Training for your First Triathlon Step 3: What Other Equipment Will I Need?

Step 2 (read it here) covers the essential equipment and getting it sorted before you commence your training programme. This post will look at what other items will benefit you as you commence training for your first triathlon. You certainly can complete your first triathlon without anything mentioned in this post, but getting some of them as you work your way through the programme will make your training more pleasant, more successful and easier to do.

First up for females (males can jump straight to the next paragraph) is a good well fitting, quality sports bra. A good well fitting, quality sports bra will prevent ‘bounce’ which causes stretching of the Coopers Ligament. As there are no muscles in breast tissue, the Coopers Ligament is the only thing holding your breasts to your body. A good quality, well fitting sports bra can decrease bounce by 73%.

Good quality running socks. I personally swear by Thorlo socks because they keep my feet cushioned and, as they are a synthetic fibre, they wick moisture away from the foot thus minimising the risk of blisters. Occasionally I race in thin DryMax socks which have less cushioning than the Thorlos and although very lightweight are still very effective at wicking away the moisture. Both socks are expensive but no-one regrets buying quality.

Swimming goggles will protect your eyes by keeping water out of them.

I recommend two pairs:

  • a dark tint pair for days when you are swimming outdoors in bright light
  • a yellow/blue/pink lens pair for indoors or low light conditions as these colours enhance the amount of light coming into your eyes.

Specific open water goggles allow for 180 degree peripheral vision, giving you great perspective. Pool goggles have a narrower focus. Some goggles are specifically designed for females that take into account higher check bones and narrower nose bridges like the Blue Seventy Siren goggle.

Sun glasses are an important safety item whilst riding your bike. If you are riding at 20km/hr and a bug is flying at 20km/hr and it crashes into your eyeball that is a collision with your eyeball at 40km/hr!!! Regardless of how sunny the day is, sun glasses will prevent the bug colliding with your eyeball. I have three sorts: a yellow lens for low light days, a tinted lens for bright shiny days and a clear lens for when it is dark.
Queen – Bicycle Race

To misquote the lyrics of a Queen song “cycle shorts make the rocking world go round”.  Good quality cycle shorts include a chamois which helps pad, protect and prevent chaffing of your nether region. Most quality brands will have specific chamois for each gender. Qwik Kiwi have a range of New Zealand made cycle shorts for both women and men. If you are a member of either Team Qwik Kiwi or the Qwik Kiwi Tribe you can purchase them at cost price. Contact Coach Ray if you would like to take advantage of this.

Cycling gloves are also important for the safety of your hands. In the event of crashing you are likely to instinctively put your hands out and may lose some skin from your palms. This will create discomfort and issues in the days ahead whenever you try and grip something, whether it is the handle bar of your bike or the steering wheel of your car.

If you are on a budget consider which of these items is the highest priority (you might need to do some maintenance from Step 2 which should be a higher priority than items in this list). If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at, and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Training for your First Triathlon Step 2: Getting Your Equipment Sorted

Make sure you read Step 1 here.

You don’t need much to get started for your first triathlon. At a bare minimum you need a bike, helmet and a pair of sneakers. Lets discuss these items in a bit more detail before we look at all the other items that can assist you.

Your bike needs to be functioning correctly. If it has been sitting around in a garden shed for a while, for your own safety it will be worth taking it to your local bike shop. At the very least get them to service the brakes (very important for your safety), maimgresintain the chain (otherwise it won’t work) and ensure the wheels rotate smoothly (you won’t go far if they don’t). Often for bikes sitting around unused you can expect the brake cables to be frayed and/or damaged and need replacing. The brake pads may be worn and also need replacing. Chains are often in poor condition and need replacement or some serious love. Often the rubber on the tyres degrades.  New tyres and tubes will prevent you from getting flat tyres.

Your helmet is your life line.  It will only do its job if it isn’t damaged. My life has been saved many times by a quality helmet. I’ve ridden off a cliff at 80km/hr when I was going too fast to take a corner in a race. I don’t remember the ride in the rescue helicopter but apparently I went head first into a tree then rag dolled it down the cliff. I would not have walked out of hospital that afternoon if it wasn’t for the helmet absorbing the impact of the crash and saving my life. Make sure yours is in good condition and if you do crash with it, get it replaced. If you are unsure what sort of state it is in, take it into your local bike shop and get them to look at it and advise you. The bike shop I recommend in Blenheim is Cycle World.  In Nelson I recommend Village Cycles. Both are owned by good guys who have knowledgeable workshop staff that are active in all forms of cycling.

