Monday, January 30, 2012

Malaysia's First Astronaut

Look who came to visit Sid and Seb's school last week...Malaysia's first astronaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. How cool was this for the boys?!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

So You Wanna Be a Triathlete?

(By Nick Clark • Clark Endurance Training and courtesy of

Fact: You will not become efficient at swimming, biking or running overnight. This is NOT an easy sport.

Check your ego at the door because chances are someone fifty pounds heavier than you will lap you in the pool. Not to mention she will be ten or fifteen years older than you, too.

You will be passed on the bike many times, and you will never be the fastest runner in your town.

You will have early morning workouts. Really early.

You will plan your weekends around your swim, bike and run.

You will be up while others are sleeping.

You will be training while others are sitting.

You will discover others who also follow this blood, sweat and tears cult.

You will eventually get a flat tyre...and have to change it all by yourself.

No matter what you hear, triathlon is NOT an inexpensive sport.

Warning, it is extremely addictive, hence the impulse spending on wetsuits, bikes, running shoes, aero bars, aero helmets, speed suits, power meters, GPS heart-rate monitors and many other “gotta have” items.

You will hate swimming more times than you like it for the first year.

You will suffer through road trips with whiny fellow triathletes.

You will suffer setbacks.

You may experience an injury.

You will develop a love/hate relationship with a foam roller and ice baths.

You will at some point realize you need a coach.

You will hate swimming for the first year.

You will wear tight clothing.

You will not like how this tight clothing fits or looks.

Your age will take on a whole new meaning.

You will discover a whole new meaning for tan lines.

Food will become an extremely important part of your life.

You will learn new words such as GU, cadence and brick.

You will hate swimming for the first year.

You will spend more time on your bike than on your couch.

You may lose a friend or two because you spend too much time swimming, biking and running, and they could care less about your heart rate training, foam rolling pain or 200km bike ride.

You will learn patience.

You will be humbled.

You will start to realize you are paying money to put yourself through pain and suffering, but for some odd reason, you LOVE it.

This sport called triathlon becomes a part of you. You start to plan your entire year around sprint, international, half iron- or full iron-distance races. Your vacations become racing, and you start to realize that this could become a life-long adventure.

Many people settle for things in life. They settle for a crappy job, marriage, friends, food, place to live and overall fitness and health. Those who desire more or those who want more out of life than a drive-thru window and boring sitcom, will choose triathlon or an activity that makes them happy—an activity that will change their life.

Triathlon will change your outlook on life, your career, your marriage, your goals, your friends and many other things you thought you had figured out. It’s not just crossing a finish line or going home with a boring finisher medal. It’s the countless hours that got you to that point—a moment in time that you will NEVER forget, a moment that you will discuss with your family and friends for hours if not days after the event. These discussions will most likely be about how you could have done better. At what point could you have swum faster, biked harder or ran more efficient? This is what will go through your head every day until you get the opportunity to suffer again.

So you wanna be a triathlete? Enjoy the ride and train hard!

Sign up for your first event or your 100th, just sign up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inner Peace

(Another corker from Disco Dave's Mum)

I'm  passing this on because it worked for me today.

A Dr. on TV  said to have inner peace we should always finish things we start & we all could use more calm in our lives.

I looked  around my house to find things I'd started & hadn't finished, so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how  fablus I feel rite now. Sned this to all who need inner piss.  An telum u luvum!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fight for Kisses

Brilliantly funny advert

Vinnie Jones gives CPR instruction - MUST WATCH

The Top 20 Rules for Faster Triathlon Swimming

(By Joel Filliol courtesy of )
The most popular post on this blog is a 2007 post on swimming, which is mainly a link to another blog post from The Triathlon Book. Over on ST there has been a lot of chatter about swimming for triathletes. And Rappstar, Paulo and Coach Daz amongst others have weighed in on the topic.

Without further ado:

The Top 20 Rules for Faster Triathlon Swimming

1. Conditioning trumps drills. Technique matters, but the way most athletes try to improve technique doesn't work. Get fitter, and your ability to hold good technique improves. It takes a lot of work to develop aerobic conditioning in your upper body. If you think you are already swimming a lot but are not improving, swim more and keep at it. There are no shortcuts.

