1) How did you first get into triathlon - did you have a background in any of the three disciplines?
In 2002, a friend suggested to me that we have a go at a local triathlon he had heard about and at that time I didn’t even know what a triathlon was!! I didn’t have any background in any of the three disciplines: I could do a kind of breast stroke style swim but was actually scared of deep water and of wearing goggles (I didn’t want to see what was under the water - even in the pool!), my riding experience was pretty much limited to when I passed my cycling proficiency test on my brother’s BMX, however I had done a bit of running alongside fitness classes to keep fit …so all in all, I was quite novice!2) How long after you started the sport did you start taking it seriously, and realise that you could be quite good at it with the right training and dedication?
Having survived, and thoroughly enjoyed, my first triathlon, I just did a couple of sprint and standard distances in the first couple of years and it was quite a steep learning curve as I learnt to do front crawl, became more adept on a bike and built on my running fitness. In 2005 I decided to do the inaugural Ironman UK in Sherborne so although quite clueless, I embarked on 7 months of training for that and absolutely loved the longer distance training and racing. Then in 2006 I did the London triathlon and was completely shocked to win my age group so I guess this was the year that I realised that if I train more seriously, I could be competitive. 3) What are your strengths and weakness as an athlete?
I am a very dedicated person and if I have a plan to follow, I will stick to it rigidly even if it means going out to train in the wind and rain, I will still go and do what I have to do so I see my dedication as a strength. I would say that my weakness (besides pick ‘n’ mix) is that I am scared of failure and so hate doing any kind of test in fear of my result not reflecting my training. Louise Jones, Sports Psychologist from the TriLife, has taught me that we should always focus on the ‘process’ rather than the ‘outcome’ and this is something I now strive to do.4) What is the ‘day job’ of Lisa Picton? Do you find you are able to juggle work / family / social / training etc and find a good balance?
I am a qualified secondary school teacher; however I increasingly found that it was very difficult to find a balance between work and training. Term times could be very heavy-going and difficult to train effectively so last year I opted to become a supply teacher instead enabling me to be more flexible in training and racing. My partner has realised that to see me he has to train with me and my family see me on race day!! Joking aside, I do realise the importance in finding a good balance and believe I now have one.5) Can you tell us a little about your training - hours / no. of sessions / do you use a coach / do you train with a club for example?
The number of hours per week that I train varies depending on the time of year but in peak training for the Ironman, I will generally do between 15-20 hours per week; this will often involve more than one session in the day. For the last year I have been coached by Richard Jones from the TriLife and I have learnt a lot about training from him -previously I was guilty of being a bit of a mileage junkie and now I realise that the quality of the session is much more important.
I do not train with a club.A few of my Favourite Things ….
Favourite Training partner: my partner, Ian Crocker
Favourite Training product: RecoverXcell – tropical
Favourite Bike session: Hilly routes
Favourite place to ride: Provence, France
Favourite run session: a Fartlek run
Favourite place to run: Sibleyback lake, Cornwall
Favourite swim session: an open water swim
Favourite place to swim: Cawsand bay, Cornwall or Hawaii if too cold!
Favourite Race: Fowey triathlon, Cornwall
Favourite post- training food: Chicken satay & egg fried rice
Favourite Saying: “Live for the Moment”
The number of hours per week that I train varies depending on the time of year but in peak training for the Ironman, I will generally do between 15-20 hours per week; this will often involve more than one session in the day.
A typical training week:
Monday: day off
Tuesday: swim, run
Wednesday: turbo, run
Thursday: swim, long run
Friday: swim, turbo
Saturday: ride – run brick
Sunday: Long ride
+ core workout 3 x per week
: I use this to fuel me during my training session and races. I find this product much more palatable than any other energy drink I have tried before in races.
: I now use this product prior to my long distance racing and find it particularly good on race morning when you cannot stomach too much solid food.
: My favourite product! I have really noticed a difference with my recovery from long training sessions when taking this product and again, very palatable as it tastes fruity rather than milky (I don’t like milk and therefore have never liked any other recovery shake I’ve tried!)
Active Joint Plex
: With the amount of ‘pounding’ that my body takes, I believe that prevention is better than cure.
the name says it all …. carbs, electrolytes and protein all-in-one!
March: Mauritius Independence Cup Triathlon- 1st female
April: 10 mile open tt – 2nd female
25 mile open tt – 3rd female
May: 50 mile open tt/ South West Championship – 1st female
Marazion middle distance triathlon – 1st female
10 mile open tt – 1st female
2011 achievements to date:
April: Guernsey half marathon: 3rd in age group in time of 1:27
June: National 25 mile Time Trial Championship: 14th female
June: Bala Middle Distance Triathlon: 1st female
June: South West Championship 50 mile time trial: 1st female
Guernsey Easter Tri Fest: 2nd female
Marazion Middle Distance: 2nd female
Wimbleball 70.3: 3rd in age group;11th female overall
Ironman UK: 1st in age group; 7th female overall
Ironman World Championship, Kona
70.3 World Championship, Clearwater
Ironman UK: Bolton
This was my target race of the year – I had 2 main goals: to break 11 hours on this hilly course and to try and win my age group (had been 3rd in age group for previous 2 years).
