What Makes A Champion?

What Makes A Champion?

Nicola Spirig’s Sprint Finish at the 2012 Olympics.

One of the champion performances that I remember so well was back nearly 30 years ago when a friend of mine, Lindy, was having probably her worst race result ever!

At the time she was one one of the Junior stars of Australian athletics and held multiple state and national records over long distance events. Competing in a National 3000m Track Championships, Lindy was the favourite before the race, but from the gun she was off the pace and found herself dropping further and further behind each lap. As a teammate cheering her on, it was clear to me she was giving it her absolute all.

She still had the fire in her eyes as she came by lap after lap and even though her body wasn’t responding on that day, in her mind she didn’t once give up. There was not one excuse at the end and I thought it was probably the gutsiest performance I had ever seen.

The lesson I learnt as a spectator: A champion gives their all, even when they are having a bad day.

It is easy to keep pushing hard and to stay in the zone when feeling good and everything is going to plan, but it is how athletes respond on a bad day that distinguishes the champions. There are many examples in Triathlon of the Champion prevailing despite having a less than perfect day. It is the never give up attitude that is deeply instilled that makes them a champion.

One whose recent success comes to mind is Jan Frodeno – who this season has won the European Ironman Championships and Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Though for me what is just as impressive was how he handled the season before. In 2014 he debuted at Ironman Frankfurt with three punctures. At Kona he dealt with a penalty and a puncture on the bike. This did not deter him and and to finish both races in a podium position was testament to his champion mentality.

The importance of a strong mindset is one of the biggest things I’ve learned from being on deck with the Trisutto.com coaching squad over the last couple of seasons. Coming from an age-group background it always fascinated me that Brett (Sutton) was never overly fussed about the workouts or the times, but placing more emphasis on producing a ‘champion mindset’. That is, the creation of a decision making process that can automatically kick in when things aren’t going right for you.

Jan Frodeno_Delly_CarrJan Frodeno winning the Ironman 70.3 World Championships this year. Photo: Delly Carr

At the 2012 Olympics after dominating the bike leg, we saw Nicola battling various cramping issues on the run. If all had been going to plan, she would have waited for a sprint finish with the confidence that she was the fastest sprinter in the field. But she was forced to change her tactics less than a kilometre from the finish due to the onset of cramps. With 60 metres to go her body and legs were spent, nothing left… Yet she was somehow able to will herself to the finish line first and to win the Gold. Mind over matter.

When it comes to the Olympic Games, or a World Championship, it doesn’t matter how you feel. You still have to perform on that given day regardless. The champions know that how they feel both before and during the event is irrelevant!

Whilst most of us are not blessed with the physical attributes to compete in the Olympics or World Champs, we can all work to develop the mental fortitude to race like a champion. One of the hardest things to do is to keep competing even when it has all gone wrong. I’ve seen athletes pull out after receiving a penalty, or even after fixing a puncture, simply because they feel at the time they are no longer in contention for the win; even quit a race as they just didn’t feel good that day. It takes great strength of character to battle on at the best of your ability despite being aware you can no longer reach your immediate race goals.

The champion mentality needs to be rehearsed in training. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen someone pull the plug on a training set simply because they are not hitting the paces they think they should. (Myself included!)

This is one of the reasons our coaches tend to shy away from measuring devices in our training environment. If you’re not hitting the times you expect, it becomes demoralising and easy to justify calling it quits on the workout.

But the mindset of a champion shines through in training also, in that they will push on and complete the workout even though they may be way off their expected pace. The workout is therefore not viewed as a failure, but rather as a success as they were able to complete it on a not-so-good day.

At Trisutto.com, we don’t just measure champions by times or race places; we measure champions on perseverance and their will to improvise and overcome under difficult circumstances.

Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Race Week Plan: Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Race Week Plan: Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Defending Champion Daniela Ryf will join a host Trisutto.com professional and age-group athletes competing at the World 70.3 Ironman Championships this weekend. Coach Susie shares her advice to our charges ahead of the event: (email extract to one of our Trisutto.com athletes)


For race week we keep things much the same as you have over the past 4 months. We just cut the volume a little with a rest day on Friday.

