This interview is the second in the TriathlonTeam.org Interview Series which I have dubbed the TT Series for short!
Aleksander was super quick to respond and is generally just a great guy to talk to! I hope you enjoy it and please also visit Pulsslag.com for Aleksander’s musings!
What does your training consist of?
I swim a bit, bike a bit and run a bit but to your surprise I don’t pump iron. I know I look extremely body builder like but these amazing upper body muscles are all natural ( I weight around 60 kg in season :).
During a week I do 3- 4 swim. 2 of them are a bit harder. I do 3 bikes where one is with short intervals and one is longer at an easier pacer. The third depends on what I want to work on. At the moment I am doing some half ironman distance intervals on my trainer – I live in Copenhagen and we can only dream of the beautiful South African weather..
Can you recommend any specific type of training for beginner triathletes?
The best advise I think is that you look at what time you have to train, how much time you want your training to take and really make sure what you are really motivated for and enjoy and then plan your training around that. Say for instance..it makes no sense to do long rides that are 3-5 hours long if you don’t really have the time for this in your life.
If you are new to triathlon and in pretty bad shape then I would recommend you do easier aerob training..It doesn’t sound fancy but it really does work and you will be surprised that you don’t really have to go out and log mega miles. However as you gain more and more experience you must incorporate intensity in your program..but again do it if you enjoy it and if you have specific goal with your training that demands you improve.
How do you balance training / competing with family / personal time?
I used to plan the rest around my training. Now I do it different. I decide how much time I want to spend training..plan it and then make sure I have the energy to be fun to be around. Train too hard and you might think you are a stud when you look at your training diary but if your friends think you are a boring idiot then you have to figure out what you want to do. I like my friends so I prefer it this way.
Do you follow a specific diet for training / racing?
Yes I follow a very specific diet. I only eat food I like and I make sure I don’t eat too much of it. When training longer than 90 min I use energy gels and after hard session..either long ones or intensity sessions I make sure to get some protein/carbohydrate. I prefer normal food over powder but sometimes I eat protein power as well..I can be pretty tasty but compared to some nice bread and cheese then I prefer the real food..even if it doesn’t have all the amino acids that have been proved to be the best. I enjoy food and there is something to be said for that too.
How did you transition from an Age Grouper to a Pro?
Well it just kinda happened for me really. I picked up triathlon when I wanted to loose weight and to get a more active lifestyle. I did an Ironman and decided it would be fun to try and see if I could get to the top of my age group. My next Ironman was in 8.43. I was first in my age group in several races and I decided it would be fun to try and race as a pro
And how did you first get sponsored?
I was lucky that a triathlon shop in Copenhagen decided to help me out with equipment. Fusion (a danish clothing) thought my progress was interesting have helped me since. Generally my sponsorships happened bit bit by bit and I am lucky to have been able to keep all of the sponsors I have had so far.
What is your favorite race? And a quick why?
Challenge Roth. I was a huge personal accomplishment when I first went under 9 hours in an ironman. I never thought that was gonna happen when I began..I was among the very last and totally bonked in my first race which was a sprint triathlon so that wasn’t really in the cards.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement so far?
That I have changed my life from where I was to where I am at now. This is by far what makes me the most happy. I think it’s easy to forget how you started but for me it’s still the reason why I live like I do. Racing and results are just icing on the cake.
And what is your ultimate goal?
To be able to improve while feeling great about triathlon and go really fast when I am 40
Finally, do you have any tips for new or intermediate Triathletes? Maybe something you wish someone would have told you sooner. Or specifically for the swim, bike, run transitions and equipment?
Yeah..I wasted a few years jerking around figuring out that there is no magic formula to improving. We are all different and each of us must figure out how much you can train. I think training too much is very easy when you are new in triathlon and you have ambitions.
I think it’s very common to have a good season where you train perhaps 12-13 hours a week and then decide that next year will be much better. Then you up the training to around 20 hours…and you have a bad season. You really have to be able to listen to your body and accept how much you can train. When you are tired you should go easy or rest up.
It’s very simple and therefore really hard.
Figure out how much you can push it and don’t push too hard but every now and then you can push a bit harder if you remember to rest up.
And just for the record I still haven’t leaned this but am getting there.
I was in Stellenbosch this year and was so lucky to meet an old coach. He told me and taught me some of the best things I have learned. I won’t tell all that he said but one really good and simple piece of advise was to never push yourself so hard that you need months to feel ready for training again.
I hope you enjoyed this installment in the TT Series! Check out the other interviews:
Is there anything you want to ask Aleksander? Ask in a comment and he may just answer your question!