training and nutrition

it's time to prepare

The Jersey Triathlon is not just about race day, it's also about all the hard work and discipline leading up to it. It's the preparation that will have the greatest impact on our successes on race day, and it's a lifestyle that many of us find so much benefit in that we choose to continue with it long after we've crossed the line.
Our community is made up of more than just participants, and we enjoy sharing our individual expertise for the benefit of all. For those new to the sport, you will no doubt find our experts' training and nutrition tips and guidelines invaluable. For the more seasoned competitors amongst us, there's much to be said in hearing others' tricks of the trade so we can refine our performance.

nutrition guidance from true food

Paul Garrod and Kit Chamier are specialists in Sports Nutrition and provide personalised training and race nutrition advice to help with any sport. They work with a wide range of athletes and are focused on providing trustworthy nutrition advice to help support and maintain quality training and race performances. You can visit to find out more, or pop into Bond Street Health to meet them.
  • Have a plan
    Your nutrition should be structured alongside your training programme. A sports nutritionist can help you identify areas for improvement and set out a plan.
  • Keep it real
    The majority of your diet should be whole foods. Eating lots of foods that have been processed can affect long-term health and compromise adaption and recovery. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes along with good quality meat, fish, dairy and wholegrains.
  • Know your carbs
    Carbohydrates are a good source of energy during exercise. However, different types of carbohydrates have a different effect on our blood sugar (or energy) levels. Knowing which carbs to eat and when is key. Go for complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice, oats and vegetables throughout the day and focus the simple carbohydrates (sugars) in and around training and races.
  • Go for good fats
    The message that all dietary fats are bad is wrong. Good fats (liquid at room temperature e.g oils) have many health benefits and are likely to also support recovery and training quality. Most of us should eat more Omega 3 fats (found in oily fish, avocado, olive oil and walnuts).
  • Get the big stuff right
    Too many triathletes make sure they get the little things like supplements just right, but forget the big stuff like their daily diet and understanding carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Get the big stuff right first to make the biggest difference.
  • Balance
    We hear a lot about eating a balanced diet. This sounds confusing, but it’s pretty easy. Aim to eat 80% of the healthy stuff (real food) and 20% of the not so good stuff. If you do a big food shop each week, look at your trolley before you get to the till – is it 80% healthy?
  • Carb loading
    Does it work and how should you do it? It’s worth getting a personalised plan from a sports nutritionist, but as a rough guide if the event is significantly over 90 minutes long, eat a little more carbohydrate in your diet up to four days before a race. Pasta parties are great but be mindful not to overdo it the day before a race. Space your carb loading over a number of days before race day and aim for complex sources where possible.
  • Supplements
    Although they shouldn’t be the first thing on your nutrition checklist, there are a few supplements that can enhance your training and racing. Caffeine, whey protein, electrolytes and carbohydrate gels are some of the obvious ones but there are others. If you need to check any, a sports nutritionist is your best shout.

training guidance from triathlon performance solutions

Nick Saunders is a former professional Ironman Triathlete, with a wealth of Top 10 professional results under his belt, including a Top 3 finish at Ironman UK in Bolton, 2011. He also competed twice as a professional in the Hawaii Ironman World Championships.
  • If you are new to the sport, get some guidance on how to structure your training. It can be daunting trying to fit in swim, bike and run sessions. Most beginners should try to get in each discipline twice a week, but you need to space each discipline out. For example, swim on a Monday and Thursday, cycle on a Tuesday and Saturday and run on a Wednesday and Sunday. Friday is a rest day.
  • Don’t go straight into swimming 1500m, cycling 40km and running 10km. Build up to the distance over a few week - start with a 500-800m swim, a 15-20km cycle and a 4-5km run.My advice would be to finish each session feeling you could do more and work off a Rate of Perceived effort (RPE) with 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest (you will race at RPE 5-7 depending on your level of fitness).
  • Join a triathlon club. Jersey has one of the most active triathlon clubs in the British Isles that punches well above its weight. It is very welcoming and they have plenty of sessions that you can choose from or they can point you in the right direction. There are also local races that you can do in preparation for the big one in July. They can show you around the course which you have the benefit of training on before race day. They will also hold training days for members which will be very beneficial for first timers.
  • Work on your weakness. For most people, this is the swim. Spend time in the pool but don’t just swim up and down for 60 lengths because you are going to swim 1500m in the race. Instead, break the session up into a warm up, a main set where you do your race pace intervals and then finally your warm down. Time yourself so you can judge your efforts, but keep the intervals short. A good session to do would be:

    Warm up:
    4-8x25m with 20-30sec rest in between each 25m
    4x50m - try to swim a similar pace to the 25s. 20-30sec rest in between each 50m

    Main set:
    8x50m at race pace - 15-20sec rest in between each 50m
    2x100m at race pace - 20-30sec rest in between each 100m

