Saturday, January 25, 2014

Support Elite Arab Triathletes and Triathlon in the Arab World

Triathlon is arguably the world's fastest growing sport. It is also growing in the Arab world. Arab triathletes lack the supportive environment that allows them to make big improvements and even excel. A look at the ranking list of the International Triathlon Union shows only one or two triathletes from Arab countries, who actually are fortunate to have the opportunity to train in Europe.

This project intends to support Arab triathletes and the sport of triathlon in the Arab world in every way possible. This includes the support of hobby triathletes and age groupers as well as elite triathletes with a chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, such as Lawrence Fanous (aka Lawrence of Arabia). Other potential ways of support are:

- providing triathlon specific equipment and gear to Arab triathletes and triathlon clubs (e.g. tri/road bikes, wetsuits, turbo trainers, etc.),
- offering attractive prize money at races in Arab countries to encourage participation
- paying the cost of training camps to enable participation free of charge
- support of participation in races in countries to gain experience and to develop a sense of community between Arab athletes from various countries.

Through their role model status, elite triathletes play an important role in attracting youth to the sport and giving them perspective. Therefore, my belief is that they deserve special attention and support. In their quest to qualify for important races, such as Ironman in Kona or the Olympic Games, elite Arab triathletes face the challenge of competing with professional triathletes from other countries who receive a lot of support that allows them to focus exclusively on their training and performance. Meanwhile, elite Arab triathletes struggle and spend a significant amount of time trying to fund their travel to the qualifying races or a bike that does not slow them down versus their competition, or other needs that will help their training and recovery.

This is only a first attempt to raise some funds for the above mentioned purpose. If successful, I hope to follow with additional requests for specific needs. The amount raised through this attempt will go against supporting the participation of Lawrence Fanous and hopefully one more elite Arab triathlete in a triathlon race in Muscat, Oman. It will also be used for conducting a training camp with Lawrence as the coach.

I am grateful for any amount of support you can provide.

Click here to donate:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

مشروع دعم رياضيي ورياضييات الترياثلون العرب ورياضة الترياثلون في العالم العربي

يقال عن الترياثلون أنها أسرع رياضة نمواً في العالم. وهي تنموا نمواً سريعاً في العالم العربي أيضاً. ولكن يفتقد الرياضييون العرب البيئة الداعمة التي تمكنهم من التحسن الكبير بل والتفوق. إلقاء نظرة على لائحة الاتحاد الدولي للترياثلون يظهر واحداً او اثنين من العرب فقط وهم من المحظوظين الذين بإمكانهم التدريب في أوروبا. 

لهذا فإنني أعتزم الإبتداء بمشروع لدعم رياضيي ورياضييات الترياثلون العرب ورياضة الترياثلون في العالم العربي بأي وسيلة مفيدة وممكنة. ويضم هذا الرياضيين الهواة من الفئات العمرية كما يضم الرياضيين من النخبة الذين لديهم إمكانية التأهل للألعاب الأولمبية عام ٢٠١٦ في ريو دي جانيرو مثل لورنس فانوس ( لورنس العرب).

طرق الدعم المحتملة هي على سبيل المثال:
- توفير المعدات والادوات للرياضيين وأندية وإتحادات الترياثلون العربية (مثل دراجات الترياثلون ودراجات طرق وبدلات السباحة المطاطية الخ)
- تقديم جوائز مالية جذابة للفائزين في السباقات العربية لتشجيع المشاركة
- دفع تكاليف معسكرات التدريب لتمكين المشاركة المجانية أو المنخفضة السعر 
دعم السفر للمشاركة في السباقات في البلدان العربية واكتساب الخبرة وتطوير الإحساس بالإنتماء إلى مجموعة رياضيين ورياضييات الترياثلون العرب 

الرياضييون النخبة يلعبون دوراً كبير الأهمية حيث يمثلون قدوة تجذب إهتمام الشبان والشابات وتعطيهم المجال لتخيّل ما يمكنهم الوصول اليه. وفي سعيهم للتأهل لسباقات مهمة مثل الرجل الحديدي في هاواي أو الألعاب الأولمبية فإن الرياضيين النخبة من العرب يتنافسون مع الرياضيين المحترفين من البلدان الأخرى الذين يتلقون الكثير من الدعم الذي يسمح لهم بالتركيز كلياً على التدريب والمنافسة في حين يناضل الرياضييون العرب ويبذلون وقتاً طويلاً باحثين عن مصادر تمويل للسفر إلى السباقات التأهيلية أو شراء دراجة توازي نوعيتها دراجات منافسيهم أو الحصول على غير ذلك من احتياجاتهم للتمرين. 

