Thank Goodness for Clif Bar!!

clifThank goodness for Clif Bar!! I have been a bit busy with work, getting the house ready to put up for sale and looking for a new house, (or motorhome -stay tuned!) so I haven’t had the time I would have liked to experiment with nutrition bars. Enter Clifbars - an ethical company that takes whole food seriously. Plant based nutrition AND free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup who have sponsored me on this Ultraman journey AND as well as fuelling me have sent me some cool kit! I did find the time, however, to make these Super Simple and easy to put together (right up my alley!) Onigiri. A Japanese rice ball popular in ultra race aid stations due to its cooling effect on the body – loaded with carbohydrates, electrolytes and salt and easy to digest to boot. The photo is google image (mine weren’t so pretty) and I got the recipe from :

riceEat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

By Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman

2 cups sushi rice

4 cups water

2 teaspoons miso or umeboshi paste

3-4 sheets nori seaweed

Follow the directions for cooking the rice, then rinse and place the rice in the fridge over night to cool.

Using your hands, form a 1/3 -1/4 cup rice into a triangle. Spread 1/4 teaspoon miso or umeboshi paste evenly on one side of the triangle. Cover with another 1/3-1/4 cup rice. Shape into one triangle, making sure the miso is covered with rice. Using half of one sheet of nori, wrap the rice triangle in nori, making sure to completely cover the rice.

 Next time I make these, I am going to make a bit smaller. These lasted a good 4-5 bites and on the bike I am not going to want to hold on to these suckers for that long. I also added pickled ginger (to keep the tummy happy). On the whole I am happy with these and with the seaweed sheets they have their own wrapper.

They are a big hit when you’ve been having sweet stuff and want something salty and savoury. But I’m not against trying these with almond butter or honey…

My favourite thing in the world is quick and easy to assemble snacks with as few ingredients as possible – hopefully at some point I will have the time to get stuck in making more bars. The toughest thing about triathlon- fitting life in between training sessions!

*This week I spent:

4 hours swimming (missed one session)

4 hours running

7 hours biking (cut 2 sessions short)

*And watched:

The Sasquatch Gang

Carpool karaoke with Gwen Stefani, Adel, Sia, JLo, One Direction, Chris Martin, and Elton John – and yes, I sang along.

Hundreds of swimming videos (at least 10)

Britain’s Next Top Model cycle 10… all 9 episodes… I’m not proud of this.

My Vegan nutrition for Ultraman

carrotBeing Vegan and with the rigours of the particular challenge that Ultraman places I have to really consider the nutrition I am going to use and how it will fuel me pre, during and post race so this week I did some nutrition testing. First up was some raw carrot cake balls; next week it is Scott Jurek’s Japanese Rice Balls (Onigiri). If you are interested, here is the recipe:

No-Bake Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Courtesy of Amanda @ Running with Spoons

Yields: 12 balls


  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 4 dried apricots                                                    
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

In a food processor, combine first 5 ingredients until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the coconut) and continue processing until smooth.

Roll into balls and press into the shredded coconut .


1, 2, 3 ....GO!

So my swim training is kicking into high gear – with 123 days to go, I guess it had to at some point. A Tuesday night 5.6k set took 1hr 45mins – which seemed ok until I realized the race is 10km in Lake Bala so basically I am looking at about 3.5 hours if I don’t speed up!  If you fancy replicating the session it was:  1 x 600 pb/pad

6 x 100 pb only – 10 sec rests

2 x 500 pb/pad – 30 sec rest

5 x 200 1st , 3rd and 5th are pb/pad; 2nd and 4th are pb only – 15 sec

3 x 400 pb/pad – 25 sec rest

4 x 300 1st and 3rd are pb/pad, 2nd and 4th are pb only – 20 sec


The weather has been, shall we say, “changeable”. There was a 2 hour window last weekend to take out The Beast (I am experimenting with names for my bike). This was the inaugural outing – and I am so happy to say The Beast is ALIVE! She is a Dimond with Knight 65 front and 95 rear wheels – perfectly fitted as always by Richard at FreeSpeed.

It was nice to be outdoors as I have been doing all of my cycling on the turbo trainer in the garage. At some point I think I will have watched every movie on YouTube!

Happy training!!


What do you do when Marathon, Ultras or Ironman isn't enough?

