Ironman competitor teams up with University of Bedfordshire to complete competition training

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The University of Bedfordshire’s human performance centre is seeing its first client put the state of the art facilities to good use.

Ironman competitor Reece Barclay is putting the environment chamber through its paces imitating the hot and humid conditions he expects to encounter at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on October 8.

With temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees celsius and humidity at well over 85 per cent, the conditions can test even the toughest.

Reece said: “It’s a real test of everything really, mental strength, physical strength, organisation, test of character, test of will. It’s a really good way of just testing your limits.” commented Reece,

Competing in the 25-29 age group in his sixth Ironman competition, Reece, 25, will be one of the younger competitors in the age group.

To gain the best chance of a podium finish he believes that training at the university will give him the edge.

Jeffrey Aldous, research associate at the university, said: “When racing at temperatures of around 43 degrees celsius, there’s a variety of mechanisms that can reduce your performance, for example you fatigue quicker.

“What we are doing with Reece, by training in the chamber, is hopefully improving his tolerance to the heat, and reducing the onset of fatigue due to the climate.

“Training in the heat can reduce heart rate and core temperature and improve blood flow which in turn can give an athlete an edge over someone who hasn’t.”

Talking about using the human performance centre, Reece said: “I’m doing a heat acclimation protocol.

“It’s a two week process where I’m cycling in similar conditions to what I’ll be competing in in Hawaii so that my body can get used to the conditions.

“The facilities are absolutely amazing, the staff are great - I was lucky enough to work with them last year and had a great experience so it’s a pleasure to be back.

“We did a two week protocol last year and then went out to Hawaii.

“We were there with people who hadn’t done any heat training before they got there and they were really struggling, whereas I felt relatively comfortable.

“Last year I finished fifth in my age group in nine hours and 45 minutes, this year I’m hoping to improve on that and get as close to nine hours as possible.

“That might be a little bit ambitious, but aim high.”

The human performance centre offers a wide range of services, for more information, visit: www.beds.ac.uk/humanperformance.