Founder Series | Ep #54 | Kelsie Johnson | Triathlon Preparation – Conversations on Race Day



the content discussed in this episode is for educational or informative purposes only and should not be replaced by individualized professional conductations or professional medical

advice welcome to the founders series of dodge of the podcast this year i’m signing up for a triathlon happening in summer and to prepare myself in this founders series i’m going to be having one-on-one conversations with experts in the field and hopefully it will keep myself accountable and nurture my community on a day to day so without further ado hope you enjoyed this episode so last month before the triathlon and i am terrified i’m realizing how much of a burden or even money this challenge is actually costing me from getting the right gear this is far from being pro stuff by the way to actually getting myself to the event you know that said i’m now getting myself prepared for the last few weeks leading up to the triathlon and i’m thinking nutrition mindset actual workout and i have the perfect guest to speak about this today we have kelsey so kelsey is a triathlete competing from sprint to middle distance triathlon she is also a lecturer in sport nutrition physiology which she pursued after completing her phd so welcome to dr the podcast so kelsey from you’ve been posting on your social media uh every weekend you’ve been in in one of these events be it a marathon a triathlon a race how do you keep up with this very expensive hobby in my opinion yeah it’s definitely i guess it’s not very inclusive from that perspective from a cost angle the majority of the stuff i own is second hand a hydration system or a bottle i’d never buy second hand but clothes anything like that secondhand is the way forward and i think it’s all about starting small to begin with so like the first bike i rode on before i went well i’d entered blues triathlon i didn’t have a bike i didn’t have a wetsuit i didn’t have i don’t even think i had a swimming costume at this point you need a bike like it doesn’t necessarily have to be a top of the range bike but you need something with two wheels that is safe there are schemes available that make it cheaper there’s also things like the cycle to work scheme and which your company might be eligible for which means you don’t pay the tax on the bike so it can really heavily discount the cost of that purchase and all the accessories if maybe buying there isn’t an option facebook marketplace there’s lots of pages on facebook where people are literally getting rid of stuff all the time and i think it’s prioritizing what you really need and what’s going to have like the biggest impact on performance so what do you actually need to get through this and what you want you need a helmet from a safety perspective that’s probably something i would never buy second hand and always buy a brand new helmet just because if you drop a helmet then it kind of deteriorates in terms of its effectiveness and then in terms of i guess actually paying for races the easiest way to keep costs down is to pick races that are local you pick races that are local you don’t have to um pay much in petrol you don’t need to worry about an overnight stay it’s when you start trying to maybe go abroad or go something that’s a little bit further around it’s going to take you more than a few hours and you need to stay um it then starts to get a quite an expensive game if you’ve got friends that are in the sport already consider driving up with them or sharing with them to it also i think it helps work with the experience and kind of race nerves if you’re all in it together tie them in as a holiday so although this isn’t a typical family holiday me and my family actually made a big weekend out of southport which i went to two weeks ago now so making it effective right how can it fit in your day-to-day or in your plans but definitely if you don’t have a car which is like for example my case i was thinking i have to rent a car and it’s not that far but there’s like a few kilometers that i need to take from the station to the actual event maybe my mistake here was to actually pick that race for example the london triathlon has been booked booked out since few few weeks now and so you could tell that conveniency is key but yeah definitely there’s definitely like set races in set areas that would make it a lot easier depending on where you’re based walk me through how does your last few days or weeks looks like kind of leading up to the triathlon yeah it heavily depends on like i guess what distance it is print standard or middle or long if you do long so sprint is 750 swim 20k bike 5k run so that’s typically like the shortest triathlon you’ll get apart from things like you go try series which is not always but typically aims more at like first timers or beginners that just want to really dip their toe in the water you then have um standard or olympic distance and which is 1500 meter swim 40k bike 10k run so it’s double that of a sprint distance you then have middle distance which is 1 900 meter swim so only 400 meters more than your standard but the bike and the run well the bike particularly becomes substantially longer so you’re talking a 90 kilometer bike and a half marathon and then you’ve obviously got a full ironman which is then double that but i’ve never done a full ironman um so yeah the prep is kind of different for each one so and maybe let’s focus on the standard one so the first thing i think about is okay how long is this event actually going to take me because that’s going to determine what you’re eating on the day and also whether you actually need to think about stuff like carbohydrate loading in the days before so anything over 90 minutes ideally you would have some sort of carbohydrate loading strategy where you are maximizing the amount of carbohydrates which are ultimately like saturated in your muscles therefore when it comes to race day you’ve got a energy basically like topping up your um petrol in your car you’ve got a fuel your full engine ready to go