How are you doing? I hope your preparations are going well and you are looking forward to the start of the season as much as I do. My first race is just around the corner and the excitement is rising day by day. 🙂
Challenge Salou will not only be my first race as a Challenge Family ambassador, but also my first race of the 2019 season. As always, it is a very special feeling to be racing for the first time after a long break in between seasons. I think, the feelings that kick in don’t really change over time and I feel the same excitement and nervousness as I did many years ago. However, I like these emotions and I am well prepared for a good start.
Overall, my preparations went well, but compared to previous years, there were some changes. I only did one triathlon-specific training camp with my Erdinger Alkoholfrei teammates at Club La Santa in Lanzarote, which was all about getting a lot of miles in on the bike. In addition, I completed three short winter camps, all geared towards cross-country skiing, to complement the triathlon training. Compared to previous years, my bike mileage is lower while the intensity in general was higher.
The major aspects, which my coach Björn Geesmann (STAPS) and I focused on were swimming and running. As a former swimmer, I lost the focus on my technique over the last years a little bit and wasn’t always happy with my times and performances. To get more tactical options in races and to be able to compete with the best athletes, I was aiming to get back to my „old“ level. To do so, we focused on specific strength training, flexibility and – of course: swimming! 😉
For the run, I was adviced by Lukas Naegele, a running specialist who also works for STAPS and who helped me with my technique to increase efficiency and run faster with the same effort. Also, my running volume has increased and I hope to see the benefits of these adjustments over the course of the season.
Regular tests to assess and adjust the training are important and I was also lucky enough to get to the velodrome to test my bike position and various setups as well as new equipment. The results gave me a lot of confidence, as I was able to get a more comfortable position without losing any watts. I also tested a new suit, which turned out to be faster than the old one and was designed in my own colors for the new season. I will be able to give you a first glance in a few days and of course on race day! 😉
Speaking of tests: I was in the STAPS lab twice to do performance tests to see if the given workouts have had the desired effects. I think that as an athlete you are never 100% satisfied with the results, but if the coach is happy, you can trust that what we have achieved during the winter months, is going in the right direction. Regular tests are something that I strongly recommend to triathletes at all levels. Laboratory tests are the most reliable and give many physiological insights into how your body works and where the most potential lies. However, as this comes with some costs, you can also do field tests. 400m tests in swimming, a local 5k/10k race or a FTP test are great ways to evaluate the process you made in all disciplines and help you to adjust your training accordingly.
„I will give my absolute best and leave everything out there! “
As you can see, I did prepare as good as possible to show my best performance at Challenge Salou and at the next races to come. For Salou, given the early date and the fact that it will be my first race, I am not really sure what to expect right now. I am just looking forward to kick off my season and from what I’ve heard the race is a perfect opener to do so. Swimming in the ocean is always a special challenge, which adds to the excitement. Also, I was told that the region is great for outdoor sports and that both cycling and running are fast and beautiful race courses. I promise to give my absolute best, leave everything out on the course and hopefully fight for a top spot! 😉
Besides seeing a new location (which is one of many benefits the job as a professional triathlete includes) the race and my performance will tell me exactly where my level of fitness is and what I need to do after that to reach my goals throughout the season.
One week after Challenge Salou I am on my way to another training camp on my favorite island Mallorca, before heading to Challenge Heilbronn and ‘The Championship’ in Samorin.
I hope to see some of you guys out there and wish you all the best for your upcoming weeks, whether you may be training or racing!