly is the spice of life.
Here’s something else. Want to create a greater sense of fulfilment? Challenge your fears. Challenge them! Look those fears in the face and take them on. Don’t allow them to rule you. Decide that you’re going to take some chances. You’ve got to be willing to risk. If you’re not willing to risk, you can’t grow in life. Life has no power when you’re not willing to risk it. It’s said to laughs is to risk appearing the fool, to weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure… but risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live. Chained by their certitudes they are a slave. They have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is free!