Specialising in triathlon, Sam is one of the UK’s leading cross-country athletes. His successes in 2008/9 include: 1st at the Japan Xterra, 1st in the Guam Xterra and 3rd in the Malaysian Xterra. I’m sure you get the picture!

Sam has kindly offered to share some racing tips with us. We hope to add more throughout the season as our events rack up so don’t forget to check these pages regularly for updates.

Racing tips:


  1. Wear two swim caps if you’re cold, or a neoprene hat if it’s really cold. Your head loses heat quicker than any other part of the body.
  2. Wear your goggles under your cap to stop them being ripped off in open-water swim-starts.
  3. Put a sock or plastic bag over your foot to make it easier to put your wetsuit on.
  4. Make sure your fingernails are cut (or use care) to ensure you don’t rip the wetsuit neoprene.
  5. Make sure the crotch of your wetsuit is tight to your body because this will give you more movement in the shoulders.
  6. Don’t try and start too fast. Aim to use a relaxed technique that you can hold for 1500m.


  1. If you get a puncture, always check your tyre before mending it. Bear in mind that some punctures can be ‘pinch punctures’ from hitting a pothole or rock.
  2. Keep your pedal cadence high, even up the hills, but remain seated as much as possible.


  1. If you run with tense shoulders or feel them tensing up, circle and hold your thumb and forefinger together in an ‘okay’ sign.
  2. Change your running shoes regularly.
  3. Have two or three pairs of running shoes and rotate them on a daily basis to allow the shoe cushioning to recover.
  4. Practice running without socks or you’ll get bad blisters the first time you race without them.


  1. Make sure your preparation and training doesn’t go to waste: eat a hi-carb meal three hours before the event and keep hydrated in the lead-up.
  2. Maintain a relaxed and steady pace throughout. There’s no sense coming out of the water exhausted.
  3. Don’t be tempted to compete with much quicker athletes.
  4. Push hard towards the end.
  5. Allow several days for recovery, during which you should replace lost fluids and eat hi-carb meals.