The importance of the ‘long run’ & how to progress

The coaching team from RunningWithUs take a look at the long run and how you can use it to your best advantage for your marathon training.

NYC_LOTR-3118 2 (1)The ‘long run’ can be the most daunting part of your running training plan. The length of a long run is relative to the person running it and the distance that they are training for, but generally speaking a long run is between one and three hours, running at a low intensity. The long run takes an increasing role through February if you’re training for a spring race. A great goal is to get in a consistent weekly long run of 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours at a relaxed and conversational effort by the middle to end of February.

Increasing the miles
Patience is key, even for the more experienced runners. Adding 10-15 minutes each week onto your long run is a sensible progression. Don’t be surprised if niggles and fatigue set in as you start jumping up by 30-40 minutes at a time.

What pace should I run my long runs?
In early February, aim to keep your long runs at a fully conversational, relaxed pace that’s 45-60 seconds a mile slower than your planned marathon pace. This will build your body’s ability to burn stored fats and ensure you are fresh enough to hit your quality sessions mid-week.NYC_LOTR-0949

Pre-marathon race prep
Using a half marathon race as a marathon paced long run can be a great way of building confidence around
your goal marathon pace. As extra preparation, try adding 20-30 minutes easy before and after the half marathon.

How to fuel your long runs
When your long run starts to extend beyond the 1 hour 30 minute mark, we recommend your really start to practice with different options for pre-run breakfasts and also fuelling during the run itself. Your long run is the best opportunity to practise your race day nutrition strategy. Gels are the most efficient and effective way of getting carbohydrates quickly into the system whilst running. To start with, take small sips of gel and look to take one every 30-60 minutes or so during the course of your long run.

IMG_3102What gels should I choose?
There are lots of brands out there offering similar sports nutrition. HIGH5 have always been our ‘go to’ brand for fuelling and recovery. It’s clean energy with no added nasties, like artificial sweeteners.
Take one EnergyGel Plus or IsoGel Plus sachet every 20-30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. The most convenient way of carrying gels is to use a Gel Belt but make sure you test it out in training. There are always a few runners that lose their gels within the first miles of a race because the gels are the wrong size for their belt.

To ensure you are fuelling and refuelling yourself clever, check out HIGH5 Marathon Nutrition Guide.

Be safe, work hard and enjoy your run!


Read More

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 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 – 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.

Warehouse GrayPink 9074

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:

Read More

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.


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


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.


10 minutes easy spinning.

Session 2

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


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.


10 minutes easy spinning.


Session 3

This session is designed to develop climbing strength and pacing.


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!


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.


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.


10 minutes easy spinning.

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



Read More

10 Reasons to join a RIDE IT event in 2017

If you’re looking for a challenge or just need some extra motivation to get out on your bike in 2017 then here’s 10 reasons why you should check out the Evans Cycles RIDE IT series.

1. Explore new areas
RIDE IT events take place right across the country, so offers a great way for riders to explore some new regions with the knowledge you’ll be riding routes designed to take in the best cycling those areas have to offer. There are some real bucket list riding spots on the schedule that every cyclist should experience at least once; Such as the Yorkshire Moors, Brecon Beacons, Peak District, North Wales and South Downs to name a few.
2. Ride with others
Sometimes things are better together and that’s definitely true for cycling, whether it’s the friendly encouragement to get over that hill, the thrill of riding in a group or the wheel that brings you to the finish when your legs are tired, you’ll usually find some new RIDE IT friends along the way.
3. Try another cycling discipline
RIDE IT events feature a choice of road sportives, off road MTB rides and increasingly popular mixed terrain Sportive Cross rides aimed at those with cyclocross or adventure road bikes. If you only ever ride on the road or you’re a die-hard mountain biker that never ventures on to the tarmac you could be missing out on some of the fun so why not set yourself a goal to try something different in 2017?


