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Be a stronger runner this year

‘New Year, New You’! We’ve heard it loads before but what does it actually mean for you as an individual runner? The new year provides both a chance to start afresh, tackle new challenges and set new goals, review and consolidate the good training you may have implemented in 2016.

W13240603_1088938937846415_1548091568490348331_nhen thinking about 2017, runners can be broadly split into two categories: those who get majorly motivated by the statement and begin to plan this ‘New Self’ versus those who cynically think ‘yeah yeah I’ve tried it all before’.

The main reason many runner’s new years resolutions fail is because the goals are often too extreme and the changes unrealistic. However by choosing the correct targets for YOU and planning exactly how you are going to achieve them. By the end of 2017 you could find yourself smugly looking back over 12 months of new years resolutions having come true.

Here are some suggestions from HIGH5 running coaches Running With Us for different categories of runners who are looking for some new year inspiration or guidance.

The raw recruit

Park Blue 5354 croppedRunning has massively grown in popularity over the last few years and as running coaches we see a big influx of new runners into the sport each January. If you are a complete beginner and your New Years resolution is to take up running from scratch then firstly you need to choose an achievable target. A 5k is a great starting distance. The end goal gives your running focus and the training is manageable and not too daunting. Check out www.parkrun.org which might be a great place to start, plan your campaign to get to 5km to last 6-8 weeks and work with a structured plan if you can.

Work out how many times you can realistically fit running or exercise into your week and use this as a basis when choosing a training schedule. The number of training sessions can always be increased as fitness and motivation progress as the weeks go on, but beginning with an unrealistic number of sessions per week can often lead to demotivation due to this being unachievable. Too many people want to go from zero to hero in the first week!

Consistency is key, so if two or three runs per week fits in with your life balance right now and is an obtainable target then stick to this. Regularity of training over a few weeks beats binge training one week and doing nothing the next. If you can link up with a local running club or group who will help to motivate and inspire you to keep progressing. If you are not sure where to start check out www.runtogether.co.uk – there you will find details of groups in your area.

The seasoned campaigner

Training PlanIf you are a more experienced runner you have a choice. Churn out the same routes, runs and races or are you going to finally break that plateau and achieve some new PBs? If so then some changes certainly need to be made…

Sit down with a calendar; consider your goals, injuries, lifestyle and your current fitness and target a race that will allow you the time to peak at your optimum physical condition. For a marathon or a half this might require 12 months, for a 10km you might try to peak twice in a year but give yourself the time to incorporate some of the advice below. This is your macrocycle.

Within this period you should aim to break your year down into smaller chunks that give you the opportunity to develop different elements of your fitness: your endurance, your strength, your speed, your race pace, your taper. These smaller chunks are your mesocycles which typically last 4-8 weeks. Try some periods and races that will take you out of your comfort zone. For example, if you tend to focus on marathons and ultras look to include a phase in the year focusing on short distances and working on your 5-10km time or maybe even get onto the track in the summer. In the winter the cross country season can provide a great way of challenging your body differently.

Analyse what went right and wrong within last years training. Stick to the positive elements but change the negative. This may mean choosing a new and challenging training schedule, finding a coach who can give you fresh advice and structure or beginning training with other runners by joining a group/club.

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The Spring marathoner
If 2017 is beginning with a spring marathon target for you, then let’s get organised and ensure you are on the road to success.

  • Have you chosen a good trustworthy training schedule that will guide you through the next 12 to 14 weeks and is suited to your ability? We have some great training plans here.
  • Have you scheduled in your pre-marathon races? One or two half marathons along the way will provide short and mid term goals and will give you an indication of how your training is going.
  • Are you wearing the correct trainers that have been fitted properly and suit your running needs?
  • Have you found a good trustworthy physio to help you with sports massage, injury prevention and provide an MOT to check for strengths/weaknesses and advise on what to concentrate on in order to get to that start line in one piece?

Have a look at the points above and aim to have them all ticked in order to begin your marathon journey successfully. It is time to get organised and get motivated. You can’t cram for a marathon and it is a process of putting all of the correct ingredients together in order to achieve your 26.2 miles of success!

Make 2017 the year you take control of your running. For nutrition advice for running check out this section: http://highfive.co.uk/high5-faster-and-further/#running.