Sneakers are an important aspect of your journey to your first triathlon. They will protect your feet. As you start off you will be fine in whatever shoes you have, but as you build up the amount of walking and/or running you do I would recommend getting a good quality pair of shoes. Finding a suitable pair of shoes for your foot type is important. Each major brand has a range of shoes that cater for neutral feet or feet that need stability/support or motion control. Getting in the right shoes is important to make sure that you avoid injury. The best way to know for sure that you get in the right pair of shoes is to go to a store with knowledgeable staff. In my experience the discount running shoe stoimgres-1res often employ staff that don’t know much about shoes, bio-mechanics or running. To find quality staff you need to go to a technical running store. Staff at Shoe Clinic are trained to a high standard.

Well that is the big three sorted. In a future post I’ll cover the more minor equipment that will make your life enjoyable whilst you train and prepare for your first triathlon .

What you need to do now is get your bike and helmet, get them checked out and sorted so you are ready to start training properly.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Run Workouts for Qwik Kiwi Tribe Programmes

Welcome to the Qwik Kiwi tribe for you respective event.

Here is where you will find descriptions of the run workouts you will find within your training programme.

Run – Easy

This session is conducted at an easy Level I-II intensity and is typically 30 minutes long (or shorter). Keep the pace nice and steady. This session provides a a number of benefit: It helps develop the efficiency of the heart and lungs; and, It doesn’t require as much recovery as some of the other runs in your training schedule. Finish with ten minutes of stretching muscles that are sore or tired.

Run – Steady

This session has similar benefits as the Easy Run above, but is longer in duration. It is done at Level II intensity consistently through out the session. As it is longer and you don’t spend time at the lower Level I intensity that you can in the Easy Run you develop more efficiency of the heart and lungs, but you also build up more fatigue. Finish with ten minutes of stretching muscles that are sore or tired.

Run – 5km Time Trial (TT)

This session provides us with feedback and data as to where your fitness currently is. Over the period of a programme we might do this a few times and compare your time against previous results. Physiologically this session will develop your ability to buffer lactic acid and handle a faster pace and greater effort.

This session should be done on a flat course and you will need to measure your 5km route before you run it the first time. To ensure that you are comparing apples with apples, make sure you use the exact same course each time you do the TT. I recommend an ‘out and back’ course, where you run out 2.5km and then turn around and run 2.5km back.

Run Coach NZ
Here is a HR and Pace graph from a member of Team Qwik Kiwi. You can see how flat the HR and Pace is as they were really good at managing their effort and keeping it consistent through the session.
  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 3x 60sec Level IV, 30sec RI Level I;
  • 5km TT;
  • 10min CD Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

The session starts with a Warm Up (WU) of ten minutes at Level II. Then increase your effort for 60 seconds to Level IV to get the Heart Rate (HR) up. After the 60 seconds drop your pace down to Level I for a 30 second Rest Interval (RI).Make sure you keep jogging slowly during the Rest Interval. Repeat this a total of three times. Aim to finish this part of the workout near the start line of the pre-measured 5km course.

Run the 5km as fast as you practically can to get the best possible time. Wear a Heart Rate Monitor or GPS watch but try and avoid looking at it. Run by feel but record the data and load it up onto Training Peaks as soon as you can after the workout.

Once you’ve done your 5km, jog at Level I-II for ten minutes as a Cool Down (CD) prior to finishing with ten minutes of stretching.

Run – Long

Long Runs are done at Level II intensity. The long run develops the efficiency of the heart and lungs and ability to run despite being fatigued. As Arthur Lydiard used to say to his top runners when he sent them on a 22 mile long run “It’s not the first twenty miles that gets the results but the two miles that come after the first twenty that gets the results.” The same applies to you regardless of your level of fitness or running ability. Even if 45 minutes is a long run for you, you get the benefit of the last ten minutes that pushes you past your current capability.

Run Training NZ
Long Run with 4x ~100m Stride Outs towards the end of the workout.