Tuesday we have an easy, easy bike.

Friday there is an optional swim, only if you feel like it. If you would prefer to stay at home and skip it then that’s fine also.

I would prefer you do all swims this week in the pool – not in the open water.

You have a fantastic block of training under your belt. You have been super consistent. We’re very, very happy with how you have embraced our methods of training!

You have practiced your race day nutrition – we change nothing for this race.

You have practiced your pre-race dinner plan – let’s stick to that.

Come race week we don’t try anything new.

The few days before the race, you register, you go to the briefing, you check your race gear in. You then go straight home. That’s it. You don’t need to be around the race venue at any other time. We don’t waste any energy hanging around the expo or with meeting other athletes or old friends for a chat. We do that after the race.

I know you have your own team and friends racing and will want to be available for them in the lead up to the race. Do this at a venue away from the race site if possible. A place you can sit down in a relaxed atmosphere and be off your feet! We don’t waste time or energy going over who the other athletes are in the race. It is totally irrelevant. We know it will be competitive and will be a wonderful opportunity for you. Anyone can be beaten on any given day and you better believe it!

From now on it is all about you. If you feel really nervous or need to talk to someone or go over something before the race, then contact me. Do not turn to your friends, other coaches or people who may want to help with last minute tips. You contact me! We stick to our plans.

To the race itself, you are an experienced Ironman racer. You will have up’s and you will have down’s. You will go through parts where you will feel good…, you will go through parts where you feel not-very-good. That’s racing.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you feel good or bad…, you still have to do it.

As Daniela Ryf learnt at the 70.3 World Champs last year, you don’t have to feel good to go fast. She felt horrible all day but still went fast and won the race. She was SO surprised!

Once you get off the bike, the first 30 minutes of running is all about staying nice and relaxed. Stay in control and concentrate on finding your nice fluent running rhythm. Get all the drinks in at every aid station. This is priority.

You are very fit and are trained for this distance.

Be strong.

Be patient.

Be brave.

On Sunday we take a chance.

The secret is ‘self-belief’.

Cheers, Susie.

Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Susie_BikeCoach Susie Langley and campers at St. Moritz.


Redemption Weekend for Trisutto.com Squad

Redemption Weekend for Trisutto.com Squad

Brilliant comeback performance by Eimear Mullan: 2015 Ironman 70.3 Budapest Champion.

It gave me great pleasure to see Eimear Mullan not only back competing in the races she loves so much, but to see her storm to victory in characteristic Emu fashion at Ironman 70.3 Budapest this weekend.

We all know the frustrations of having to spend most of the season on the sidelines through injury. Eimear was so proud this year to break through with a team sponsorship with Alemeda On, only to have her first year of excitement cut down by injury, leading to doubt and pressure (self-applied) in trying to please the team.

This is not a comment on Eimear’s team, who have been very supportive, but a reality for all professional sportspeople. Athletes with the best intentions can make decisions based on factors around helping a new team or sponsor, which they previously wouldn’t have considered and it affects their racing patterns. A minor niggle turns into something bigger and if you’re not careful there goes the season.

It’s all part of the learning curve of being a professional athlete. It’s now our hope and my belief that Eimear will rebuild her season from here and rack up more wins for herself and her new team. Great job.

Matt_Trautman1Remarkable turnaround from Matty Trautman. Broken clavicle to Ironman podium inside 6 weeks.

At the same race The Captain (Matt Trautman) just showed us again why we respect him so much and why every team in the sport should be chasing him. A broken clavicle 5 weeks ago and the doctors only technically passed him to begin training again last Tuesday.

Well he got some training in outrunning some of the big names in the sport with a 69 minute half marathon split and a terrific 3rd place. As expected the swim and bike are still a bit rusty following the accident, but contrary to initial fears Matty will be on the plane to our Kona camp in Jeju and will be ready to compete on the Big Island. Just a fantastic demonstration of using improvisation to overcome.

