At Velosure we deal with all kinds of bike riders and this week we caught up with Kate Strong who won her age group at the Long-distance Triathlon World Championships. No biggie for an athlete who has dedicated half a life to sport but how about winning gold after just over a year from her first marathon. She has a great story that anyone with a day job trying to compete at an elite level will resonate with.
PB: Hi Kate. I know it’s really hard to fit into a couple of sentences who you are and what you do and what made you take up triathlon but can you try so I don’t have to.
KS: Hi Paul. Well, I took up triathlon in 2013 as I realised this had been a dream of mine for quite some time and today was the best day to start, so I did! In triathlon, I am 2014 World Champion for my age-group in long-distance triathlon (that’s 4km swim, 120km cycle and 30km run) and Australian AG National Champion for 2015 in Standard distance triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run). Who I am now: I am a coach and mentor to businesses in the food & fitness industries.
PB: So you’re Welsh but you’re an Aussie?
KS: I’m Welsh-born and Aussie trained. I’ve dual nationalities and choose to compete in green & gold for the time being.
PB: So at the time you won your World Championship you were working full time. We all know they don’t give those things away. What advice can you give to our readers about working and training? Is it more about quality than quantity or just getting in and doing the hours before and after work?
KS: I was working insane hours: I owned a guest house and restaurant and worked long hours seven days a week. I had many justified reasons not to train so setting a realistic timeframe and goals was foundational to my success. We are all guilty of over-promising and under-delivering and if we fall into this trap too often, we’ll burn out, fall ill and lose momentum. I also strongly recommend listening to your body and eat close to whole-foods. What this means is whilst training, if you feel flat and are under-performing; then stop. Take a break (for ½ hour/one day) and return refreshed. You’ll get a lot more out of the training session. Also avoid processed foods - eat as close to ’natural’ as possible. This reduces you overloading your body with toxins and working harder to get rid of this waste and also keep you in peak performance for training.
PB: Have you done any bike racing or are you a through and through die hard tri girl.
KS: I’d love to mix it up and complete a single-disciple competition! I adore triathlon and it will also ways stay close to my heart, but I also like other sports and competitions too. If you know a good bike competition for me to enter, I’ll be there!
PB: You mention that you’re a vegan. Was that a choice to help with triathlon?
KS: I am a vegan - though prefer to say I follow a “whole food plant-based” lifestyle. It was not a conscious decision to avoid animal products, I just found that by reducing and eventually eliminating my dairy and then meat consumption, I was training harder, quicker and stronger. Plus my recovery was quicker and I slept better, so it was a no-brainer for me to continue this lifestyle.
PB: So you’re back in Wales now-I won’t ask you to compare the weather but where’s the best place to ride.
KS: I love cycling along the south Welsh coast near Llantwit Major and Cowbridge. It’s about 30km from my home and loads of gorgeous windy British roads, stunning views and the compulsory fields of sheep!
PB: I hope you have a mountain bike and use it!
KS: I do own a mountain bike and went mountain biking in the French Alps over summer. I’ll be looking forward to discovering the Welsh hills in the New Year.
PB: That sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the chat and we look forward to following your progress in triathlon.