During the programme your long runs will progressively get longer over the weeks. Once we’ve built up your fitness to do long runs that are longer than 75 minutes we will include some stride outs. Stride Outs are short, fast paced, smooth running with great technique. I typically get you to do four reps of ~100m towards the end of a long run, with 5 minutes of running at Level II between. For example if you were doing a 90 minute Long Run then you would do each your four ~100m stride outs at the 65 minute, 70 minute, 75 minute and 80 minute marks, leaving you ten minutes after the last Stride Out for a Cool Down.

As with ALL sessions finish with ten minutes stretching.

Run – Hill Reps

Hill Reps develop the strength and power of your leg muscles. This will pay dividends with the later training and also on event day.


  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 5x 4min Hill Reps Level IV, ~4min jog down;
  • 10min CD Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

Start with a Warm Up of ten minutes at Level II. Try and do this on flattish course that lead to the base of a hill. If it takes you a little longer than the ten minutes to get to the hill that is fine to extend the Warm Up.

Run up the hill at a Level IV intensity for the duration of the repetition (four minutes in the example above). Make a mental note of how far you got to in the time frame and then turn around and jog down the hill to recover. As soon as you get back to your start point turn around and run back up the hill at your Level IV intensity trying to get past the point where you got to in the previous rep. Repeat for as many times as is scheduled in your programme (five reps in the example above).

After the last rep, run home at Level I-II intensity to Cool Down prior to doing ten minutes of stretches.

Run – Threshold Intervals

Threshold Intervals are higher intensity intervals that prepare you for the faster running of the event and also develop your efficiency with less time training. Threshold Intervals will leave you tired and fatigued if we don’t build an aerobic base prior to including them into your programme.


Marathon Training NZ
4x 6min Threshold Intervals
  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 4x 6min Level IV, 2min Level I RI;
  • 10min CD Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

Start off by  running at Level II for ten minutes to Warm Up (WU). Increase your effort and pace to Level IV for the duration of the interval (in the example above it is six minutes), then have a Rest Interval (RI) at Level I (in the example above it is for two minute). Once you’ve done all the repetitions scheduled (four in the example above), commence your Cool Down (CD) at Level I-II for ten minutes. Finish with ten minutes of stretching.

Run – Long, Progressive

These runs develop your ability to push on and through a level of fatigue and simulate what you will experience with in the race.


  • 50min Level II;
  • 50min Level III;
  • 10min Level IV;
  • 10min CD Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

Start off with an extended period of running at Level II (in the example above it’s for 50 minutes), then increase your pace to Level III for a similar amount of time (in this case it’s also 50 minutes as well). Next up is the hardest part of the session and you increase your intensity to Level IV (in this case for ten minutes) prior to Cooling Down (CD) for ten minutes at Level I-II. Finish with ten minutes stretching.


Training for your First Triathlon Step 1: Choose an Event to do

Often I find that people get inspired and motivated to do their first triathlon by either watching their friends and family complete in an event, or a group of people will challenge each other to do an event with them. These groups are usually workplaces or a group of female friends. A triathlon is a very rewarding activity to do. It will challenge you both during the event and as you train and prepare for it. However these challenges are easily over come, especially with a group of supportive friends and family, including your official coach (or the support of Coach Ray through here). There are a number of great events to do as your first event. A few of what I believe are the best first timer events in the country (if not the world) are:

  • Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Women’s Triathlon (late November in Blenheim);
  • Any of the Scorching Triathlon series events (most of the summer months in Wellington); or the
  • McFadden, McMeeken, Phillips Lawyers Nelson Women’s Triathlon (April in Nelson).
Ange heading out on the bike leg of the Marlborough Women’s Triathlon

These events are all very supportive environments that are based on encouragement and having a go. Low key events such as these place less pressure on you.  Often you will find yourself swept along with support to the finish line. You need to pick an event that is far enough away to give you time to properly prepare for it. I typically recommend at least 20 weeks, but you can get away with a bare minimum of 12 weeks.

  • For the Jules Taylor Wines Marlborough Women’s Triathlon you should have already started training for it, but if you haven’t make sure you do so by the start of September;
  • For the McFadden, McMeeken, Phillips Lawyers Nelson Women’s Triathlon you want to kick start your programme by mid-November.

You will increase your chance of success if there is a group of you doing an event together.  A group can provide valuable support to each other. You are more likely to do the session if you are doing it with a buddy. No one likes to stand up their mate. Even if you are doing the training by yourself, being part of a support network you can bounce ideas off other people. These support networks can be virtual (i.e. Facebook group) or the real world (i.e. a coffee group) were you can catch up and discuss the challenges, how to over come them and how you are feeling after various training sessions.