    Warm down:
    4-8x25m with 20-30sec rest in between each 25m
  • Use a Garmin or Fitness tracking device to help log your training. Garmin has a platform called Garmin Connect that allows you to track your training, set your heart rate zones if you use a heart rate monitor along with your fitness device. A good device to use for triathlon is the 735 XT or Forerunner 945 series.
  • There is a lot of kit to get your head around when it comes to triathlon. You don’t need all of it but there are a few essentials. You need a good pair of goggles and swimming kit and a bike that fits. There are loads of good bike shops in Jersey that will fit you to a good bike within your budget. You obviously need a helmet and some comfortable cycling kit to ride in along with a good pair of running and cycling shoes. You will also need a wetsuit for the open water swim training and race day.
  • Get comfortable race kit and wear it before race day. You can also get things like elastic laces for your run shoes to save you having to tie your laces.
  • The Jersey triathlon is in July. It is a warm month and often fairly humid, so you need to stay hydrated during the race. You may also need some type of nutrition as for some folks the bike can take well over an hour. There are many brands of sports gels or energy bars that you can try out. Do this in your training leading up to the race and find something that works for you.
  • Listen to your body! You will get tired training. I recommend starting each session very easy. If it feels you will get nothing out of the session or your mind is just not in it stop the session or just shorten it and keep the effort easy throughout. Never train with an injury or any sickness. Always take a day or two off and seek medical advice. You are far better off taking a day or two off rather than having to take more than a week off because you over did it. Consistency is the key to success so rather miss a couple of days and then get back into easy training.
  • Enjoy your training and the journey!

training and nutrition guidance from Sam Horsfall

Sam Horsfall is an Ironman Certified Triathlon Coach who owns and runs Transition Triathlon Coaching. She has been doing triathlon since 2008 and started Ironman 70.3 distance events in 2011 followed by her first Ironman in 2012. To date she has completed 10 Ironman 70.3 and 7 full Ironman.

As well as her Ironman coaching qualification Sam is a Level 1 British Triathlon Federation coach, coaches the Try-a-tri program, a Spinning Instructor and is currently undertaking a Kettlebells Instructor qualification.

Sam offers a coaching program for triathletes of  all abilities which is tailored to your individual goals, lifestyle & other commitments.

Sam can be contacted at Transition on Facebook or at

training tips

  • Test all of your race kit in training several times to make sure it fits correctly, is comfortable and doesn't rub anywhere important!
  • Find a training plan that realistically works for you.
  • Train specifically for your race - if it's hilly train on hills rather than avoiding them.
  • Strength training is an absolute must - include at least 1 strength session each week.
  • Don't just train to your strengths - if you are a strong runner but know you are a weaker swimmer then don't neglect this and just run instead.
  • Include a massage in your monthly training plan and be kind to your muscles.

Nutrition tips

  • Practice your nutrition strategy during training and try different things to see what works best for you.
  • Don't be scared to try real food if you can't stomach gels - they're not for everyone and what works for one may not work for someone else.
  • Have a nutrition plan as well as a training plan.
  • Don't try anything new on race day.
  • Keep on top of hydration - make sure you aren't dehydrated before you start training (monitor the colour of your urine). Think about using an electrolyte (non sweetener/low cal one) as the salt in them draws more water into the working muscles.
  • Don't take a gel with a sports drink as there is far too much carbohydrate which could cause stomach issues.

open water swimming tips from global triathlon network

Here are GTN's top 9 open water swim skills for beginners. Open water swimming can be a bit daunting for beginner triathletes, however, with these skills, you can learn to love the freedom of swimming outdoors!

Mark and Heather are at the best Swim Centre in Mallorca and bring your their top tips for beginning your open water journey.

Here are their 9 top tips for open water swimming:

Equipment: Buy a wetsuit that fits well to prevent fighting it or carrying lots of water in it. Make sure you can be seen with a bright coloured hat and ensure you have a good set of googles to be able to see the course and any dangers ahead.

Safety: This is paramount in open water swimming. Swim at a proper venue with water testing and make sure to swim with someone else or have a spotter on the side. Also, familiarise yourself with the course entry and exit point before jumping in.

Warm up: It can be difficult to warm up when the water is cold so limbering up before can make a big difference. A few press ups and arm swings will suffice.

Climatisation: Sit on the edge with your feet in the water and splash some on your face to get your body used to the cold water.- Lie on your back: Enter the water slowly to allow your body to get used to the temperature change. A good way to relax is lay on your back and take several deep breaths to control your breathing.

Rescue: Should you find yourself in difficulty in deep water then roll on to your back and wave to catch someone's attention.

Confidence: Build confidence by taking it one step at a time. Step one is to fully submerge whilst blowing bubbles to ensure you can control your breathing.

Start slowly: Don't rush in to a long swim, especially if you are new to the open water. Swim to a buoy a short distance away, then take a break before continuing.- Finally.... ENJOY IT!

Tips taken from Global Triathlon Network.