- Home Kate McIlroy
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What does your standard training week involve?
I average roughly 25 – 30 hours of training per week. This usually involves 6 swims (5-6km each session), 300-400km of cycling, and 60 – 80 km of running. My work load depends on what part of the season I am in; over the NZ summer I focus on getting a big base, so lots of km’s, swimming, biking and running to set up my base fitness for the racing season in Europe from April – September. I then drop my mileage and move to more specific sessions ie. speed work, the closer I get to racing.
Where is your favourite place to train?
Nothing beats training at home. I live in Wellington, NZ, which is famous for its wind. This can make some days on the bike a little hairy, but overall it can only make you stronger training in it. We are surrounded by plenty of hills which are great for escaping from the wind and building strength. We have amazing running right in the middle of the city on Mount Victoria as well as trails on the outskirts which offer plenty of variety with the choice of hills or flat runs!
What is your favourite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why?
My Pink 2XU compression socks!! I train in them, and wear them for recovery as well as when I am flying – they stop me from getting cankles and look after my calves so I can train almost straight away after a long flight. They really look after my calves during training sessions as well as post training by minimising muscle damage and helping to keep them in pretty good shape when in a hard training block.
What is your favourite training accessory?
Heart rate monitor and SRM, and Thera-Bands.
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?
I have had many but the hardest was missing out on the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of an insertional Achilles injury. I was a runner then and had qualified for the 3000m steeplechase. I had to stop running completely to let my body heal. I was pretty distraught but decided to throw my frustrations into swimming and joined a local triathlon squad. I also started road biking to keep fit. I decided to put my new disciplines together and enter some local triathlons. I managed to get some decent results and was picked up by Triathlon NZ and put into their development programme. That was 4 years ago - I have learnt a lot, slowly transformed myself from a runner to a triathlete, learnt to listen to my body, and am loving my change in career!
What’s the most common training mistake you see on the circuit? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?
Over training! You have to listen to your body, if it’s tired, then rest; if you feel sick or slightly unwell, then back off the training for a few days. Your body will thank you for it and will operate better as a result.
What motivates you to train and race harder?
Knowing I can go faster! I have had many setbacks over the years and still have yet to put together a consistent year of training. I won’t be satisfied with my results until I have achieved this.
Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:
I generally try not to over eat as my training load decreases. The night before a race, I always eat a tomato based pasta or risotto, anything that’s relatively light, easy to digest and gives me enough fuel for the race.
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
This can definitely be hard at times; it requires good time management to get my training done and allow me spare time to spend outside of my lycra. It can also be a great motivator at times too, to get training out of the way for the day then spend the rest of the day doing something completely unrelated.
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful (either for training or competition)?
I use Balance Nutrition’s electrolyte drink (lemon chilli flavour). It tastes awesome and provides me with the right energy to get through hard training sessions and races. I also use their ‘refuel and recover’ drink straight after training, which is a Carb/Protein mixed drink.
Best and worst thing about being a professional athlete:
Best: I work my own hours, I can start and finish my day when I want (as long as I fit everything in) and I get to travel the world seeing cities I would not normally visit. Worst: travelling with a bike bag and lugging it around train stations when its 35 degrees and humid!
In five years time, I'll be:
Good question! No idea right now, no doubt cruising around in some form of lycra and pink compression socks somewhere in the world.