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Winter Training Blog – Part 2

Winter Turbo Sessions

When winter draws in and the weather gets less inspiring, spending time outside on the bike seems less appealing and sometimes, not possible owing to floods, ice or snow. Turbo training is a great way to keep your fitness ticking over.

The following sessions offer some variety to keep boredom at bay and make the sessions more appealing. You can achieve a lot in a short time. Try to make a turbo session a regular part of your winter fitness programme. However, always get a check up from your GP before undertaking strenuous turbo training sessions. The reason that turbo sessions are so effective is because they are hard!!

Just like the rides you do outside, you should think about fuelling and hydrating. Before you do a high intensive session you need to be in the right state of mind. For additional focus and extra kick you can take caffeine drink like HIGH5 ZERO X’treme or a caffeine gel like HIGH5 IsoGel Plus Citrus.

With no air resistance (except maybe a fan), you will be sweating a lot on the turbo. If you’re not, then you’re not doing it right! The below sessions are all around 1 hour long. Refuelling with carbohydrates is not essential so a zero calorie electrolyte drink like HIGH5 ZERO will keep you hydrated.

Don’t forget to take a HIGH5 Protein Recovery drink straight after your session. We like to prepare it before we go on the turbo and have it ready in the fridge for immediate refreshment and to kick start your recovery. High quality whey protein isolate contributes to muscle growth and maintenance.

We’ve prepared 4 sessions to get you sweating…

Session 1

This session is designed to raise your lactate threshold and help you perform near it.

Warm-up

5 minutes spinning while increasing gearing/resistance, followed by 5 minutes of 10 seconds sprint and 50 seconds recovery.

Main set: 3-6 x 5min with 3min recovery

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Shift to the big chain ring and work hard for 5 minutes. Aim for a heart rate 15-25 beats below your maximum or, if using power, your FTP. The trick is not to go out too hard at the start so that you can maintain the pace for the full 5 minutes.

At the end of 5 minutes, drop back to the small chain ring, drop the resistance and spin easy for 3 minutes.

Depending on your ability/fitness, repeat this work/recovery cycle for three to six reps.

Cool-down

10 minutes easy spinning.

Session 2

This session is designed for building hill strength, as well as mental toughness!

Warm-up

10 minutes easy spinning, including some 10-20 second seated sprints in the second 5 minutes.

Main set: 3 x 6min of ascending difficulty with 2min recovery

Select the big ring but with a moderate sprocket (for example, 22t) the resistance should be at about a third of your turbo’s maximum. Ride moderately hard. After 3 minutes, shift up two gears and try to maintain the same cadence for a further 2 minutes. Finally, shift up another two gears and ride hard for a minute out of the saddle.

Drop to the small chain ring, drop the resistance and recover with easy spinning for two minutes. Shift back to the big ring but this time perform the ‘3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute sequence with two more clicks of resistance.

Recover for two minutes again and then work through the ‘3, 2,1, again cranking it up by two clicks/gears.

Cool-down

10 minutes easy spinning.

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Session 3

This session is designed to develop climbing strength and pacing.

Warm-up

10 minutes easy spinning.

Main set – Up & down the gear block in 1min intervals

Zero your trip computer and select a fairly heavy resistance on the turbo along with your bottom gear (for example, 39 x 25). Ride sustainably hard, remembering you’ve got a long drag ahead and it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. Every minute shift up one gear all the way through the block. By the time you’re at the 11t or 12t, you should barely be turning the cranks. Keep going until you’ve been up and down the entire block twice.

The workout should take 33, 37 or 41 minutes depending whether you have a 9, 10 or 11 speed groupset. How far did you cover? Try to beat it next time!

Cool-down

10 minutes easy spinning.

Session 4

This session is designed to do a bit of everything! Pedalling technique, leg speed, strength, power and sustained effort.

Warm-up

10 minutes easy spinning.

Main Set

10min spin-ups

With resistance and gear fairly low, stay seated and spin up to maximum cadence. Hold the cadence up to 30 seconds and recover at an easy spin for the rest of the minute.

10min mixed climb

Crank up the resistance to high and find a gear that allows you, when working fairly hard, to maintain a cadence of 80-90rpm. Climb seated for 1 minute and then, having clicked up a couple of gears, climb out of the saddle. Alternative between seated and out of saddle riding every minute.

