By Poppy Sports Roving Reporter – Bonnie Glover
I recently had the chance to talk with a very experienced triathlete, Teresa Rider, an British Expat now residing in Boulder, Col. She has competed in countless events over the course of 28 years and has been on the podium 11 times for her age group and is the 2006 Age Group World Champion Hawaii Ironman.
I wanted to know what it is like to train for and compete in an Ironman Triathlon. That still seems like such an extreme event. My next sport goal is to finish an Olympic triathlon. I felt a little intimidated asking basic questions about training. After just a few minutes, I knew I was conversing with a wonderfully warm, generous and supportive woman. I caught Teresa at a good time. She had just won her age group at the Ironman Canada a few weeks ago. She broke the course record for her age group by 45 minutes! This was her first Ironman in 3 years. She came back to competing because she was curious to know if she still had “it” in her to endure the pain in an endurance event. I think what she means is mental toughness. Sounds like she’s still got it and much more!
She attributes her success to having a coach and a training program. It is important to have both to plan your season and train properly, so you don’t overdo it. I wondered if her training program could help a novice like me. She assured me it could. She simply adjusts her program to focus on the kind of events you want to participate in. The main adjustment is distance. You want to build strength and endurance for all events and then work on intensity and speed as you get closer to your event. The longer the event, (sprint, Olympic, half Ironman, full Ironman) the longer the work-outs you would be working up to in all three disciplines (swimming, biking, running). If you are shooting for a shorter distance, you can work on your speed.
She recommends training camps for all levels of athletes. A camp is a great way to give you a fitness bump and learn a lot from the other athletes attending. You will end up meeting people that you can train with or race with. It is very motivating and inspiring to see what other people can achieve. Even she, as a coach, continues to learn and be inspired by like-minded women who come together to support and push each other. It can be a very comfortable environment to push your own envelope and do something you didn’t think you could do!
Teresa told me the best time to attend a camp is early in the season. After a winter of working on adding distance and increasing strength it’s a good idea. You can get a jump start and push your training to the next level. But any time is a good time! You can attend a camp as late as 4 weeks before your next event. You want to push your intensity in workouts and get those last miles in before you taper down. Her camps will focus on nutrition, as well. This is important in all distances, but becomes critical in the longer, endurance events.
I asked about training with a buddy. She recommended it highly. It is so much better to have someone to keep you motivated and accountable! I have a great neighbor, Melanie, who keeps me on track all summer. It is also important to plan solo training; especially on those days that you need an easy workout. It’s very easy to push yourself to keep up with your training buddy! As in most areas of life, variety is the spice. It’s good to mix it up!
Her next race is the Hawaii Ironman on October 9, 2010. She was on the podium in Hawaii in 2006. She assured me that this is the most difficult Ironman because of the heat and wind. The temperatures are in the 90’s with high humidity. It is a beautiful, but brutal course. It is very difficult to stay hydrated. She must be mindful of nutrition the whole race.
Follow Teresa at the Hawaii Ironman 2010 on October 9th at www.ironman.com and NBC will be streaming the event live on their website.