We caught up with the Brownlees to talk about their fitness ahead of their ITU homecoming in Leeds, their Rio Olympics prep and what tips they have for us age-groupers…
JONNY ON… THE WTS IN LEEDS
Leeds being part of the ITU WTS Series in June is something we’re incredibly proud about and supportive of. It should be an amazing event. I’ve been lucky to compete at a home Olympics but to have a truly home, home WTS race is incredible. If 100,000 people come out to watch and support, it’s going to be an amazing thing for triathlon.
JONNY ON… HIS LEEDS GOAL
As for my own goals, Rio is the big aim and I’m coming into decent shape but I’m not super-duper fit. After Leeds it’s Stockholm and then training at altitude again in St. Moritz for the final bits of training.
JONNY ON… PEAKING FOR YOUR ‘A’ RACE
I learnt last year about getting too fit, too soon. I was in the best shape I’d ever been in at the ITU Gold Coast race last year [where Jonny comfortably won] but I got a stress fracture after that; when you’re lean, running fast and biking hard you’re on that edge when it puts so much stress on your body and the bones to take. The idea for Leeds is to get fit for the Olympics, which are eight weeks around the corner, but not really, really fit.
JONNY ON… HEAT PREP
The Gold Coast was very close to being a really good race. I was very fit and I felt amazing until 8km of the run [Jonny still came third but collapsed at the line and required medical treatment after the race]. But it taught me that I need to do some more heat training before Rio. I went to the 35C Gold Coast from a snowy Leeds, which is too short a time to acclimatise. So St. Moritz will help with the heat training, and if it’s not too hot there we can use the heat chambers there. We arrive in Brazil two weeks before the event, so I should definitely be ready for the heat by then.
ALISTAIR ON… THE ORGANISATION OF TRI
There’s so much co-ordination that goes into organsing tri events. For Leeds, when you’re partially shutting a city down, there’s a huge number of things to be taken into account, like provisions for people who live in a care home. The organisation is incredible and I don’t envy the people putting on the race. It’s given me an appreciation of the kind of work that has to go into organising these races.
ALISTAIR ON… RIO PREP
I’ve had a really good winter of training. Rio is the big goal this season and the course suits me. I had a tough race when I was there last year [Alistair finished 10th], but I knew that I wasn’t fully fit. I’ll be training as hard as I can and racing until then.
ALISTAIR ON… RACE RIVALS AND MAKING HISTORY
I pretty much don’t check any social media, especially not what my rivals are up to. [In terms of becoming the first triathlete to win back-to-back Olympic titles] I’m obviously going into Rio to win that race, that’s the goal and all you can do is stand on the start line and be in the best position you can be in. And that’s what I hope to do.
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ALISTAIR ON… MOTIVATION
Training in a group is a really good thing for motivation. It gets you out of the door and there are always people who are really good at brightening the atmosphere and having a laugh with you. Going out to enjoy the countryside and escape being inside banging your head against a brick wall.
ALISTAIR ON… RECOVERY
I always go for protein-heavy foods after a heavy session. I drink a pint of milk when I get home and eat something like chicken with green vegetables and a baked potato.
Jonny and Alistair were speaking at a Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds promotional event. More info on the race, held from 11-12 June in Leeds, is at http://leeds.triathlon.org/