10min big gear sprints

Recover spinning easily for 1 minute at the end of the climb, and then select a high resistance and a big gear. From a standing start, sprint out of the saddle to get on top of the gear and then sit down and maintain the sprint. It should be a 100% 30 second effort. Rest completely for 90 seconds between efforts.

10min time trial

At medium resistance and gearing that allows you to work hard, but sustainably, at 90-100rpm ride a consistent 10 minutes. Try to make your effort constant without any tailing off.

Cool-down

10 minutes easy spinning.

So there you have it, four super awesome turbo sessions to bring pain and suffering back into your training schedule.

Enjoy!

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How to survive the winter running

Keeping yourself motivated when the weather turns cold and dark is the hardest part about being a runner. Running can start to feel like a chore. A mental barrier appears with numerous excuses stopping you from lacing up and getting out the front door. If this is you, then you aren’t the only one! We all have these mental battles, however it’s how you deal with them that matters. Plan your day accordingly: plan what time you are going to run and stick to it! Write it down, meet a friend, tell your partner when you’re heading out. Being this disciplined will keep you training and motivated.

2Staying warm is key! Make sure you don’t have the “it’s too cold to run” excuse lined up. Base layers, thermal tights and a jacket will keep you warm and dry. Make sure you are seen when out running in the dark, so a head torch is a must as well as highly visible kit. Not only does it keep you safe but also saves you from unseen potholes and puddles of water that you’re likely to run through.

Having enough energy to run can be the difference between a ‘good run’ and a ‘bad run’. You don’t want to come home from work, having to then force yourself to get out of the door lacking energy, feeling hungry and tired. Snacking between main meals is crucial to maintaining blood sugar levels throughout the day. A HIGH5 Protein Hit (Peanut & Caramel, Cacao & Orange, Coconut, Lemon & Raspberry) mid-afternoon is a perfect pre-training snack. It provides a good balance of carbs to protein to ensure you have enough energy for your evening run. The flavours are delicious, removes the ‘hangry’ [hungry & angry!] feeling on your commute home and fills you up without feeling full.

Keeping yourself hydrated in the winter is just as important as it is in the summer. Dehydration can increase your risk of getting ill, catching colds and resulting in time off training. HIGH5 ZERO tablets are a great source of electrolytes. One tablet added to 500 or 750ml of water (try warm or boiling water in the winter!) reduces tiredness and fatigue allowing you to train better for longer.

Get a race in the diary! This will give you a purpose to your training during the winter. Have a countdown, choose one of our online training plans and set yourself a goal. Planning, preparation, keeping warm and energised are the main factors to surviving training throughout the winter. Running is hobby, make time for it and remember to enjoy it!

Tips to take awaywarmzero
  • Stay warm and dryn’t ofrlet people know about your running plans, they will help to motivate you
  • Keep your energy levels up
  • Stay hydrated

Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a pair of Saucony Guide 10’s and a HIGH5 nutrition pack. Click Here to enter.

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Training Gym Winter Motivation

Winter Gym Training

It can sometimes be hard to find the time to get to the gym. At this time of year when the nights start drawing in, it can feel like you have even less time to get your important training sessions in. We recently caught up with Rasmus Kostner of SAP Extreme Sailing to discuss the importance of finding the time for the gym in the winter months.

sap-extreme_tristan-stedman_ts22766In an outdoor sport like sailing, the frigid temperatures and limited sunlight of the Nordic winter naturally restricts our on-water training. After a long season with an extremely busy racing schedule, it feels great to get back into a structured gym regime. Getting back in to the gym helps to gain back some of the lost muscle mass that is so hard to maintain while racing every second or third week. Time spent in the gym also plays an important role in the avoidance of common injuries to shoulder and lower back when the next season starts.

For me, daily training consists of weight training, crossfit workouts, as well as core and mobility sessions. The weight training targets the muscle mass increase; with heavy deadlift, squat, clean, push press and pull ups. I always start my training with a plan, but often mix it up by including a one repetition max, or as many repetitions as possible with a fixed weight.

