We’re all here now – Day 3

A grey windy day with unseasonal temperatures didn’t dent the group’s enthusiasm for this mornings open water swim. A few of us had never used the Swim Secure tow float/dry bag and Jo and Sandra patiently took us through their use. The group was in fine fettle as we buddied-up and swam between the buoys, both to build endurance and improve our skills in turning around the marks. A hearty breakfast was followed by a further pool technique session embracing the drills we have started to integrate into our weekly pool sessions to change our stroke for the better!
The team at Tri50 always come up with new and interesting ways of improving our technique.

Jo presented a session on sports nutrition in the afternoon and in the early evening there was an unexpected and delightful yoga session given by Philippa, one of the course participants. In the evening the bonding continued over dinner before we all retired for an early night and a well deserved rest.

Stephen Hopson
April 2018

Day 2

Somehow on Tuesday morning I managed to get my wetsuit on by myself!! I’ve never swum in a wetsuit before and I was keen to see what it felt like. The buoyancy it gives you is amazing which makes swimming really easy… much less hard work although I found the tightness restricts the arms quite a lot, but I guess I need to try a few suits to work out one that fits me well. There were only four of us swimming and it really was a lovely way to start the day. A quick breakfast and it wasn’t long before we were back in the pool doing drills.

We’ve all got our own things to work on to perfect our stroke and improve our times and endurance. I’m keen to clock up more miles in the pool here then I do at home – just a personal mission – so I stayed in the water a little longer after the session which gave me a really short break before the next pool session which again worked on specifics and we started using our CSS timings. some of my fellow swimmers have really sensible anti- sunsuits; sensible things to have as the sun is strong here (when it comes out!!!) and sunscreen just comes off in the water. I didn’t expect to be the youngest person here, but wow, am I just inspired by my fellow campers – I’ll go home and make some plans.

Tripadvisor reviews of Sands Beach aren’t great… ignore them; Jo and Sandra have chosen well, the hotel has a gym if you find any spare time, a stretching room and it’s a nice walk to the village. The rooms are comfortable and very clean. The WiFi works and the food is great. I have hired a car for the week which is only €52 total with Autoreisen so after the swim I went off exploring again. I have always known Lanzarote as Lanzagrotty which it really isn’t – not that I have seen yet anyway. There are lots of people here enjoying the great climate to cycle, run and swim. Villages are rustic and small, the scenery moonlike – quite surreal; I’ll definitely be back! Thanks so much Jo and Sandra – great camp 😁

And we’re off….

Our first day started on the poolside, at 8.30, on a chilly morning with a brisk wind. There were three of us “athletes” (the label makes me giggle as I only took up swimming a few years ago and am a slow and steady kind of girl) with everyone else arriving tomorrow,

so plenty of close attention from Sandra and Jo throughout the day, and no hiding place for the lazy. We were filmed individually in the pool and then did a CSS test (Editor’s Note, this is a Swim Smooth Swim Test to measure one’s present swimming aerobic endurance fitness level and also to determine swimming training intensities – my first one ever. After a quick shower and change we had an enormous breakfast just before the restaurant closed, even a short swim first thing makes you ravenous!

Mid morning we had an indoor session reviewing the videos Sandra had made at poolside, and listening with interest to the critiques from the coaches. As we had visiting coach, Bex, as well as Jo, Sandra and Stefan in the room, not a frame went unnoticed, and I filled several pages with notes for improving my stroke. The WiFi, notoriously bad on Lanzarote, was too slow for us to watch the ideal swimmer videos Sandra had lined up for us, so we relied instead on the amazing “Mr Smooth” app on Stefan’s phone, which shows an animation of a swimmer in perfect motion, as opposed to the funny looking contortions up on the big screen! Jo explained the purpose of finding a CSS time and how we should use the information for tracking our improvement over time back home.
Time for a light lunch before the next pool session. The sun had come out for a while and we had an hour and a half of various drills which were all new to me, interspersed with full stroke swimming to keep us warm. I couldn’t remember all the advice on my stroke in the morning, and tried to just focus on one or two pointers for the session. Then sprint back to the room to shower and dress for a session in the gym.