I felt very well prepared for this race; my training had gone really well, enhanced by the USN training products I was now using, and I felt good in my taper for the first time ever. I had a great swim, having avoided getting knocked too much as the start and not lose Ian in the masses, we then swam together for the entire course and I exited with a swim PB!
The bike leg went according to plan, I had familiarised myself with the course and felt confident in when and where I could push on. I managed to achieve my aim of maintaining an average speed of 18+mph on this course and this was aided by my new fuelling strategy of using a concentrated mix of Cytopower (mixed with water at the feed stations) on the bike, along with a few bars and gels. I felt strong throughout the entire bike leg and took this into the marathon.
The first 3 miles of the marathon was off road and very muddy which really tested the strength left in the legs and I felt good. My only problem was a tight, wheezy chest in the first hour but luckily I always carry my inhaler with me. For the second half of the marathon, I had really found my rhythm but I didn’t look at my overall split times until I reached the 23 mile mark on the marathon and I realised that I had 22 minutes left to get under 11 hours! Needless to say I found something from somewhere at the end and yes, it was a sprint finish!! I completed in 10 hours 59 and I won my age group – both goals achieved, hooray!!
Ironman World Championship: Hawaii
I did it and finished in a time of 11h 43. It was a really tough day out there and had lots of challenges to face but what better place to do that! A quick summary: I had a good swim despite strong swells making it hard (all the sea swimming in Cornwall must have paid off!) but unfortunately I had stomach problems from there on in. I'm not sure if I had swallowed too much salt water or more likely, my stomach shut down in the heat (46 degrees recorded!) but either way, I spent the first 2 hours on the bike gagging and throwing up anything I tried to drink/eat - interesting experience being sick on the bike in high winds! The cross winds were horrendous for the 30 miles out and back to the high turn around point, some athletes were blown off their bikes …I certainly learnt a lot about bike handling in the wind! My stomach seemed to settle in the second half of the bike to allow me to take on some gels and I managed to come through really strong on the return leg. I was pleased to get my average speed back up to complete the bike leg in just under 6h. When I started the marathon, my legs felt heavy through lack of fuelling on the bike and I just couldn't take anything on board here either - my stomach was rejecting fluids too so I had to really slow the pace and did a lot of walking. I did the whole marathon on sips of water and a couple of sips of coke! It was a very frustrating marathon as it is normally the discipline where I come through strong.
Overall, I am delighted with how I did based on the conditions and my tummy troubles. Its an amazing place to be, there are some incredible athletes racing and it feels like a big 'family' when you are out there, all the athletes encouraging each other the highs and lows of the race.
70.3 World Championship: Florida
Clearwater was an absolutely beautiful place and I was looking forward to doing a race there however was anxious about my performance with it being only 5 weeks after Hawaii. I felt I had recovered well but I knew that this be a fast race and I didn’t know how much speed was in my legs.
As opposed to a mass start, we were started in swim waves in our category ; the first wave of pros set off at 6:45 a.m. and my wave started at 7:35 a.m. The sea was fairly choppy but I have realised that my swim can be slightly more competitive in these conditions (swim practice in Cornish seas!) so was pleased to get out of the water in good time for me.
The cycle course was fantastic – gently undulating which made for a fast course. It was a one lap course and on the way out there was a headwind which made it quite tough to keep up a high speed but I worked hard knowing that would be some benefit at a later stage on the course. The big disappoint to such a great course was the amount of serious drafting that went on; I felt I was at a disadvantage, but I knew that I wanted an honest race and that however I did, I needed to know it was my time, and that would be much more rewarding. I completed the bike leg in 2h31 which is a PB so I was very happy with this.
I enjoyed the run, it was a slower course than I expected due to the long drags either side of the causeway bridge that you ran over four times but I started it feeling great. I was really pleased that I was 6:50min/miling quite comfortably but then I realised that due to the later start of my age group, I was running in the heat of the day and although my legs felt quite good, my heart rate was way too high and I had to slow my pace right down. After 20 minutes of running, I felt that I was coming to the boil with the heat!
The spectator support was brilliant and I was pleased to finish in just under 5 hours – that was a goal I had set myself for the race. In hindsight I realise that my transitions were way too slow and this is something that I need to work on. I also realise that both of the World Championship races took place in hot climates and my run suffered so I need to figure out some strategies for preparing to run at pace in these unfamiliar climates.