4. A day out with the family
At all the RIDE IT events kids under 16 can ride for free when accompanied by an adult so they’re a great way to get the family out on their bikes and enjoying a ride together. At many of the events there are fun route distances of around 15 miles that are ideal for novice and younger riders.
5. Set yourself a challenge
One question the RIDE IT team often get asked is “Am I good enough to take part”? With this in mind the event series is designed to cater for riders of all abilities. The events feature a range of route options which make it easy to find a challenge that’s suited to your ability whether you’re a novice or experienced rider. There’s everything from 15 mile fun rides and local rides from Evans Cycles stores rides right up to 100 mile plus epic challenges such as the King of The Downs.
6. Ride with an Olympic legend
Riders taking part in the HOY 100 sportive could find themselves riding alongside Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy. The ride is based in Cheshire and features a choice of 100km or 100 mile routes that offer a great mix of flat and fast lanes across the Cheshire Plains as well as some challenging climbs on the edge of the Peak District.
7. Be king for a day
For those looking for a real challenge then the King of The Downs is the flagship event of the RIDE IT series. It’s harder, longer and hillier than the rest, offering cyclists a chance to test their legs against some of the toughest hills in the South East. The 115 mile route has over 9,000 feet of ascent and takes in 10 iconic climbs that will be familiar to many cyclists with them having featured in events such as the 2012 Olympic road race route and the RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
8. Well stocked feed stations
Every cyclist knows a decent bit of cake can make a ride. The cherry loaf and lemon drizzle at the RIDE IT feed stops gets regular compliments from participants. As well as the cake the feed stops are supported by HIGH5 so there’s a selection of their sports nutrition products alongside a range of regular food on offer to fuel you to the end of your ride.
9. Mechanical back up should things go wrong
Hopefully your ride goes smoothly and you never need the services of the support van but it’s great to know that should you have a mechanical or your legs just decide they’ve really had enough then there’s someone to call on to come your aid. Often they’ll be able to fix mechanical issues at the road side so you can continue your ride but if not they’ll bring you and your bike back to the event centre.
10. Enter early for some HIGH5 freebies
The RIDE IT series is supported by HIGH5, not only are the feed stops well stocked with HIGH5 sports nutrition products, all riders who enter an event more than 8 weeks in advance can claim a free HIGH5 Bottle pack at the event.

For more information on any of the RIDE IT events visit –

To find out how you and a friend can win one of five pairs of free entries to an Evans RIDE IT of your choice, simply click here.


Read More

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.


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.

Read More

How to save time in transition

It’s difficult to knock 60 seconds off your 10km run time in a triathlon. We spoke to Mark Buckingham, former British Elite Triathlon Champion and four times British Duathlon Champion, on how you can save time in transition.

The transition is known as an integral part of a triathlon, you can gain valuable time with a little bit of practice and forward planning. There are a few pieces of equipment that you need to have with you on race day in order to have a super fast transition. Believe it or not, the following items are used by some of the best triathletes in the world:

  • sellotape
  • elastic bands
  • elastic laces
  • baby oil
  • talcum powder

Ahead of the race, my general routine would be as follows: place my bike, helmet and shoes in transition, then walk the transition area so I can familiarise myself with where my bike is once I run out of the swim.

Gel 01cropped

EnergyGel: Next, I place an EnergyGel on my bike (this can be done before you rack too). I’ve seen lots of triathletes place a gel on the floor next to their bike and then transfer it to the pocket of their tri suit once they get out of the water. This is the first place to save time! Instead, a better method is to attach the gel to the top tube of your bike with some sellotape so you can just grab it when required during the bike leg.

Tri Shoes 02croppedTri Shoes: Next step. Place your tri shoes on your bike by clipping them into your pedals, with the velcro unfastened. The tried and tested pro method is to use an elastic band to hold the shoes horizontal, making it easier to place your feet on. You do this by looping an elastic band around the heel of the shoe and around the rear wheel skewer (for the left pair), and the other band around the bottle cage or front mech bracket. Note: Try to use a thin elastic band so that once you start to pedal the band will snap easily.

Running Shoes: For the fastest possible transition use elastic laces run shoes 04 croppedon your run shoes so you don’t waste time tying them up. Practice putting your shoes on a few times before your race to make sure your laces aren’t too tight and that you know how to position the tongue of the shoe so it doesn’t rub. Putting a bit of talcum powder will ease the foot into the shoe.

Now you should have all your equipment set up and it’s time to put your wetsuit on. A big time saver here is to use baby oil to get the wetsuit on quickly. Once you’ve got the wetsuit on, roll the legs and arms up a few inches and rub some baby oil on your skin. This allows the wetsuit to glide off a lot quicker when you come to take it off.

Other notable time saving tips in Transition:
  • Practice fastening and unfastening your helmet. On race day when you’re under pressure, and just completed a swim, it’s an easy thing to get wrong if your haven’t practised it. You can now get helmets with magnetic clasps that make it even easier.
  • Take a note of your racking position. It can be difficult to spot your number and bike in a line of 100’s of other bikes so use nearby reference points i.e trees, banners, sign posts etc.

Good luck and remember, practice makes perfect!

Follow Mark on Twitter

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

Read More

Riding in the Mountains

Have the long mountain stages in the Tour de France inspired you to ride up some of the iconic climbs? After his incredible 2nd place on the iconic Mount Ventoux stage, we caught up with Team Dimension Data’s Serge Pauwels to get his top tips on how to survive long climbs and get to the summit ahead of the pack. 

