Qwik-View: Britta Martin

Tri Training NZQK: Thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer these.
I’ve heard 2014 described as a break through year for you with three Iron-distance wins, in Ironman Wisconsin, Busselton as well as Challenge Taiwan. However your first win at Ironman was two years prior and I would say that was a huge year as well. Which do you see as your biggest year?
BM: 2014 probably was my most consistent and most successful year. Especially my last win in Western Australia was my first time under 9hours and breaking the course record along the way was a nice bonus. I have come very close to 9 before, but IMWA was a big competitive field and I was over the moon coming out on top. My first IM win in 2012 has meant a lot to me though, which I will never forget.

QK: With the change to the Kona Pro Ranks (KPR) it has changed how professionals qualify for Kona. I’ve seen a lot of comments about how the women are unfairly disadvantaged by having to get more points to guarantee their slot. With being based in NZ I’m sure this isn’t an easy exercise to do either. You successfully qualified for last year. How did the introduction of KPR impact you?
BM: I could probably write a few pages about this topic 🙂 I don’t have the perfect solution for it, but the system as it is, is not fair and very hard on your body and health. To qualify as a woman and especially when you haven’t competed in Kona the previous year (the points from Kona count for the following year), you have to do a lot of races in one year plus try to be fresh and recovered in Kona. To get the most out of myself and get the best possible result, I can probably race two Ironmans a year and a few Half Distance races. Last year, I had to do 4 full Ironman races and a couple of Half Distance events. Travelling and the mental stress on top of it, makes it pretty tough and challenging to get to the start line in Kona fresh, recovered and ready to have the best race of your life. I would have loved to have had the chance to race the girls in Kona on a plain level playing field.

Tri Coaching NZQK: Sitting at home keeping tabs on what was happening in Kona last year (like every year for me) is a thrilling day. I was excited for you finishing first Kiwi Pro (ahead of the men even). It was a tough day out there for everyone, but from the online reports and brief snippets of information coming through you seemed to be doing pretty well. Your social media posts after the race show you didn’t perform to your own high standards despite the tough conditions. You had higher expectations of yourself. How tough was it out there on the Queen K and Ali Drive? How do you feel about your performance now that you have had a chance to analyse it?
BM: I was very disappointed with my race and the result. I know that I am capable of a better performance and of course at a World Championship race you are hoping to produce your best possible performance. I think, there are a few reasons why it didn’t happen. Looking back now, I think I was well and truly overdone. I was exhausted and my body couldn’t perform anymore on race day. The months leading up to the race, I was in Noosa, Australia and probably had the best ever training conditions. I loved it and put very big training weeks in. I was so motivated and wanted to step up to a new level. It was risky, but I was willing to take it to get to a new level. I think I had achieved that and was flying. By the time I got to Hawaii though, I was flat. Combined with the absolute brutal heat of this years race, my body didn’t respond anymore. I had nothing left. I have been to Hawaii before, but this year was extremely hot. The conditions on the run along the Queen K were just brutal. It was 47 degrees. When you are already suffering because your body is not responding, it made it a very tough day for me. Although I was disappointed with the result, I was very proud for never giving up throughout the whole race. I wasn’t in the position I was hoping for and planing to be in, but I suffered through it and finished, despite almost half of the field pulling out. That was mentally very challenging.

QK: As a triathlete do you do any dedicated strength training? If so what sort of thing do you include?
BM: I think there are two theories about it. Some coaches believe in strength training and some don’t. I believe it depends on the type of athlete you are. I have always done a lot of core work and light strength training, mainly body weight stuff. But a few years back, I did a lot of work in the gym, including heavy weight training. As I have said, I believe it depends on the athlete and what type of racing you do.

QK: What is your favourite swim workout?
BM: Haha,  like probably almost every Triathlete, I love my paddles, pullbuoy and band sessions. Give me a session including a set of 8-10 x 300 -400m Paddles and Pullbuoy and I am a happy swimmer 🙂

QK: What is your favourite bike workout?
BM: I love my long rides, especially in the mountains. A perfect day on the bike for me is a 6 hour ride, including a lot of long uphills, especially in the European Alps.