IMG_4348It all started with a book. “The Race Within” by Jim Gourley – a story of passion, courage and sacrifice at the Ultraman Triathlon. Having spent the last 15 years racing triathlon up to Ironman distance and running up to Ultras my planned ‘easy’ 2016 season of ‘just’ racing half ironman distance was slowly slipping through my fingers the more I read.   In December 2015 when I entered UM UK I had a great idea for a blog writing about what it takes to get to the start of Ultraman, as a Vegan how I plan to implement a plant based nutrition plan and ultimately how the race goes – then all of a sudden it’s the MIDDLE of APRIL! Day one of this three day race is 1st of September. Roughly 4 months away. Training so far has been about keeping the fitness I already had from training and racing Ironman distance and staying injury free. Four week blocks of training have emphasized building consistency and volume – nothing too daunting… yet. If you are not familiar with the rigours of Ultraman the race information is below.

Friday – Stage 1 – 10.0 km (6.2 mile) 1km x 5 loop swim up the right side of Bala Lake . The swim is immediately followed by a one-loop 144.8 km (90.0 mile) bike ride beginning & finishing Day 1 in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy. Time Limits – All swimmers must be out of the water within 6 hours and the bike stage must be completed in 6 hours.  Stage 1 has a total cut-off time of 12 hours.  All athletes will be timed.

Saturday – Stage 2 – One-loop 275.8 km (171.4 mile) bike ride beginning and finishing Day 2 in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy County. Time Limits – Bike (Stage 2) in 12 hours. All athletes will be timed.

Sunday – Stage 3 – Mt. Snowdon is central to the 84.3 km (52.4 mile) double-marathon run course. Day 3 begins & ends in Betws-y-Coed in Conwy County. Time Limits – Run (Stage 3) in 12 hours. All athletes will be timed.

Each must be accompanied by an individual support team of at least two persons over the entire course.  Individual resources: mental, physical and spiritual, are shared in an atmosphere where the pursuit of human excellence is the fundamental rule of the road.

Stay Tuned: Next week I will be experimenting with my plant based nutrition plan!!

Boost your Immune System this Winter



Leek, Fennel, Apple + Walnut Soup with Turmericserves: 4

One of the great ways we can get good nutrients into our diet and to boost that immune system in the Winter time when colds, coughs and flu are abound is to cook up a great pot of soup. This recipe here is designed to provide anti inflammatory ingredients  to heal, nourish, and soothe. Whether you’re battling a bad cold or the flu, this food will help you on the road to recover but best of all it tastes great!  There is some good research to suggest that the health-giving properties of these home remedies and their active ingredients will actively help in these Winter months. So why not try this recipe below to ward off illness or just warm up a chilly weeknight supper.

soup ingredients:2 tbsp coconut oil3 leeks, white + light green parts chopped 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves minced1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped (reserve a few fronds for garnish)2 medium bramley apples, peeled, cored + chopped1-2 tsp ground turmeric1/2 cup walnut halves, toastedsalt + pepper4 cups vegetable stock

to serve:maple syrupfresh black pepperreserved fennel frondsmore toasted walnuts

Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add the chopped leeks and thyme. Stir and sauté the leeks until they are a bit soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped fennel and apples. Stir everything up a bit. Add the turmeric and stir to coat all of the vegetables evenly. Sauté the vegetables until the fennel is starting to soften, another 4 minutes. Add the walnuts and stir them in. Season the whole thing with salt and pepper.Add the vegetable stock and stir. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until all of the vegetables/apples are very soft, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Carefully blend the mixture in batches until totally smooth. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Bring the puréed soup to a boil and serve hot with drizzles of maple syrup, fresh black pepper, fennel fronds and more toasted walnuts.


Dublin 70.3 Race Report

Dublin 70.3 Race Report 10448825_497448720387814_4220495444974091941_n Last Sunday Beth and I raced the inaugral 70.3 in Dublin. After a race I like to be quite objective with my race reports in order that I and others can glean some information about the race, and learn from those things that worked well and those things that didn’t go quite to plan.

My objectives for this event

This was a build up race for us in our prep for IM Chattanooga in September but with most races I always aim to do as well as I can.

