Copyright of Holly Stanton Photographer

In the lead-up to 2014’s Challenge Wanaka Triathlon, we’re following the gruelling training schedule of team Angry Birds. One swimmer, one cyclist and one runner, this team is pushing the boundaries of physical endurance. They came third in the all-female category last year – can they beat their current record in 2014?

With just days to go until the race, our Angry Birds are giving their bodies a well-deserved rest from long-distance training and enjoying some down time: surfing, walking, kayaking and short swims, runs and rides. They’ve hit peak performance, but how did they get there and what do the next few days have in store?

Nicola’s been mixing it up with early-morning 10km ocean swims, squad sessions, surfing and SUP-ing. The ocean’s felt chillier than usual, probably due to the north easterly, so to avoid muscle cramps and dehydration on long swims she knocks back 300ml Staminade plus plenty of water in advance. Training in open water means there are no rest stops for refuelling, so she has to rely on gels tucked into her swimmers.

Her post-training brekkie has been carefully crafted to aid her recovery: a hearty meal of eggs, spinach and 750ml Staminade.

Katy completed her final long run last week: 33km at an average pace of just under 6min/km. It was hot and hilly and should replicate the conditions she can expect at Wanaka. This Sunday she did a half marathon trail run and was dreaming of Staminade with ice for the final hour.

And talking of ice, Julie-Anne’s been mixing up Staminade slushies at a triathlete training camp. With 40 competitors honing their skills in the summer heat, it’s no wonder she’s invented the athlete’s answer to a iced water. Apparently it’s just what you need after a 13km run on a humid evening. Cheers!

Main image by kind permission of Holly Stanton Photographer.