As part of the Qwik Kiwi Tribe who are training for various events, we have a closed Facebook group so members of the ‘tribe‘ can hang out and talk about what is working for them and conversely what isn’t working. It can be reassuring to share experiences.  You may find that others are in similar situations and facing the same challenges as you.  Solutions can come easily when you discuss them in supportive environments like this. We also arrange regular get togethers as well, for both training and the social side of things.

Molina completing the opening leg of the Marlborough Women's Triathlon
Molina completing the opening leg of the Marlborough Women’s Triathlon

What you need to do now is get a group of friends together and pick an event to do. Create your own support group and start preparing. If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Christchurch Marathon and Half Marathon

Gerard is training hard as he prepares for the World 70.3 Triathlon Championships, this involves swimming 1900m then cycling 90km prior to finishing with a half marathon. As part of his goal setting for the world champs he set a number of goals, one of which was to run sub 1:20hr for a half marathon. We targeted the Christchurch Half Marathon to achieve this goal. This is his story about how it went for him: Continue reading “Christchurch Marathon and Half Marathon”

Welcome to Qwik Kiwi: Measuring Intensity

For those that are using either power for cycling, pace for running, or heart rate. Your training zones can be found within Training Peaks. If you click on your name in the top right and select ‘Account Settings’ a new window will open. On the left of this window select ’Zones’ within this section you will be able to see your respective power zones, HR zones for each sport and your pace zones.

Load these zones into your Garmin or HR monitor, so that you can set your workouts and have alarms to advise you when you are going too fast or too slow (if your model has these features).

Determining Training Zones

Above a certain point or intensity of exercise your body will not be able to remove lactate acid fast enough. Depending on the literature you read this point or a similar point with a subtle difference in the scientific definition is known as the Lactate Threshold, Onset of Blood Lactate or a raft of other names that for all intense and purposes for a lay person is effectively the same thing. What you need to know is that this is the pace/effort that you can maintain for about an hour and your training HRs are based off this.

Your coach will periodically set you Time Trials (TTs) to complete as an assessment of your current level of fitness. This ensures that your training zones are based on what you are currently (or recently) capable of achieving, rather than relying on what you did last year, as your fitness may have regressed or advanced since your training zones were last set.

Once the data from your respective TTs is uploaded, your coach can then review the information (it helps if you text or message them advising that the data has been uploaded). Reviewing the data will enable your coach to see if your ability has changed and if this is significant enough to alter your training zones. If it is only a small change it is often not worth changing the training zones, especially if we are only talking a bpm or a couple of Watts or a few seconds per kilometre.

These TTs are an important part of the coach reviewing your training and optimising the future training they load up. It is important that you put your best effort forward each and every time you complete a TT. You can’t control all factors relating to a TT but try and replicate as many aspects of the TT as possible.

  • Use the same course.
  • Try and go at the same time of day.
  • Use the same equipment (TT bike with aero wheels or racing flats for running).
  • Be fueled and hydrated equally well as last time.

If you constantly change things from one TT to the next, the question the coach needs to then work out is: is the different result due to change in fitness and performance or as a result of different equipment or a different course.

Power for Cycling

The best way to measure intensity whilst cycling is to measure power. This can be done utilising any number of measurement devices: SRM, PowerTap wheels, cranks or pedals, Garmin pedals, Polar pedals and a few other options available. Most of these options will talk to your Garmin or smart phone to then up load the data to Training Peaks.

Renowned cycling and triathlon coach, Joe Friel describes the Power Meter as a powerful training tool that can potentially make you fitter and faster than any other piece of equipment. Qwik Kiwi athletes and coaches that are using power meters have made some big jumps in how they train and the results they get.

Power is measuring your effort rather than a physiological response to that effort. It is measured in Watts, the same as a light bulb is.

Utilising power for your training allows you to be very precise and use this precision to get results quicker than utilizing HR alone.