Sandra focussed on exercises for arms, shoulders and abs, the swimmer’s important muscles, giving us a set that required very little equipment so could be done at home. No need for a gym membership to get in better shape! The room we were in had wide windows and an amazing view out to sea, so as we worked we could see the rain teeming down and then the sun coming out, several times during the course of an hour . Weather doesn’t hang about here.

More warm clothes on and back to the restaurant for a convivial meal. Getting enough food down to feed the activity is going to be the major theme of the week, I can see.

In bed, worn out, by 10pm and as the WiFi had packed up entirely, I was not tempted to sit up watching Swim Smooth videos (or Netflix) and was asleep by approximately 10.05,!!”

My light bulb moment:

This article was first published on dailymail.co.uk 13th February 2018 by Emma Rowley

My light bulb moment: Triathlon company founder says she wanted to help train mature athletes after hearing people say they were ‘too old for this’

  • Jo Lewis, 62, is co-founder of Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons
  • She said she’s always used exercise to give her the energy she wants in life
  • Her light bulb moment came when she was away at a training camp in 2010 

Jo Lewis, 62, is the co-founder of Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons. 

She lives in Buckinghamshire with her partner, Ted, who is retired from the RAF, and has two adult sons.

I’d always said to myself, I hope I stay fit. When I was growing up, my mum was always so unwell.

She had various health problems and became an alcoholic, while my father, a doctor, tried to keep the family together. When she died at 60 of a cerebral haemorrhage, she was about to start kidney dialysis and had very high blood pressure.

I vowed that I would never follow her into hospital — and I never have, apart from when I had my two boys. When they were young, I played squash and tennis, as well as swimming and running, and worked as a swimming coach. I’ve always used exercise to give me the energy I want in life.

Jo Lewis, 62, is co-founder of company Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons

Aged 47, I had my fastest times as a runner, but my father told me: ‘It’s not so good for those joints.’

I got a bike, and started dabbling in triathlons. I loved it. With triathlon’s three sports (swimming, cycling and running), you can’t be bored.


This article was first published on Silvermagazine.co.uk 2nd February 2018 by Tabatha Fabray

Are you passionate about health and fitness? Not sure how and where to start? Do you fancy a new and exciting physical challenge for 2018? Or do you simply want the opportunity to broaden your horizons and make new friends?

Triathlons are set to be a massive fitness trend this year, with a surge in mature athletes signing up to push themselves to their limits. If you’re 50+ and thinking this might not be for you, we’re here to tell you otherwise.

A standard distance triathlon consists of three disciplines; swimming, cycling and running. Designed to test your endurance, physical fitness and mental strength, taking part in a triathlon is no light undertaking. However, the rewards and sense of achievement on completion are apparently unrivalled.

I spoke to Jo Lewis, co-founder of Tri50, which offers triathlon training days, camps and workshops specifically designed for mature male and female aspiring athletes, to see what the attraction is. I met up with Jo last week, and this is what she had to say:

Hi Jo, let’s start at the beginning – what gave you the idea for Tri50?
“It was a pure lightbulb moment. I was away on a Level 3 triathlon coaching course weekend in 2010 when I sat up in bed and realised there must be a niche market for mature athletes in triathlon.

“I’d witnessed first-hand enthusiastic athletes over 50 becoming demoralised when training with their younger counterparts, and wished to create a safe, welcoming and caring environment in which to train and become healthier at their pace, which also met their specific needs as more mature athletes. Tri50 was born.”

There are many elements of this sport that appeal to the mature individual; it’s a multi-discipline sport that embraces all the different muscle groups

What’s the attraction of a triathlon for over-50s?
“There are many elements of this sport that appeal to the mature individual; it’s a multi-discipline sport that embraces all the different muscle groups. This means you’re not constantly overloading the same joints and muscles, thereby reducing the risk of injury compared to a single sport. Also, don’t forget the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests to your own and, most importantly, the variety makes it fabulous fun!”

Can you tell us a bit about what you offer at Tri50?
“My fellow coach and co-founder Sandra and I offer a wide variety of services, including swim camps, triathlon camps, and coaching. There’s something for all age groups and the camps take place in some amazing locations.”