Do you have a particular technique when riding up a long climb? What is your pacing strategy?
Generally, I aim to pace the climbs steadily throughout, while keeping a good tempo. Repeating this over a number of climbs on consecutive days is a very good strategy to improve your climbing technique. It may 81B_5229seem very obvious but the best way to improve is the keep doing it.

What cadence (gearing) do you ride in the mountains?
For me it works best to keep a brisk cadence of 80-90 rpm. It’s very important to make sure to keep your legs spinning. On the steeper climbs gear selection is very important. This will allow you to maintain that desired high cadence. If you’re riding in a bigger gear, it will require a lot more effort and wear you down much more quickly. It’s also important to maintain a good position on the bike throughout the climb. This will allow you to be more efficient a save a bit of energy on the climb.

Is it a good idea to know the climb beforehand? What else can I do to prepare for the climb?
Sometimes yes. It can allow you to know where the steeper sections are which can allow you to plan an attack. At the same time knowing a shallow section is just around the next bend can be equally useful. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have been up the climb before. The road book for races generally gives a good representation. Knowing the wind direction can be useful to know in advance. A strong cross-wind can change the way you need to approach the the climb.

81A_2660 CroppedIf you are riding in a group am I best riding at the front or the back on the climb?
This dependson how the group have been climbing earlier in the race. If it is a fast climb, being hidden from the wind a little bit towards the back can be helpful,  but you don’t want to get stuck behind riders you think could be dropped on a narrow road. Being further back also makes it harder to respond to moves. So on the steeper climbs and in larger groups it’s better to be positioned nearer the front.

Is nutrition important? What do you eat and drink on a long climb?
You should concentrate on eating and drinking before the climb. Once you are on the climb the harder you are working the more difficult it is to take on food. So it’s best to make sure you’re fully hydrated and take on enough food before the climb. It’s also a good idea to take on an EnergyGel around 15 minutes before the climb. That way the gel will take effect just as you get to the start of the climb. Of course, pouring a bottle of cold water over your head can be a nice relief on a hot day too.

What is your top tip to get better at riding in the mountains?
It’s quite simple, ride more in the mountains.


Read More

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.


  • 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
bottles -resized

  • 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.

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!

Read More

Five ways to train more effectively

Fitting your training around a busy schedule isn’t always easy. Not all of us have the time to be out on the bike for hours at a time. That’s why Achieve Cycling have put together five useful tips to help you put more focus into your training and be more effective with your time.

1. Consistency
Having some consistency within your training is pivotal to Achieve Cyclingfitness improvements. It is far better to train four days a week for a shorter duration than to do two longer sessions. Backing up your workouts is where the real training stimulus lies and it’s key to developments in fitness. Try to block days together in two’s or three’s depending on the demand of the workouts. Separate these blocks with a rest day or active recovery off the bike, like walking or swimming.

2. Be Specific
The training you are doing needs to be targeted towards your goals or target events. For example, endurance events require more volume in training and aerobic conditioning. In contrast, if you’re training for a 10 or 25m time trial then you should approach this with more threshold work and also spend some time in your race position. Specific quality sessions for your goals are as important as keeping your training consistent. If you’ve got a hilly sportive coming up, then check out our blog on how to get through a hilly sportive.

3. Intensity
One of the biggest mistakes amateur athletes make, is training too much at a high intensity. When you have time constraints and limited time to train, the temptation is to ride hard every session. You should use intensity sparingly and make your hard sessions really hard. Mix maximal efforts with sub maximal (under threshold) and conditioning rides at the top of your endurance zone which is up to 80% of your functional threshold power or maximal heart rate.


4. Setting Goals
If you have limited training time, give each session a specific goal or target that you want to achieve. This allows you to maximise every available hour you have to train. Maybe you need to build endurance, work on your threshold, or improve your sprint prowess?  You can even use your next recovery ride to work on your pedalling efficiency. Giving each session a goal, will help you be more effective with your training.

5. Use your data
Do you ride with a bike computer to measure your speed, heart rate or even your power? Use the data to track and measure your training. Keep a diary either via GPS uploads or write them down so you can look back at your training and spot potential areas you need to work on. Or maybe you’ve trained really consistently and you can go into your next event with full confidence. If you use heart rate and/or power then learn to understand how monitoring and using this data can enhance the quality of your training.

If you want to learn more about Achieve Cycling’s coaching services. Visit their website at:

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

Read More

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:


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.’


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!


Read More