Swim – as ever try to be strong and get the swim done without it taking anything out of me

Bike – ride a solid bike leg aiming to put myself in a good position to run strongly

Run – aim was to run around 1:30 which I hoped would put me in sight of an age group podium


On the Sunday before the race I had my last real hit out session with a run that included 20 x 3 min reps at 70.3 race pace with 1 min recovery jogs. After the session I felt like I had a bit of hayfever coming on but early hours of Monday I awoke with a sore throat. No excuses whatsoever but this developed into a cold then a chesty cough as the week went on. Come the Friday I made the decision I would race as I felt it was getting better and we spent the day sight seeing; which culminated in a great meal and a couple of pints of Guinness in a bar on O’Connell Street with some great live Irish music – the Guinness actually seemed to help my cold! Saturday was the usual racking of bikes, dropping of bags and race briefing all of which seemed to take forever as the swim start and T1 was an hours drive away from T2 and the brief.


11811294_706981652767852_4258489646522847887_nRace morning felt pretty nervous which I haven’t been since Vitoria last year and this is definitely something to continue to work on. The swim takes place in Scotsman’s Bay, Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary) and the 1 lap anti clockwise swim was set off in rolling, wave starts; there is a nice video of the swim start here. We were split into gender and age group waves that set off at 10 min intervals but you entered in a very orderly fashion down a slipway into the Irish Sea with the timing mat at the bottom of the slip way so there way no drama of the mass start. The swim was un-dramatic, although was about 300m long! The water temperature was reported to be 14.9 degrees C and there was a bit of a swell running that made sighting awkward. I came out in 40:40 which was 13th in my AG but as it turns out nicely placed with those who would be in the mix as you can see from the results below. The exit is steep but multiple helpers did a grand job pulling you out.

All the bike bags were on racks in a tent as is normal at these events and I found mine and pulled on a long sleeved skins top to keep me at a good temperature and protect from the” Irish sunshine” on the bike. I was away well and pleased with myself for a reasonably slick transition all things considered.



bikeThe bike course is a beautiful relatively flat course where you cycle on closed roads firstly straight into and through Dublin city centre the out on a one lap route that ends in Phoenix Park. The road surface in the main is pretty ropey to be honest and there were some significant pot holes. There are also at least 30 to 40 speed bumps on the course with 22 of them in the last few miles coming into Phoenix Park. These coupled with the road conditions and the rain shower we had made for some crashes and also the usual bottles and bits of bikes littering the course. I felt like I cycled well and only remember a couple of guys passing me and came off the bike in good shape in 2:33.


11870694_706847759447908_6256546699818839470_nThis is my strength and I had high hopes of keeping to the 1:30 target I ghad set myself. The run course is three laps around Phoenix Park and is pretty much supported the whole way round. At the end of lap 1 I stopped to have a pee in a portaloo and this was a good move in terms of I ran much better afterwards but took a few precious seconds so perhaps I should have peed on the bike. Technique wise I tried to run light, using a heel strike and hold my hips high with high cadence. It’s never easy in a triathlon but I felt my technique stayed reasonable throughout although I could definitely have run with a higher cadence.

The crowd support on the run was fantastic enthusiastic! My first two laps were pretty much on target and I felt that I was accelerating as the race went on which on a multi lap course is a great mental boost as you spend the entire race overtaking people. I ran a 1:32 so was happy with that time and it gave me a finish time of 4:56:19 and 5th in my AG. No World Championship slot for me although it rolled to 3rd place however Beth managed to bad a roll down slot and therefore we will be making the trek across to Mooloolaba in September 2016. Still time for me to join her racing though!


Swim – I stayed focused and got it done without it taking anything out of me

Bike – I’m in good and felt I rode reasonably strongly without it killing me for the run.

Run – A strong run, not as fast as some but I felt like I tried hard.


Overall I went in with a plan and stuck to it and didn’t feel I needed anymore.


We had breakfast in the hotel: cereal with some fruit and some homebaked Guinness Brown Bread with honey and almond butter. Yes all you Paleo people will be shouting at this.


One bottle with 4 Overstims gels in it topped up with water.

One bottle with some Overstims carb drink

1 ½ Powerbars withy the whole bar cut in half.

1 x Double Expresso Clif Shot Gels (caffeinated)



1 x Double Expresso Clif Shot Gels (caffeinated)

2 x Overstims gels


Plan was to eat half a bar every 20 mins on bike then take caffeinated gel at 1 hr 20 then drink from gel bottle every 20 mins to finish. On run it was 1 gel every 25 ish minutes.



