Friday, 31 July 2015

My year in the peloton: by Ivan Rana



Post Olympic Diversion

With the Rio Olympics less than a year away, the triathlon world is no doubt concentrating on the controversial test event in the Brazilian city this weekend. With no prize money on offer, qualification points is the proverbial carrot dangling for those willing to travel half-way around the world to get to know the course for 2016.

Back on the European mainland, another event has begun, albeit with little fanfare outside the borders of the host country. The Tour of Portugal is a lesser known cycling stage race held around the backwater of the two-wheeled profession that is the Portuguese cycling scene.

What do an ITU World Series race and a two week stage race have in common, one might ask?

Ivan Rana is the answer.

A former ITU World Champion, fifth-placed finisher in Beijing 2008 and now  one of the world's premier long distance triathletes, Rana joins Briton Spencer Smith as one of only two triathletes who can lay claim to a World Championship title as well as having been a registered professional cyclist on the Continent.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

One Photo, A Few Words 5.0

A Teenage Caveman

In a recent blog post, Conrad Stoltz intimated that 2015 marks his final year as a professional triathlete.

The sport of professional triathlon without the “Caveman?” Inconceivable, yes, but all good things do eventually come to end. Now in his early forties, the friendly and engaging South African is moving on with life, the new addition to the Stoltz family being perhaps foremost on his and wife Liezel’s agenda.

But where did it all begin?

The header photo encapsulates the focus and concentration a seventeen Stoltz circa 1991. The location is that Greeker-than-Greek resort known as Club Mykonos, situated just outside the West Coast fishing village of Langebaan. The race is the South African Olympic Distance Triathlon Championships.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Arnold Geerdts' Finish-iative

On Potential, Mielies and Sub-Three Marathoning

When Arnold Geerdts gives motivational talks, a short segment is reserved for visualization. Asking his audience to close their eyes, Geerdts relates how one needs to rehearse what they wish to achieve whilst listening to recorded sounds of the Comrades Marathon. It only takes seven minutes, but this exercise sees participants literally running the eighty-nine kilometres in their minds.

“If you can't see it, you can't do it,” says Geerdts of his life philosophy. “I like to call this my “finish-itive,” in other words taking the initiative to reach the finish line; you have to start somewhere, you have to rehearse it. The Comrades Marathon is an excellent example of getting people to think out of the box. The sounds of that seven minute visualization sequence allows the audience to literally run the entire race in their minds, from start to finish.”

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hauss and Spirig: Champions of Living

Different Drums. Bigger Beat.

David Hauss and Nicola Spirig are the European Triathlon Champions for 2015.

Not a surprise to many but then there is a lot more to these two athletes than standing atop of the podium.

I’ve written about the articulate Spirig on a few occasions and what stands out with the reigning Olympic Champion is that triathlon is but a part of her busy life. Her young son Yannis is the centre of her and husband Reto Hug’s focus, everything else fitting in and around a stable and happy family life.

Take her comeback to ITU World Series racing for instance. After running the Zurich Marathon for training on the Sunday, Spirig and family headed to South Africa the very next day for the Cape Town leg of the ITU roadshow. With the race scheduled for that Saturday, morning running predominated over the other two disciplines, with cycling training being in the form of 8pm indoor trainer sessions after days reserved for sightseeing. Not a lot of time for much else there!

Monday, 13 July 2015

1:59: by Dr. Phil Maffetone

Balance, simplicity and chopping wood

A recent post on social media caught my eye, something along the lines of:

“Anybody out there with a program to get me as close as possible to a 2:30 marathon?”

Not verbatim, although pretty close. The individual's personal motivations aside, what struck me was the almost nonchalance of the request, as if just going out and running a marathon at a desired pace is but a given.

Which brings me to the subject of great book I recently finished.

1:59 is the latest of Dr. Phil Maffetone's literary classics. Whilst the title obviously outlines the book's central theme, much of the content is actually applicable to athletes of all levels and aspirations.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Where is Pete Jacobs?

Different Folks. Different Strokes

Pete Jacobs is different to most pro triathletes.

Sure, the fact that he has been an IRONMAN World Champion sets him apart from the majority of his peers. Not many can lay claim to that title, which to most is considered as triathlon’s crown jewel and Jacob’s crossing the finish line in first place three years ago signaled his inclusion into the exclusive club of Kona victors.

But this fact is perhaps not what sets the Australian apart from the rest of the elite pack.
Rather, it is that Jacob’s could be described as more “cerebral” than most that makes him just, well, different.


Monday, 6 July 2015

The Little Things

Big Picture, Less Stress

This excellent video by the entertaining folks at TRS gives great insight into the lifestyle of one the world’s greatest athletes.

Still going strong at the age of forty-three, Greg Bennett is certainly no spring chicken. That said, he knows how to get the most out of his mind, body and spirit. More importantly, though, is his emphasis on all the little things. Whether immersed in an ice bath, getting regular sports massage or just lying around recovering, all of these seemingly “little things” add to that great cliché known as the “bigger picture.” As Bennett alludes to, keeping the body healthy is often more difficult than just training hard. And rightly so. Anybody can just go out there and flog themselves but as the old saying goes, stress and rest equals training.