If you are training with power, your coach will set some training intensities for you to train to. There will be six zones, aiming to achieve a range of different physiological benefits. These benefits are summerised in the following table:


Zone Physiological Aim
Recovery Power Zone Recovery and unloading of muscles
Endurance Power Zone Increase muscle mitochondria density, improve the efficiency of heart and lungs
Tempo Power Zone Increase muscle glycogen storage and further enhance the efficiency of the heart and lungs
Threshold Power Zone Increase Lactate Threshold
VO2 Max Power Zone Increase maximal oxygen uptake, increase the size of the heart and maximal cardiac output
Anaerobic Capacity/Neuromusclar Power Zone Increase lactate tolerance, increase neuromuscular power

Figure 5: Summary of Physiological Benefits of Training in Various Power Zones

Pace for Running

Pace is the equivalent for running that power is for cycling. Data is recorded on a GPS training tool such as a Garmin. You can see on your wrist exactly the pace you are currently running at.

Just like power, pace is a measure of your output, not your response to an output like HR is. However to get the most out of your GPS training tool, it needs to be combined with HR data.


Advantages of using a GPS training tool include:

  • Maintain target pace in workouts and races,
  • Develop a sense of pace,
  • Design and execute pace-based training plans,
  • Get encouragement to train harder,
  • Track training workload,
  • Track changes in performance, and
  • Analyse and assess workout and race performances.

There are a couple of limitations of a GPS training tool. The resolution of the GPS tracking (which is compounded if running on an athletic track as you are always going round in circles) is not perfect. It is typically within ±5m, if you stand still it may pick you up 5m ahead of where you are and a moment later pick you up 5m behind where you are and determine that you have moved 10m backwards when in fact you haven’t moved. It’s not too much of an issue when moving as it will sense the direction and speed moved and predict where to try and find you. The other limitation is when running on hills and it isn’t so much of a limitation of the device per se, but more of the training methodology.

Garmin is the world leader with GPS based training technology and it interacts very well with Training Peaks. Other options include Nike, Polar, Suunto and Timex.

Pace is measured in your time per distance (usually a kilometre or a mile) and is expressed as min/km eg. 5:00 min/km.

Heart Rate

HR is how much your body is working to achieve the output it is working at (whether cycling, running or otherwise). It is measured in Beats Per Minute (BPM).

If your heart is beating at 60 Bpm, there is one second between beats. At 120 Bpm there is only half a second between beats. Because of this decreased time there is less opportunity for blood to move into the chamber of the heart. At higher intensities this is more pronounced. This means, less blood will get pumped around the body. Less blood transporting less oxygen therefore the body isn’t getting what it needs to maintain that intensity.

HR can be affected by a range of things from how hot or cold the day is to how well hydrated you are or if you have consumed caffeine. This can have an influence on how your heart responds, meaning there is a massive limitation when relying solely on HR data to plan and conduct training session. HR data works best in conjunction with power or pace data. 

Borg Scale

The Borg Scale is a subjective self-assessment of how hard you are working. It is very unreliable and isn’t always the same level as it is influenced by your mood. It can’t be stored and then uploaded onto Training Peaks, but if there is no other method of describing the intensity of training then this is the best option left.

Borg Scale Description Conversation Test
0 Nothing at all Asleep in bed
½ Very very weak Sitting around
1 Very weak Low intensity
2 Weak Able to maintain a conversation
3 Moderate
4 Somewhat strong Able to converse by catching your breath between short sentences
5 Strong
6 Two to three word sentences and needing to catch your breath between them
7 Very strong
8 Sucking in oxygen and only able to grunt or groan
10 Very very strong

Figure 6: Word picture for varying intensities utilising the Borg Scale of Perceived Exersion


Power Pace HR Borg
Recovery Power Zone PZ2 Recovery HR Zone Borg 1-2
Endurance Power Zone PZ3 Endurance HR Zone Borg 2-3
Tempo Power Zone PZ4 Tempo HR Zone Borg 4-5
Threshold Power Zone PZ6 Threshold HR Zone Borg 6-7
VO2 Max Power Zone PZ8 VO2 Max HR Zone Borg 8-10
Anaerobic Capacity/Neuromusclar Power Zone PZ10 N/A N/A

Figure 7: Comparison between Key Training Zones for Differnt Training Modalities

T-Time for Swimming

Your T-Time is a method for determining how much rest you get for a repetition of swimming. It is based on your general fitness and ability to swim a repeated 100m effort. It is not based on your maximum swimming pace or fastest swim speed.