Future goals/ events
As I am 1 of 2 remaining “repeat offender” females at Ironman UK, I feel I should keep supporting that event but equally I would really like to have a go at a faster Ironman course. I joked recently about wanting to do all of the Ironman competitions that take place around the world, obviously this would be an expensive dream but what a great way to see the world!
Nutrition is very important in training. In long distance triathlon, nutrition can be referred to as the 4th discipline. It is an area that I have possibly neglected a bit in the past so being involved with USN has certainly developed my awareness of this. I have felt the benefits of using the USN endurance range particularly the Recovery Xcell as I believe that my recovery from training has really been enhanced by using this product. An interview for ‘Women’s Running’How many miles do you run in a typical training session?
I don’t really have a typical run training session. I run 4-5 times per week and each run has it’s own purpose, whether it be a 4 mile recovery run, a 7 mile tempo run or a 13+ mile endurance run.How do you prevent boredom?
I love running and do not find it boring however I believe that here, it is variety that is key. These are some of the things I do to keep my running varied:
1) Vary the run route: I tend to favour some routes for doing timed runs but otherwise, I will mix the routes that I do.
2) Vary the terrain: off-road running is great for strength and proprioception but also I find that time flies by as you are so busy concentrating on your orientation and footing on uneven ground, not to mention running away from the farm cows, that before you know it you are home again!
3) Vary the structure within the session: I have a couple of runs a week with a very specific structure. I particularly enjoy a fartlek run whereby there are varied paced intervals throughout - this makes for an interesting training session.
4) Vary the people you run with: join a running club or else have running partners to suit the pace of run i.e. somebody who is slower than you will be great company for a recovery run and you may know other runners that will be able to stretch you on tempo runs.How do you keep your mind focused on doing well?
It is important to have goals and these are very individual. I always have my target races to aim for and my sessions will be planned in preparation for these however you can also have session related goals. If you have short and long-term goals you want to achieve, it helps to focus your mind. I believe that goals should be reviewed and goal-setting should be an on-going process. Some people suffer from post-event ‘blues’ but I think that continuously setting new goals to provide new focuses can help to avoid this.
Related to this, it is very easy to become caught up in monitoring pace, time, heart rate, etc on every run and I think that sometimes it is really important to just go out and run for the simple enjoyment of running - just run how you feel, enjoy the surroundings, enjoy feeling alive …… Are you ever tempted to stop, and if so, what do you do?
Yes, everybody can have an off day but it is important to think about the reason why you want to stop: if it because you are not performing due to tiredness/ illness, then it is important to listen to your body and have a rest, there is no point pushing through this and running the risk of injury. If you want to stop because you are finding it too hard, then you are running too fast and need to ease back and find a more comfortable pace. If you want to stop during a session that is intentionally tough with high intensity intervals, don’t stop! Push through it and think about how rewarded you’ll feel at the end and how much stronger you’ll become as a result of this type of session.What advice would you have for our readers who may find long runs boring?
If you are training for a long distance event but struggle with boredom on long runs then firstly, I would consider the route carefully. It needs to be a run route that inspires you with nice scenery and varied terrain (either sections of off-road or an undulating course) to keep it interesting. I will sometimes choose to do laps of a shorter course which not only helps with pacing but also provides the opportunity to re-fuel and hydrate on each lap, this breaks up the long run naturally. This can also be achieved by breaking the run up into smaller sections involving a warm up, a couple of 20 minute intervals at a set intensity with a 5 min recovery in between, and a cool down.
Some runners like to listen to music or like to run with other people to make the run more social.
If you still cannot overcome the boredom of longer runs then there is also a lot of benefit to be had in doing split runs i.e a run in the morning and another in the evening to achieve the intended mileage.
Lisa Picton is all set for annual Ironman Epic!
Triathlete Lisa Picton insists she’s in top-top shape ahead of her latest endurance challenge, Ironman UK 2011. The gruelling event takes place in Bolton on Sunday, July 31, as the cream of the UK’s endurance specialists head to Lancashire for the annual showdown.
Picton has said: “My training is going well. I’ve just had a big training weekend, when I had a long swim, long bike ride and long run, so I’m getting ready. This year, I’ve been working hard on my cycling. I’ve done time trials, and I’m really happy to see an improvement on the bike, while still being able to run strong off the bike. The bike course is the same, which is good for me, but they have made changes to the marathon course, so I’ll need to get up there early and suss it out. There are shorter laps for the marathon, so it will be more spectator friendly, which is great for athletes. I’d be more concerned if they had changed the bike course. Last year, there was a good course for the bike, and so I’m glad they’ve kept it the same. The swim is in a lake, and is the same as last year, so no worries there.” Following Ironman UK, Picton is aiming to participate in Ironman Wales in Pembrokeshire in September.