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Phil Graves gives us a breakdown of the key bits of kit every triathlete needs during the winter months.

“Last winter I did some sledging. I don’t think you could get a better hill session”

First off this month I want to thank everyone who got in touch with me about my article a couple of months ago about the amount of racing my fellow professional triathletes do compared to professional cyclists. I know it sparked a lot of debate, certainly more than I thought it would when I wrote it in Taos, New Mexico.

I’m now back in York, where unlike Mexico, it is grey and cold. When the days are short it’s the little things that make all the difference to us triathletes. I expect you will be reading this around Christmas, which for most triathlon households, means an influx of toys to make all those cold rides and runs so much more fun than they were before you ate all that turkey.

It would be interesting to see what proportion of triathletes actually watch The Gadget Show on Channel 5, a show made even better as they have just started reviewing the kind of sporting gadgets that we will all want for Christmas. I know everyone wants the latest sports watch or iPod but I want to explore all those gadgets that are useful in triathlon that you will have never thought of.

So what does every triathlete need? Well, every triathlete needs an iPhone or android phone so they can keep up with everything on Twitter, I think that’s pretty obvious really. I think most triathletes live on Twitter and Facebook so you need to be able to access these at any time of day, wherever you are to make sure you’re constantly up to date.

If these last two years are anything to go by you will also need a four-wheel drive car to be able to get to the swimming pool. There is nothing worse than buying a sports car (we can all dream) and finding that you can’t get up the hill outside your house when it’s just snowed.

Talking of snow, a carbon fibre snow shovel wouldn’t go amiss. Shifting all that snow is a good workout for swimming so you need the lightest shovel possible to go with your super-light bike. Also last winter I went to Scotland and did some sledging and I don’t think you could get a better hill session. Can you really beat running up a hill in the snow then bombing back down again? Let’s face it, you are going to get down the hill faster sledging than running so you are going to have a brutal session.

Moving away from snow, I found a good way to store jelly babies when racing is to make a sweet kebab. Get a kebab skewer, put a load of sweets on it and then strap it to your bike. This is ideal for Ironman as you can put it in your aero-speed bottle on your tri bars and as soon as you get out on the bike you can have your candy kebab. I did this at Abu Dhabi triathlon in 2010 and it worked really well.

Lets just hope with all those snow based training ideas it doesn’t snow now and we can all enjoy some non-frosty rides and be able to actually get to the pool. We have to make the best of what we have got on our little island and if that means I have to change my running regime to doing two weeks of sledging running sessions every winter it’s something I can put up with.

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.

You’ll find loads more blogs from the likes of Phil, Steve Trew and the Triathlon Plus team in’s blogs section