It is easiest to explain T-Time by giving an example e.g. your coach advises you that your T-Time is two minutes flat (2:00) and your set involves swimming 15x 100m on T+15sec. Your T-Time is 2:00 plus the 15 seconds equals 2:15 and that is how often you start each repetition. If you finish your first rep in 1:55 that leaves 20 seconds rest as you wait for the clock to get back around to the 2:15, your next rep might be 2:00 which means you now only have 15 seconds rest and so on.

Rep Number Start Time Time to swim 100m Rest prior to starting next rep Start Time for next rep
1 0:00 1:55 0:20 2:15
2 2:15 2:00 0:15 4:30
3 4:30 2:02 0:13 6:45
4 6:45 1:59 0:16 9:00
5 9:00 2:03 0:12 11:15
6 11:15 2:02 0:13 13:30
7 13:30 2:05 0:10 15:45
8 15:45 2:04 0:11 18:00
9 18:00 2:06 0:09 20:15
10 20:15 2:08 0:07 22:30
11 22:30 2:10 0:05 24:45
12 24:45 2:09 0:06 27:00
13 27:00 2:08 0:07 29:15
14 29:15 2:11 0:04 31:30
15 31:30 2:07 N/A N/A

Figure 9: Hypotetical Example of a Swimmer with a T-Time of 2:00 conducting a session of 15x 100m on T+15

If the distance of the repetitions was based on 50m reps the time used might be ½T+10. For this swimmer half T is half of 2:00 equals 1:00 plus the 10sec equals 1:10. There fore they start each rep every 70 seconds.

If the distance of the rep was say 200m a session might be something like 8x 200m on 2T+20sec. In this case we are doubling the T-Time and adding 20sec, therefore 4:20.


Welcome to Qwik Kiwi: Training Peaks

Training for Triathlon with Training PeaksTraining Peaks is the software/app that we use to deliver your training to you. By now you should have received the log in information from your coach. If you previously had a Training Peaks account you should have received from your coach a link to connect your athlete account with Training Peaks to their coaching account.

Training Peaks is an online service that acts as a virtual training diary for you to receive your training from your coach, record your training and allow your coach to review your training. It has many great functional tools that benefit athletes training with devices such as heart rate monitors, GPS watches and Power Meters that load up onto a computer. Training Peaks can automatically upload this information, quickly, easily and seamlessly.

Marathon Training
Coach Athlete Relationship

Phone App

Training Peaks is available online by logging in here. For those that prefer to use their phone, tablet or iPad it is available as an app for both iOS and Android (click on the platform to be taken to the download link).

Receiving Your Training

When you first log in to Training Peaks you will view a calendar. Each day will have your workout(s) loaded onto it and from the calendar you will be able to see a summary of the session (sport, duration or distance and a name). When you click on the workout you will be able to view more detail. You will need to do this prior to conducting the workout to see the detail of the session.

Review your weeks training in advance and if you are unsure of how to conduct a particular session contact your coach as early as possible. This gives them time to review what they set for you and get back to you with an answer. Sending a text saying: “Hi Coach I’m heading to the pool in half an hour can you please explain….” Doesn’t leave much time to get an answer to you.

Recording Training

The best way to record your training is to use a training tool that loads directly to Training Peaks. We highly recommend Garmin devices as they link easily and seamlessly into Training Peaks, but products from other brands also work too. Polar has a few good options, however they can be complicated to connect up.

Alternatively you can use a phone app such as Strava to record your training on your phone and then use Tapiriik to synchronise the data from Strava over to Training Peaks. The downside of Strava is that it isn’t as accurate and as reliable as a Garmin and doesn’t record as much data. But a small amount is better than nothing.

Recording Other Data

We recommend that you record other metrics that can give your coach a great insight into how your training is going or more accurately how your recovery from training is going.

Resting Heart Rate

Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is a good indication of how well you have recovered. But this information is only good if you have been doing it for a long time and we know what your baseline metrics are.

First thing in the morning whilst lying in bed, count your pulse at your wrist for a full 60 seconds. Count full beats only, start at 0 then continue as normal 1, 2, 3 etc….

Record this by clicking on the ‘plus’ symbol on the Training Peaks calendar, then add a metric and record your RHR as Pulse.


Body Composition Scales New Zealand
Tanitia Scales can be purchased from Qwik Kiwi. Contact Coach Ray to do so.

