This is the second year in a row where I have been fortunate enough to travel to Europe as the Physiotherapist for the NSWIS, VIS and AIS triathlon teams. I flew out with the team on the 21st of May, straight to Madrid for the World Championship Series race, where I worked as the Australian team physio. It was a big race for all, as it was the last Olympic selections race for the Australians, so there was plenty of tension going around!
Following this race, we headed back to Vitoria, our training base in Spain, which is about an hour from San Sebastian in the Basque country. The area is by far the best location I have ever been around the world for training. There are 5 swimming pools within a short ride, the riding is amazing, with many big climbs, with quiet roads and polite drivers and the running is just as good, with endless running trails to explore!
At the moment we have about 10 athletes in the camp, including 3 in the Olympics, Brendan Sexton, Erin Densham and recently Richard Murray has joined us, who is South African and many believe is a strong medal chance in London. Erin is also regarded by many at the moment as Australia’s strongest medal contender. It is a great bunch of athletes, who are all racing at the very pinacle of the sport and are on the cutting edge of all things performance. I am very fortunate to have a hand in the development of this and helping to control the environment in which they are a part of.
I treat each athlete 4-7 times a week, depending on the athlete and their racing. Mostly treatment is prevention – identifying potential problems before they become issues, along with massage and different recovery and performance strategies. It is an amazing environment to be a part of, as a physiotherapist and coach, as I am surrounded by some of the worlds best athletes and coaches.
On a personal note, I also have been training very hard since arriving. I had a short break following the Ironman at Port Macquarie, but am thick in training now for the ITU Long Course World Championships. Unbelievably, this year they are being held here in Vitoria! Last year the race was the European Championships, which I raced and this year the world champs. I have been doing much of my running and riding with Eneko Llanos, who is from Vitoria, who has won a heap of Ironmans, placed 2nd in Hawaii and broke the 8 hour barrier last year, going 7hrs 59min to win in Arizona. He is an one of the nicest and most helpful guys in triathlon and is also racing the World Champs, so is really pushing me to my limits at the moment!
A typical day here in Vitoria might look something like this for the Olympic athletes:
7am: wake up and we go through core and strength work
8.30am: Short morning run 30-60min
10:30 – 12:30: Swim – which I do with them often – 4-6km
2pm – 4pm: Lunch and rest
4:30pm: Hard bike/motor pacing or hard run
Evening treatment and stretching/ice baths + dinner.
My days vary quite bit, however a typical day may look like this:
6:30am: Wake and do core and strength work with athletes
7:30: Long or interval run
10:30am – 12:30: Swim, followed by lunch
1:30 – 4pm: Ride, often with intervals over the World Champs course or hills
5-10pm: Treatment of athletes
From here on in, the team does quite a bit of travel, about every second weekend to races. Not all athletes go to the same races however and I will travel to the bigger races with them. This weekend we have a World Cup race in Southern Spain, followed by a trip to Hungary and France.
My next race will be a half ironman on the 7th of July, starting at the Spanish time of 4pm, which will be very different! I will use this as a prep race for the World Champs, which is 4km swim, 120km bike and 30km run 3 weeks later!
Straight after my race in the Worlds, I will travel to the Olympics and then head home after that. I am really excited about the next period, especially as the Olympics only come up every 4 years and feel very fortunate to be in such an environment. C’mon Aussies!