Comrades Pioneer

Triathlon Glory Beckons



In the previous two years, the programme’s main goal
was to complete Ironman 70.3, but this year we are also including the 5150 events
at Bela Bela and Germiston. Next year we plan to extend the Academy training to
include participation at the 10th anniversary of Ironman in Port
Elizabeth in April.


But back to this year… The response has been beyond
our wildest expectations, which once again clearly shows that South African
athletes love a new challenge! Training started in early June and already the coached
weekend sessions have seen 15 to 30 eager newbie triathletes join coach Derick
Marcisz for a Saturday morning run, a Saturday afternoon swim and/or a Sunday
morning bike ride.


It is by means too late to join the Academy. For more
information on how to sign up, log onto the Modern
website at and follow the Dare to Tri



As most triathletes battle
with the swimming part of triathlons, Georgie Thomas, owner and operator of
Total Immersion South Africa, is on board with Dare to Tri and will be hosting
not-to-be missed workshops with advice on swimming training. Here is Georgie’s advice
for this month:


Swim smarter, not harder: We’ve all heard this saying
before, but nothing could be more true, especially for triathletes. If you are
new to triathlon or ramping up your training, you may be feeling tired and a
little overwhelmed, and juggling three disciplines at once will certainly add
to your stress. One of the biggest mistakes at this stage will be to try to
push harder and fit in more, just to make the weekly mileage target  of your programme. This may benefit your run
and bike, but it certainly won’t have much effect on your swimming, and could
just make you better at struggling. So, here are a few tips for when the going
gets tough:

Sometimes it’s more beneficial to skip an early
morning session if you haven’t had a good sleep. Rather squeeze in a 30-minute
session at lunchtime and get a few hours’ extra sleep.

If you go to the pool and find your mind wandering,
rather quit the session. It’s pointless unless you are focused.

If your body is tired from long bike and/or run
sessions, rather use your swim session as active recovery. Do a long leisurely
swim and focus on strokes per length rather than time. This way you work on
technique, but give your body a rest.

Think of your swim session as practice rather than
training – you’ll get fitness through your practice as well as your bike and
run sessions.

Set the primarily goal of your swim sessions to extend
your ability to focus on your form the whole time, and not on fitness. Practising
extending your focus in the pool will make the open water race experience easy,
because there will be no room for outside elements like crowds and rough water.

Spend a whole session just doing drills and no
swimming – but be sure to know why you are doing the drills, otherwise it’s



We chatted to a couple of our Dare to Tri Academy
members and this is what they had to say about their training up to now.



I am training for the 5150 events and will take it
from there. I did my first triathlon sprint event last year and knew after that
I wanted to keep going. 5150 is a bit of a pipe dream, as this will be the
hardest thing I have ever tackled. I want to do this for my mom, who died at
the age of 39 after battling cancer. I am 39 now and this is for her!


I have always been an active person, but became a bit
of a couch potato after an injury. Whilst at a New Year’s Eve party, I was
listening to friend talking about her first triathlon. She was a bit plump and
as I listened to her, I told myself that if she could do a triathlon, then I
could too! The next morning I Googled triathlon and by the end of January I had
signed up for swimming lessons and bought myself an exercise bike.


I love being part of the Dare to Tri programme. The
weekend training sessions are really good, as you get so much encouragement
from the group. The weekly programme keeps you focused and accountable to
yourself to keep going. The best part of the programme is Derick – his approach
to coaching keeps me motivated.



I stopped smoking after 20
years and took up running in an effort to try and get fit. My sister-in-law had
signed up for 70.3 and kept bugging me to join up, so eventually, around
October last year, I caved in and joined the Academy.
I enjoyed it so much I rejoined this year,
and now I am training for 5150 and Half Ironman.


Through the programme I am hoping to just feel fit and be healthier for my family.
After so many years of smoking I don’t want to go to back to how lazy I was
before. I loved the programme last year and am loving it again this year. I
like a scheduled routine to follow and a drill sergeant forcing me to push
myself during training. The programme’s systematic approach, coach Derick’s
experience and the support of group training make all the difference.



I bumped into an old friend last year who completed
Half Ironman and Ironman, and decided to tackle triathlon myself. My first goal
is to finish the Bela Bela 5150 event and then tackle Half Ironman. I did not
know where to start, though, and when I saw the article in Modern Athlete I signed up.


We are expecting our first child end of September and
I want to be fit and healthy. I was the one who used to come home from parties
at the crack of dawn and see runners and cyclist exercising in the morning and
thinking they are crazy. Now I see guys coming home at the crack of dawn while I’m
training and think those guys are the crazy ones!


My experience so far has been awesome. Derek and the
participants are encouraging and very insightful. I like the structure and
gradual progression.



I am training for Half Ironman and Full Ironman. I
finished Half Ironman in 2012 after self-training, but I heard about the Dare
to Tri Academy through an article in Modern
and decided to give group training a go. Triathlon is an incredibly
inspiring sport and I want to be part of that community. The Dare to Tri
programme has been a learning curve, as I used to train alone and now need to
get used to training in a group.


I would definitely recommend the programme to people
that live close to Bedfordview and are best able to take advantage of the
coached weekend sessions. I’d also recommend it to people that are keen to
experience a group environment and weekend training camps in Clarens – which I’m
really looking forward to!



My main aim is to complete Half Ironman. I have
watched my son compete and finish two Ironman events and this got me thinking
that maybe one day I could, too. I originally decided on doing it in 2015, but
my son talked me into giving it a go next year already.


I have completed 12 Comrades and two hundred milers. Now
triathlon gives me the opportunity to try my hand at three disciplines. I have
found the training programme very doable. Derick has started us off slowly and
is slowly building us up. The mid-week training is not as bad as I thought it
would be, and the weekend coached training is fun thanks to doing it in a
group. There are different fitness levels, so there is always someone to run or
ride next to.


If you are a novice triathlete, or even if you want to
get back into triathlons, the Dare to Tri Academy is the place to be.