In Part 2 we continue to find out what makes World Champion Triathlete Non Stanford tick in triathlon preparation and what life is like at the most elite end of one of the toughest sports.

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to take up triathlon?

You can find your local triathlon club at britishtriathlon.org and get involved. You can’t beat training with other people and I’m sure all your new found friends and coaches will be able to give you all the advice and support you need to get your first triathlon under your belt.

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Apparently you like (according to wikipedia) ferret racing and pruning. Is this true? And what else do you do away from triathlon?

I’ll let you into a secret… Not everything on wikipedia is true! I think that may have been written for the benefit of a friend’s entertainment! I wish I could boast such unusual hobbies but I’m afraid I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a ferret in my life and fully believe that the garden is a man’s job! Personally, I love to spend time with family and friends, who I miss when I’m training and traveling.

You wrote in a blog that you ‘attract disaster’ what do you mean?

I think I also wrote in that blog; ”I was overly cautious around water stations (Lausanne. Rogue water bottle. Damaged ligaments) and made sure no Eastern Europeans were anywhere near my ankles (Cape Town. Czech. Concussion)

I’ve had quite a few ‘incidents’ at races and have developed a reputation within the British Squad as the team disaster. A good day at the races is not seeing the inside of the medical tent or the local hospital!

What are your aims for the future?

I like to take each year as it comes and as long as I’m still enjoying what I do and that my current lifestyle is still financially viable then I will continue and be happy.

How do you plan your training and do you think that you have over-raced in the past?

The basic weekly routine doesn’t change, irrespective of the time of year, or where I am in the world. I think it’s important to develop a good, solid routine – it makes life much simpler. In the winter we try to work off a four week cycle, where every fourth week I do a low key cross country or road race.

This enforces an easy few days. During race season training is obviously built around the race schedule but we are careful to try and plan races so that we get a good block of race free, training mid-season. It’s quite easy to over-race with so many different series, team commitments, programme requirements and of course the need to pay the bills.

Non Standford_4

Do you resistance train and what exercises do you do to help combat injury?

I do three gym sessions a week – two of which are triathlon specific sessions, while the third is a general circuit type session. It’s very important to be well conditioned in triathlon.

We start our specific sessions with foot conditioning to help improve running efficiency and reduce the risk of lower limb injury. We then move into a mixture of various squatting based exercises, along with shoulder and back exercises specific to swimming. We then finish with a general conditioning circuit that focuses on various areas of strength.

How long does it take to recover from a triathlon?

It really depends. It’s very individual to both a person and a specific race. It is possible to feel like I’ve been hit by a bus for at least two days! Other times I’m absolutely fine, it often depends how emotionally and psychologically draining the build-up to a race has been and how much traveling you’ve done in the days before. Regardless, I always have an easier few days post-race, but this is tailored to how I feel.

What’s been the hardest workout (or type of workout) you’ve completed?

In the summer we do a Thursday night chain gang with a hard run off. I love it and often get far too carried away – I’m too competitive for my own good sometimes. I generally fall off my bike into my running shoes. Getting out of bed the next morning is usually an issue!

If you weren’t a triathlete what would you be doing?

I really don’t know. Sport has completely shaped and dictated my life. I can’t imagine how different things would be if I hadn’t been involved in elite sport for the vast majority of my life.

That’s not to say I have no interest in doing something outside of sport as I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a ‘normal’ job. I nearly applied to study medicine and also really enjoy writing, but who knows what could have been or will ever be!

 

* Non Stanford was the youngest athlete selected for Aviva ‘On Camp with Kelly’ in 2004, the first mentoring and education programme created by Dame Kelly Holmes prior to the Athens Olympics.

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