سأبدأ بخطوة صغيرة كمحاولة أولى لجمع تبرعات للأهداف المذكورة أعلاه آملاً ان اتبعها بحملات أخرى. أملي في هذه الحملة الصغيرة الأولى هو ان أُجمِّع مبلغاً متواضعاً لتمكين لورنس العرب من المشاركة في ترياثلون في مسقط عمان في ١٤ فبراير ولإجراء معسكر قبل السباق تحت اشراف لورنس كمدرب. 

أتطلع الى دعمكم الكريم من خلال صفحة التبرع التالية ولكم جزيل الشكر:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

An exciting 2014

A year ago, in January 2013, I shared some statistics about my training volume in 2012 (see respective post). I mentioned back then that I didn’t have any objective but to start benchmarking. At the same time, I also wrote that I didn’t intend to increase my total training volume in 2013. Instead, I wanted to allocate more time to biking than to running and swimming. In addition, I wanted to do more interval training versus long sessions at steady, slow speed.

Now that 2013 is over, I ran a report of my training volume on Garmin ( Here is the data for the last 2 years:

Swim (hours/km)
Bike (hours/km)
Run (hours/km)
Other/core strength (hours)
weekly volume (hrs)

My total training volume in 2013 was slightly less than in 2012. This is not surprising at all since 2012 was my Ironman year in which I had increased my volume in preparation for the race, including going to a training camp in Gran Canaria. My swim and run volume decreased slightly, while my bike volume (kilometers) increased a little. In principle, this is in line with what I wanted, but I was actually looking for a more significant increase of my bike volume, something like doubling it.

I don’t have an easy way to evaluate the amount of interval versus steady speed training I did, but I know that I have done more intervals than the year before.

The amount and type of training I did in 2013 was sufficient for the goals I had. I participated in 3 Olympic distance races in Germany and performed better with each one of them. The 4th race was a tough mudder race just for fun.

For 2014, I’m not planning to do anything dramatically different with respect to training. I will step up my training volume a bit. It would be great if I could do an average of 7 hours with all the increase coming from more hours on the bike. I will do some more speed work and will focus on technique for swimming. I will also listen to the best advice to counter the effect of aging, and that is to build more muscle mass. So, some more strength training with weights is needed. Again, I’m not planning a significant change, but various small steps in the right direction.

With respect to racing, I have to say that I enjoyed the 3 Olympic distance races I did in 2013. I had never done any before as I skipped this distance on the way from the sprint through Half-Ironman distance to my first and only Ironman race in July 2012. With the Olympic distance, I think I have found my preferred distance and will stick with it, mostly.

In 2014, I am also looking forward to participating in my first races in Arab countries. On February 14th, I will join a race in Muscat, Oman organized by the Muscat Triathlon Club. I’m almost reluctant to mention this because it hasn’t been fully confirmed yet, but if everything goes well, I’ll have the pleasure to race with number 1 triathlete in the Arab world and the Middle East, Lawrence Fanous (aka Lawrence of Arabia). Actually, what I really mean to say, rather than “race”, is that I’ll “be in the same race with” Lawrence. I had to clarify this, just in case one of you thought I’m fast only because I write about the topic. Seriously, I’m excited about my first visit to Oman and want to thank Mohammed Al-Obaidani from Muscat Triathlon Club for organizing the race and for his efforts to acquire sponsors for Lawrence’s participation. I hope to see a significant number of participants from GCC and other Arab countries. Please support by participating. With 1.9k/80k/19k, the distance will be close to the 70.3 (Half-Ironman) distance and a bit longer than I feel I’m ready for at this point in time. But, we still have a few weeks until then, and there will be a shorter distance for those who prefer it.

Finally, after contemplating it for 2 years in a row, I have signed up for ADIT (Abu Dhabi International Triathlon) on March 15th. I plan to do the short distance which is 1.5k/100k/10k. It will be my first time in the UAE as well and I’m excited about it too. First of all, after so many years, I will hopefully see again some of my relatives who live there. Secondly, I hope that both Lawrence of Arabia and Omar Nour, the best 2 Arab triathletes will be there. Last year, Lawrence and Omar placed first and second Arab respectively. I have the feeling that Omar has been quietly training specifically for this event. Will he be the first Arab this time, or will Lawrence confirm his place as the best Arab triathlete? Or is there a third Arab who will surprise all of us? I’m almost tempted to forgo my race participation just to be there at the finish line waiting to see who will finish first. I’m afraid though that this will only be possible if they participate in the first place. Dear race organizers, please make sure they do! Dear fans, please tweet the organizers and leave comments on their facebook page stating your interest in this showdown between the best 2 Arab triathletes in the most prestigious Arab Triathlon. Oh, by the way, the Brownlee brothers have already been invited by the organizer and will be a nice complementary act.

Last, but not least, I wish all followers and readers of this blog a Happy New Year, best of luck and success in achieving your goals for 2014. Let me know if I can be of any help.