Welcome to Hell Week
For those new to the concept, Hell Week – as the name suggests, is a week-long period of completing a run, ride and swim every day. In a nutshell, you’ll be competing a triathlon every day for one week, which replaces normal timetable sessions in late December at MSAC, Elwood and Albert Park.
It is simple:
6am – Group Ride from Elwood Lifesaving Club every day (Apart from Christmas Day)
6pm – Group open water swim from Elwood Lifesaving Club (if you didn’t swim in the AM) also apart from Christmas Day
The aim of Hell Week is to provide athletes with a serious spike in their training, running in December from the Saturday before Christmas up until New Years Eve, with the exception of Christmas Day (or go ahead and do Christmas day if you’re feeling exceptionally hell-ish!).
The trick is to do a little bit each day where possible. We understand with the festive season upon us, and many people within the club will be travelling, visiting family and friends or might be working through the holidays, so fitting in training where you can is key to ensure you’re ready to attack the new year.
Some athletes prefer to take time off during this period to dedicate themselves to training (this isn’t necessary though!), others fit in their ride, run and swim in the mornings or evenings as per usual, or mix a bit of AM or PM to knock over each leg. However you choose to attack Hell Week is completely up to you.
NOTE: We urge our athletes to speak to their coach or mentor about your plans. Now is a great time to let your coaches know if you have any niggles, let them know how you’re feeling, and what your goals for Hell Week are. The more transparency between athlete and coach, the better during this high loading period.
Distances are set according to ability, fitness level and race goal – but the key is to see if you can do some everyday – you’ll be much stronger and ready for the bulk of the season post-Christmas if you can.
We break down the distances according to the demographic of our squad. Beginners (who are new to the sport), athletes who are racing at Sprint and Olympic distances as well as first-time long-course athletes, all the way up to our experienced 70.3 and ironman athletes.
The distances are a guide only, however we recommend you listen to your body and ease in to Hell Week, as It’s a long week.
DON’T OVER DO IT: You might feel as though you could run and extra kilometre, but that is not what it is about. It is about consistency, and being able to back up daily throughout the seven-day period.
Whilst coaches will be in attendance during Tri-Alliance’s Hell Week, rides, runs and swims are ‘uncoached’. This means, that technique work, strength and endurance-specific work is not on the cards. Each athlete is responsible for themselves and the onus is on each athlete to ensure they are disciplined enough to tick the boxes. Following on from this – a friendly reminder that all timetable sessions during this time will not be taking place. Timetable sessions resume in the New Year.
Tri-Alliance will be enforcing a No Jersey, No Ride policy during Hell Week that athletes are required to abide by on organised group rides. Put simply, this means if you plan to roll out on a group ride departing Elwood on any day during Hell Week, the expectation is that you are wearing a Tri-Alliance jersey. Arrive without one at your peril, as you’ll be riding alone. We have a Hell Week special on, and have discounted our old stock of jerseys down to $35 with sizes available in small through to XXL. Once purchased online, we’ll bring this to training for you.
If you only own a TT bike, you will not be able to participate in group rides during Hell Week. This is for the safety of the group, and the rule will be enforced by coaches. For athletes who have a road bike with clip-on aero bars, you are permitted to ride on your hoods only. Why you ask? TT bikes are less responsive than a road bike. If a TT rider needs to break suddenly, not only do they have to shift their position to come back from their aero bars to their brakes, but a sudden brake will see the TT rider flip over their handlebars.
Hell Week Frequently Asked Questions
Getting your run out of the way each day is an important part of the program, and as coaches – we’ve been asked and queried on what we believe the best approach is. Now, we’ll start by mentioning a blanket statement; ‘Whatever works for you!’. The benefit of running off the bike is that you’re training the way you race, it also means you’ll be running less kms. If you’re running separately then you may have to run a few kms further. Regardless, here are a couple of scenarios we recommend;
Option 1 – Ride, run and swim in that order each morning:
Perfect for people who either have the day(s) off or are flexible in their work hours, or work nearby. This is the preferred option, as it allows your body to get a full 20-odd hours of recovery in and it’ll also free-up your evenings.
Option 2 – Ride and run in the morning
A great option for those a little more time-poor. If time in the morning only allows you to get in a ride and a quick jog off the bike, before you need to jet off to work – that Is fine! We will be holding group open-water swims each day during Hell Week at Elwood Lifesaving Club.
Option 3 -Ride and run in the morning – for those who need more coached sessions in the open water
If you’re an athlete who feels as though they’d benefit from open water swimming with the squad and TA coaches, then this is the perfection option for you. Having completed your ride and run in the morning, join us each night at Elwood Lifesaving Club for a group swim. This is a perfect option to get quality time in the open water whilst also having the piece of mind of coaches and a large squad in the water with you.
