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Wednesday 28 December 2016

8 Reasons Not to Date a Triathlete

Reason 1: Outward appearance is a LIE. 
They look all bronzed and sexy. They’re not. Their tan is ‘kit shaped’. Their bodies are covered in strange chafes and their arse will probably look like ground zero from all the miles on a cheese grater masquerading as a bike saddle. They’ll also shed toenails and claim this is ‘normal’. You will find these on the living room floor and will find yourself kicking these under the sofa when visitors arrive so they don’t think you’re corpse smuggling.

Reason 2: Bike-erday and Runday
Weekends are no longer called Saturday and Sunday. They are ‘Long Bike Day’ and ‘Long Run Day’. Prepare to be on your own and try to be out when they arrive home. They will stink, be covered in mud, frozen snot or flies depending on the weather and will insist on telling you all the tiny details. And then instead of getting straight in the shower they will insist on getting everything uploaded onto Strava and whining when they didn’t get any course records.

Reason 3: The Bike Rules
Do not ask how much the bike costs. Or how much difference it makes to their race times. They’ll lie to you about how much their bike costs. And you won’t be allowed to touch it. NEVER TOUCH THE BIKE. Not even with your eyeballs.

THIS bike? £49.99 from the Twitter shop. The wheels? Same place.

Reason 4: Know Your Shit. Or Know You're Shit.
They’ll expect you to know what distances relate to each different triathlon such as Half Ironman, Olympic and sprint. Do not even bother to learn these. Just practise your set lines. A good one is “The races distances vary by course. Focus on course PBs.” They’ll like this. And say “But your age group rank is excellent” This will cheer them up. Unless they were last. In which case just say “I expect they published the results back to front.” Then hide.

Reason 5: You Have to Admire Their Sperm Helmet
They’ll expect you to admire all their new kit. And not to ask how much it cost. Never say “Well it’s training that matters, not kit.” And you will NEVER be able to say “Well Chrissie Wellington won that race in a normal helmet. She didn’t look like a giant sperm, did she?” They’ll get all huffy.

My kit ALWAYS matches ...

Reason 6: All the cheese is mine. Even YOUR cheese.
They’ll eat all THEIR food. And then all YOUR food. Never leave them alone with your meal or by a buffet table. Be aware that you’ll never get invited BACK to another Christening, wedding or children’s birthday party because of their food hoovering mouth. And according to them cheese can never belong to other people.

Reason 7: Obey Thy GPS. Strava Or It Didst Not Happeneth
The GPS watch losing data is The End of Days. If this happens just write off the day. Better still go out and just send cake home by courier. Hopefully by the time you arrive home they will have eaten themselves into a sugar coma and be unable to speak.

Eaten too much? No I ALWAYS sit like this

Reason 8: Padlock the Fridge. And the Medicine Cabinet.
They’ll swing between pre-race ‘My Body is a Temple’ and only eating gluten-free, vegan and green smoothies to during-and-post-race Human Dustbin Mode. Nothing is safe. Hide scented candles, flavoured lip gloss and speciality cheese and beers otherwise they’ll be pooping like Rainbow Bright for a week.

A Hipster WITHOUT a Beard: ‘The Hipster Belt’ from Nathan

‘The Hipster Belt’ from Nathan

I’m a fan of the good old bumbag as I have several running mandatory pieces of kit (loo roll, key, phone - for calling for a taxi home, checking Strava and sweaty selfies) but I’ve never really fancied a slimline fabric running belt. I simply couldn’t see how all my detritus could fit comfortably into something that lies flat against my body and wasn’t adjustable.

However, I did like this piece of kit. Despite having my phone tucked into it (a not-that-light iPhone 6s), a key, loo roll and gloves it didn’t move around or fall down and best of all there was no bounce which really is the most irritating thing a running belt can do … and which you don’t know whether you’re going to get until after you’ve bought it and tried it on a run.

It comes in different sizes from XS to L (26 inches through to 38 inches) and there’s a lot of stretch to the fabric and will fit up to an iPhone 7+. You could wear this on your hips or around your waist depending on preference. The brand name is highly reflective sections but that’s the only section that is so it wouldn’t take the place of a hi viz vest. 

My favourite bit of the belt though was the multiple pockets and the volume you could fit in these. I take 8 gels for a marathon and this could easily fit all of these plus my phone. 8 sticky empty gel packets is also a lot to carry around a course so it’s nice I could stash these in a separate pocket to my full gels. There are pockets all the way round the belt and which stretch and are expandable as the belt fabric stretches well. There aren’t pocket fastenings - the material overlaps to keep your possessions secure. I did think that it may benefit from a loop or a clip to clip in a key so it was extra secure, although saying that I haven’t lost anything from any of the pockets … suspect that's my fear of being locked OUT of the house when my snacks are INSIDE.

A potential problem I could see was that the Hipster belt is handwash only. It’s been brilliant through winter but not sure how well I’m going to get on in the Summer when it’s hot and I’m sweating all over it. I don’t think this will affect it’s performance but I may well start to be known as ‘That Stinky Runner With The Pink Belt’. That being said, I HAVE put it through the washing machine a couple of times and it’s been absolutely fine (and hasn’t dyed anything else pink either) but obviously I wouldn’t recommend you do this. It isn't the most flattering piece of kit, but then again neither is my bumbag and quite frankly should I ever wish to go on the pull I probably wouldn't be wearing lycra anyway. 

The Hipster belt also has an unconditional guarantee. (But if you think you might have to use this I’d advise following the washing instructions!) A bonus for me was that the belt is bright pink (although also available in black, grey, mint and navy) and you know how I like my kit in subtle and tasteful colours. *cough*

It even works with an elf outfit ...
I liked it!

