As I am in the depths of training for my first triathlon, I was delighted to be invited along to Crystal Palace Stadium to meet triathlete Daniel Bingham and to try out the new range of running apparel being released on April 3rd at Aldi stores around the country. Poor Daniel probably didn’t know what had hit him when I walked in and started grilling him on all things tri. He was very obliging though, and answered all my questions, giving me some top tips on how to structure my training and how to deal with the baffling issue of transition, something I already frown with anxiousness over. Some solid points I came away with were trying to fit in two sessions in each discipline each week: I currently run four times, swim at least three and try to get out for one longer ride, so I think I’ve got it covered quite well. He did say you can then allow for an extra session in your weaker area if need be, I’d say I need to build my confidence in my cycling, so will try and get out a bit more. With regards to that whole-new-world-of-transition, he suggested some ‘brick sessions’ nearer the time, this is where you do a shorter session of, say, cycling then get straight out and run to get used to the jelly-legged feeling. When I asked him about swimming, wondering if I should work my legs less to save them for the bike, he said to just swim normally and not worry too much about that, but to engage my legs more in the final couple of lengths to gear them up for running to transition, then riding. With regards to the transition area itself, apparently you have time to ‘rehearse’ this beforehand, so it’s good to really familiarise yourself with the position of your bike, walk through how you will approach from the swim and also how you will exit to the ride. My idea of flags and balloons to help you spot your gear isn’t allowed it seems.
We were then shown the new range of clothing and invited to try things on so we could go out to the track and really put them to the test. This brightly coloured top really caught my eye – I am pretty much exclusively a black-head-to-toe runner and have been admiring fellow parkrunners’ jolly attire of late, so I grabbed one of these, which I debuted yesterday. Oh, how my friends laughed as I gave the course a glow: ‘Adele, I need my sunglasses!’, ‘You’re a bit conspicuous!’ and so on…I did feel a bit obvious, but I think it will look great with a tan rather than freezing cold, goosebumpy March arms.
As you can see, the women’s range is mostly purple and *bright* pink and the men’s is green and blue. The quality and feel of the clothing is great, with nice details such as zip-pockets on leggings and a deep inside pocket on the jacket. For the session, I put on some black capri tights and a compression t-shirt and, as it was pretty blustery, I also opted to wear a jacket. We then went out to the track where Daniel set us off to warm up (cue little moment of joy as I ran on the track that super athletic stars such as Mo Farah have strode around during championship games). We did an interval session with some interesting drills to try and replicate the various transition sections of a tri. To get that heavy-legged post-ride feel, we were asked to do a set of squat-thrusts then run hard for 200m, and repeated this a few times, until we were really feeling the lactic acid building up. We then got all serious and tried to get a sense of the disorientation felt when you climb out of the pool, when your blood finds its way back around your body. This involved squat thrusts then, er, spinning around five times before attempting to run in a straight line. Told you it was serious stuff. Considering I had put the clothes on straight from the packet and really put them through their paces, they felt good. I did find the leggings were bunching up around my knees, but this is something I am used to since running tights are seemingly designed for tall people (I checked out the knees of a fellow runner with longer legs and there was no wrinkling going on there). There’s nothing can be done about my short legs, so maybe sports-wear companies can have a think about us little-uns…
I would definitely recommend the Aldi Specialbuy Running Range, the quality is good, the colours are lovely and they are so cheap! Prices range from £2.99 for running socks, with tops and trousers at £9.99 and some shorts for £5.99 (think yourself lucky I didn’t go ahead with the knee-exposing selfies I attempted to take to share the shorts!). I would say the jackets are an excellent bargain at just £15.99 and you can even get yourself some bluetooth earphones for £29.99. Also coming up in May and June are some cycling bits and bobs, which I will tell you all about nearer the time. In the meantime I will be brightening up my little corner of South East London 😉