Welcome back from Rio, Gillian!
Gill's back from Rio after her successful race on August 20th (finishing 23rd among 55 in the female triathlon race). We met Gill 6 weeks before she left for Rio to see how she'd prepared and how she was feeling.
1) How's your final prep for Rio going?
It's going great so far. Just under 6 weeks week to go until I race. All is on track and the excitement is starting to build!
2) Have you approached training differently this year?
The Rio course is a very challenging one so we have had to make provision for that in training. It could be very humid on race day, it is an ocean swim and there is a massive hill (24% gradient at the top) that we have to go over 8 times. This means that we have done things a little differently than London 2012 for example. We need to make sure my swim is super strong to come out in the front pack as well as dealing with any ocean swells etc. We've also had to do a lot of strength work on the bike to get up that hill. The run will be very much strength based after such a hard bike so we have also factored that in.
3) What is your favourite run training session and why?
For me nothing beats a challenging track session. There is always that nervous anticipation beforehand but once you've nailed it there is no better feeling. The track doesn't lie and there's no place to hide.
4) What is your favourite run route and place to run?
I love Richmond Park in London. I do all my long runs in there. I often make up routes as I go but I never stick to the outside gravel path. I prefer finding all the little grass paths in the bushes and woods. There are not many other runners around especially during the day and I really love the solitude and being able to just run and think about stuff. I never listen to music, I prefer taking in everything around me and being at one with myself and my own thoughts, it's great!
5) Do you have plans post Rio?
I'm not entirely sure at this stage. I'll definitely race the rest of the World Triathlon series for the year and maybe a couple of World Cups. Once the season is over I'll assess what I want to do next and where my motivation lies. I don't feel like I'm ready to stop just yet and will likely continue until the Commonwealth Games in 2018 - they will only be 18 months away after Rio.
6) What advice would you give a runner who fancies trying triathlon?
Firstly, don't be daunted, you'll probably find it easier than a non runner would. It is a great form of cross training. I find that I run better and faster when I'm training for all 3 than I would just running. It's a fun and really challenging sport to be involved in. Runners should be able to pick up biking quite easily which just leaves the swim. If you are not from a swim background I would highly suggest joining a club (eg. Optima Racing Team) and get some proper swim coaching. Once you've learnt the basics in technique, you are only going to get better and better.
7) What advice would you give about staying active as you get older?
It's hugely important. Why would you not want to try and keep your body in as best shape possible for as long as possible. Age is just a number. You can enjoy a wonderful quality of life way into your years if you look after your body and keep fit. My parents are both well into their 60's and I can't spot much difference in their way of life as when they were in their 40's. They both eat well, exercise every day and even make time to enjoy their wine in moderation. Keeping up strength training is particularly important as we age so don't just focus on the cardio stuff. We lose muscle mass and strength work will help to prevent/delay the loss of muscle mass.
8) Which are your favourite pieces of Iffley Road kit?
My favourite pieces are the Storm Jacket and the winter leggings. The Storm jacket not only keeps me warm and dry on the harshest of days, it also looks extremely stylish. I'm quite happy to pair it with some jeans and it looks super cool! I love the winter leggings primarily because of their comfort. They don't feel restrictive at all like some leggings do. I wear them throughout winter and they keep my muscles warm but loose and also look damn good too!