(Details of these below)

All we ask is that athletes are willing and have passion, motivation and an enthusiasm to try something new

Some of our readers may be thinking, ‘Can I do this? I have limited or no experience’. What would you say to them?
“One doesn’t need to be an amazing athlete, have previous experience with the sport, or be in peak physical condition; all we ask is that athletes are willing and have passion, motivation and an enthusiasm to try something new.

“Tri50’s current most mature athlete is 75 years old and thriving. Many 50 and 60-year-olds continue to pass through our hands, and firm friendships have been made, which is wonderful to witness.

“Both mature ourselves, Sandra and I will nurture you as you learn, and are relentlessly patient in helping you set and achieve your goals, whatever they may be. I coached Theresa May (and her husband) as a total beginner for many years (nine, to be exact!). Theresa even managed to complete an underwater handstand!”

Jo Lewis and Sandra Barden – L3 Triathlon Coaches, Coach Educators and GB current Age-Group Competitors

How can our readers get involved in this sport?
“Join a local leisure centre (try and find one you enjoy attending) where you know you’ll feel comfortable and welcome.

“Seek the advice of a qualified triathlon coach – not only will they be able to pass on years of experience, but they’ll ensure that individuals don’t overstretch their body’s capabilities, and will know how to take them at their own pace, alongside taking them out of their comfort zone, one step at a time.

“Try aqua jogging or swimming first – these activities are a great way to build up your fitness and endurance levels, while being low-impact and putting less strain on your body.

“Dust off one’s old shopping bike, sitting in the garage, and just enjoy cycling, which is another great way to increase your fitness while being low impact. Ladies can join ‘Breeze’, a free organisation sponsored by HSBC, which runs novice group rides. The benefits of cycling outdoors cannot be over-emphasised – it’s invigorating, exciting, surprisingly fun and sociable.

Sport is the ideal outlet to get your mojo back

“Sign up for a training camp such as Tri50’s triathlon and/or swimming camps – they offer expertise, encouragement, support and great camaraderie. What are you waiting for?”

Any final words of encouragement?
“If you’ve lost confidence and find yourself stuck in a rut after years of putting others’ health and wellbeing ahead of yours, through sport and exercise, you can get a renewed positivity and confidence for life. Sport is the ideal outlet to get your mojo back.”



Swim Camp – Sands Beach Resort, Lanzarote, 23rd April to 28th April 2018
This is geared to all age groups and ability levels (100m continuous swim is our minimum joining requirement). Our fully-coached swim camp takes place in beautiful Lanzarote at the end of April, and offers daily coached pool and sea swims, underwater filming to improve technique and awareness, and a personalised six-week swim training programme to take home. Ideal for those wanting to improve their general swim ability and/or prepare for the upcoming race season.

Triathlon Camp – Sands Beach Resort, Lanzarote, 29th April to 6th May 2018
For those wanting to develop skills in all elements of a triathlon, this camp offers swimming, running and cycling coaching, delivered by experienced and professional coaches. Mature athletes will also receive endurance and interval training across all the disciplines together, with general conditioning and strength exercises, nutrition and heart rate training principles, which are must-haves for injury-free success in this challenging sport.

Company Team Coaching – available all year round, on request
Want to inject some positivity into your workforce? Our corporate triathlon training days are inspiring, fun and a great way to encourage employees to lead a healthier lifestyle, and therefore become more productive in the workplace.

Bespoke coaching – available all year round, on request
Tri50 offers a personalised service to suit individual needs, be it help overcoming an injury, or fear of a particular element of the sport. Sandra and I focus on fulfilling individual requirements as a mature athlete.

Why not register your interest today? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Visit www.tri50.co.uk for further information on how to get started.


Having been approached for the third time in as many months by a national paper or magazine, here’s the newly published Tri50 article in Silver magazine…. we are are so on trend !!!! Hope you enjoy.

For those of you who thought a Triathlon wasn’t possible!

IT CAN BE DONE …………………..

It all started three years ago when I met Jo and Ted, who changed my life for ever!