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The benefits of constant variation in my physical training have become more and more obvious for me. For general fitness, it’s hard to beat crossfit training in terms of variation and for challenging weak areas. Training for the diverse physical demands of high-performance sailing, such as fast, unbalanced movements, heavy pulls and cardio-intensive grinding on the winch, crossfit is a near perfect fit. We find that by doing these workouts as a team, we really are able to push and motivate each other, which is a key to high intensity and quality in the workouts. Since everybody has a favourite workout, whether you are tall, heavy or lean there is always someone pushing you. At the same time you know if you do well one day, you might get beaten the next.

At Crossfit Kvadraturensap-extreme_tristan-stedman_ts18621 we use a web-based performance platform called “Beyond the Whiteboard”, there you can analyse and compare your own performance to thousands of athletes from around the world. It’s great how technology can not only help to keep track of the progress you make, but to help you to stay motivated and push harder.

For mobility training I do the daily routine from the streaming service, ROMWOD. To get through the uncomfortable 20 minutes of stretching I need instructions and motivating words. After intense physical training and to get rid of muscle soreness I use a foam roller and a dimple ball, which works wonders. Besides that I just make sure I get enough sleep and eat healthily.

In the winter season I stay hydrated with the HIGH5 ZERO tabs because I believe it is important to consume electrolytes without boosting the insulin levels with sugar. After my training sessions, and in the morning I use Protein Recovery to make sure I have the energy for my next work out and help with the growth of lean muscle.

Tips to take away1603-sap-extreme-high5-24313_1

  • Mix up repetitions and weight
  • Challenge your week areas
  • Workout with someone and keep pushing each other
  • Get enough sleep and eat healthy

For a chance to win a winter training nutrition bundle worth over £300, check out our latest competition here.

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What do you eat and drink if you swim for 26 hours?

On August 30th at 0727 Scott Dawson jumped into the Solent just off Seaview, touched the red can and set off on an epic swim attempting to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight non-stop. On August the 31st at 0923, he reached the same red can, touched it and became the 5th person ever to swim solo around the Island. A time of 25 hours, 56 mins and 46 seconds was recorded with a distance of 104.7 kilometres.

05HIGH5 kept Scott fuelled and hydrated for his training and the attempt. We caught up with Scott post swim, and asked how important HIGH5 had been, and what he had used before, during and post swim.

How much training did you do in the lead up this monumental effort?
I have been training for about 18 months, and using HIGH5 since the beginning of 2016. My weekly average was about 18 hours a week, juggling training, a full time job and a family. With this in mind, recovery from training is really important, and I found the Protein Recovery vital to my recovery strategy (Banana Vanilla flavour of course!).

What was involved in the training?
I would run on average 50-60 km per week and swim about 6 hours a week as well as going to the gym for strength and conditioning. Whilst running I use a combination of the EnergySource and Isotonic especially if it was hot. If it was endurance work, then I would use the Energy Source 4:1, as this gave me the extra protein my body craved.

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What did you eat/drink in the lead up to the swim?
I did the usual carb loading prior to the main swim, and cut out fibre about 4/5 days before. I was aiming to be in a wetsuit for around 24 hours, and this was going to reduce the chances of any accidents! I ate the banana flavoured EnergyBars, and drank ZERO, to make sure my electrolyte levels were as good as they could be.

So, swimming for over 24 hours means you have to eat and drink in the water. How was that?02
The team said I looked a bit like an otter when I ate! I would take something in every 30 mins and fluid-wise, I alternated between EnergySource and Isotonic. We marked the bottles at 250ml intervals, and I made sure this was the minimum I was taking on. This way, I and the team knew what hydration I was taking on, and we could monitor it really well. As I wasn’t allowed to touch anything or anybody, the kayakers would just throw the sport bottles to me, and I would throw them back. Occasionally I would use the EnergyGels in the HIGH5 gel bottles. Food wise, I would eat the Energy Bars, homemade beetroot brownies, bananas, mini Babybel and jelly sweets. These were delivered on the end of a paddle! My wife Polly also made chicken noodle soup for the ‘mealtimes’. This was the only ‘warm’ food I took on, and it was difficult 18 hours in to the swim as my mouth had swollen up, because of the salt water.

What happened post swim?
When I climbed into the medical boat at the end of the swim,I drank 800ml of the Protein Recovery. This really settled me, before my wetsuit was peeled off me. As soon as my wetsuit was taken off, my blood pressure dropped like a stone, and I passed out. The medical team knew this was going to happen, and I am so glad we had professional people on the team.