where your body can draw on these carbohydrates to create energy during the day obviously the bigger the store the potential for more energy and better performance so with a standard distance that will take most people well it takes everyone i’m pretty sure even the pros more than an hour and a half to do so you know from that point that you do need to consider a carbohydrate loading strategy there’s a few ways that you can do this um well i’ll probably speak about the most popular way which is a one day kind of loading protocol the day before the the amount you have to eat is a lot so let’s say for somebody that weighs 60 kg you’re looking at around 600 to 720 grams of carbs so it’s around 10 to 12 grams per kilogram of however much that person weighs you don’t necessarily just have to do this through food you can throw carbohydrate drinks like carbohydrate powders into water and that obviously helps with hydration too you obviously get the benefit there of actually you’re also making sure you’re in a well-hydrated state as well um so that is the day before you’ve also got to factor in logistically what you actually need to do the day before so what what event is it that you’re doing which race is it is the one in windsor okay you do then also need to consider how you’re going to carry some of this food that you also need to eat and you need to i set timers on my phone like every hour to make sure that i’m eating something whether it’s i’m having like some jelly or whether it’s lunch time when i’m going to have like some cocoa pops and so the majority of my carbohydrate loading strategy is made up of oats probably for breakfast bagels cocoa pops jaffa cakes there’s definitely some sweets in there because i love sweets um and then my dinner is typically like a spag bowl with like garlic bread some pasta kind of base dish and and it’s something that it requires a bit of practice you have to get used to that feeling of like being a little bit full for the day but it definitely pays dividends the next day if you’ve fueled yourself the day before and loaded yourself with the carbohydrates you need for performance because that’s ultimately where you’re predominantly wanting to get the majority of your energy from at an intensity that is depicted from a standard distance race can i ask how do you manage digestion here at this point because like say you’re eating all this food and the following day do you need to feel somewhat a certain sense of lightness i always say like if you don’t feel a little bit fluffy on race day you’ve probably not done it right so as long as it’s practiced and you know that you can withhold that um so if you ever do do another standard um in terms of the morning of it’s all about knowing your body and timing so it’s the getting the balance of waking up early enough that the load that you have isn’t going to affect your race but not waking up so early that you’re obviously not getting enough sleep so yeah it’s finding that that i guess that sweet spot in terms of how much food can you manage in those hours into the race so for me i’ll typically have a big massive bowl of porridge and probably some toast and then three hours out two hours out one hour’s out it’s more snacking on things like jaffa cakes or the use of a lot of them the science and sport stuff so like the jelly chews rather than proper food i guess that will help with that lightness feeling as well right and some people like to put stuff in their drinks at that stage on probably my stomach doesn’t like it too much so i do try and get the majority of my stuff in through food and then before i start the race i’ll probably have some form of gel before i go because obviously you’re going the duration of the swim with no fuel right and so as you arrive so on the the actual race uh do you have brakes during the event where you can drink water refuel in in certain way yeah so i guess you don’t have breaks but you feel on the go so having a bottle on your bike so for me the easiest way to do this is i set like i don’t know if you have like a watch or a garmin computer you can set alerts on it to go up every 10 or 15 minutes so one of the things i do whilst i’m racing is i’ll look at the time i’ll look at my heart rate if i’ve got heart rate strap on i’ll look at the watts depending on what bike i’m using because i’m lucky that i have one bike that will tell me like how hard i’m pushing and also look at the time and look at okay when do i need to fuel next when do i need to hydrate next but the garment also has like an alert that you can set to go off every 15 minutes and that’s basically my alert have i drank yet no okay now i i need to drink and so on the go and the same with the food as well and then on the run there’ll be fuel stations and um water so there’ll be probably some sort of brand there it might be high five it could be scientific sport might be something like morten a good idea to find out what that nutrition will be on the day and practice that you practice using that in training as well right um and yeah it’s just a case of grab and go while you’re running or cycling you can stop if you want to but if you are i guess a bit more time driven like i guess me then i don’t want to stop to feel i want to be fueling as i’m still working right i think my target is to just complete it so then maybe having stuff in transition would probably be a good thing for you to get out the swim get into transition whilst you’re getting yourself ready to the bike have something to eat have something to drink get on your bike start you’ll still need a little bit jaw in the bike but then you don’t have to worry so much about trying to fuel while cycling because i know sometimes that’s not the easiest when you’re first starting out something i still struggle with to be honest but practice yeah and so um in terms of like gear which you’re wearing do you have to change do you change from like water to to cycling or do you keep the same gear i was staying the same it depends so is the swim next week open water or a pulse a pool based triathlon open water so