Day in the Life: Pro Triathlete, Kristen Marchant
You know when you get to know someone in life and you just KNOW they are destined for greatness? That is how I always felt about Kristen. I met her when we were varsity runners in university. She was winning the races and I was gutting them out for middle of the pack finishes. No one worked harder or was more focused than Kristen. She brought an intensity and a passion to everything to do with training and I admired her for it.
It surprised no one when she went on to take on and win the triathlon.
I love to peek into the lives of successful people which is why I listen to podcasts instead of the radio on the way to work and read the blogs I do – and why I wanted to start this new blog series on taking a peek into the life of a professional athlete to see what motivates them and what their every day looks like. Here is Kristen:
With three sports to triathlon (swim, bike, run), that requires a lot of training- how do you manage to balance all three?
It definitely takes time to work out how to balance all three sports, in a day, a week, a month, and a year. Coming from a running background that part came very naturally, and (mostly as the result of injury) the running volume and intensity was cut back to allow training in both the swim and bike. I was very fortunate to be able to swim with the Waterloo Varsity Swim Team for my last two years of university- this helped to not only improve my swimming but I was also able to learn how to structure training. The cycling came fairly intuitively- much the same as running but the intervals are longer (in general). Then it comes down to how much you can handle in a day or week as to how to structure training- the more experienced I get the more intensity and volume I can handle. I can’t imagine doing what I do today even a year ago.
Favourite sport of the three disciplines?
I would have to say that it is the bike. It is my strongest of the three disciplines at the moment so it is easy to like what you are good at and cycling allows for so much freedom to explore, which keeps the training fun and interesting. I also like the fact that you can work really hard on the bike with a low risk of injury (unlike running).
Advice for newbie triathletes?
Basic gear will do. It is easy to get intimidated with all the fancy gear and expensive bikes that some triathletes have. A local triathlon can be completed on any type of bike, be that a mountain bike, cross bike, commuter bike, hybrid, etc. There is no need to drop a couple thousand (or more) on fancy equipment. If the race you are considering doing requires a wetsuit you can rent one for the day before deciding if this is something you want to continue and invest in.
Find a short, local race to get started- There are a lot of local races around, all which are triathlons- you don’t need to do an Ironman to be a triathlete!
Keep the training simple. Looking at the mountain of training advice on the internet can be overwhelming and confusing even to the experienced athlete. A good rule of thumb if you are starting out is to train once a day, six days a week, with two sessions per sport. There is no need to do complicated workouts if you are just getting fit- just swim, bike and run!
Have fun- this is the most important. Keep training fun and don’t take if too seriously. Missing a training session is not the end of the world, it’s important to maintain balance with family and work as well.
Key to your athletic success?
Consistency. It took me some time to learn, but doing ‘epic’ days of training is not a good idea in the long run. They will leave you too tired to do much for at least a couple of days, meaning that you lose that consistency. Keeping things shorter, with an appropriate amount of intensity, week in and week out is the key to improvement. This also means trying to stay injury free, so paying attention to doing weights/strength work and foam rolling/ massage etc is very important.
What’s your number one guilty pleasure?
What are your season plans?
I am choosing to focus on both the Olympic-distance non-draft racing as well as half-iron distance racing (also non-drafting). I am still one of the youngest pros to be racing outside of the ITU (Olympic-bound) type racing, and therefore it is important that I work to be able to go very fast while I am young, so that I can transfer that speed into a longer race as I get older. First up on the calendar is St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Florida on April 24th, followed by Rev3 Knoxville (May) and Eagleman 70.3 (June).
Describe an average day in your life right now:
I am currently in Tucson, Arizona for training. Here is a look at my March 17th training.
5:30am: Wake up and drink coffee, absolutely essential to get the day going.
7am: Easy 80min run out on a deserted dirt road. Nice and cool at this time of morning.
Home for breakfast- the best of cereal with chocolate milk.
11am: 2hr20min ride out at Gates Pass. The workout had 4x10min hard efforts.
2:30pm: 90min swim. Main set was 16×100 best average on 1:40.
4:45pm: At the weight room for a strength workout with resistance bands, stability ball, and a few dumbbells. This is mostly a running-specific strength routine focused on preventing stress fractures which have been a common injury for me in the past. I also did 15min of core.
6:30pm: Dinner time and relaxing/foam rolling etc.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why she is a pro! If you are interested in following Kristen in her training, you can find her on strava here. Also, if you have any questions for her, leave them below and we will follow up.