This weekend we also had Nicola Spirig returning to WTS racing in Stockholm following her win at the European Champs in Geneva. A short break and while back swimming and biking following an extended rest on the run legs to finish Top 5 was an excellent effort and one that will give her much confidence to keep racing short course up to the Olympics.

Recap from Coach Bella Bayliss:

Bella RR1Photo credits: Athlete photography by James MitchellTriActiv Lanzarote

Another great week from my squad. Aya Stevens came a solid 5th in the professional division at 70.3 Budapest. Aya is training and racing herself into the best shape of her life, and there is no stopping her as she will finish her season off with a few more races yet 🙂   Xterra UK next weekend,

Lucy Biddlestone tried a different kind of race for her and ended up winning it! A 28km trail race on Lanzarote, Lucy is also training and racing herself into the best shape of her life and there is also no stopping her!  She has no fear!

Marc Stettler was back racing today after lots and lots of training. Dedicating his recent 2 weeks holiday to do some mega training in preparation for his big goal of the year, Zofingen long distance Duathlon.  Unfortunately Marc fell off his bike on the last day of this training block and injuring his elbow, but the past 2 weeks building back again and today did a 6 minute PB at the Lausanne Olympic distance coming 41st out of 110 guys in his age group. Well done Marc!

Finally, Andy Hamilton smashed another 25mile TT after smashing his local ParkRun the day before, Nothing is stopping Andy from being the best he can be.

Recap from Coach Andres Castillo:

Andres_CWinners are grinners: Cesar Lopez, Coach Andres, Brian Moya and Joh Flynn.

After 4 years on the island Mr. Sancho’s Triathlon did wonderful work to say goodbye in its last edition, with perfect organization and bigger prize money for the Olympic and Sprint distance races. My athlete Brian Moya in his preparation for the Cozumel World Cup won the sprint race with a 16 minutes run and Cesar was second in the Olympic distance after a hard battle. John Flynn and Tedi Quintero won their age groups and Diego placed 5th in the juniors race. Diego and Cesar are part of the Tres Hermanos Foundation and TriCozumel program and just two of the many athletes that participated in this edition from the program.

A huge thank you to the Ortega’s Family in Cozumel who for 4 years used their own resources to create an event that was competitive, but also made a whole family of many triathletes on the island and surrounding areas.

Finally, congratulations to my athletes Rodrigo Gabriel, who raced at a half marathon as training for his Ironman in October with a 1:19 split, and to Juan Sanchez who raced well in the Veracruz triathlon.

Recap from Coach Lisbeth Kristensen:

Melanie_BMelanie Baumann: Age group winner at Challenge Walchsee this weekend!

Congratulations to Melanie Baumann who this weekend raced the Challenge Walchsee Half and won her age group F35-39 and was 3rd fastest (fastest run) of all age group athletes. Fantastic!

Here are Melanie’s thoughts on the race:

Had a great race at Challenge Walchsee today and for the very first time I did well in all 3 legs!!! Already 11th in my age group after the swim, even though or maybe because of changing quite a lot in my swim in the last couple of weeks. On the bike I was feeling very well and I’m really happy with the 4th fastest bike split of all age groups on a really hard course. And didn’t even lose that much on the pros as well! Coming off the bike 4th in my age group, I started running down the remaining competitors to win my age group by 8 minutes with the fastest run split of all age group athletes. I even ended up finishing in 4:59:59h, so happy having done a sub 5 for the very first time, on a course I didn’t think I could do it 🙂 3rd of all age groups and 13th overall, I’m just really happy!!! Thanks, coach Lisbeth!!!

Recap from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:

Martina_DOnly real champions know how to turn a bad day into a success! Congratulations Martina, proud of you!

Today we had the Italian Championship over the Middle Distance in Lovere with some great results for our team:

Martina, 2. place overall 4.47.30 – we are very satisfied with this because Marty is training for Ironman Barcelona.