QK: What is your favourite run workout?

BM: I have got a bit of a love hate relationship with the running track. The thought of a hard interval session on the track scares me and it takes a lot of motivation. But once I have started, I absolutely love the feeling of running fast and the satisfaction of finishing the session successfully. For example: 30 min warm up, including some drills and strides, 10x1km with a 20min warm down is a typical session.

QK: What is your greatest athletic moment of your career thus far?
BM: I have had a few special moments for different reasons throughout my career. Winning IMWA in 2014 and becoming the fastest NZ woman over that distance was probably the greatest athletic moment so far.

QK: What have you learned over the last 12 months that more people should know?
BM: Being an athlete is a working process. I still learn new things about my body, training, nutrition and the mental side of it every single day. I believe, I am so much more knowledgeable and experienced then what I have been 10 years ago at the start of my athletic career and I don’t make quite as many stupid mistakes anymore, however I still don’t know it all that’s for sure. I think one of the most important things though, is to listen to your body. Following a training plan is good, but don’t be afraid of changing things around, when your body demands it.

QK: What are the two biggest training mistakes you have made and how have you come back from them?
BM: The biggest mistake I do is probably  train too much and too hard. I tend to always do 10% more and 10% harder then what I am suppose to do. When you are already on your limit and train more then 30 hours a week, it’s not always a very smart thing to do. I have ended up with either stress fractures or over-training and fatigue several times. It takes a long time to recover from this. You need to have a lot of time off, which is very hard for an athlete. Unfortunately, the Kona qualifying process makes it very hard to find a healthy balance. I race best after a longer recovery time and a good long build up, but the Kona quali doesn’t allow that process.

QK: Can you give us an example of the recovery techniques you use to recover from your training weeks?
BM: Recovery is everything. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, when you take the time to do the recovery right. The most important thing is food. I always make sure, I eat straight after my training sessions, within the first 30 minutes. You need to replace protein and carbs, depending on the type of session you did. Putting your feet up and sleeping is very important as well. A regular massage is great, but can get quite expensive. I have tried to find alternatives, like hot baths or ice baths, rollers, stretching etc. You need to find out what works best for you.

QK: What events are you targeting for the remainder of the 2016?
BM: I have had a lot of health issues after Kona last year. My goal was to do Challenge Wanaka, but I had to cancel it. It has taken my body a long time to recover and get over my extensive fatigue symptoms. I am finally starting to feel better and I am able to get back into my training.  I will see how quickly my body bounces back and will make a decision in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed, I will be back on the start line soon.

QK: Thanks for your time Britta and all the best with your training and ongoing recovery.

Britta is proud to be sponsored by:

UltraHumps Blog #8: Humps’ Most Inspirational Songs

UltraMan Coach
UltraHumps doing a Presentation at Jetts Gym

Hi UltraHumps followers.

Time is near for the first major test for Ultraman Australia being Ironman NZ in a couple of weeks. As I write my Blog, I am thinking of two fellow Qwik Kiwi colleagues who are covering the Ironman distance in the Challenge Wanaka event today (20 Feb 16). Di Chesmar and Helen Majorhazi.  Also competing are two Army colleagues whom I do Ironman with, Soren Hall and Tommy Hirst, of which I wish them all well.

So in order to prepare for Ironman NZ on 5 March 2016 in two weeks time, I doing one of the famous Scorching Triathlons next weekend, and continue with Coach Ray’s excellent Qwik Kiwi training programme. This week the Podiatrist (Dr John Sloane from Karori Medical Centre) and Physio (Nikki from Wellington Medical Centre) will be keeping an eye on things and will provide some guidance on managing my puzzling reoccurring left calf strains. They have both independently worked out what has been causing the problem and came up with the same cause and solution. Now I know how to move forward for the rest of my crazy endurance career with taking on board their advice permanently. Many thanks to my ever patient Coach Ray Boardman, who understands sports injuries and plans everything accordingly. I know he will be ‘extending  my training sessions somewhat after my body has had the period he deems necessary to quickly recover from Ironman to get me ready for Ultraman Australia.