Price: £25

I was sent the Hipster Belt to review and as usual said exactly what I thought! :) 

Book Review: Fast Fuel: Food For Running Success & Fast Fuel: Food For Triathlon Success

Fast Fuel: Food For Running Success - Recipes and Nutrition Plans to Help You Achieve Your Goals by Renee McGregor
Fast Fuel: Food For Triathlon Success - Recipes and Nutrition Plans to Help You Achieve Your Goals by Renee McGregor

Each Fast Fuel book is tailored towards a particular sport - running or triathlon but as the requirements of each sport can be fairly similar there are a lot of similarities between each book. The contents pages of each are identical covering ‘Fuelling Basics’, ‘Training - The Road to Victory’, ‘Fine-Tuning Your Body’ and meal plans and recipes but the differences are mainly in Chapter 2 covering the training days and training intensities. Each book is plainly laid out and easy to read and understand with logical chapters and sub-headings. 

What do the publishers say?
Food For Running Success:
"No matter if you're running a 5k or a marathon, getting your training diet right is essential to maximise your performance. In Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success Renee McGregor, one of the UK's top sports nutritionists, explains the dietary plans required to hit your goals as a runner. The science of what to eat and why is clearly and practically laid out for whatever kind of running you do. Meal plans are tailored to your running goals and cover what to eat on rest, easy, moderate and high intensity training days. This includes how to get to grips with eating before, during and after running in the most efficient way for your body to fuel and restore itself as well as marathon meal plans and the top race day foods."

What do the publishers say?
Food For Triathlon Success:
"Swim, bike, run and repeat. Simple, right? Wrong. What you eat while you train is just as important as how you're training. If you're going to perform at your best on race day, acclaimed sports nutritionist Renee McGregor has the dietary plans required to hit your goals as a triathlete. What to eat, when and why are clearly explained and backed up by years of experience and expertise. Renee's eat plans and the science behind them are tailored to the multi-disciplinary training of a triathlete. She clearly lays out how to fuel yourself for success by eating right before, during and after training and advises on how to shift your plan to match the intensity of your training days."

What do I think?

The books are easy reading which is what I want in a book about nutrition. I KNOW I have to eat better to perform better and I want to know HOW in as few words as possible. The sections are short and easy to understand and you get examples of how to calculate your carbs per kg of bodyweight, examples of nutrient dense carbs and overviews of performance enhancers and supplements such as gels, bars and real food alternatives. 

The books cover gluten free diet & coeliacs, vegan and vegetarian and alternative protein sources and there’s a section on body composition, racing weight and metabolism. Each section receives quite brief coverage - you get the basics, the bits you need to know and how it all fits together. This works for me as I don’t want a lot of detail - if I want to know more about a particular section I’ll research it, but in a cover-all book I want to know how it all fits together.  

You get meal plans for low, moderate and high intensity and recovery training which is good. Gives me an idea of what I should be eating without making me work out each macronutrient to the Nth degree and with the recipes at the end of the book there are options to swap in and out meals that don’t appeal.

Fine tuning is an interesting section covering topics such as ‘Troubleshooting’ and ‘Common Complaints’, ‘Injury Prevention’, ‘Nutrition for Injury’ and ‘Lost Your Running Mojo’ - which is something that tends to hit me about this time of year. Also useful for this time of year are the following sections ‘Boosting Immune System’ and ‘Pain in the Guts’ - very relevant for me after the sheer amount of mince pies and cheese I eat at this time of year. This chapter also touches briefly on hormones and the menstrual cycle and how different types of foods can help as women use a higher percentage of fat for energy at certain cycle points. 

Approximately half of each book are meal suggestions and recipes. Most of these sound delicious to me (I’m a foodie, ok?) and follow a similar pattern to my usual eating - covering whole foods and being fairly low in sugars and carbs although there are variations. There are a lot of suggestions for each and suggestions range from smoothies to egg fried rice with toasted cashews to coriander lamb with quinoa and cheesecake. See - yum!

What's the difference in the books?

The main differences between the Fuelling for Triathlon and Fuelling for Running books are in Chapter 2 in the ‘Training to Perform’ section. This is where the books look at different training intensities and sessions. There are multiple differences (and similarities!) between triathlon and running but one of the main differences is that triathlon often requires double-days. This is where 2 different activity types might be scheduled for the same day such as a morning swim and an afternoon run. The FastFuel books take this into account in ‘Training to Perform’ chapter, but the rest of the books follow a very similar layout and include identical elements such as injury prevention, tummy troubles and lost enthusiasm as all of these can trouble athletes in both sports. 

About the Author

Renee McGregor is a leading sports and eating disorder specialist dietitian with over 15 years experience working in nutrition and with elite athletes coaches and sports teams.  She is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, the Sports and Exercise Nutrition Register, and is a member of the BDA’s Sports Nutrition Specialist Group.

Worth Buying?

I enjoyed these books. They’re both very easy-to-read and laid out in a logical way without giving too much extraneous detail. I’d certainly recommend these if you’re interested in finding out more about how nutrition can help your performance but if you’ve already got a more advanced understanding of sports nutrition then these may be too basic for you. I’d also say you probably wouldn’t need both books as there are many similarities in them. They’d be a perfect buy for someone who is getting more serious about their chosen sport and looking at ways to become faster and more efficient by training smarter.  

Price:         £9.99 (paperback)
Available:  Amazon 
Nourish Books Website  Twitter @Nourish  Facebook page

I was sent a copy of each book to read and review but as usual I didn't accept payment and wrote exactly what I thought.