Option 4 – Ride in the morning
If you can’t squeeze in a run off the bike, let alone a swim to finish, then the key part of Hell Week is ensuring you knock over your ride. The downside is that you’ll have to run slightly further, however you can do your run at any part of the day that suits you. If you intend on swimming at Elwood each evening, then after a swim, a good option will be to get your run in along the beach at the distance you’re required to cover off.
Option 5 – Morning swim/Morning Run
This is the least-preferred option, but it does work for some. If you’d prefer hitting the pool or the open water (make sure you have an open-water swim buddy) in the morning then going for a run (or vice versa), and riding in the afternoon – then ensuring you ride out of peak hour times on Beach Road or other roads where excess traffic is, becomes a bit more difficult. It may mean that you opt to do a wind trainer session to the distance required on your program.
Each morning, Tri-Alliance will roll out from Elwood Lifesaving Club at 6am sharp. Conversely in the evening, group open-water swimming sessions will commence at 6pm sharp for those who did not swim in the morning after their ride and run off the bike.
On Day 1, please arrive 15 minutes earlier at 5.45am for a briefing from Ollie, Bondy and other Tri-Alliance coaches. You will be split into groups with distances set according to the coaches.
As a willing participant in our Hell Week, you agree to have read and understood the Hell Week rules set herewith. If you do not obey by these rules, you shall be punished in such a way our Challenge Leader deems appropriate at the time.
1. When swimming in the open water, for your safety, you shall always have a swimming partner (or two, or three, or more). For those who do not understand, this means never swim alone.
2. You will swim to your own ability and to where you feel confident and capable. We were not all born with gills, so you don’t have to pretend to be a fish.
3. Wetsuits are recommended but not compulsory. Enter without a wetsuit at your own peril.
4. You can complete any of your swims in a pool if you choose, and any stroke can be completed, however freestyle (or front crawl as it was formally known) is recommended.
5. View our open water tips and swimming etiquette HERE
1. At all times you must obey all road rules as a road user. No excuses. And no exceptions. If you aren’t aware of the rules, calls or hand signals, you are expected to brush up on your knowledge, HERE.
2. You must keep the safety of yourself and others in mind at all times. Nothing overrides safety. And definitely not a Strava segment.
3. You must wear a Tri-Alliance jersey (matching knicks preferred). Any old Tri-Alliance ‘Retro’ jersey is welcomed. If you haven’t got a jersey, you won’t be riding. CLICK HERE to purchase one, starting from $35.
4. You must have front and rear lights if riding before/after sunrise/sunset, or in low visibility such as rain. Lights must be in working order (refer to point 2) – they are not there as afashion statement.
5. You shall not bring the Tri-Alliance jersey (point 3) into disrepute (refer to point 1)
6. You will carry sufficient spares, nutrition and hydration for the duration of your ride.
7. You will carry identification (we recommend RoadID), money and/or credit card for emergencies.
8. If riding on your own, you will let a loved one know where you plan to ride and when you plan to return. If you don’t have a loved one, letting someone know who likes you is ok too.
9. If you choose to hang around for coffee and/or breakfast post training when you are meant to be at home or work, then you do so at your own risk. You may also choose to update your plans as referred to in point 8.
10. Should an outside rider join your group, you have the right to politely ask them to move to the back to ensure the safety of your group. (refer to point 2)
11. You will continue riding even when there is head wind, side wind, cold wind, wet wind….. ? Unless there is a risk to point 2, at which point a coffee and cake meeting will be called. Paige and Gary have all the best coffee and cake places down pat, much to the annoyance of The General.
12. Only in an emergency shall you accept a lift home in a vehicle other than your own two wheels. This includes from a friend, partner, taxi or train driver. Being tired or ‘over it’ is not considered an emergency. Expect to face the wrath of the Hell Week disciplinary board.
13. You will always ride safely and within your own limits, not someone else’s. (refer to point 2)
14. If your eyesight is questionable and you require to wear prescription glasses or contacts, then it is expected that you shall wear them.
14.1 Furthermore from point 14, if you believe an athlete requires an eye test, then you have the right to ask them to get their eyes checked. Politely.
1. Place shoes on your feet, put one foot in front of the other and run. It’s that’s simple!
2. However if you are injured, coming back from injury, managing an injury or feeling an injury coming on, please speak to a coach.
3. Electrical devices such as iPods and iPhones are allowed, however don’t expect a training buddy to chat to you with your ear phones in.
4. Running off the bike is essential. If you can fit in a run after your ride, not only will you be replicating race conditions, but you’ll be enjoying a shorter run.
