tri to be.
The German champion discusses middle distance triathlon
High hopes for next season: Laura Philipp on her way to new success.
Laura Philipp, the 29-year old German triathlete from Schwäbisch Gmünd, has already fulfilled her dream. After years of intensive training she successfully made the jump to world level. A professional triathlete since 2015, she can concentrate full-time on her former hobby. “I have the drive to improve every day,” says Laura. “Triathlon fulfills me. With three sports, it’s always varied.”
In 2016 Laura Philipp became German Middle Distance Triathlon Champion after winning in Heilbronn. She also won IRONMAN 70.3 in Austria and Mallorca – a 1.9 km swim is followed by 90 km on the bike and finishes with a half marathon. This year, she wants more top results, and has continued to train hard all winter.
Season all year
“The end of one season is also the beginning of the next. It’s why winter is never a training-free time for triathletes. Yet, Laura recommends taking a break from training for up to 4 weeks at the end of the season to switch off, relax and let the body recover. “You need to lose a little bit of condition, in order to build it up even more.”
Accurate data about your fitness is vital for training. It’s the only way to design truly effective sessions. “Many athletes like to upgrade their equipment for the new season. Of course, this is a good idea, but it should never take the place of performance diagnosis. Because that offers far bigger results than a bike which is a few grammes lighter.”
Triathlon fulfills me.
Wintertime is training time
Winter offers many training opportunities. You can swim in an indoor pool, running is almost always possible, and cycling on slippery roads is great practice for a rainy competition day. If it really is too cold, you can always stay at home and ride a turbo trainer, have a session at the gym or go ski touring for basic endurance.
Cycling on slippery roads is great practice.
“Of course, you should never overdo outdoor training, because your health always comes first,” says Laura. “But, from experience, I know that when viewed from indoors the weather always looks much worse than it actually is.” It is also important to get enough sleep and feel good. “You can create a lot of positive energy, even from a bad weather training session.”
Without bad days there can be no good days.
Laura Philipp on times when it doesn’t go to plan:
Laura, how do you deal with outdoor training on a cold winter day?
For me it’s easy. My Romanian mountain dog Nino needs a lot of exercise and isn’t bothered by the weather. If you don’t have a dog, try to find a training partner, so you can motivate each other. It’s important to remember that nobody is forcing you to do this. You train because you want to, because it moves you forward and is good for you. When you think of it like this, you’ll find it’s only a small step to go from zero enthusiasm to full enthusiasm.
What do you do if it really hurts during training or a competition?
When I reach my limits, I try to remember specific thoughts that give me a good feeling. Usually these are moments which went really well. I have a store of positive images, feelings and memories, which I retrieve during a crisis, or at a low point.
And, what if it still doesn’t get any better?
Not every day can be a great day. You need to accept this. If this happens I get angry or scold myself. That frees me. Then, I remind myself that there can be no good days without bad days.
What’s responsible for a bad day… head or body?
The body can’t always do what the head commands. Sometimes it simply wants far too much from it. The body can’t always respond. However, my body has impressed, and surprised me, on many occasions. For your best performance it is vital that your head, and body, work together.