Laura describes herself as having been “sporty at school”, but it wasn’t until a move to Australia in 2008 that triathlons consumed her days
After getting in touch with Bondi Fit in 208 – a group of multisport nuts, surf swimmers, runners and cyclists based at the famous Aussie surfing beach – that she really got stuck into triathlon. Her improvement curve was a steep one, her first proper race being Ironman Western Australia where she placed in the top 10 in her age group. That was in 2009, and since then Laura has focused on developing her speed over the shorter distances, picking up a couple of world age-group titles along the way.
With the availability of 50m pools and the ocean on her doorstep, Laura has options that will make any UK-based triathlete green with envy. It’s little wonder that she swims 6 or 7 times most weeks.
Pool sessions tend to be around 3-4km, with a mixture of interval sets that often include some butterfly work to increase strength. Open-water sessions are based around what the ocean is doing at the time – when the waves are up, it’ll be a session of ‘ins and outs’ through the breaking surf; if the sea is flat-calm, her group will often do a long, steady swim out of Bondi and round to a neighbouring beach before turning and heading back.
Laura’s bike training is based around three key types of session: intervals and efforts in a group ride around Centennial Park; turbo sessions at the turbo studio; and long weekend rides to build endurance. The park, which has a 3.7km loop, is where her group does various fartlek and interval sessions once or twice a week. They’re high in intensity and help build confidence in handling skills at faster speeds. The turbo sessions are structured around target power outputs and are Laura’s most focused, distraction-free sessions of the week.
Laura mixes up her key sessions between track or speedwork in the park, run/swim sessions on the beach and brick runs after some of her bike rides. Speedwork efforts usually comprise reps of between 500m at the short end and up to 3,000m when building speed endurance. These are with training partners from Bondi Fit, some of whom are pure runners so can really push Laura hard. Brick sessions are often on a weekend and are generally based around reps run off the back of a tough ride. They help to make sure she’s 100% conditioned to running well in a race, even if the ride is quite hard.
Laura explains that living an outdoor, active lifestyle is so much easier in a country where the weather is generally hot and sunny, and where the culture is sport-centric. She’s certainly loving living and breathing triathlon with her friends in the Bondi Fit group, but it does require a high level of application to achieve the kind of results Laura is seeking.
Laura tries “to be good most of the time” with her food intake, but admits to having a weakness for chocolate and for eating everything that’s put in front of her.
She’s just started working with a nutritionist to better understand her requirements as an athlete and to further enhance her physical performance and health.
LAURA’S TRAINING WEEK
MONDAY Swim, strength and conditioning session, and easy run
TUESDAY Open-water swim, easy run and bike turbo session
WEDNESDAY Swim and run intervals
THURSDAY Strength and conditioning, swim session and bike session in Centennial Park
FRIDAY Open-water swim, steady run and bike ride
SATURDAY Swim and long run
SUNDAY Long ride, brick set or race
Laura spends around 20-25hrs training per week. “I typically train every day, twice a day, so before and after work. For most of my sessions I train with the Bondi Fit group, some of whom are triathletes and others who just swim, bike or run.”
Age group: 30-35
Profession: Continuous improvement manager in business
Club: Bondi Fit, Sydney
Coach: Spot Anderson
Goals: To continue with Olympic distance in 2013 with some forays into 70.3 Top three results 1st, AG, 2012 World Olympic Tri Champs 1st, Open, 2012 Noosa Triathlon1st, AG, 2011 World Sprint Tri Champs