yeah you’ll put your tri suit under your wetsuit and then you strip your wetsuit off either in transition or whilst running into transition whatever’s easiest um and then you have your try to already underneath kind of ready to go so you don’t need to worry about changing the one thing i’d recommend is either baby oil but don’t get it on your hands around your kind of wrists and your ankles and that will help get the wetsuit off really easily now i can say though don’t put it on your hands use a plastic bag to apply it because i’ve never actually done it myself but the baby oil on your hands will change how your hand enters the water and it can effectively alter your stroke during swimming so if you’re going to use baby oil apply it with a plastic bag and make sure you don’t get any hands or i’ll get my families to put it on for me so if you’re fine you actually have support during the transition uh not during the so this is before the race all right you start put some baby oil on before you put your wetsuit on um but no i don’t think there’s any races unless you i guess got a medical condition that will allow support draw in the right itself and mindset how do you how do you prepare yourself to this because there’s the nerves that like right now i’m feeling anxiety i i’m just wondering like how do you manage the mindset around this i try not to see and this is probably this is the wrong approach most people would say but this is the approach that works for me i try not to view it as triathlon i try to view it as a swim then a bike than a run partially because my mindset is i have a fear of going too hard and then blowing up and not being able to complete at the end but i have kind of learned particularly over the last six months or so that you are a lot more capable of what you think you are and typically the thing that’s limiting you most is your mind so i treat it as i’m gonna go out and do a really hard swim i’m gonna get off the swim and i’m gonna do a really hard bike and not worry about the run and then i’ll focus on the run at the end so i try and treat it as the swim you know you’ve done that distance probably now in the pool or close to that distance so let the race carry you for the rest the bike you’ve probably at least done at least half to 75 on a bike ride at some point by now so you know you’ve got the fitness to do that bike and the same for the run like you’ve done all three of those elements you’re just putting them together now and just okay let’s get through the swim and then whatever happens even if it’s not what you want like so for example for me i’m really worked hard on my swimming over the winter but it hasn’t actually been reflected in the open water yet so my easiest way now to kind of manage that is i don’t swim with my watch so i don’t actually know what time i’ve done my swim in until i’ve finished and have confidence in the training that you’ve done you’ve done the work you’ve done the training and this is literally just you celebrating all that work that yesterday yeah i think it’s a beautiful way to say it’s like a celebration of all these this time of of training and not taking it too seriously also because at the end of the day you know i’m actually doing this for fun and actually have i have had fun uh training so why should it not be fun as you are on the day off so um completely agree on that and i actually resonate with just stay in the moment in the sense that okay you’re actually currently doing the swim and then don’t worry too much about what’s coming next when you’re you’re getting there you worry about that when you get there and i think that’s that’s a good that’s a good strategy so yeah thank you for that next week i’ll probably only do like one or two like tougher sessions at the start of the week and then it’s just the case of the k you’re into recovery phase it’s just easy runs easy swims easy bikes just to keep everything kind of ticking over and that you’re not losing fitness by doing nothing and the day before you might do like a bike in a run very very short like 20 30 minutes each and they’ll have maybe a minute or for the bike or 30 seconds for the run of like we call them race pace effort right darkness i think in the science it’s related more to like pre-activation potentiation so just getting yourself and your i guess the neuromuscular side of your body and also mentally like this is the place you’re going to be doing tomorrow this is how it’s going to feel before you kind of hit the start line but yeah the week of the race is all about rest and recovery so getting enough sleep obviously just hydrating wealth throughout the week getting nutrition right so just simple things like making sure you’re getting your fruit and vegem for the week because when you start carbohydrate loading you’re not focusing on fruit and vegetables unfortunately i’m literally focusing on how much carbs can i get in my body so yoga pilates making sure i’m feeling stretch free and fresh um for the week of is kind of how i approach it mentally it really depends so when i’m with my family it’s easy because i’m distracted if it’s a race i’m going to on my own on the day before i’ll definitely try and find like a film and i’ll bring my laptop with me or i’ll make sure i have something to do the night of the race before i then go to sleep yeah i wonder if there is this kind of withdrawal which is you know you have this ultimate high when you’re on it you know endorphins that are released during the race etcetera and and do you experience a a low definitely um so the majority of my training i’d say probably since maybe november i decided that so i’ve never done a standard distance so we’ve done a sprint and i’ve done a middle but i’ve never done a standard or olympic distance so all of my effort i suppose over the last six to seven months has been focused into my first standard distance and then i did it i had a really great race for me i was really happy with the performance that i put down but then afterwards it was like that ultimate goal was gone i’d race for like three weeks on the bounce and