As headline news from the World Triathlon Championships brought the sport into the public eye this week – not a dry eye in the house thanks to Brownlee brotherly love – I had to share a story about it on here and luckily I have an insider to help me.
Sophie Kirk, 24, who I first met at Fulham Running Club and am now friends and housemates with, competed in the Olympic distance triathlon in Mexico on Sunday, just like the Brownlee brothers, and I can now proudly say she is 5th in the WORLD in her age category in the event #myfriendisbetterthanyours
She very kindly answered a few questions, giving us an insight into the life of a triathlete –
How did you first get into triathlon?
I first started triathlon at university when one of my housemates dragged me along to swim training in second year. I was really involved in cross country club at that point but I used to swim competitively when I was really young so it was nice to get back to the pool! My first Olympic distance triathlon was this year however after a slight incident involving a bike and a broken elbow put me out of last seasons racing.
What’s your favourite thing about the sport?
The variety of training you get to do. 3 disciplines to train for guarantee you’ll never get bored. The races are always different as well, sea or lake swim, hilly or flat bike and hot or cold run.
Can anyone give it a try?
Absolutely, this is my first competitive year at triathlon and up until this summer I was still riding my basic road bike. There are events all over the country which anyone can enter and countless abroad also. No previous experience required.
How often do you train and what’s your favourite and worst training session?
I tend to do 3 swims, 3 cycle and 3 run sessions a week. I also try to incorporate some strength and core work in there. And of course the dreaded foam roller!
My favourite session is outdoor intervals in Richmond Park. Varying intervals between hard and easy are a great way to start the day. And I love dragging my friends out to join in the fun (although they’d probably call it pain, they love it really!)
My least favourite session is probably core work….it’s vital for long term performance but I way prefer swimming, biking and running.
What do you enjoy eating pre, during and post training?
I often don’t eat before a morning swim or bike session grabbing a banana for the bike if it’s a tough session. After those I normally have porridge with all the toppings.
During training, especially on the bike, I eat Tribe bars which are all natural energy bars. I find it really difficult to eat gels now after overdoing them during ultra training last year.
After training it’s all about the protein with a bit of carbohydrate. Either a protein shake using Puriton powder or real food like chicken, salad and sweet potatoes (the go to meal!)
You’ve just competed at the World Champs, can you describe it in one word?
How do you recover well from such a hard season of training and the race?
Right now I’m not sure! Not training never lasts long, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with friends and planning next year’s goals. Lots of foam rolling after the race was required and I’m looking to improve my running technique in the next few months. I actually have one more race scheduled for November out in Phuket, Thailand where my coach Imogen Simmonds is based.
What’s your next challenge/goal?
I think I will do a half ironman distance next year (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21k run) but I haven’t decided which one yet. I’ve also prequalified for the World and European Championships next year out in Rotterdam and Kitzbuhl for Olympic distance.
and finally, quick fire –
Avocado toast or pancakes?
Pony tail swish or on-trend braids?
Pony tail…I don’t have the skills!
Great British Bake Off or Made in Chelsea?
Tough, but cake always wins.
Alistair or Johnny Brownlee?!
Ahhhhh the ultimate question. Ali, seeing him pick his brother up was inspirational and really captures the essence of sport. Being 20 metres away from the finish line was amazing!
Congratulations Sophie! and thank you for letting us in on your triathlon tips and tricks, as well as inspiring us everyday to get up and train towards your goal.