Scott is still raising money for Meningitis Now, and The Marine Conservation Society. To donate online go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ScottSwimIW
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 Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a Zone3 wetsuit and a HIGH5 nutrition bundle!

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Top tips for preparing for an IRONMAN (last 4-6 weeks)

Ahead of a big event like a long distance triathlon, there can be the temptation to over do things in training. You might also start to worry that you’ve not got everything ready that you might need. With so much to think about it can be easy to miss something. We spoke to multiple IRONMAN champion Lucy Gossage recently to find out how she prepares in those last few weeks and what are her top tips to make sure you turn up on the start line fully prepared for your Ironman.

Training

  • Don’t do too much too close to the race. Your biggest run and bike sessions should probably be 3 or 4 weeks out. Unlike exams, cramming in extra training as the race gets close won’t work! You’re much better going into an IRONMAN 10% undertrained and fresh than 10% over trained and injured or tired. Believe me, I’ve tried both!
  • If you have a chance to ride the course that’s always useful, though this is only really possible for local races.
  • Work out a training plan for the final two weeks and stick to it. That way you’re less likely to get carried away and do too much.
  • Expect to feel rubbish as you taper. I always feel as though I’m getting ill in race week and am convinced any niggles I have are getting worse. This is normal. Try not to stress!

Mechanical preparationLucy bike1 cropped

  • Get your bike serviced two weeks out. Make sure gears and brakes are working and if your tyres are worn consider replacing them. The last thing you want is a puncture on race day.

Psychological preparation

  • Spend a bit of time remembering why you’re doing the race. Think about what it will feel like to run down that finish line! It’s normal to be nervous and a little scared; nerves mean that you care.
  • But try to channel the nervous energy into excitement. Perhaps find a YouTube video of last year’s race. Think about all the training you’ve done. Nobody has a perfect run into an IRONMAN. Put all the obstacles behind you and just focus on the positives. Getting to the start line of an IRONMAN is an incredible achievement. Allow yourself to be proud!
  • Think of some mental strategies that will help you going when the going gets tough. Every IRONMAN has dark patches. That’s what makes reaching the finish line such a wonderful achievement! I often think of a song, or some ‘buzz words’ that will help me when I’m hurting physically.

Nutritional preparation
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  • Work out a nutrition plan. Nutrition really is the 4th discipline of an IRONMAN. If you get this wrong, no matter how fit you are, race day will be tough. I go as far as writing down a plan that calculates how many calories I need every hour during the race and how I am going to consume them. Make this plan far enough out from the race so you have a chance to try it in training.
  • Think about how you’re going to carry food on the bike. HIGH5 EnergyBar and EnergyGel are a great source of portable carbohydrate energy. Do you need a bento box to carry these?
  • How much are you going to drink? Have you got enough bottle cages? If you are relying on the race aid stations have you tried the nutrition they’re giving out and checked it works for you? How are you going to get electrolytes? Having an electrolyte drink that also contains some carbohydrate, like EnergySource in your bottle is a great way to ensure you stay hydrated. you can even add an extra ZERO Neutral tablet for extra electrolytes if it’s a hot day.
  • Are you going to race with caffeine? If so, when will you use it and how will you have it?
  • Do you have a back up plan if you drop your nutrition during the race? When it comes to nutrition for an IRONMAN it pays to be a geek!
  • There are a lot of questions when it comes to nutrition. Check out this video I did with HIGH5 where we go through a nutrition plan for a long distance triathlon.
  • In the build up to the race try to ensure you eat well. I would never recommend trying to lose weight just before a race; that will just increase your odds of getting ill. Instead focus on a balanced diet, and particularly focus on fuelling well after training sessions.