Irene, 2.place cat S2  5:09.46 – first middle distance race for her (she comes from duathlon), our Trisutto.com St. Moritz camp was very good for her 🙂

Francesca, 2.place cat. M2 5:18.57. Barbara, 3.place cat M1 5:22.04.

So all women on the podiums with Martina 2nd overall. Our man, Emanuelel placed 15. in his cat S2 4:59.03. Solid performance and well done!

Finally, my other 2 athletes were racing Challenge Walchsee where Alex did a new PB 4:44.2 and Emanuela, finished in 7:54.19.

Congratulations to all my athletes competing.

Recap from Coach Susie Langley:

Mariana_AMariana Andrade on the way to a podium at Challenge Maceió.

Another exciting result this week for Mariana Andrade finishing third at the inaugural Challenge Maceió in Brazil. Mariana spent 4 weeks in St.Moritz over the summer training with the Trisutto.com team and it is great to see her being rewarded for all her hard work.

Finally, all coaches and athletes extend their best wishes to Jessie Donavan who was unfortunately hit by a truck whilst out on a training ride near Cape Cod last Friday.  Jessie sustained various injuries but is expected her to make a full recovery.  She will have surgery this week to repair a broken collar bone.  We wish you well in your recovery Jessie and we know you will be back.  Hurry slowly.

Congratulations to all athletes competing this weekend.

Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Born Winners – Victories for Trisutto.com Squad

Born Winners – Victories for Trisutto.com Squad

Mary Beth Ellis – 2015 Ironman Mont-Tremblant Champion.

She’s just a winner. Yesterday’s Ironman presented every conceivable obstacle for Mary Beth to have a bad day. Trained to dog tired condition, she raced Alpe D’Huez two weeks ago, which in itself was a follow up to her runner’s up position at Ironman Zurich. A plane trip, a change of time zones, no sleep the for two days as we arrived late as we could. Lesser human beings would have just raced this one for training. However they’re not the Honey Badger. When the gun goes off it doesn’t just start the race – it defines what MBE is, was and always will be: ‘The ultimate competitor’.

A little over 9-hours of giving it every thing she had. And when her body said no more? She just dug deeper and did what very few can do – improvise and overcome. Make no mistake Mary Beth is a born winner and is going to finish her career with Ironman Titles into the double figures.

Carina_BThird place for Carina Brechters at the Allgäu Triathlon Half Distance.

This weekend I was also very happy with Carina’s second attempt at the Half Ironman distance. We are working towards teaching her to ride a bike like the big dogs do. This takes time, effort and commitment. She is now showing the latter two. Time will tell if she has what it takes to do that for three years.

Recap from Coach Jo Spindler:

Andrej V1

Embrun, France – Andrej Vistica’s already impressive 2015 season continued today with a fantastic win at the 32nd edition of Embrunman.

In addition to it’s long tradition Embrunman is famous for it’s very difficult course. With more than 3800m of ascents on the 186km bike leg and a run course that is far from easy, this race is formidable and known as the toughest iron distance event in the world. The race has cult status not only among French triathletes.

As per tradition the race started at 6:00h, in complete dark. For the first 20 minutes participants need to follow a boat with a light reflector. Vistica exited the water with Victor del Corral and with a 3 minute gap to lead group with all the main favorites.

After the first 40km of the bike ride Vistica caught the lead group and went for a solo break. His lead grew steadily and he reached second transition with 6 min lead to James Cunnama, 9 min to del Corral, while all others had double-digit gap. The ride was made even harder by the rain that started on top of Col d’Izoard. The temperature on the top was only 5 degrees Celsius.

Although Andrej’s lead was reasonable, the race was far from decided. Both Cunnama and del Corral are known as very strong runners. In the first 3km Cunnama took a minute out of his gap and it looked like a matter of time that he would take the lead. However, by the half-way point Cunnama only managed to get another 45s closer and then Andrej’s lead started growing again. At the end, Vistica added fastest run split (2:53h) to his fastest bike split and won the race with a huge margin of 12 minutes to Victor del Corral and James Cunnama.