  1. All my gear worked great and I did not get too hot or cold. Huub wetsuit, Cervelo P3, Adidas Tempo run shoes – I’ve run in Adidas Tempo since 2012 if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it
  2. I handled the mental side well once the race started but was nervous before. In the swim and the bike and raced my own race. Felt I ran strongly
  3. Nutrition worked pretty well in terms of not bonking at all
  4. Confident that if things go well I can put together a faster time

Negatives / Work On’s:

  1. Race nerves pre race
  2. Possibly nutrition. I need to think how to transfer this plan to Ironman
  3. Push harder on swim and bike – however cognisant that “you run for dough” so don’t want to overcook it

All in all a great race and one I would certainly do again.



Your Twitter Nutrition Tip for the Age Group Triathlete

imagesInspired by a poll my good friend Gary Fegan (@Fegan) carried out - we asked a wide range of Professional Triathletes, Coaches, Nutritionists and Scientists: "In this world of differing diets, Paleo etc, what would you advise for working age group triathletes?" Many, many thanks to those that took the time to responded below, it truly demonstrates the fortunate contact we have to and with the professional triathlon community.



Brett Sutton @trisutto

Professional Triathlon Coach, Switzerland/Cozumel

As I tell all my women athletes, old school; meat, vegetables and fruit. For the men, if training hard add the pasta.


Rachel Joyce @rjoyce09

Professional Triathlete, London, England

Everyone's different but the approach I go for is everything fresh and no to processed foods.


Professor Tim Noakes @proftimnoakes

Exercise Science Professor, Cape Town, SA

If heavy and insulin resistant, Paleo would be advisable. Too early to say Paleo will work for all. Each an experiment of one.


Jozsef Major @krepster

Professional Triathlete, Lisbon, Portugal

I seriously follow, believe and recommend @TheCoreDiet. It has its similarities w/ Paleo but it's more "performance driven. Not a paleo fan but everyone has to do that works the best for him/her. Eat 5-6 times/day. Focus on protein, carbs, good fat, less sugar.


Paul Burton @pablo_burt

Age Group Triathlete, London, England

I'm not going paleo/LCHF, but an active move towards a middle ground where I control refined carb intake. Lots more eggs/meat

 Early thoughts are that it really helps control energy levels - much More stable, no crashes. Tricky with a sweet tooth though. Must say I'm enjoying embracing eggs & steaks in my diet. Learning to cook properly is fun as well - better than boiling pasta


Belinda Granger @belinda_granger

Professional Triathlete, Noosa, Aus

‏‪I still live by the good old fashioned 'everything in moderation'. I eat gluten,meat, dairy, vege, chocolate, red wine, coffee

 I make sure I eat it all in moderation and cut down on the 'naughty stuff' when I need is too short to miss out


Dr Philip Skiba @drphilipskiba

Programme Director of Sports Medicine, Chicago, USA

Eat a well balanced diet. Fad diets are for celebrities with more money than sense.


Daniel Hawksworth @hawky1

Professional Triathlete, Jersey, Channel Islands

I enjoy my food but eat healthy at the same time. Body needs fuel. Not in to dieting. If you are too heavy train harder.


Catherine Faux @catherinefaux

Age Group Triathlete, Sheffield, England

Keep it natural and unprocessed. If your granny would be perplexed (pot noodle?) then steer clear. And no 'never' foods.

It's a good rule of thumb. My granny introduced me to slow cooker: perfect for hot tasty goodness after long cold ride. Genius!


Caroline Steffen @caroline_xena

Professional Triathlete, Mooloolaba QLD / Spiez BE

Eat 'clean' food only. No processed products! If the list of ingredients on the backside is longer than 3words, stay away of it


Charlie Pennington @c_e_pennington

Age Group Triathlete, Surrey, England

I'm unusual (!) in that i don't get to control what I get offered to eat (limited choice in Mess): either I eat it or not. therefore I try to be sensible: I eat in moderation but don't particularly forego anything if I want it. I guess the key is that I don't want to burden my wife (does most of cooking when I'm home) with a diet. I eat with my kids :)


Richard Evershed @revershed

Age Group Triathlete, Cheltenham, England

Think it's bit of an AGer thing to subscribe to a type diet (paleo etc) Most pros I’ve read about just keep it simple & eat clean


Tom Lowe @tomalowe

Professional Triathlete, Bristol, England

Healthy, balanced, aspects of Paleo I'd adopt but certainly not all. Plenty of fruit & veg, carbs like oats/potatoes, grains.