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Race week preparation

  • Consider having a couple of sports massages in the run up to the event. I usually get my last one on the Monday of race week.
  • If possible try to avoid hectic long days at work and make sleep a priority. You are unlikely to sleep well the night before the race so make sure you catch up on sleep before then.
  • Check your equipment is working early on in race week. That way, if you have any issues you have time to sort them out.
  • Make sure you’ve had a good look at the race paperwork. Have Tenby_13_2319you looked at the course maps? Do you know the rules, particularly in terms of drafting on the bike.
  • Make a timetable for the race weekend, both the day before and race day. Having the logistics worked out takes away a ton of the stress that can be associated with racing, particularly if there are split transitions. There’s often a lot to do the day before the race with race briefings, bike racking, sorting out equipment etc. Work out how you’ll fit it in.
  • What’s the weather forecast? Do you need waterproofs or extra layers for the bike? What about suncream?
  • Cut your toenails!
  • Plan what you are going to do for food, particularly the night before the race and in the morning. Do you have cooking facilities? If not consider booking a table at a restaurant that serves appropriate food so you ensure you can eat what you want when you want. What will you do for breakfast on race day? A tin of rice pudding with honey is portable and can be eaten anywhere in the world (remember a tin opener!). The day before the race make sure you carry some fluids and snacks with you so that if logistics take longer than expected you don’t get hungry and thirsty.
  • Walk through transition and make a mental note of where your bike and bags are racked. You don’t want to get out of the water and waste time and energy trying to find your bike!
Last but not least, try to enjoy the build up and congratulate yourself on getting to the start!

Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for a chance to win an IRONMAN entry to an event of your choice!

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Can a triathlon coach help you?

It is natural as an athlete to sit back and take stock after a race. Where have you come from in the past few months or years? Was there anything in your preparation that could have been improved on?

The majority of triathletes are self-coached and rely on their own research D81_5449and maybe the odd triathlon club session to keep them on track. There is no doubt that this approach means you make it to the start line, provided you haven’t injured yourself in the process! However, will this approach result in you getting maximum enjoyment from your sport that you have committed a lot of time, effort and money to?

Seeking out expert advice from a qualified coach is becoming more common in triathlon and is no longer only reserved for the elite. With the right guidance you can enjoy your triathlon more and train more effectively. Tri Training Harder are a team of experienced and knowledgable triathlon coaches. They’ve seen the benefits to triathletes at first hand and have five top reasons why you should invest in a triathlon coach.

1. Team Spirit
You and your coach will work as a team to carve out the most suitable and rewarding path through your season. A good triathlon coach will always be there when you need them. Remember you are both working together to achieve your goals.

2. More Focus
Your training will be built around your schedule, ability and motivation. No longer D81_5441will you be doing sessions that are not suited to you as an athlete. A generic training plan can only get you so far when it comes to delivering training sessions that are going to give you maximum bang for your training buck. A good coach will understand you as a person in order to get the best athletic performance out of you.

3. Train efficiently
Train smart rather than train more. There are a lot of committed triathletes out there who over train and go beyond what is athletically and physiologically beneficial. Not only will “smarter” levels of training result in better performances and faster progress, but it will leave you with more free time to enjoy life outside of triathlon. Yes, there is a life beyond lycra and compression!

4. Push beyond your limits
A triathlon coach will keep you accountable to the sessions that are planned, meaning that you might think twice about brushing off that early Sunday morning session in favour of having a lie in. Linked to this is the fact that a coach will allow you to safely push the limits of your comfort zone. A knowledgable and experienced coach will set you sessions that you would otherwise avoid if you were in charge of your own training, ultimately resulting in a better performance come race day.

Coaching on the beach

5. Enjoyment.
A triathlon coach will ultimately lead to you getting more enjoyment from your pastime. Rather than quitting when things get tough or burning yourself out over a short period of time, a triathlon coach will guide you successfully through season after season of fulfilment and fun. If you’re not enjoying it then you won’t want to continue!

For expert triathlon advice and knowledgable coaches visit the Tri Training Harder website.

 Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a Zone3 wetsuit and a HIGH5 nutrition bundle!

 

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How to get through a hilly Sportive

Are the hills on that sportive you’ve got coming up filling you with dread? Like many of us, there is a fair chance you would like to be a bit stronger when it comes to climbing. Hills are a challenge that every cyclist faces, so we have spoken to Fraser Martin of #HIGH5fuelled Team Raleigh GAC to get his top tips on riding a hilly Sportive

1. Training
Going out and riding your bike will obviously help to improve your fitness, however with a hilly sportive coming up it’s beneficial to introduce some more specific climbs. You need to find the right pace for you when riding uphill, especially on longer climbs. We’ve all been in the situation where we thought the hill was shorter than it was and really suffered at the end. So get out and practise, have the patience to ride within yourself and make sure you can go all the way to the top at your best pace.