2. Traditional drills don't work. The type of drills and the way that most triathletes do them don't actually have any material effect on swimming technique.

3. Swim more often. Frequency is the best way to improve your swimming. Also see rule #4

4. Do longer main sets. You can't expect to swim fast and be fresh on the bike if you rarely do main sets with the same or higher volume and pace than you expect in the race. For short course these should be at least 2km, for IM 4km, or more. And that looks like 20-50x100, not many short broken sets adding up to 2-5km.

5. Don't over think it. Don't under think it. Be engaged with what you are doing in the water, and use tools to help get a better feel for the water. But don't over think every stroke, and suffer from paralysis by analysis. Swimming fast is about rhythm and flow, when good technique becomes automatic.

6. Increased swim fitness translates to the bike and run. Being able to swim harder, starting the bike both fresher and with faster riders is how that works.

7. Deep swim fitness allows you to swim on the rivet. See rule #6. Most triathletes don't know how to really swim hard for the duration.

8. Include some quality in every swim. If you are swimming less than 5x per week, having easy swims is a waste of time. Always include quality, from band, to paddles, to sprints, in every swim.

9. Don't count strokes. See rule #2. The objective is to get faster, not take fewer strokes.

10. Learn now to use your kick but don't spend a lot of time with kick sets. Kicking is about stroke control and body position, not propulsion for triathlon. Kick fitness doesn't matter.

11. Use a band frequently. The best swimming drill there is. Do short reps with lots of rest at first. Both propulsion and body position will improve.

12. Use paddles with awareness of engaging lats. Paddles are primarily a technical tool to take more strokes with better mechanics, the result of which is learning how to use your prime swimming movers: your lats.

13. Keep head low on breathing and in open water. Head down, feet up. It's a common body position error.

14. Do many short repetitions for stroke quality. It takes fitness to swim with good technique for long durations. Start shorter, and swim faster. 50x50 works wonders. Don't have time to do a 2500m main set? Drop the warm up and warm down.

15. Learn to swim with a higher stroke rate. This takes conditioning. It will pay off on race day, and particularly anytime swimming in a group and in rough conditions.

16. If you need to write your swim session down on the white board or paper, it's too complicated. Keep it simple.

17. Find a good masters programme. Long main sets is a good sign. Swim with others to challenge yourself. These are the exception rather than the norm, unfortunately.

18. Don't use swim tools as a crutch. Paddles and bull buoys are tools with specific uses. Don't reach for them out of simple laziness, because the set is hard.

19. Do use swim tools when you are very fatigued, and will otherwise swim with poor quality. See Rule #18.

20. Dry land and gym can help swimming for some via improved neuromuscular recruitment. Use body weight and tubing not machines.

Bonus:  Love swimming if you want to get faster. Embrace the process of getting faster in the water. Chlorine sweat is a good thing.

Follow the rules above to swim faster, and ultimately to be a faster triathlete. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Swim technique...PAH!! Gimme the toys

(By Brett Sutton courtesy of

Simon says: - An interesting article...basically what I take away from this is don't over think it, just put in the work.

Of late I have been fielding a barrage of questions by age groupers, who have improved their triathlon swim by using the old put all the swim gear on Sutto principle, but also from coaches asking when do we then transition into more full swimming with out all the swim ‘toys’. Yet, the more I point out to the athletes and coaches that open water swimming is different than pool swimming the more I point out swimming 3.8 km in a wetsuit is different to pool swimming the more I point out that technique is not the major concern the more doubters I seem to create. Most of the enquiries are good nature and just trying to come to grips with getting faster. In addition, most of them, no all of them have said yes they have seen good improvement in their triathlon swims. So, why the wish to change what works?

It’s a tough gig going against the mob or peer group in any thing, and even I fall victim to it myself. As a coach, you always doubt and ask yourself is there a better way. For the coaches, I say the hardest thing in coaching is to find a method that is not recognized by the hordes and stick with it. If I fall prey to the pressure when I invented the method and am an Olympic level swim coach, I acknowledge how tough it is for almost all others.