At the finish line, Andrej was very pleased with his effort:

“This is my best race performance so far! I’m very happy! Coached by Jo Spindler, I spent the last 4 weeks in St. Moritz preparing for this race in Brett Sutton’s group and it obviously paid off.”

Andrej PodiumMen’s podium: James Cunnama, Andrej Vistica and Victor del Corral.

At the German Allgäu Triathlon (Olympic distance) our Philipp Gubler placed 2nd in his age group, beaten only by Sebi Kienle. Philipp placed 6th overall only a few seconds behind Faris al Sultan who came in 5th!

Steffen Warias raced ICan Nordhausen in Germany. The gourmet chef from Merseburg raced hard and the work paid of with a 3rd place in his Age Group. He had a solid swim and bike and at the end he hammered the half marathon in 1:36h which ended up in a 4:57h total. After a broken collarbone we’re looking forward to his first long distance at Cologne226 since 3 years now.

Thomas_SThomas Schäfer second at the ICan Nordhausen.

Finally, our para cyclist Thomas Schäfer raced the ICan Nordhausen as well but only in his parade discipline: cycling. Thomas team achieved the 2nd place in the relay category. He hammered the bike and had the 2nd fastest bike split of 2:10 over 90km of the day. Well done to all our athletes competing today.

Recap from Coach Bella Bayliss:

I feel happy and I have a big smile on my face today because we had some very, very good performances this weekend. The winning will come when these people work as hard as they do.

This weekend Esther and Victor were our role models for the kids at TriActiv Lanzarote.

Victor_DCVictor del Corral: Runner’s Up at Embrunman.  

I have competed in tough races all over the world, but having also raced Embrunman many times I know it is one of the hardest iron distances out there. Starting the swim in the dark at 6am, a 190km ride up and down the French Alps including the Col d’Izoard which is over 2300m, then the marathon up and down the hills of the village of Embrun. Victor has been dealing with an annoying niggle in his ankle since Ironman UK, so although we had planned to go to Embrun we knew the ankle may make the race difficult.  He had a very good swim and bike, finishing the bike in 3rd place ahead of race favourite, Marcel Zamora. After 18km on the run his ankle began to get sore and difficult but he kept his concentration, he ran 2.56 with the bad foot, passing James Cunama to come 2nd!  Congratulations Andrej Vistica who was the champion of the day with a great race. On the podium were all athletes who have been helped by Brett or by Brett’s coaches!

EstherEsther Rodriguez 2nd at TriNautico sprint distance.

I took Esther Rodriguez on at the beginning of the summer, I am very happy to be working with Esther because she is a gutsy and hard working girl, but in the need of being pointed in the right direction with some solid training.  I am really enjoying seeing Esther take this training on board and getting stronger by the day. I work with Esther at Sands Beach, she helps me with the kids training so we are a little Team. TriActiv Lanzarote continues to go from strength to strength.

Esther came 2nd at the TriNautico sprint triathlon on Lanzarote yesterday, after a solid swim bike and run.  She was a great role modal for all our juniors also racing. Now we continue with the training for her upcoming Spanish Championships and 70.3 Lanzarote.

Bella Squad

James Mitchell raced the same sprint triathlon. After some injury problems it was lovely to see him enjoy the afternoon race with no problems. Hollie Craddock racing also back on track after some recent injuries.

Mia Leadbeater raced the adult sprint race continuing to show her hard work and dedication to us all.  Congratulations Mia on your great race. Marcos Knight, Jorge Wilkes, Adrián Rodríguez Hernández, Juanma all raced the kids race showing us all how it is done. Well done all of you. Lots more to come from all of you and I’m very proud of you all,

Aya Stevens came 4th at the Slovakian Mountain Bike Championships as training in preparation for the upcoming Xterra UK! Richard Newey smashed his 50mile TT pb by 4 minutes in England while he continues to prepare for 70.3 Worlds then Hawaii. Great work Richard.

Recap from Coach Susie Langley:

MarianaMariana winning the 10km event at the Maratona de Santa Catarina.