I was also blessed this week to be given the opportunity to talk about my endurance distance journey and share tips on what has worked and what hasn’t worked, or what has gone wrong and gone right for me to some members at Jetts Gym in Wellington. This was arranged through my Qwik Kiwi Coach Ray and Pavan the Personal Trainer at Jetts Gym on Adelaide Road near Government House.

I have for a long time been considering music as a form of motivation or inspiration for Ultraman Australia. The links I have below are for songs that I have individually asked people to choose (for various personal reasons is why I asked them).

Day 1 – 10 Km Swim = ElvisIf I Can Dream” This is a song from a close Australian friend Johnny Bombora.  We are both Elvis fans and the lyrics are about ‘troubled land and brothers walking hand in hand and If I Can Dream of a better place…’. I guess in some ways, it’s what has bought me to fund raise for the Fallen, Wounded, Injured and Sick.

Day 1 – 140 Km Cycle = The HolliesHe Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” This song is my personal choice and captures everything for why I am doing this. The you-tube link shows photo’s of American Military wounded, but the Ultraman Australia event is definitely part of the lyrics ‘the road is long…’. After all, it is 515 Km’s in three days of swimming, cycling and running.

Day 2 – 281 Km Cycle = Tom PettyLearning to Fly” This song is from Dino the CIS guy at work in Army General Staff.  By the end of Day 2, I’ll definitely be wishing I could Fly.

Day 3 – 84.3 Km’s Running a Double Marathon = QueenAnother One Bites The Dust“. This song is from my daughter, celebrating the event is over.

I am blessed that one of my former RSM’s (Regimental Sergeant Major) a guy called Bob Davis has asked Allan Watt who is a former serving Soldier and Policemen to write a song for me. Alan is an accomplished singer / songwriter in his own right and pretty handy with a guitar. When his song is finished I’ll let everyone know and that will be the overall song. Bob, Allan and I were all in 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment based in Dieppe Barracks Singapore at the same time in the mid 80’s.

The UltraHumps Give-A-Little page has been set up after numerous glitches and is now going through the moderation process before being switched to ‘live’ for those that wish to help donate to the cause of which 100% of the funds will go to the cause.

Take care,


John Humphries (UltraHumps)!

Best of the Internet for Endurance Athletes: 21 February 2016

Each Sunday I’ll post my ‘best of’ list in a number of categories from the inter-webs. Other weeks can be found here.

Technology/Equipment Blogs


All about optical Heart Rate (HR) measuring from the guru of all technology.

Training Blogs


What does it take to train for a 100 mile mountain bike race.

Athlete Blogs


Bridget Clarke is a talented Wellington based athlete. Here is her story as she tapers for Challenge Wanaka which was held yesterday. Bridget had a great race

Nutrition Blogs


How to make your own meal plan.



The top ten cycling mistakes and how to avoid them from the boys at Global Cycling network.

How to Fuel For a Half Marathon

Fuelling for a Half MarathonThis post started out as an email response to a question about fuelling for a half marathon:

Previous advice during a race is not to drink the sugary electrolyte drinks and stick with the water. This stops the energy system switching from fat burning to sugar burning and back. What are your thoughts. Both isotonic drinks and water are available at the drink stations.

Continue reading “How to Fuel For a Half Marathon”

Qwik-View: Chris Sanson

Tri Training NZNext up in the Qwik-View series of interviews is an update from Chris Sanson about his training.

Chris is based in the Manawatu and is one of New Zealands top up and coming Iron-distance athletes.


QK: Chris, you are known as one of the hardest training up-and-coming professional/elite Iron-distance triathletes in New Zealand. Last year you finished in the top ten at Wanaka and Taupo. That was a true break-through season for you. What made that season so successful?

CS: It was a combination of a few things. I didn’t have a great Ironman NZ in 2014 due to getting my taper wrong and I really wanted to make immense changes. I worked hard on my training consistency  all year and went into the last two months before Ironman fitter than I normally would be which meant I didn’t need to train so hard in those last few weeks of build up.  Consequently I went into both Challenge and Ironman really fresh.