5. If a run off the bike is not feasible for you, you must run the further distance at some point during the day. EG: If your distance is 3kms off the bike, then you’ll be up for a 5km run later in the day. The choice is yours!
1. If ever in doubt, speak to a Coach. And by Coach, we mean us!
2. Ensure you eat healthy nutritious food to fuel your training – particularly after training. Although the old treat won’t be frowned upon (well maybe by The General)
3. You don’t have to keep up with the fast group. Go at your own pace. It’s about getting through the distance, not about tearing each other apart!
4. There are no limitations on the amount of sleep or naps ‐ also known as LLD’s (little lie down) you have during the Hell Week Challenge. In fact the more the better! However we take no responsibility for you being thrown in the dog house if you are supposed to be doing jobs around the house, but in fact you are sleeping.
5. We also cannot be held responsible for you falling asleep at your desk at work.
6. You shall encourage others in front of you, behind you and beside you. You are all on this challenge together.
7. We encourage Instagram and Facebook photos and Hell Week updates! Much to the annoyance of The General, we want to hear your stories, we want to see your pictures, and we want to hear about your Hell Week experience.
8. One person’s challenge may be different to another person’s challenge, but the challenge is the same nonetheless. No one person shall feel any less challenged than another.
9. It will be tough – but have fun! The satisfaction at the end will be worth it!
*Please note this is written as tongue in cheek HOWEVER we take the safety of each of our athletes seriously. So please ensure you consider your safety and the safety of others at all times, and if ever in
doubt, speak to a coach.
If you’re planning on riding with Tri-Alliance groups at one more sessions in the morning, every athlete is required to be wearing a Tri-Alliance cycling jersey. This is for the safety of others in your group, and also so other road riders can identify that you are in a training group. Coaches are also able to identify you; this is a non-negotiable. A Tri-Alliance cycling jersey must be worn at a minimum. If you are training on your own or away from the group, you may wear whatever kit you choose.
On Day 1 of Hell Week, Coach Ollie will brief all athletes on the requirements of Hell Week, whilst also explaining which distances will be adhered to for each group. You should have an idea of what category you fall into, and also have training buddies with similar goals to yours to team up with. Regardless, Coach Ollie will group athletes together. If you are unsure what category you should be in, please contact your coach or mentor for further clarification. Tri-Alliance also recommends that athletes start to group themselves together prior to Hell Week.
Whether you’re joining in on the group rides or fitting in a ride around your day-to-day commitments, we’ve broken down distances and destinations into a handy guide for you;
Beginners: Elwood to Black Rock Return (or 30-40kms)
Sprint/Olympic: Elwood to Mordialloc Return (or 50-60kms)
Olympic Intermediate: Elwood to Station Street Return (or70-80kms)
First Time Half Ironman: Elwood to Frankston Return (or 70-80kms)
Intermediate Half Ironman: Elwood to Port Melbourne to Frankston Return (or 80-90kms)
First Time Ironman: Elwood to Port Melbourne To Frankston to Port Melbourne to Elwood (or 100kms)
Intermediate Ironman: Elwood to Port Melbourne To Frankston to Port Melbourne to Elwood (or 100kms)
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or attacking Hell Week for the first time, it is expected all atheltes aknowledge and adhede to the following;
- NO TT BIKES! If you have a road bike with clip-on TT bars, then only use the hoods and drops of your bike. Under no circumstances are athletes to be coming to group rides on Beach Road with a dedicated TT Bike. It is unsafe in large groups, as riding on aero bars isn’t as responsive to have a direct contact with your brakes. If you are riding by yourself, feel free to whip out your TT bike, but if you are on an organised group ride, it is road bikes only.
- DON’T BE LATE! as the rides won’t wait for any late comers. Feel free to start earlier and meet at our times/locations on the way if you need to get away early.
- HAVE EQUIPMENT TO RIDE: Ensure you have 2 x tubes, levers, air/canisters and sufficient nutrition and hydration for the duration of the ride.
- All athletes are REQUIRED to wear Tri-Alliance Cycling Gear. Make sure you get your hands on some if you don’t have any or need more. A cycling jersey at the very least is required. Click here to purchase one from the Tri-shop and we’ll bring it to training for you.
- DRESS FOR THE WEATHER! Melbourne can produce anything – so make sure you always check the weather forecast and radar before you head out the door.
- There will be various coaches joining in on the rides over the week however they are not specifically coached sessions. They are organised group rides only.
- Athletes are encouraged to group with riders of similar levels/abilities to ensure a safe (and enjoyable) ride.
- Familiarise yourself with our Bike Road Rules and Safety and Cycling Etiquette. You are expected to know and obey all road rules. Any athlete not respecting these will face the wrath of the Hell Week Committee – be warned!
