Debs Lynch is a young up and coming triathlete. Over the last few years she has overcome a number of challenges to get to her current position in the NZ High Performance Triathlon Squad environment. You can follow her progress on her blog: https://deborahlynch.wordpress.com/ or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/
QK: I trust your assignments you were working on over the weekend got completed and you didn’t get too sidetracked either in Taupo spectating at Ironman or following friends progress online. What are you currently studying towards?
DL: I’m studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Information Sciences, specialising in Information Technology. It is run by distance through Massey University. Being computer based allows me to study while based overseas over the winter. It is very strange to suddenly have my free time occupied with study after a two year break following four years of study at Otago University.
QK: I imagine that this fits nicely with your training with the High Performance (HP) squad in Cambridge. What does a typical week of training with them look like [reader discretion – Debs is a full time athlete who is extremely fit. It is not recommended that you try and emulate this]?
DL: We swim five days a week, with a mix of 25m and 50m pools, and open water swimming at Lake Karapiro, which keeps it interesting. I’ll do a couple of 2.5-4 hour rides, a hard ride or bike race, and a few easy spins to keep the legs ticking over. One tempo or speed run, a long run up to 90 mins, and then a couple of easy 40-60min runs. Two strength and conditioning gym sessions round off the week. I’ll have either a whole day off or a single session day once a week.
QK: I know you’ve recently done a block of altitude training at the Snow Farm in Wanaka. What was the highlight of your time there?
DL: Probably the running on the tracks up there. It was all off-road running, which is my favourite, but not so lumpy that you were terrified of rolling an ankle with every step. The views from up there were stunning too.
QK: Do you have an overseas campaign lined up for 2016? What are your goals this year?
DL: The overseas/racing campaign is split into two parts this year. I have just started the first part – racing World Cups in Mooloolaba, New Plymouth and Chengdu, and the Oceania champs in Gisborne will get me through to the end of April. I’ll head away in June to Europe to rejoin my German club in Potsdam, racing most of the Bundesliga series, as well as a few World Cups. All going well, I will go to North America for a few more events and then on to the World Champs. Goals for this year are to get on top of World Cup racing, and perform well enough to earn a World Triathlon Series start, and to race at the World Champs in Cozumel, Mexico.
QK: As part of the HP squad other than coaching what other support do you receive? What has been the highlight of being in the HP environment?
DL: I get massage treatment each week, which has been great for keeping on top of any niggles that I would otherwise have let slide and hoped for the best. They provide some living allowance and financial support for some of my overseas campaign. Having like-minded athletes around me every day, pushing themselves to their limit, is forcing me to do the same. I am constantly learning from them.
QK: As you know I have followed your progress through triathlon since the very beginning when Andrea and I both coached you as a beginner. You’ve had a large number of successes over the years, but also some low points. What positives have you taken from the low points?
DL: One bad (or terrible!) race won’t define your career, as much as you think it will at the time. While you may feel embarrassed or humiliated when performing badly, others rarely think so. These events are the ones you use to motivate you to keep pushing through at training and are the fuel to improving at the next race. They are often the ones you look back on and laugh at. Eventually.
QK: What do you consider your greatest athletic achievement?
DL: First time qualifying for the U23 team for the world champs in 2014. I hadn’t really trained or competed while I was at university the 3-4 years prior, and it came after a summer working full-time on a biotech internship and training on top of that. I was so determined to make this team that I was finishing some sessions after 8pm (Dunedin doesn’t get dark until much later over summer) in order to get sufficient bike hours in during the week. I realised how much I really wanted this triathlon career and what I would do to get there.
QK: What is your favourite swim workout?
DL: Not exactly a favourite, just really satisfying to complete – 3 rounds of 3 x (300 + 100 faster), the 300s getting faster within and between rounds.
QK: What is your favourite bike workout?
DL: Reps up Makara
QK: What is your favourite run workout?
DL: Rounds of 300s on the grass track – a great little speed hit out.
QK: What have you learned over the past 12 months that more people should know?
DL: Running slower on the easy runs is better than too fast, as you are less likely to develop injuries and then fast sessions are (usually!) performed better. Easy days or days off, are exactly that. Doing as little as possible, so that you come back mentally and physically refreshed for another week of training.
QK: What are the two biggest training mistakes you have made and how did you come back from them?
DL: Running too fast on ‘easy runs’ to stay with the group. I developed plantar fasciitis, which I am still having to manage. I am now less concerned now about not keeping up, but paying attention to myself and how I’m feeling.
Trying to ‘catch up’ on sessions missed by squeezing a day and a half into one day. There is nothing to gain except a more tired body going into the third day and the quality of those sessions declines. I now just accept that some days, unexpected things happen (or sometimes, in my case, time management is nowhere in sight) and instead of cramming in extra sessions, you’re better off to just altering the next day’s training a little.