I have been diabetic & asthmatic for 8/9 years now, but my diabetes was out of control and I was in a terrible place in my head too . Then three years ago I met Coaches Jo & Ted, through a casual conversation at the local Leisure Centre, who taught me to run (initial training was walking, jogging, building up to running),I couldn’t remember how long ago it was when I last ran!

From running to cycling and then swimming, Jo encouraged and motivated me all the way. I still didn’t feel confident in any of the three disciplines, but it was more than I had ever imagined I could achieve. My blood sugar levels gradually improved as well as my fitness levels, but my diet still wasn’t great.

I turned 49 in 2016 and set myself some personal challenges, one of which was a Sprint Triathlon that Jo recommended – she indicated it would be a personal challenge, but said was achievable for me with commitment and consistency. I really didn’t believe in myself and was scared, however, I felt I should try. The easy bit was registering and paying for the Triathlon, then the training started which I found really tough, but with the motivational help of all the training groups & Coaches …… I did it.

Achieving the targets I had set myself made me start to feel good about myself and I started to think I could achieve goals that I would never have dreamed of. My last challenge before I turned 50 was to come off my diabetic medication but I had to change my diet and lifestyle, which wasn’t feasible without the support of my wonderful family.

My 50th Birthday present to myself was a blood test result that proved my blood sugar results were at nearly normal levels, and they were – none of this could have been achieved without the support of friends, family and caring Coaches. Also, what helped me the most was the ladies in the groups who supported me by regularly training with me, even though I was not as good as them. They cheered me on every step of the way. I have met the most amazing positive people on my journey, I feel so lucky.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me and who has been part of my fitness journey, making me who I am today.

Oh, and please don’t think I am a super athlete……..anything but…..

Snita Sharma
January 2018

Note from Coach Jo:

Snita is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through sheer hard work –this has been possible through training regularly with others and joining Tri50 and Jo’s Tri Team where the caring Coaches, Jo and Sandra, have assisted Snita on her ups and downs. It hasn’t always been easy, there have been many times when Snita would have chosen to give up, however, she knew that the support of her friends/groups was always there (and they wouldn’t let her!).

Snita celebrated her 50th Park Run just 3 weeks ago – who would have believed she would be doing this? Additionally, she has just signed up for an indoor pool Swim Challenge, 22 miles in just 3 months, and she will achieve this, I know.

As a BTF Triathlon Coach, I feel so very proud to have supported Snita on her Triathlon journey – the confidence and positivity she has gained over 3 years is unmeasurable and outstanding, her Lifestyle is totally different, and she will continue to improve and inspire others to do what she thought was totally impossible.

Well Done, Snita.

Jo Lewis
January 2018

Mini Tri at the end of my first Triathlon camp – mid transformation!!!

Tri50 Swim Camp – The End

Subject: Blog from an Old Dog!!

On Day 1 it quickly became clear to me that I was about the weakest swimmer of this happy group of 13 – and I was pretty daunted by that! Could Jo and Sandra really teach ‘an old dog new tricks’ in 5 days!

So here we are on Day 5: we have exercised our Core, we have swum every possible drill in the pool and completed a long sea swim challenge.

Over the week we have swum a total of 12916 metres in the lovely Lanzarote sunshine! And how do I feel as that ‘mature dog’ in need of complete swim technique overhaul and confidence lacking?

I’ve been challenged and pushed, drilled and repositioned to establish that optimal front crawl. It’s been hard – but never boring! Jo and Sandra have been Great Coaches and SO positive and made me feel as though I Really COULD be better!

The group has been friendly and supportive of each other and it’s been great fun – new firm friends made!

I’d like to say I overtook a few today – but as everyone has improved massively – I’m still towards the back – but that doesn’t matter as I’m faster and much better equipped to keep improving and build on my new found skills. With a training plan in place I’m looking forward to some miraculous swim times in 2018!!!

Swim Camp Day 4

Day 4 on the Lanzarote swim camp

Just to put day 4 in to context, here’s my brief personal experience of days 1 – 3…

Day 0
Wow, what an amazing bunch of ladies (and gentle man) I’m here with. Totally intimidated by every one of them and out of place, but hey, I’m sure it’ll be fine!