2. Losing weight
A lower bodyweight often means that you can go quicker uphill. A lot of people talk about the “power to weight ratio” and this is an important factor when fighting against the gradient. By losing as little as 2kg, you can feel much better when climbing but try not to lose any power when going through a weight-loss period. This is easier said than done and takes a lot of self-control, but it will be of great benefit to you.

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If the riders around you aren’t grimacing then look at the state I was in at the Beaumont Trophy…

3. Eating
Although a lower body weight is key for climbing, eating correctly is just as important. A sportive is a tough event so it is crucial that you are correctly fuelled. Having an EnergyGel 10 to 15 minutes before the bottom of the next hill will give you the energy to make it to the top. But a sportive is not just one climb . It’s going to be beneficial to fuel correctly throughout the whole ride. Take a look at this Sportive nutrition guide for a handy step-by-step guide.  Being inadequately fuelled can result in the dreaded “bonk” which is never, ever fun!

4. Break the hill down
If you are riding up a long climb then it’s good to break it down into shorter sections. It’s a good idea to focus on a landmark or turn up ahead but before you get there, find the next thing ahead to focus on. This way you break the climb into more manageable sections.

5. Enjoy the view
Your legs are going to hurt while climbing so it’s a good idea to try and take your mind off it. You’re not the only one suffering! Check out the grimaces on the riders around you. It can be very entertaining watching others suffer and hopefully take your mind off the pain! At least momentarily! Don’t forget to also take in the scenery. You can get the most spectacular sights from the top off a mountain.

 

Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for the chance to win a day at the Tour of Britain with Team Dimension Data.

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Ride to fund bicycles to mobilise people in South Africa

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was founded in 2007. It has grown from a regional team to become Africa’s first UCI registered WorldTour team, with bases in South Africa and Italy. The team gives African riders the opportunity to progress to the world stage of cycling and at the same time races to raise funds for Qhubeka to mobilise people with bicycles in Africa.

The word “Qhubeka” is an Nguni word that means “to progress”“to move forward” or to “carry on”. Qhubeka is part of a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation through the Power of Bicycles®.

This year, during the Tour de France, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will be riding to raise funds for people like Olwethu.

Olwethu is 18 years old and lives in the Kayamandi informal settlement in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Before she had a bicycle, Olwethu had to walk i-sZHRTdR-X3 croppedabout 3km per day between getting to and from school and collecting water for the household (one of her daily chores). Olwethu earned her bike from Qhubeka by achieving excellent marks in school despite trying obstacles that stand in her way.

Olwethu dreams of studying medicine, and now that she is able to get to school faster, more safely and more regularly, her dream is one step closer. After receiving her bicycle, she rode through the streets of Kayamandi near her home, crowds of children running behind, ringing the bike bell, and asking for rides themselves. Olwethu had just learned to ride her bike, but already she was beaming as she rode, talking about all of the places this bike will carry her.

She is also enjoying the freedom that cycling gives her, and is happy to share the bike with her siblings. The whole family is now enjoying increased mobility, thanks to one bicycle.

The need for bicycles in communities like Olwethu’s is great and you can help Team Dimension Data and Qhubeka to change more lives by making a donation to BicyclesChangeLives or taking part in the Qhubeka 5,000.

The Qhubeka 5,000 is an international 48-hour interactive fundraising initiative by Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. The team aims to get fans around the world to take part in this campaign during the Tour de France as part of its goal of funding 5,000 bicycles for greater access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity for people in Africa.

Olwethu

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will ride Stage 13 and 14 of the Tour de France as part of the Qhubeka 5,000. The team is inviting fans to join them in opening up the world with wheels for schoolchildren and entrepreneurs by choosing one of four routes, from 6km to 208km distance (or part of it), wherever they are.

Mark Cavendish, 29-time stage winner at the Tour de France and sprinter for Team Dimension Data encourages fans to get involved. “The Qhubeka Cycling / Radsport / 3. Dubai Tour 2016 / 03.02.20165,000 challenge is an incredible campaign to encourage any cycling fans to get involved and help make a difference by raising money for a brilliant cause,” he says. “Bicycles are changing lives for people in Africa. Help us to empower them.”

