Triathletes talk about training, diet and equipment
Yvonne and Per are the triathlon match made in heaven. They’ve got numerous successful competitions under their belts. Now they give us exclusive insights into their training, diet and equipment!
An interview with the Simplon triathlon dream team Yvonne and Per van Vlerken
… about training, diet and equipment
Yvonne and Per van Vlerken: a match made in heaven. Not just as a couple but also in the water, on the bike and on foot. The triathlon dream team regularly pushes its boundaries, overcomes them and redefines them.
What does it take to professionally perform this endurance sport? A lot of persistence, courage, fascination and: a passion for the sport! What else? Simplon asked and got them to reveal exclusive insights into their training, diet and equipment. Stay tuned!
What’s the best strategy to prepare for a triathlon?
Per: You pick two to three A-races that matter the most to you, spread out over the course of a year. Depending on the distance and difficulty of the competition, the training is built around that. For very important or challenging competitions, I like to train on the competition route for a few weeks before the competition to familiarise myself with the descents on the bike, for instance.
Which training methods do you swear by?
Yvonne: My training method is: Listen to your body!
Per: Everyone has to find the right balance of intensity and recovery. My trainer wants me to train based on my gut feeling and less based on numbers.
What do the last 24 hours before a competition look like for you?
Per: I try to get up around the time of the competition and start with a relaxed breakfast. Then I get on the bike for about 30 to 45 minutes and do a few short intervals. Usually, I go for a short run right after with a few sprints thrown in. In the evening, I try to have an early dinner and I go to bed early. Three hours before the competition, my alarm goes off, and I have a light breakfast.
Yvonne: On the day before the race, I do a few short and snappy sessions, preferably in the morning already. I like to take a one or two-hour nap at noon, have a hearty meal and lie in the tub for a while. I massage my legs and go to bed early.
What happens after a competition?
Yvonne: Some might say: After the competition is before the competition. But since I complete so many races, I usually like to take it easy on the following day. I go for a swim or take a short leisurely ride on the bike.
Per: That depends on the duration of the competition, of course. After an Ironman, for instance, I hardly do anything for a week because an eight-hour competition really takes you to your physical limits. After a middle-distance or a short distance race, I continue the next day with some easy training sessions.
What’s your favourite training location?
Yvonne: It sounds silly, but it’s indeed Vorarlberg, especially the Bregenzerwald. Also Hawaii, Thailand, Lanzarote, Australia, the Netherlands and anywhere in Germany.
Per: My two favourite training locations are Thanyaura on Phuket and Lanzarote. What matters for us: nice weather, a pool, traffic-calmed roads for cycling and a good terrain to run on. Of course, the food is important, too – and that’s great on both islands!
How do you speed up recovery?
Yvonne: With lots of sleep, good food, massages, easy recovery sessions, a bathtub and mainly by doing something for the wellbeing of body and mind.
As an athlete you always eat healthy, right?
Yvonne: During competition season, I definitely watch what I eat. I like to have a normal breakfast, bread included. But otherwise, I don’t eat that many carbohydrates throughout the day. I try to stick to high-protein foods like eggs, yogurt, quark and nuts.
Per: What matters to me is that I get enough carbohydrates. And I try to eat a balanced diet with everything that comes along with that, such as potatoes, vegetables, eggs, fish and meat. But of course, chocolate is a part of that from time to time as well!
And what does your diet look like ahead of the competition?
Per: Breakfast should be easy on the digestive system. A good cup of coffee, a banana, a piece of toast with butter and honey. Right before the start, I eat a sports gel and have a buffer drink along with it.
The perfect equipment for the cycling distance
Yvonne and Per complete 180 kilometres on the bike during a triathlon. Why did both decide on a model by Simplon? Read for yourself!
Yvonne: I’ve been riding the Simplon MR.T since 2012 already – now the Simplon MR.T2 . I love this bike: It’s fast, lightweight and a real secret weapon! I’ve tried other brands but never found one that suits me quite as well as Simplon. The full package is perfect: the rideability, the stiffness and the design.
Per: I also ride the MR.T2. The bike gives you a lot of options to adjust the position of the saddle – to ensure that you get the best results from it. Simplon also tries to always stay up to date with the latest technology and even be one step ahead. I really appreciate the classic, sleek design of the bikes as well!
What advice would you give triathlon newbies?
Per: First and foremost, it should be fun. Time management is incredibly important – especially for triathletes who still have a main job. To give your training a bit of structure, it helps to have a coach or training group.
Yvonne: Always listen to your body! Even if you have a coach – he doesn’t feel what you feel. Triathlon newbies should set themselves small goals to start with, it doesn’t always have to be an Ironman right away. There are great short distance competitions, too. Step by step – that’s my advice.