Day 1
Shit. What have I done? This isn’t me. I want to cry. I’m the worst swimmer by far. I shouldn’t be here. What was I thinking? Watching myself on video was horrendous – I look like a floundering, drowning ape when I swim (it’s never looked that bad in my head when I’ve pictured what I might look like).

Day 2
A much better day. My first sea swim – yay!! Dead chuffed with myself. I didn’t panic. I swam. It was beautiful in fact, I really enjoyed it. Then also really enjoyed drills in the pool. Actually give me the feeling of what this swimming lark should feel like. Not worried about what I look like today – it feels better – and my stroke must be improving.

Day 3
I am so tired. So very tired. My body and my brain! There’s just so much to think about – I want to get it all right and there are so many things I want to improve on.

Day 4
Jo and Sandra said there would be tears at some point. And they were mine! Today.

Started off great – pool session. Really enjoyed the drills. So good to understand what one aspect of the stroke should feel like. And glad to be learning some drills to focus more on when I get home too.

I am finding it difficult to focus on one thing at a time though. That seems like it shouldn’t be as tough as it is! But as much as I start out down the lane trying to just focus on cadence, my thoughts turn to whether I’m rotating my body, am I breathing out through my nose AND my mouth, am I lifting my head too high on the breathing, bilateral breathing, dropping my shoulder when I breathe and the thoughts go on……. No wonder this is so exhausting, frankly. And that’s without the massive physical effort swimming all this distance is for me. I reckon I’ve probably swum as far this week in one week than I have my entire life before put together!!

Then a sea swim this afternoon. Just amazing – totally loved it. Every time I get in the sea it’s getting better. There was more going on this afternoon, we learned how to turn efficiently around a buoy. I spent a good 10 minutes without the comfort blanket of my swim secure float, even swum with others around me – all meaning I’m gaining massive confidence in open water, which I’ve never had before.

After all that excitement though, walking back to the pool, overheating in my wetsuit, exhausted, hungry… I have no idea what came over me, other than suddenly feeling overwhelmed by it all. Instead of jumping eagerly back in the pool with everyone else, I couldn’t hold back the tears, much as I tried. I did eventually manage to pull myself together and joined everyone else for a few more drills. Albeit not with the greatest of energy or zest!

Thank goodness for the core and TLC session to end the day off – back firmly within my comfort zone and a lovely beautiful stretch for some of my aching muscles.

I have to say though; this week is just totally amazing. I’m sad there’s only a day left, even though I probably wouldn’t be capable of continuing a day longer! I’m just so impatient though – I want to be able to glide gracefully and speedily through the water, with wonderful efficient technique. I know rationally that’s several years off (8 years average swimming journey according to Jo), but I want it now! Still, I’ll get home and get in that pool regularly this winter, practice, practice, practice what I’ve learned this week and I’ll be a huge leap forward from where I was before I came out here! And the bonus is, I’ve also got to know some fabulous people.

Nicky Runeckles

Tri50 Swim Training Camp – Day 3 (Christine)

Day 3 started off rather cloudy and as it was half a day didn’t look very inviting to sunbathe later. However, we all met up early at 07:45 (eeks) and a short walk to the sandy beach. Into wetsuits and then Jo explained that we needed to put our sighting that we learned yesterday into practice, so we were to head out to a diving platform, then onto a white buoy that was out there somewhere, couldn’t see it myself, but I thought no doubt I’ll see if eventually. Made the white buoy and quite surprised myself at how comfortable I felt, the tuition is paying off. Then we had to pair up and swim alongside each other and sight again, then a little bit of drafting and back to the shore. It was a first for me – 1500 metres which I thought I’d never do that without drowning.

Breakfast afterwards, I was certainly ravenous and a much needed coffee restored my energy levels. Then back into pool for some drills. It was a new experience for me trying to get my head around the touch turn, and is something that I’ll have to practise, but I can see how much more efficient and fast it would be in a race.

This afternoon is a much needed rest and the sun is out for a spot of sunbathing. Happy days.

I have learned SO much and it’s only Day 3, I feel that my stroke is improving and hopefully I am slightly faster 🙂

Chris T