Congratulations to Mariana Andrade for another win this week, this time in the 10km event at the Maratona de Santa Catarina. Sharpening up the run legs before heading to Challenge Maceio next week.

Jessie Donavan and Anne Basso both raced at Ironman Mont Tremblant. Jessie rode very strongly through the field and fought on hard to secure a 6th place finish.

Anne performed consistently across all 3 disciplines and finished in 11th place. Encouraging signs for both women.

Trisutto.com team member, Trevor Desault, representing the boys in Canada also finished a solid 6th. Great job guys.

Recap from Coach Luis Villavicencio:

Lottie Riddle


So proud of our Squaddie Lottie Riddle who in her 3rd Half Ironman distance has achieved something very special. She did a great job doing a PB and winning her Age Category! Well done Lottie, very happy for you.

Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:

GiselaReichmuthGisela Reichmuth was 1st place in her category!

Well done to two of my Swiss athletes racing this weekend in cool and wet conditions in Switzerland and Germany.

Sandy Benz was 1st place female overall in the Rhyathlon at St Gallon, a local sprint triathlon.  A training race for Sandy, as she prepares for the ITU World Championships in Chicago in September.

Gisela Reichmuth was 1st place in her category, and 6th female overall at the Allgäu sprint triathlon in German.  A good results off the back of Ironman training this season 🙂

Well done to all of our athletes competing this weekend.

Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Breakthrough Weekend for Trisutto.com Athletes

Breakthrough Weekend for Trisutto.com Athletes

The Podium: James Cunnama, Bart Aernouts and Markus Hörmann at Challenge Poznan.

Markus Hörmann and Diana Riesler raced the Half-Challenge at Poznan this weekend. It turned out to be breakthrough performances from them both. Markus is my youngest pro athlete and he has already shown really good performances but never hit a podium in a strong field. He had a good swim, but already started to make his way through the field in T1 and continued to do so on the bike. On the run course he was 5th until 1km before the finish line. With me going furious and shouting at him at the side of the course he pulled out a strong finish and stormed into third, passing Heemeryck and Molinari, only a few 100 meters before the finish line. Very happy for this podium behind Bart Aernouts and James Cunnama in such a strong field.

Trisutto.com - DianaDiana Riesler: 2015 Challenge Poznan Champion

Diana Riesler was on her best today, except of the swim and transition times! She was 7mins back after T1 and her race was more or less over. She started the bike to at least get in some training. But on the bike she soon started to find her rhythm, pass some girls and realise that probably not everything is lost and worked herself through the field on the bike. To everybody’s surprise she came off the bike first and had almost a 2 minute lead over Radka Vodickova. She ran like she has never ran before and achieved a personal best half marathon split and won Half-Challenge Poznan! Our two weeks camp with the Trisutto.com squad in St. Moritz and some speed work definitely worked. Also a great follow up for Diana following her Ironman victory at Lanzarote earlier in May.

Trisutto.com - ThomasThomas Schäfer on the hunt for Olympic selection.

Para-Cyclist Thomas Schäfer had two solid performances. Within two days Thomas picked two 5th places at the para-cycling World Cup in Elzach. Friday was the time trail race and on Sunday the road race. Both races are already part of our lead in for the World Champs next weekend in Notwill (CH), so no wonder he carried a lit bit of fatigue through those races. Thomas is looking forward to race there and to qualify for the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Finally, also very happy with Carson Christen’s run at the 15km run race at Nordic Fest Elvelopet, where he achieved his personal best over 15km and was the first non-high school or college runner! For the past week, we worked hard to improve his run. He had never run so much, so often and so long. Very happy that all that works is paying dividends.

Due to demand for St. Moritz summer triathlon camps, Jo Spindler and Brett Sutton will be hosting an additional 7-day age group camp from August 17th to August 23rd. Book here.

Race Recap from Coach Robbie Haywood:

Trisutto.com - Jordan
Super performance from Canadian pro Jordan Bryden. 6th in a very hot field at 70.3 Calgary.