But the strength of my swim program was rammed home to me while on camp with a few of our true believers, who have improved their swim immensely since ditching the technique method for the toys method. First, Bella and Stephen Bayliss were back in England after the birth of their pride and joy Charlie and were caught in a situation of no pool facilities. The Baylisses took up a plan of attack as they could only swim for 1 hour every 2nd day. In the highlands of Scotland, not a swim hub, only swimming every other day each session would be dive in and go hard. Now this is not very scientific, but sessions might be: one hour of sometimes non-stop swimming or 100s short rest or 4x 1km and all workouts done with gear on for the swim and all these with virtually no warm-up or swim down. Bella’s idea of swimming is starting all out with pull buoy wedged in tight. Don’t try and take it off her! So the Baylisses’ turn up at camp and both are flying versus the other professional triathletes in camp. In the water, Steve was looking like a whirling devil, and Bella bitch slapping the water with her paddles with every stroke showing it and everyone else who’s boss. Their times were as fast as ever, and Bella has just delivered Charlie only three months ago. Meanwhile another 47 min non-wetsuit IM swimmer joined the fray in the form of Mathias Hecht. Now Mathias’ stroke makes Stephen look like Michael Phelps, it is off balance, breathes on the wrong side, gets nearly as many strokes in as Stephen. He is self-taught without a swimming background and has trained on his own for most of his career. But another interesting thing, I think Mathias sleeps with a pull bouy between his legs just as with Stephen and Bella he puts it in before he dives into the pool and it doesn’t come out the whole workout. While on camp, the Spanish coach approached me and remarked to me one day (while theses sluggers were going after it with a Swiss kid called Andreas who lets it fly too),“ coach , they don’t look that good but I been timing them and they been lapping in at 1:10 per 100m.” I said. “yes, not so fast. But he come back with “But, they been doing it straight for near over 1 hour now.“ And there is the rub. While it might not look pretty or fast, over an hour it is deadly effective. Yes, the idealist will say but wouldn’t they go faster with that perfect swimming technique. But the realist in me says, THEY DONT NEED TO GO ANY FASTER in an Ironman triathlon.

Swinging into short course ITU races, well yes then they will need super technique. But actually No that also is a misnomer. Most rave about the Brownlees swim, but again anyone who takes the time to see them swim or train will realize that they are not that fast over 50 meters. Yes, I would bet good money that 40% of the men they beat out the water every race would smash them over 50 meters. But these Yorkshire boys are happy to get into the melee and fight to the front and do swim workouts that mean they keep their stroke-rating the whole 1500. It is about swimming 1500 meters in open water fast not 50m in a pool. The contentious Harry Wiltshire, who also was one of the slowest 50 men in my squad, in open water took every race out on the feet of the leader around the first buoy. It didn’t matter who was at the front whether Ben Sansom, Richard Stanard, Craig Walton, or whoever, Harry would get creamed over 50meters but by the first buoy there he was all over them. Sorry Harry, but I reckon even if Grant Hacket was leading Harry would be all over his arse like glue the whole way. Just ask Gomez, in openwater Harry was and is unstoppable. He too could just put that pull buoy in at the start and I would say, “Harry,1hr strait or 5000 m whichever comes first.” Harry would hit 5km before the hour everytime.

People, I can only tell you the way it is. You race in a wetsuit most of the time. Get the paddles on, pull buoy between your legs and just get after it. As Bella says, “I used to spend an hour and a half fussing about trying to do all the perfect technique contortionist things in the water gliding and stretching. But once I just got in, got on with it, stopped thinking about technique, and just thought about nothing more than putting on the gear and giving it to myself. I improved by 15 minutes over 3.8K.” I try to educate and tell people, but they just don’t listen. So, I say to all the doubters that have done this and improved their swim, hold the line. I say to all the coaches out there stop looking for clues: if they are improving then it is working. If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it!