It’s recommended that your weight is monitored on a regular basis without being the focus of the programme (unless your goal is weight lose). The best way to do this is to weigh yourself whilst naked, first thing in the morning having defecated and urinated but prior to showering, eating or drinking, preferably on the same day of the week. This creates consistency.

As with the RHR, this can be loaded into Training Peaks in the same fashion.

Percentage Fat

Your weight doesn’t really tell you much about your composition. BMI is just as bad (don’t get me started about BMIs unless we are sitting down and have got some time maybe over a beer or wine)! Getting your body fat measured is the only way to reliably see the changes in your composition.

If you weigh 80kg and try to get leaner as you train, hypothetically you may lose 1kg of fat and grow 1kg of muscle. You still weigh 80kg but without measuring your body composition you have no idea and all you can see is that you are STILL 80kg and supposedly nothing has changed.

  Weight Muscle Fat Percentage
Start 80kg 56kg 24kg 30.0%
Now 80kg 57kg 23kg 28.7%

You have made some significant positive changes but you can’t see it and therefore get de-motivated. If you are interested in getting a set of Tanita Body Composition Scales see the details below.

Load this data in to Training Peaks just like you would with Weight or RHR.

Sleep Quantity

Have a rough estimate (to nearest 15min) of how long you slept for. Usually you don’t know exactly when you fell asleep, but if you went to bed at 9pm and took about 30 minutes to fall asleep and your alarm woke you up at 5:30 then you can estimate that it was ~8hrs.

As with RHR, Weight and Percentage Fat it can simply be recorded in Training Peaks as a metric.


Your coach will prepare your training based on the events discussed in your initial consultation. As your training develops you may hear about another event that wasn’t considered or discussed at the initial consultation. This is fine and if you want to do it your coach can work it into your programme. At the very least your coach can advise you on the disadvantages of doing the event (i.e. it might totally screw up your training for your main event, however we can usually adapt the training to accommodate it).

There is nothing more frustrating to your coach than planning and preparing your training and not be aware of an event you plan to do and only finding out after the event that you did it.

Worse still is seeing on Facebook that your athlete did an event that they didn’t have the courtesy to let you know about and they also omit uploading those details onto Training Peaks.



Welcome to Qwik Kiwi: Communciation

Coach Athlete RelationshipLike any good relationship the coach:athlete relationship requires communication that goes both ways. It is important that you communicate with your coach. They will touch base with you when they need to, but to ensure that you get the best value for money they need to know what you have been doing.

The best way for the coach to receive communication with you is by updating your Training Peaks account with as much accurate information as you can. If you have a Garmin or other training tool that can upload direct to Training Peaks they will be able to see exactly what you have done. It also helps if you write some comments in the comments section about the sessions.

If you don’t have a suitable training tool, you can still write information in the completed boxes. Only worry about entering data that is accurate. If you haven’t measured it, don’t try and guess it. It might mean the only information you have is the duration of the workout. That is fine.

Skype and Phone Consultations

Phone ConsultationsAs part of your coaching service your coach will make themselves available for consultations. This is usually promoted on Facebook and the newsletter (if you aren’t on Facebook you will still hear about it in the newsletter). Book in by commenting on the Facebook post with the time that you would like. Make sure you have a read of the other comments and so you avoid booking a time that someone else has booked. If you need a special consultation, feel free to contact your coach directly and arrange something suitable.

Blog Articles

Most weeks will see a few articles related to training, racing or nutrition loaded onto the Coach Ray website. Details are often released in the fortnightly newsletter. If there is a particular topic you would like covered please feel free to ask your coach to write an article specifically covering the topic you are interested in or go to the Ask Coach Ray section of the website and submit a question to be answered.


Each fortnight we try and release a newsletter with a whole raft of information. We avoid spamming and try our best to include interesting and meaningful information. Content varies from newsletter to newsletter and will often include an article about training, recent race results from the coaches and athletes, upcoming events that you may be interested in, as well as articles from other members. If you would like to submit an article feel free to contact Coach Ray directly on, with your article and preferably with some photos to go alongside the article.


If at any stage you have any questions feel free to email, phone, text or Facebook message your coach. Alternatively you can use the Ask Coach Ray feature of the blog and I will write an article about it, publishing it on the blog for everyone to take advantage of.

Team Qwik Kiwi member finishing Taupo Ironman
Team Qwik Kiwi member finishing Taupo Ironman