How did you get into triathlons?
It was April 2010 and I needed a lifestyle change. At that point a very good friend of mine asked me to assist with Marshalling duties at the SA Triathlon championships in Port Elizabeth. I was placed at the cycling turn around point. It was the first time I had ever watched the sport and I was astonished to see how strong and fit the athletes were. That day I decided to register for my 1st race, the Corporate Ironman (380m, 20km, 4.2km). I spent about 3 – 4 weeks preparing for the race and I managed a 12th place overall and was pretty chuffed. I then went on to race in a sprint Duathlon where I placed 1st overall. At that point I made my decision to continue training for Triathlons and I have never looked back since. The sport has truly changed my life, opened so many doors for me and it continues to give me amazing opportunities to meet new people and best of all I love travelling and seeing new places.
How long have you been in triathlon?
What did you do before Triathlon?
I have always been someone that has enjoyed the fitness, health and wellbeing side of life. I played hockey for 13 years and absolutely loved it. I often miss it as it was such a big a part of my life. I also spent many hours training in the gym and it is safe to say that I was a proper gym junky. I don’t regret playing hockey and spending countless hours in the gym. They taught me how to endure pain and the meaning of discipline and perseverance. I also learnt the extreme importance of good and individualised nutrition.
What is your take on a good Nutrition strategy?
So many athletes are putting their bodies under huge amounts of strain on a daily basis. Nutrition for me is just as important as my training. Many athletes believe that they can eat what they like because they exercise. I completely disagree with that. We have only been blessed with one body and the way we fuel it will determine its output. I have heard many complain that they are training so hard but feel stiff, sluggish and as though they are never improving. I’d say that they should look into their nutrition strategies first. Nutrition is not only important for race day but it is even more so important during training blocks. Each and every training session should be seen as an important one and you will only get the best out of the session if you are recovered well and the body is fuelled correctly. This not only helps you to continue to train at a high level but micronutrition (getting the right vitamin and minerals) helps prevent injuries.
Which Natural Vibrance products do you currently make use of and which would you recommend for athletes?
I am currently using:
• Maximum Vibrance – for recovery, micronutrients that support all body systems and antioxidants to help neutrlaise free radicals produced in training.
• Maximized Turmeric 46x – for inflammation and pain if I have any niggles from training.
• Immune defence – I do a 10 day booster to make sure my immune system is supported.
• Super Natural C – to help with tissue healing (heal / prevent injuries)
• Super Natural Boron – boost testosterone naturally (if needed) and supports connective tissue and joint health.
• UT Biotic – the most amazing probiotic for immunity, digestion, assimilation of nutrients and general well-being.
Of course I would say that I absolutely love all of the products and they have really had a massive impact in my training and on race day. I get a huge kick of antioxidants to rid the continuous influx of toxins from training. As an athlete and coach it is so important that I am not only recovering well for my performance but also for my athletes. Who would want a coach that has no drive, is unable to motivate and has no enthusiasm? Yes I obviously do get tired sometimes but far less than before.
So which products would I recommend?
First and foremost I would highly recommend the Maximum Vibrance as it gives your body a complete nutritional kick. In addition to MV I would recommend the Super Natural C for athletes. It does not help training so hard and then missing a good week or 2 from illness or injury. Our bodies need huge amounts of antioxidants these products are loaded with the best and they are all in food form so the body absorbs and utilises them on a cellular level, which is where they are needed.
What is your favourite discipline and why?
I love the bike leg. I feel strongest on the bike and it has been that way since my first race. It is really important to be strong in all three disciplines but I believe the bike is the make or break discipline in Triathlon, especially non drafting events. I put major emphasis on all three disciplines and this is the way I coach my athletes. The three disciplines work hand in hand.
Who is your biggest triathlon inspiration and why?
Local hero Richard Murray is a great example to us South African athletes. He is extremely hard working and humble with success. One can tell that he loves the sport and has a good balance. I remember watching him at that first Triathlon I marshalled at and it is incredible to watch his progress. Another athlete I look up to is Matt Trautman. I have actually had a few discussions with Matt and not once has he given himself praise. A truly humble athlete that is exceptionally hard working and his results are showing just that. Matt is a product of ‘My Training Day’ and I have always been proud to be associated with MTD as a coach and athlete. I believe Matt’s journey in the sport has only just begun and he still has so much room for improvement which is scary as he is already throwing it down with the best.
What is your biggest or best triathlon achievement? What are you most proud of?
At this stage it would most definitely be Ironman 70.3 Durban 2015! I worked really hard throughout the winter and I went into this race being unsure of what to expect. I managed to take 14 minutes off my 70.3 PB and finished in a time of 4:18:06 placing 8th overall, 4th amateur overall and 2nd in 25 – 25 age group. I was very pleased with my performance and happy that all of the hard work had paid off. I also qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World champs at this race.