QK: As a triathlete do you do any dedicated strength training? If so, what sort of things do you include?
CS: Endurance sports are almost all about strength so I do a lot of strength work.  I try and get to the gym two to three times per week and also do different strength sessions in my swim, bike and run [workouts].  For example quite often we will head out for a bike ride in our biggest gear and keep it in that all day.

QK: Over the years you have literally owned the Palmerston North Striders Half Marathon. What has created the most success here for you? Is it because it is your home race and there is extra incentive for you to perform well? Or is it because it is well suited to your strengths? Or maybe it is simply something that keeps you focused on your training over winter?

CS: There are a couple of different reasons Ray.  Firstly the timing of the event is really good for me as it gives me a target to work towards in the winter.  Secondly coming from a cycling background doing a run training block building up to the half has been really good for me.  So it is something I look forward to and enjoy every year.  It really has made my running at the top of the game.

QK: What is your favourite swim workout?

CS: One of my favourite sets is a warm up and a set of efforts of about 1500 meters. I enjoy a 1500m because it is the same as a standard distance.  The effort goes up and down for the whole set just like in a race.Triathlon Coaching NZ
  • 400m on 5:40
  • 4x 100m on 1:25
  • 200m on 2:50
  • 4x 50m on 0:42.5
  • 100m on 1:25
  • 4x 25m on 0:20

QK: What is your favourite bike workout?
CS: Being a cyclist growing up I have done so many different bike workouts and enjoy lots of them. One I am using a lot at the moment and quite enjoy is on my TT bike.  I head out for 30 minutes warm up then do 2x 20 minutes at half Ironman pace and 2x 10 minutes at standard distance pace with five minutes rest between each one. Its a great way to get in a hour of work at race pace.

QK: What is your favourite run workout?
CS: I have put myself though some pretty hard run sessions over the last few years, but one I always go back to just before Ironman is I head out for a 30 minute warm up at 5:00 min/km pace. Then do 3x 20 minutes at 3:50, 3:40 and 3:30 with 10 minutes between efforts at 4:30 min/km.  If I am a few weeks out from a marathon I would do the same but at 3:40, 3:30, 3:20.  Great way to get in a 30k run in two hours.

QK: What is your greatest athletic moment of your career thus far?

CS: Ironman last year was pretty special for me. I didn’t have a great ride and really hit the wall on the way back. I remember running out of T2 and seeing the clock at 5:59. I said to myself all I need to do is run a three hour marathon (which I hadn’t done before) and I would go under nine hours. So that’s all I worked towards. I ended up running 2:55 which is a pretty quick run and ran myself into the top 10 after thinking on the bike I wasn’t going to finish. It topped off a great summer.

QK: What have you learned over the last 12 months that more people should know?

CS: I have been doing lots and lots of strength work with a lower cadence on my bike and I think its given me some great gains. Triathletes look at cyclist spinning and think that’s what I need to do. It might not be the case.


QK: What are the two biggest training mistakes you have made and how have you come back from them?

CS: One would be trying to swim too fast. If you are not a fast swimmer don’t try and be one. Once I slowed down and started training at a speed more suited to me I got faster.

And secondly would be getting really really fit but not having enough strength training. I made some great gains in the last few years but added in lots more strength work (and you still get really fit from it).

QK: Can you give us an example of the recovery techniques you use to recover from your training weeks?
CS: I try and put in a easy swim on a Monday. It’s a great way to make sure I am fully recovered from the last week and build into the week to come.  I  like to walk lots with my dogs. It’s a nice change to trying to go fast all the time. I generally eat as much as a family of four would and try and keep carbs, protein and fats all even in my diet.

Ironman Coaching NZQK: What events are you targeting for the remainder of the 2016?

CS: This year will be really similar to 2015. I have Challenge Wanaka and Taupo Ironman coming up. Then if I recover ok I will race Rotorua marathon again and without giving too much away another marathon two weeks later.   After that will depend on the body.  The sky is the limit.

QK: All the best for both Ironman and Challenge, I’ll see you up in Rotorua.

John ‘UltraHumps’ Humphries Testimonial for Coach Ray

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

Di Chesmar’s Testimonial for Coach Ray

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.