With the 2014 Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town just around the corner, we asked some of our talented brand ambassadors, who also happen to be taking part, or supporting, the event on 26 & 27 April, to share their best tips to help those of you who are taking part, and to inspire those who are thinking of taking part in a triathlon.
And if you’ve ever wondered things like what a triathlete likes to eat, what they do in their down-time and what they do after a big event, we asked those questions too!
These amazing triathletes are: Richard Murray, Kent Horner, Vicky Van Der Merwe , Stuart Marais, Cornel Herbst, Frank Smuts, Tiaan Pretorius, Robyn Williams and Colleen de Oliveira.
The pros’ top triathlon tips
Stuart gives us some practical advice to start with: “Find a group to help keep you motivated during training. Join a coach group and make sure you have specific goals”. We’re always going on about the amazing results you can achieve by simply setting a goal. We’re also strong advocates for group inspiration and motivation.
Cornel advises triathletes to, “Stay motivated and focus on the current discipline you are doing rather than what lies ahead.” Tiaan and Richard agree that consistency is extremely important, especially when you’re training. Richard says, “Consistency is key in life and sport. Progress slowly and keep focused as you improve.”
So what’s the best way to save time in a triathlon? Frank talks about the importance of the transition, saying, “Pre-play the upcoming transition in your head as you finish the current discipline (swim or bike)”. Robyn agrees, saying: “Practise doing your transitions from swim to cycle and from cycle to run. Elastic laces in your shoes will also save you loads of time.”
She also has some wise words for the dreaded wetsuit transition. “When putting on your wetsuit, first apply baby oil to your forearms and ankles. This will help when you need to take it off quickly when you are done swimming. Put your foot into a plastic packet and then into your wetsuit. Then remove the packet. This makes it much easier to get the neoprene on.”
“To stop your goggles from fogging up, smear some baby shampoo on the inside of the lens. Rinse thoroughly and don’t touch it again.”
Vicky’s top tip? “Don’t panic in the swim. Just breathe!”
Colleen keeps her advice simple with probably one of the most important pieces of advice for triathletes. And something that’s easy to lose sight of: Having fun. Make sure that this experience is something you will remember fondly for the rest of your life!
And when they’re not training like machines?
Family and friends are, of course, high on everyone’s lists. Training for an event is very time-consuming, so any time an athlete gets to spend with loved ones is to be grabbed with both hands.
Keeping things “super chilled” is also high on the agenda. Richard likes to put his feet up as much as possible during the season, and Kent likes to spend time on the couch too. Besides that, he’s keen on “planning new racing and business projects”. You’ll also find Frank “on the couch, legs up, watching sport on TV.” “Reading an epic novel” is high up on Robyn’s list.
Food, glorious food
We couldn’t not ask this question. We love food. You love food. And we’re always interested in what hardcore athletes like to eat.
Pizza is the most popular (no surprise there!). Richard, Robyn and Colleen rate this cheesy meal as their top treat. Richard is also a fan of Kauai and counts coffee as a food group. Robyn loves her cakes too, carrot cake and cheesecake being her favourites. “Hence the need to train hard to keep the scale happy” she says. Stuart, Kent and Tiaan love a good steak, while Frank is more into sushi.
And of course, there’s always mom’s cooking, and Vicky and Cornel are their moms’ biggest culinary fans.
To selfie, or not to selfie?
Here at Virgin Active, we love selfies. Especially when they’re active selfies. But selfies don’t seem to be a favourite with our brand ambassadors. The general consensus to this question is a resounding no. Cornel says he tries to avoid cameras as much as he can, while Tiaan likes to take pictures of everything but himself. Frank admits to taking selfies, but “only when cycling” to show his buddies “the beautiful views and steep hills I climb!” Fair enough.
We have one proud selfie-taker in the group: Stuart! “Selfies are pictures of people taken when they are out training alone, to try and show people what they are missing out on… Yes, I’m a selfie person!” Hear, hear Stuart!
Post-race: sleep or soiree?
So what do these pros get up to after a big event? Mostly rest it seems, though Robyn, Kent and Colleen all agree that what they do after an event all depends on how well they did. Frank isolates himself, “like a wounded bear” and Cornel just wants to sleep.
Stuart enjoys “a couple of beers with mates after an event to share war stories.” And there’s always one or two party animals in the group, Vicky and Tiaan definitely love a good celebration after an event. Tiaan firmly stating: “I race and train to party.”
So where does the 2014 Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town feature on our brand ambassadors event and priority list?
For most of our brand ambassadors it ranks pretty high. For Robyn, the World Triathlon Cape Town will be “the biggest event that I have ever competed in. It ranks very high up on the list of ‘races to be nervous for.’”
Vicky had hip surgery last year, so she isn’t yet as fit as she’d like to be, “but I’m working hard to get back to the top of my game. I think this event is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of and I feel fortunate to be able to race.”
Calling all supporters
If you’re not taking part this year, come anyway and cheer on our brand ambassadors and other athletes as they race to the finish line. It’s going to be a super fun day out. And it might even inspire you to start training for your very first triathlon!
We can’t wait to head out to the V&A Waterfront on the 26th and 27th of April to support these hard-working athletes and we hope you’ll join us there!