There are two alternatives, to either complete a shorter run off the bike (come prepared to the ride with your run gear) OR run at lunchtime or later in the day. There are no scheduled run sessions during the day, so be disciplined to try and fit them into your day.
Please ensure you arrive PRIOR to the start time so you are in your wetsuit and ready to swim when we are due to start. Feel free to bring post training food to share – anything Christmas-y will go down a treat! All open water swims will begin from Elwood Lifesaving Club at 6pm every day, excluding Christmas Day.
Alternatively, we encourage athletes to swim in the morning after their ride and run (where possible) however if you choose to swim after the ride and run, ensure you swim with one or more people. We do not recommend athletes swimming by themselves in the open water.
If you wish to get a swim in by yourself, head to your local pool.
This will all depend on what your goals are for the week.
The Dietitians Association of Australia recommend these amounts of energy and nutrients for the average adult to meet their nutritional needs. Nutrient Reference Value used in %DI;
Nutrient Average adult requirements
- Energy 8700kJ equivalent to 2080 calories
- Protein 50 g
- Fat 70 g
- Saturated fatty acids 24 g
- Carbohydrate 310 g
- Sodium <2,300 mg
- Sugars 90 g
- Dietary fibre 30 g
But wait you say, I’m not an average adult and you’re right, you’re not the average Male which is a 175.6cm tall and 85.9kg OR Female 161.8cm tall and 71.1kg
So if you don’t fit that criteria then you’re not average and will need to make some adjustments, i.e. if you are on the lower end of the scale then you don’t need as much fuel, if you are at the upper end then logically you will need more fuel just to meet your daily requirements.
Hell Week is different for everybody, although the one thing in common is that there is a spike in Volume to your training. So I will go back to my original statement – that will all depend on your goals for the week. I will try to cover some of those for you.
1: Large Volume Training at Intensity
If you are undertaking Hell Week with this in mind then you will need to refuel appropriately to assist you to meet your energy needs for the eight days, this means that you will need to increase your food and fluid consumption appropriately.
2: Large Volume Training less Intensity
Again you will need to increase your consumption to meet your energy needs but not by as much as if you were training at the higher intensity
3: Similar Volume to your normal training load
Don’t necessarily need to do anything different, just refuel as you normally would to be able to back up sessions
4: Weight Loss Goal
Hell Week could be a kick starter for weight loss as you are training twice a day every day, in this instance you would consume less and rely on your body to utilise fat stores to burn for energy, you need to be careful with this one as you don’t want to starve yourself either, that would be counterproductive.
Whilst I haven’t told you what to eat you should be ensuring that you are eating quality foods, that means all the nice to have items like Cakes, Desserts, Soft Drink, Fried Foods, Chocolate, Lollies are off the agenda. If you fill your body with junk you get junk out.
Eat good protein Meat, Fish, Chicken etc., if you’re a vegetarian then protein rich vegetables, Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts (not only high in protein but also fibre), avoid starchy vegetables – that means potato. Eat three meals a day and make sure you hydrate well particularly if you are undertaking the Large Volume/High Intensity training. Hydration is an Electrolyte Drink and Water, Sports Drinks contain too much sugar and can be counterproductive (opinion of the Coach, not experts).
Final component to this is Sleep – between 7 and 9 hours every night. If you don’t get this already then go to bed earlier, you will soon condition your body to falling asleep at the earlier time.
Here’s FIVE reason why we’re enforcing a ‘No TT bikes’ policy during Hell Week.
TT bikes are less responsive than road bikes, meaning that should you suddenly need to brake – shifting your position from the horns to the brakes will see a TT rider flip over their handlebars and likely cause others within the pelaton to go down.
On a ride bike, it’s easy to keep your speed consistent with the group, whether you’re riding on the hoods or your drops.
3: BIKE HANDLING
TT bikes are notoriously ‘twitchy’, in that bike handling skills on a TT bike are a lot different to a road bike.
TT bikes were made for flat and fast surfaces, not undulating rollers nor for the hills. For our long course crew who’ll be incorporating some hills at Two Bays during their ride, TT bikes are only going to make it more difficult.
Nobody enjoys riding a TT bike on the ‘horns’. TT bikes are designed for a rider to be in the aero position, not sitting upright. You’ll only put straight on your back, shoulders and neck by riding on the horns.
Above all, this is for the safety of the group. If you only own a TT bike, then you will need to ride on your own during Hell Week. Group leaders and coaches will be enforcing this rule across Hell Week.
NOTE: A road bike with clip on aero bars is different to a dedicated TT bike. If you have clip on bars on your road bike, either remove them or ensure you are riding on the hoods or drops only.
Remember, if in doubt – speak to your coach or your mentor.