What events are you entering as the winner of the Maxifuel Beat Your Best competition?
I've done the Blenheim Triathlon and it's the London Triathlon at the end of July.
How did the Blenheim Triathlon go for you?
Really well. That was my second ever triathlon and time-wise it wasn't comparable to the last one I entered in Nottingham, because that was flat compared with Blenheim's undulating course, but it went really well. It was much better than Nottingham in terms of how I felt, although time-wise it was slightly longer.
What's your top tip for each discipline for someone planning to take on a triathlon for the first time?
Try not to worry about the swim because you get a lot of buoyancy from the wetsuit, and go at your own pace. In the first tri I did I tried to go off hell for leather, against guys who had been doing it for years or were from a swimming background, and after about 50m I was puffed out and thought 'I'm not even going to complete this'. But in the Blenheim one I went at my own pace and found I had much more energy for the rest of the race. For the cycling my main tip would be to save some energy! Towards the end of the cycle remember you've got that run afterwards and don’t exhaust yourself. If you have made up a few places on the cycle, you can let some people slip by at the end and try to get them back in the run. My tip for running would be to just go for it because you're nearly at the end of the race. The adrenaline will help you make it.
What time are you hoping for in the London Triathlon?
Well, it's twice the distance of Blenheim [which is a sprint tri] and my time for that was 1hr 20min, so realistically double that and a little bit. 2hrs 45min would be amazing. Under three hours, definitely.
How is your training going?
It's going pretty well. Unfortunately, I've had a couple of weddings over the last few weekends which is when I normally manage to get in the longer hours of training. That’s been put to one side because of the weddings and the aftermaths the following mornings. Overall, though, I have massively picked up my training from what I was doing on my own originally. I've had some great tips and training plans from Pat Leahy, head coach at multi-sport fitness training company PRO-VO2 (opens in new tab) and the Maxifuel products have helped massively as well.
What Maxifuel products have you been using during racing and training and how effective have you found them?
During training it's been the gels and the sports drink which have been a big help. I've used these types of products before and Maxifuel’s are definitely up there with the best. But it's the Recovermax that’s amazing. Previously after my training I have just had a normal sports drink and then cracked on, but if you have hard a hard day's training the following day you can be really struggling to get going again. The Recovermax drink has got all your carbs and your protein and is absolutely fantastic.
So there's a noticeable difference in how you feel the next day when you have Recovermax after training?
Oh yeah, massively.
What would you say your strongest and weakest disciplines are?
I was quite surprised actually. I haven't swum properly for years, other than swimming in the pool on holiday, and it's only this year I have started properly training for it. So I thought going into Nottingham and Blenheim that the swimming would be my weakest without a doubt – it's the one I worried about most. But actually at Blenheim I came in about 600th out of 4,000 entrants in the swim, and it was the same for the cycle but for my run I was around the 900th mark, so I was quite surprised because I thought my running was stronger than my swimming. Technically I'm not a very good swimmer, but it's the start of the race, the adrenaline is pumping and maybe that helped me go a bit faster than I what I'm used to in training, plus the extra buoyancy from the wetsuit contributes too. And even though I'm very comfortable running ten miles [16km], stick all the disciplines together and it's a different story. So I’d say swimming and cycling are my strongest disciplines and running my weakest – but it’s mainly because of the order they come in.
How has winning the competition affected your view of triathlon?
It's been fantastic. I'm not a member of any triathlon clubs so everything I was doing was just from magazines and stuff. Now, apart from the products and kit that I've got, I’ve been to Loughborough and trained with a couple of the GB athletes and coaches and some of the tips we were given that day were fantastic, really valuable. Since then I have got a few more training trips from Pat Leahy. It's been hard trying to fit the training schedule around work, but it’s given me a great base to work from and the drive to keep going.
Neil Whitney is taking part in the Beat Your Best ultimate triathlon experience brought to you by industry experts, Maxifuel and Speedo. For more information go to maxifuel.com/beatyourbest (opens in new tab)
Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.
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