Georgia Taylor-Brown spent 17 years training for special moments like those achieved during her successful Olympic campaign. Just weeks ago, the British triathlete captured a silver medal in the individual event. She then realized her childhood dream of bringing gold back to the U.K. from Tokyo 2020, winning the mixed relay along with her team partners Jonny Brownlee, Jessica Learmonth, and Alex Yee.
Shortly after her Olympic success, Taylor-Brown shared with M&F both her training schedule and some valuable tips for those that may wish to follow her triathlon path. Never one to take the foot off the gas, the Manchester, England, native is now looking forward to participating in the Super League Triathlon.
Which areas of your triathlon are you focusing on right now?
Having just competed in the Olympics, I am now switching my focus to racing Super League Triathlon, which is happening on back-to-back weekends in September. It is really short, sharp, and intense racing, so I am taking that into account with my training, to arrive in the best shape possible.
How important is it to practice the transitions — changing between, say, swimming and cycling gear?
It is really important, especially at an elite level. When races are being decided by seconds here and there, transitions play a huge role. Also, in draft-legal races [in which competitors can ride in groups during the cycling section of the triathlon] you want to make a bike pack and not miss it just because you took a long time in taking your wetsuit off.
Are there any other ‘triathlon fails’ that people make?
Preparation is really important. You need to be confident in both your preparation and your training, and that’s a big part of the process. If you are confident, and you have done your best to prepare, then you can be happy however you get on.
Do you calculate how much hydration you will need during the different stages of competition?
We work with nutritionists to help us plan our hydration and calorie intake. As you get more experienced you also learn to listen to what your body needs. Of course, you also need to adapt to the conditions. If you are racing in heat, then that is very different to racing in colder climates.
Is it hard to eat around all your training sessions? How do you navigate this?
You do need to try and eat to fit around your sessions. In triathlon they call nutrition the “Fifth Discipline” after swim, bike, run, and transition. For most people, the best advice is to follow a healthy, balanced diet, and use common sense. Don’t eat a big meal just before going for a swim!
Do you use any clothing or equipment that you feel really helps you to compete?
I use New Balance trainers and kit for running and a specialized bike. I’m really happy and grateful for the support I get from them and they really do help me perform.
Your training plan is full-on! How soon before a competition does this plan begin?
This would be a regular weekly plan that would hold throughout the year. There will be times when you may want to do a block of intensity or endurance, and other times before a race in which you need to taper, to ensure you are fresh for the start line.
Swim (1 hour, 45 min. 6k Aerobic)
Ride (90 min. to 2 hours, easy)
Gym (1 hour)
Physio (1 hour)
Swim (90 min., 5k, VO2)
Run (75 min., hill session)
Turbo (45-60 min., spin legs)
Swim (75 min., 4k, Aerobic),
Ride (4 hours, easy & hilly)
Swim (90 min., 5k, Threshold)
Run (50 min., easy)
Ride (2 hours, VO2, tempo session on bike circuit)
Swim (90 min., 6k, Aerobic)
Gym (1 hour)
- Saturday: Run (75 min., grass session)
Ride (90 min. to 2 hours, turbo or outside, easy spin)
Ride (2-hour bike session, varies between sprints, Vo2, threshold, hills, tempo)
Run (75 min., slow)
How do you maintain this plan without any days for rest?
Recovery is an essential part of triathlon training. You need to eat well and sleep as well as you can. There is recovery time built into each day so your body can adapt to the training and reap the benefits.
If someone is just starting to fall in love with triathlon and they want to start training, would you advise they train every day?
If somebody is just starting out in triathlon, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy it. You don’t need to train every day; it’s about getting into the habit of training often and enjoying yourself and making triathlon a positive part of your life. Training to your own schedule is more important.