A cold wet day at Ironman Canada for Minsok Pak, riding much of the bike in one gear when his Di2 stopped working in the cold and wet, but toughed it out for a commendable 11th place.

Cudos to Tyler Baum, who after a number of months of injury, and relocation for work, started Ironman Lake Placid, having a good swim, and bike.

Congratulations to Jordan Bryden, fabulous first step back to racing at 70.3 Calgary.  The benefits of 3 weeks at camp and hurrying slowly starting to show through. We are on our way.

TOP 10 PRO Men – Finish

1 3:50:43 2 Ben Hoffman USA
2 3:50:45 0:02 1 Andy Potts USA
3 3:57:01 6:18 7 Justin Metzler USA
4 3:57:57 7:15 24 Matt Lieto USA
5 3:58:20 7:38 3 Chris Leiferman USA
6 3:59:07 8:25 23 Jordan Bryden CAN 

Race Recap from Coach Susie Langley:


Trisutto.com - Mariana
Mariana Andrade back home and back on top of the podium.

Great to see Mariana Andrade bounce back quickly after a frustrating race Ironman in Zurich last week.  Just one week back home in Brazil she decided at the last moment to race the GP Winter triathlon and was rewarded with a a win.

Congratulations also to Jessie Donavan, who after an excellent swim battled bravely in very cold and wet conditions at Ironman Canada and finished 6th in the women’s Pro field.

Well done to all athletes competing this weekend.

Trisutto.com online professional coaches are available to help improve your performance here.

Water Running for Triathlon

Water Running for Triathlon

Coach Susie Langley with Corinne Abraham doing some water running.

Way back in 2003 I remember watching Wazza, one of the guys in my triathlon training squad in Brisbane, put on his run shoes, promptly jump in the pool and start running up and down the lane.

“Crikes, that’s a bit weird’ was my initial reaction.  I had only ever previously seen water running in deep water, sometimes with a floatation belt; the ‘tea-bag’ water run appeared to be more popular amongst age-groupers with injuries.

Over the years on the rare occasions I did resort to water running, I always ran in deep water and did always struggle with it.

I found I had to lean forwards at such an angle to stay afloat that it didn’t even slightly resemble running. I also had to use a somewhat sculling motion with my arms. I didn’t own a floatation belt, and it was labelled ‘cheating’ and out-of-the question by my triathlon squad at the time!

At the completion of my ‘run’, I didn’t feel at all that I had simulated a run workout… often leaving the pool feeling dissatisfied and that the whole exercise had been a waste of time.

Since coming on board at Trisutto.com, I have become reacquainted with Wazza’s water running style. Now after trying it myself, I can see and feel the benefits.

Firstly, we can more readily simulate our normal running position in the water. Running in waist deep water (with maximum depth being chest deep) we still make contact with the ground but unlike ‘tea-bagging’, we keep some loading on the leg muscles and tendons.  Not too much though as the water takes some of the weight; a somewhat cheaper version of running on an alter-g treadmill!  When running we adopt very short strides with fast cadence.

After the completion of the workout, I actually feel I have completed a run.

It is important to wear shoes.  Old (clean!) running shoes or shoes which still have a reasonable grip to ensure we do not slip when our foot hits the pool floor, therefore avoiding foot related injuries.

Whilst most of us tend to associate water running as a substitute workout when injured, we also use it for injury prevention and additionally for easing an athlete back into their run program after injury.

It is an effective way to extend our long run without putting as much strain on our body, even more so for larger athletes.

Splitting the long run in half as land run first immediately followed by water run, recovery is enhanced, enabling us to back up and train again the next day.

Does it work?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.  In Cozumel in 2013 I observed with interest as Mary Beth Ellis completed all her running workouts for 4 weeks straight in the swimming pool.  Up and down, up and down… She was on a mission!

After just a couple of runs on the land, she went straight to a 70.3 in Florida where she won the race, followed by Ironman Nice where she broke the course record.

Yes it works. Water running is a useful, yet often overlooked, training tool to help us achieve our goals.

Susie_Corinne Water Run1