“Extreme triathlons require willpower, physical endurance and lots of squats”
Committing yourself to competing in an extreme triathlon involving a nearly 4km swim, a 180km bicycle ride and 42km run is not for the fainthearted. Former international soccer player and fitness expert Nick Gindre, Resolution Health’s brand ambassador, shares his experience of training for one of the toughest kinds of races on the continent, while juggling his career and family life.
“Before undertaking a triathlon of this magnitude, you need to realistically evaluate your levels of commitment and discipline because these are the attributes you will need in a race like this. Once you take the decision to register, there is no going back,” Gindre says.
Are you ready? Set yourself realistic goals
“Before signing up for any major race, you need to be sensible about whether you will be able to achieve the required level of fitness in time to safely compete. If you have been a couch potato for years, it is unrealistic to imagine you could take part in an ultra marathon that is only a few months away. Set yourself reasonable goals in preparation for a serious race.”
Sponsored by his medical scheme, Resolution Health Medical Scheme, Gindre is looking forward to participating in the major triathlon event to be held in Nelson Mandela Bay later this month. “The reason I decided to set myself this challenge is that I wanted to show the members of my gym franchise that just because something is difficult, that does not mean it is impossible.”
Make time for gruelling training
“With a major triathlon, you can forget about restricting your training to weekends because you need to fit a lot of different training methods and body conditioning into your schedule. The training is going to be extremely hard and demanding on your body, but what I have found to be a harder challenge is the time management.
“There will be days when you are out training for five hours straight, either on a long bike ride or out running. This has become even harder for myself, as my wife and I have a baby daughter, so it has been a real sacrifice to spend all my free time training.”
Gindre’s training roster included three consecutive running days, comprising two 10km runs in under 50 minutes each separated by a 5km run in under 25 minutes with an additional 2km cool down run.
“I am a strong believer in weight training for all sports, so I make sure to do some type of weight session twice a week, and on one of these days I also get some swimming training in.”
Gindre explains that squats are invaluable for increasing the muscle around your hips, and knees, and therefore help reduce the risk of injury. “Squats also improve your other types of training. By developing a strong foundation to the body, squats will be a huge benefit to your overall strength and even with muscle endurance for longer distance cardio.”
“I do two sessions of swimming training a week. Sometimes my wife and daughter join me at the pool so we can spend some fun family time together. I really appreciate the support of my family, and this keeps me focused and motivated.”
Once a week, Gindre undertakes a bicycle ride of between 60 and 80km. “I cannot emphasise enough the importance of stretching before cycling. In terms of injury prevention, it is almost as vital as wearing a helmet,” he says.
Gindre recommends training with a friend to help keep motivation strong. “If you have a training buddy, it makes working out a lot more fun and challenges you to push yourself. There is nothing like a bit of healthy competition between friends to stimulate you to reach new heights in your personal fitness.”
In the last week before the triathlon Gindre eased up his training regime slightly, focusing on light jogging, indoor cycling and stretching. “I am looking forward to the race tremendously and I aim to complete it in under 12 hours, although I only need to complete it within the 17 hour time limit to earn the title of ironman, which is a great ambition of mine. I will dig deep to give it my absolute best effort, encouraged by my wife, my friends and colleagues, and my sponsor Resolution Health,” Gindre concludes.
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