Where is your favourite place to train and tell us why?
I lived in Thailand for 6 months last year. I went there to experience a new culture and I was involved in Teaching English at Thai schools. I had heard of the amazing races and I could only imagine the amazing scenery on offer. So I continued training hard whilst I was in Thailand. I spent about 2 Months in Phuket where I was part of 2 Ironguides training camps under a coach by the name of Vinicius Santana. I then went on to race the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and the Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket. Phuket was an amazing place to train and race. Both events were brilliantly organised and I would seriously suggest those races to all involved in Triathlon.
Why do you do triathlon?
I have always seemed to enjoy challenging myself and what better way to it than with an individual sport where you are challenging yourself day in day out. As I said previously, the sport has truly changed my life and I feel it has helped me grow as an individual. The sport has also given me the opportunity to travel our beautiful world and glorify our Lord in the process.
What has been/is your biggest triathlon challenge and how did you/ do you overcome it?
One thing comes to mind immediately when reading this question. 2010 I started Triathlon and I was very quick in getting involved. I have been said to be quite the extremist. So I decided to jump on the band wagon and enter my first half Ironman. At this stage I was working 7:30am – 5:30pm Mon – Friday and 9am – 1pm on Saturdays. This however did not affect my enthusiasm to do well in my 1st ever 70.3. So I completely dedicated 6 months of my life to work, training, and to having no social life whatsoever. Waking up at 4am in the morning, training before work and after work and getting into bed at the latest 9pm. Weekends were pretty much the same beat with all the volume training being done.
So on arrival to my 1st half I had a goal of 5:hr15min. I was feeling strong and ready to smash it. All was going well and I was ahead of schedule when I got to 80km on the bike. I was flying down a hill and next thing I heard that dreaded sound that we all hate. Back tyre had blown ☹ I screamed in anger, stopped on the side of the road. Me being the Loskop that I am ‘sometimes’ didn’t have a spare tube. So I stood and waited over 10 minutes, watching all the athletes I had just past fly past me! Eventually the van arrived and I was back at it with the intention of getting my 1st ever IM 70.3 Medal. It was seriously tough as I had devoted 6 months to this one race and it felt as though it all went to waste in a few seconds. In saying that, these things unfortunately do happen and I took a lot out of that day and learnt a very hard lesson! Always be prepared.
I suffered some serious ‘Ironman Blue’s’ after that race and I overcame that by starting things off slowly again and getting back into full swing within 3 weeks of training. After most of my really big races I like to take the pressure off and have a few easy weeks of training. This allows my mind relax a little and I then slowly ease my way back into my training.
What is the biggest life lesson triathlon has taught you?
Persistence, discipline and consistency are of vital importance if you want to excel in ANY area of life. Stay humble with success and be a good sportsman despite competitiveness. I have seen this sport break many friendships and have an impact in families as preparing for a race becomes main priority. I think it is sad that people get so absorbed in something that they forget who their real friends and family are. It is such a privilege to be involved in this sport and meet such incredible athletes and supporters. Although it is such a competitive sport I believe that athletes should never lose the enjoyment factor and it should never be just about winning or beating a friend.
What race/s is/are on your bucket list?
Ironman 70.3 World champs in Australia on 4 September. 2017 I will be taking on my 1st Full Ironman and of course I have got the Ironman World Champs in Kona on my bucket list. Other races will include the ABSA Cape Epic and I would like to do 2 oceans one day.
What do you love about triathlon?
The people you meet. Everyone seems to be on the same wave length in life and I always seem to meet a number of top class individuals at each and every race. I also love the travelling and scenery at most races. Triathlons always seem to take place in the most beautiful places this world has to offer.
How do you deal with disappointment or injury from a mental perspective?
I try my best to deal with disappointment in a civilised manner. One thing that Triathlon has taught me is that one needs to be realistic about setting goals. These disappointments are bound to happen more than once in my athletic lifespan. I believe that the best way to deal with this is to simply take it on the chin, reflect back on it, seek professional advice and get to the route of the problem. Then it is important to think what you could have done better and learn from the mistake. I feel it is not necessary to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. Take your time and before you know it you will be back in full swing. After all, we really are not Machines!
What are some tips you would give to a brand new triathlete?
Start off with a good coach.
Ask the more experienced for plenty of tips and advice.
Don’t be scared of your weakest discipline.
Start off slowly and don’t expect anything to happen overnight, it takes time and sometimes a lot longer than we think.
Enter yourself into races even if you are not confident. Racing is the best training.
Do you use any apps or gadgets to assist in your training/racing?
I use a Garmin 920XT multisport watch. I also have a Sram power meter on my bicycle. App’s that I make use of include Training peaks and Garmin connect.
Where can we find you on socials networks? (Twitter/facebook/blogs)
Facebook: Richard Alan Lawrie