i was tired it was a busy period at work as well so like and yeah i did i struggled probably after southport i managed to train the monday the day after and then for me like i typically don’t really have recovery rest days my rest days are active recovery so i’ll do something really really really easy i prefer it that way but i think i went all the way from the tuesday to the sunday of literally not i didn’t want to train um i wasn’t really sleeping that well either so yeah i think this is a thing like mental health is a guess on a spectrum and i think everyone can say that you have some weeks where it’s just not your week and you are down and i think my down came after all my energy and all my effort had been put into like this one race and it had gone the way i’d wanted to i was really happy with it um i’m really keen on getting a good work life balance after my phd and i think after i lost that focus i love having something to focus on i just didn’t really know what to do with myself luckily i’ve just i’m just finding my way out of that now and that kind of lack of motivation but yeah it definitely comes with waves i think it’s just about like listening to yourself and being kind to yourself yeah it’s interesting that you’re saying this because it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be on the triathlon be it good or bad but i was thinking what’s next what happens afterwards and well i’m still going to continue doing this because i enjoy and i like the the fitness and the the serenity that i get after a workout because it’s a stress release as well and so the fact that you’re saying like there is a down how does it feel like do you feel lost is is that the word i don’t know if i feel lost i just feel very let’s say pre-southport there was no way i was skipping any sessions for anyone in that schedule like somebody probably had to be dying for me to skip a session where it’s like okay like last week i was like i’m not doing it i feel tired i fed up of it like no it’s just not happening do you feel it’s more like in relation to the discipline for you to be able to reach your target it requires a certain discipline right and that is something that just gives you like tempo right and then do you feel like out of balance or kind of there’s something that is not clicking with regards to the discipline or is it about the why what’s what’s next maybe a bit of both if i’m honest it’s difficult to say because it’s almost like a mental fatigue rather than a physical fatigue so you’re like mentally tired of being so regimented and strict with a schedule that once that schedule’s finished it’s almost like okay maybe i need a break from the schedule so i guess last week was my break from my typical schedule it’s hard to put a finger on it if you race a lot this is why athletes typically in triathlon will have like a mid-season break and in the winter where you are forced to take at least a week off typically two weeks off where you you don’t do a lot you’re like you do things as and when you feel rather than the schedule and i think maybe the races i’ve not really had a chance to reflect on it too much yet but maybe having all those races back to back is not something that i should do in the future and actually maybe next year i’ll make sure there’s a bit more space between races but i just love racing i mean that’s so beautiful in the sense that you have you’ve studied these you you studied your body you studied how your body like needs nutrition how it fuels itself how it can push itself so you understand the science behind and you’re actually practicing and you’re noticing how the theory applies to the practice and that’s why i love speaking to you today and i think you gave me so many good tips as it gets to actually how to go about it i’m definitely not as hardcore as you i look after you but uh definitely gave me good pointers of what to think of and not take it too seriously as well i think that’s my biggest yeah exactly it’s supposed to be fun so i mean it’s okay to be nervous like nerves isn’t necessarily like a bad sensation it’s just not letting the nerves over [Β __Β ] you yeah and ruin the fun right okay i’m nervous why am i nervous i’m nervous because maybe i’ve not done all this together but actually i know i can swim that far i know i can buy that far i know i can run that far i’m literally just doing it all together um yep well that’s a great way to end our conversation but before i let you go i have our rapid fire questions to ask you so the first one is what is the first sign that you recognize when you’re out of balance me not wanting to train mentally don’t want to do it even though i physically should be able to right it’s just like kind of your signal and what do you do to cope and to rectify that i’ll probably miss the session i’ll swap my bike session for a bath or get my nails done or making my mom take me to the spa something just allows me to like have a mental break and reset um is probably what i do that sounds like a good one and what is one book or documentary it could be a film anything that really has impacted your approach to well-being and wellness i don’t really have a book or a documentary but i have a it’s an instagram page it’s called mindset therapy um and there’s one that’s also called wealth and they have just general life and wellness hacks um and i will sometimes when i’m having maybe a bit of a confidence crisis or i’m finding myself going through the spiral of like comparing myself to others i will literally go on there and flick on there mindset therapy is a great one thank you so much yeah thank you so much for for taking the time to speak to me especially in the few weeks leading up to the tripod really helped me ease those nerves thank you uh kelsey for being there on doctor you’ll have a great time if you enjoyed this episode go ahead and select the follow or subscribe button for now stay safe and we’ll see you next week

Founder Series | Ep #54 | Kelsie Johnson | Triathlon Preparation – Conversations on Race Day

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