- Home Thomas Gerlach
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I grew up in Madison WI, playing team sports and running circles around the other kids when it came to aerobic activity. While they took breaks for food and water, I would continue on even if it meant tossing the football by myself. Given that I never seemed to tire, I decided to try my hand at running in my final year of high school. I had great initial success, but there was no way I was going to develop into the runner I could be in only 2 months of cross-country.
I continued on running throughout college as a way to stay in shape and took a class titled Marathon in Training. That class included running a marathon as part of the final exam. Running a marathon lead to many more marathons and a running injury lead to triathlon. Since my first triathlon in 2006, I have been one of the most active racers and I always try to have some fun and smile while I am out there.
Although I had "some" initial talent, ascending through the triathlon ranks from amateur, to elite amateur, and to professional did not come without countless hours of dedication to the sport I love. I know my trump card in life is my ability to work harder, and I rely on my strong mental toughness and my ability to remain rational as I stay focused on my goal of winning an Ironman.
What does your standard training week involve?
Roughly 25 hours a week of training including swimming, biking, running, and core work. Generally I try to swim between 18,000 - 25,000 yards a week, and run anywhere between 20-45 miles, and do 3 core session of 1.5 hours each. The rest of the time is spent on the bike. I don't spend a lot of time doing easy work and most of my time is spent either warming up, going hard, or cooling down. I also get in quite a bit of stretching and foaming rolling.
Where is your favorite place to train?
The local track - it is repeatable and a great way to assess where you are at.
What is your favorite race?
What is your favorite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why?
2XU Compression Socks for Recovery - they go on immediately following workouts, after races, or when traveling. They help me recover faster from workouts, and help keep my Achilles tendon and calves loose while providing mild plantar support and some support for the patella as well.
What is your favorite training accessory?
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?
Going for my pro card at the 2010 Amica Sprint Championship in Phoenix and finishing 4th just one spot from my pro card. It was the last opportunity of the year to get my card and it was a bitter pill to swallow but I learned that part of triathlon is being patient and also picking races that suit your strengths.
What is the most common training mistake you see? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?
Not warming and not cooling down.
What motivates you to train and race harder?
My desire to win an Ironman and see how far I can push my body.
Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:
I have a very basic eating plan to begin with, but leading up to big races the key is to make sure you are eating enough. I get most of my carbs from Powerbar products, oatmeal, popcorn, and sweet potatoes. Most of my protein comes from fish, chicken, beans, and protein powder. I also try to eat lots of spinach and berries. I get a lot of my fats from healthy oils, fatty fish like salmon, and nuts.
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
Nothing great in life comes without great sacrifices and I have had to make some sacrifices to move from the amateur ranks all the way up to the professional ranks. I am opportunistic about my breaks and make sure that I step completely away from triathlon when they occur, but I am not going to lie - life in triathlon is not very balanced.
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful (either for training or competition)?
There is no substitute for healthy diet - but I find fish oil to be the most helpful. Besides numerous healthy features, it also provides some more fat that always seem to be lacking from my normal diet.
What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
I can get as much sleep as I want and not feel like I am being lazy. The body need the sleep to rebuild itself and perform its best.
What is the worst thing about being a professional athlete?
Finishing a race just outside of the money.
In five years time, I will be:
A 2XU athlete with at least a couple of Ironman wins under my belt.
Career Totals (thru 2013)