Train­ing to go the Iron dis­tance

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - THE HUB -

or the many budding triath­letes in the Malaysian multi-sport scene, pre­par­ing for their first Iron­man is no easy feat. The event is not an easy one, fea­tur­ing a gru­elling multi-chal­lenge of swim-bike-run, in that spe­cific or­der and without any break in be­tween. The name coined for the com­pe­ti­tion is the first hint of what par­tic­i­pants are in for when they sign up for such an event, re­gard­less of where it is held in the world.

En­ter Ru­pert Chen, Malaysia’s fastest Iron­man of 2016, and the most well known face in the lo­cal triathlon scene. He’s con­sid­ered the best of the best, and has gar­nered re­spect from the en­tire com­mu­nity for his achieve­ments, that earned him the cov­eted po­si­tion of Iron­man Am­bas­sador in both Malaysia and Asia. Right af­ter our fea­ture ar­ti­cle on the ir­re­press­ible Tereng­ganu na­tive, he promptly in­vited us to join the Port Dick­son Triathlon Clinic in col­lab­o­ra­tion with triathlon leg­end Un­cle Chan from Triathlon Malaysia.

For those who aren’t fa­mil­iar with these clin­ics, you may won­der about the need to pay to take part in such an event, when there are many peo­ple who can just as eas­ily train on their own. Essen­tially, the clinic sim­u­lates a real triathlon, in the sense that it is also a swim-bike-run pri­vate train­ing ses­sion or­gan­ised in a safe man­ner, with lots of ad­vice and tips thrown in. It is de­signed to en­sure that ath­letes can ex­e­cute the train­ing as well as they can, to pre­pare them­selves for the spe­cific de­mands of race day.

The clinic has been par­tic­u­larly use­ful for would-be triath­letes to re­duce their

Fmar­gin for error when com­pet­ing in the event proper. “If you join the clinic and treat it as a race day, you would have no­ticed issues such as nu­tri­tion, weak­ness or skills which you can try and fix be­fore­hand to en­hance your race day re­sults,” ex­plains Ru­pert.

“We started with warm up stretch­ing, then an open wa­ter swim for 30 min­utes. Then a bike ride of 40km or op­tional 20km shorter dis­tance. We fin­ished with a 30-minute run; the dis­tance is up to the par­tic­i­pants. Also we pro­vided bike racks and bas­kets which ath­letes can use to prac­tice their tran­si­tion skills which is a very im­por­tant skill for race day.”

He’s truly in his el­e­ment at the clinic, util­is­ing his loud hailer to push or en­cour­age the par­tic­i­pants, to swim farther, pedal harder, or run faster. At times he even sounds the alarm to spur them on, and it ob­vi­ously has the in­tended ef­fect. As the founder or Rc­coach­ing,

Ru­pert’s ex­pe­ri­ence helps pin­point issues or weak­nesses

that the par­tic­i­pants will not see for them­selves. He’s clearly got a good eye for such er­rors and has a knack for coach­ing, and his tri clin­ics are in pretty high de­mand. Around 200 ath­letes joined the clinic, dou­ble the num­ber of slots orig­i­nally opened up. Ath­letes were as young as 11, and up to 60 years old.

But per­haps the key el­e­ment of the triathlon clinic is the op­por­tu­nity to swim the open wa­ters off Port Dick­son with the safety kayaks and buoys, which helps many peo­ple over­come any fears they have to avoid pan­ick­ing on the day of the event. But this does not mean all the clin­ics are held in the pop­u­lar re­sort town.

“We have lim­ited open wa­ter swim in Klang Val­ley, and PD is the near­est and most con­ve­nient location. This also gave ath­letes the chance to test the course,” Ru­pert says, re­fer­ring to the Port Dick­son In­ter­na­tional Triathlon 2018. “We have con­ducted clin­ics at Kin­a­balu, Chi­ang Mai and Langkawi pre­vi­ously. We have also been in­vited to con­duct a triathlon clinic in Taip­ing and Pe­nang.”

Train­ing ses­sions like the Port Dick­son Triathlon Clinic is now con­sid­ered cru­cial for an ath­lete’s prepa­ra­tion for triathlon events. Speak­ing to a num­ber of par­tic­i­pants af­ter­wards, many said it was in­stru­men­tal in help­ing them con­di­tion both their minds and bod­ies for other events, multi-sport or oth­er­wise.

The clinic has been par­tic­u­larly use­ful for would-be triath­letes to re­duce their mar­gin for error when com­pet­ing in the event proper.

*Head to https://www.face­ Ru­pert­tri­fam­ily/ for more in­for­ma­tion on Rc­coach­ing’s up­com­ing triathlon clin­ics.

1 Un­cle Chan and Ru­pert shar­ing a laugh as they guide par­tic­i­pants through warmup. 2 Team Time are reg­u­lar faces at the clinic, seen here in the cy­cling seg­ment. 3 Stretch­ing be­fore the triathlon sim­u­la­tion be­gins. 4 Plenty of bike racks to prac­tice tran­si­tion skills. 5 Head­ing out for the cy­cling seg­ment. 6 Open wa­ter swim - a key el­e­ment of the clinic. 7 All smiles through the last run seg­ment.

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