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The Gist:

As the name suggests, TriActive offers the recommended kit and accessories you’ll need if attempting to enter the Triathlon world (or just one segment of the swim, bike, run trio). This place is a glorious one-stop for the Tri-curious: all the kit, curated expertise stretching from tailored training to tried and tested resources, and an owner who probably knows exactly how you feel, should you be itching for a better version of yourself. 

The Story:

The shop’s been running (pun intended) for 11 years, but Rich Vincent and his wife Julie are brand-spanking new, taking over the place in July this year, after moving from the other side of the country – Lincolnshire. Rich is a qualified personal trainer, who’s just completed his first Iron Man and Mountain Leader qualification, a far cry from eight years ago, approaching his 40th birthday; five stone overweight, a smoker with deteriorating health. Like a lot of people he’d been well into various sports as a child, but gradually pulled out of it by work and busy life. Keen to escape a future of hospital visits, he started out small, getting back in touch with his active youth and soon became hooked on the joy of triathlons and fitness. Realising life as a driving instructor wasn’t going to cut it anymore, he began training as a PT, then enabling him to help others. 8 years later, Rich has an understandable natural affinity with those just starting out.

At Their Best:

Whether it’s helping a client conquer their fear of water, exalting the shoes that have served him through years of ultra-running, or offering up his own journey as proof that anyone can do it, the variety of services and support on offer here from Rich and his team is undeniable and extensive. This move into retail, guiding the newbie, toe-dipping and die-hard triathletes of Chester makes a whole bunch of sense; Rich has been there, done that, road tested the kit, and primed himself as an indispensible man in the know. Wet suit fitting and gait analysis are other specialities here. After a spell on the running machine, you’ll talk through technique and correction, before you even get onto the subject of shoes, thanks to Rich’s experience and Personal Trainer background.

Trade Secrets – Triathlon Tips:

  • Get talking to your local club. For Chester check out ChesterTri for coaching, training and social.
  • Head to a local race and get a front row seat to see what it’s all about. Amongst others there’s the Deva Triathlon, the ladies only Deva Divas Triathlon and events in North Wales here.
  • Don’t be intimidated, start small; sure an IronMan swim can be 2.5 miles and further, but there are plenty that start at 200m too.
  • Put the myths to bed – training for a Triathlon doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment, you can do it 3-4 times a week. And some aches and pain flare-ups benefit from exercise, rather than prevent you from getting stuck in– it’s worth a chat to find out more.
  • People want to do the activities they love to do; runners want to run, cyclists want to cycle, but don’t be so quick to dismiss strength training – scaffolding to support and ready the body. Check out the set up at Ben Fides training centre S3 Fitness here.

A Quick Slice:

It’s the bone conducting headphones Rich really raves about when pushed on his favourite, must have item. Retailing from £49.99 – £149 (with the bestseller at £99) the headphones sit under your cheekbones, and allow you to hear everything going on around you, and your music – a particular asset for night-time runners and cyclists who want to get into the zone without sacrificing safety.

Looking Forward:

Since running the show (sorry, did it again), they’ve opened up and refreshed the space, to better display the range of carefully considered wares, from wet suits and compression garments to Tom Tom watches and LED Lenser head torches. For 2018 TriActive are looking to get out into Chester and North Wales, with an array of training and navigation days (think outdoor swim coaching and ultra running too). They’re also specializing on the wetsuit front, stocking only Zone 3, Orca and Huub. Why? Because Rich is confident they’re the best brands on the market. Same with footwear – they’re bringing in Sketchers for the summer. It might be a surprise to hear, but he advises they make a great, light shoe, suitable for triathletes and ultra runners. And he’d know, having just retired a pair after 2 years and a whole lot of miles.

They’re also going to move some of the clothing out and focus more on the accessory side, such as injury prevention and safety items. Keep an eye on their website too, for an upcoming regular blog on all things active Chester.

Getting There:

You’ll find them in the surprisingly packed nook of Rufus Court (enter via an alleyway on Northgate Street, opposite Marmalade). The alley branches out into a courtyard, housing (amongst others) Alexanders and Covino.

You can visit TriActive online, on Twitter and on Facebook, email or give them a call on 01244 313777.