Dirk Bockel @dirkbockel

Professional Triathlete, Luxembourg

Without knowing athletes history its hard to say. Heathy, organic (meat,eggs,milk) and mostly GF for sure. Low carb. Many colors


Gordo Byrn @gordo_68

Professional Triathlon Coach, Boulder, Co, USA

For performance ‪ …


Brandon Marsh @brandonmarshtx

Professional Triathlete, Texas

Fuel the workouts. Eat smart outside of workouts. Stay away from 'diets'.


Paulo Sousa @pstriathlon

Professional Triathlon Coach, San Diego, Ca, USA

Not a fan of the term "diet" and all the baggage that carries. Eat in a balanced way, low on processed high on fresh food.


Victor Del Corral @victordelcorral

Professional Triathlete, Spain

No meat and no sugar added food products. Drink a lot of water!


Alan Couzens @alan_couzens

Professional Triathlon Coach, Boulder, Co, USA

Scale carbs with activity level. 40/30/30 is a good "middle ground" target for a serious AGer (15-20hrs/wk)


Gina Crawford @gina_crawford

Professional Triathlete, NZ

Eat as natural as possible, cut out the processed stuff. Proteins, fats good, but you still need carbs to fuel sessions.


 Scott Neyedii @scottneyedii

Professional Triathlete, Aberdeen, Scotland

High protein generally


Darren Smith @coachdaz

Professional Triathlon Coach, Morzine Fr (Sedona & Canberra)

Very balanced approach to nutrients eat real food! More smaller portions spaced thru day don't go overboard on protein-no need


Matt Dixon @purplepatch

Professional Triathlon Coach, San Francisco, USA

Avoid voodoo hype. Keep it simple. Eat real foods. Ensure you fuel following every workout. Frequent and small healthy meals.


Robbie Haywood @robinhaywood

Professional Triathlon Coach, Various Locations

Don't be scared of good fats, eat for long term health - can't train a sick body


Professor Paul Laursen @paulblaursen

Physiology Manager High Performance Sport, North Shore New Zealand

 Paleo or LCHF like this: …, but periodised like this. ….

 but need to warn them that at first they will likely feel like this... …


Emily Miazga @emspowercookies

Nutritionist & Coast to Coast Winner, New Zealand

Some ideals of Paleo are good like avoiding processed food. But I advocate whole food plant-based eating, no fad diets.


Meredith Kessler @mbkessler

Professional Triathlete, San Francisco, Ca, USA

Variety, moderation+normalcy=ideal. Eating wholesome + unprocessed foods in your fueling window @ right times - minimal focus on a #!!


Catriona Morrison @cat_morrison

Professional Triathlete, Broxburn, Scotland

Wide & varied, as unprocessed as poss. Prep & freeze for the week ahead. Treats mandatory.


Edith Niederfriniger @ironfrini

Professional Triathlete, Meran, Italy

Lots of vegetables, add more good protein if you are focusing on gaining strength, more carbs for high intense workouts


Chris McDonald @bigsexymcdonald

Professional Triathlete, Austin, Tx, USA

Everything in moderation! Remember EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth is your "diet".


Tyler Butterfield @tybutterfield

Professional Triathlete, Boulder, Co, USA

I tend to go with Healthy Balance Diet. Nothing crazy, just balance little bit everything. Carb, protein, healthy fats, etc.


Justin Daerr @justindaerr

Professional Triathlete, Boulder, Co, USA

Fuel yourself adequately during long training sessions to avoid overeating later.


Emma Davis @emmadavistri

Professional Triathlete, Various locations

My preference is paleo "for athletes". Paleo with some natural starches such as sweet potatoes etc around training when needed


Joe Beer @coachjoebeer

Professional Triathlon Coach, Braunton, Devon, England

One that is "balanced with your goals, budget, personal happiness and outcome realism" ( diet makes a champ)

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     Happy eating from Neil & Beth at Performance-Edge!