“The Tour the France is certainly one of the most challenging races in the world,” says Daniel Teklehaimanot, the first African to wear the King of the Mountain jersey at the Tour de France last year. “But it’s worth putting in all the effort, knowing that we do not only ride for ourselves, but also for the people in Africa who receive help through the campaign. The Qhubeka 5,000 is a great way to get involved and to make an impact.”

To coincide with the Tour de France, people can register to ride on 15 and 16 July, be it with friends on the road, in a spinning class or on an indoor trainer. The fee to participate is $10 (around R155), with all funds raised going towards funding 5,000 bicycles this year.

The Qhubeka 5,000 has four distances that you can choose from to ride wherever you are:

  • Ride Lebo’s 6km route to school
  • Ride Duncan’s 13km route to work
  • Take on the team with the 37km stage 13 ITT Tour de France ride
  • Take on the team with the 208km stage 14 Tour de France route

Alternatively, you can choose to ride your own distance.

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The team is inviting participation from individuals, cycling clubs and corporations. Simply go to Qhubeka5000.org and pay your registration fee of $10 to participate. You will receive a digital race pack and be entered into a draw to win a once-in-lifetime opportunity to be part of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s team training camp in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2016, for you and a partner.

You can also meet Team Dimension Data at the Tour of Britain this year. Enter our latest competition now.

Images: Stiehl Photography

 

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Goal Setting 101

New Year, New You? Find out what you can achieve by setting the right goals for you.

In this blog we look at goal setting and break it down into more measurable, manageable sections to help you get the most out of your goal setting.

As humans, we set ourselves aims and objectives to motivate ourselves to accomplish what we wish to achieve. Whilst we have good intentions, the limitation to the approach many of us take when we set goals, means that we very rarely succeed in what we have set out to do.

So why should we set goals? Dependent on how they are designed, goals can be super effective due to their capacity to direct attention and influence action towards your eventual ambition.

Many of us are all guilty for setting goals, which are polar in nature. Some goals are not challenging enough and others far surpass our ability and we become disheartened when we don’t achieve them straight away. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and effective goal setting can help you get there by providing a clear pathway to follow, which brings success closer to your grasp.

The SMART Principle:

Okay, so you’re probably itching to find out what we, here at HIGH5, recommend when contemplating your goals and how you are going to reach them?

Our golden rule to follow when setting goals is to remember the SMART Principle:

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Your goals must be SPECIFIC to you and what you are trying to achieve. For example, a non specific goal would be ‘I want to be faster at sprinting at the end of a bicycle race‘. A specific goal would be ‘I am going to complete sprint training twice weekly on different types of roads to improve my sprinting

In order to assess your progress, your goals must also be MEASURABLE. Ask yourself questions such as ‘how much?‘ and ‘how many‘. Ensure that you have a definitive finish goal so that you know when you have achieved it. For example, ‘I will have completed my goal for improving my sprinting at the end of a bicycle race when I gain a top 5 placing.’

To avoid disappointment, when setting your goal ensure it is ACHIEVABLE. Ascertain your long term goal and create shorter term goals which are less complicated and easier to achieve.

An important thing to take note of when planning out your goals is whether or not they are REALISTIC. You are the only one who can determine just how high your goal should be. In certain circumstances, high goals are easier to achieve in the long run because they are more intrinsically motivated. This is why it is important to make sure each and every goal you set follows the SMART principles, otherwise that dream of yours will seem too far away to grasp.

When setting goals you should consider the TIME frame in which it is to be completed in. Make this time specific. ‘On March 30th, I wish to have become faster at sprinting in a bicycle race by completing two sprint training sessions per week for six weeks.’

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Different types of Goals:

Not only should you reflect on how to set goals but also the different types of goals that exist:

OUTCOME goals are very vague in nature. For example, ‘I want to be better

PERFORMANCE goals are specific to performance, such as ‘I want to run a sub 4h marathon

PROCESS goals are how you would achieve either an Outcome or Performance goal. ‘In order to run a sub 4h marathon, I am going to improve my lactate threshold when running.’

So there you have it. Goal setting is an effective way of getting what you want. Be methodical and really think about the goals you want to achieve. Consider the SMART principles and what type of goal you are setting, whether it be Outcome, Performance or Process.

We’ll have more useful tips next week!

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