Kanes Foods has sponsored Alister Brown, a local duathlete, who is taking part in the 2019 Targu Mures ETU Spring Distance Duathlon European Championships which takes place in Romania in June.
We caught up with him recently to see how training was going for the event:
How is preparation for the event in Romania going?
“Really well, I took on a coach in November 2018 and I have noticed a real difference to my training and my fitness levels. I am currently doing about 15 hours of training a week, which includes a mix of swimming, running, cycling and gym work. I am also competing in several races prior to the European Championships to keep me motivated and so I can measure my times including the Darley Moor May Duathlon (insert hyperlink https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/darley-moor-may-duathlon_10385 on Sunday 26th May.”
How many people will you be competing against in Romania?
“The duathlon is a growing sport in Europe and there will be about 600 people competing in total. It is split into age groups though, so I will be competing against 20 people within the 25-29 age group category. As this is a sprint duathlon it will start with a 5km run, followed by a 20km cycle and then a further 2.5km run and I hope to finish under an hour.”
What is it about the duathlon that you enjoy?
“I have always been interested in triathlons and what I like about the duathlon is the variety as there are both sprint and standard options. The sprint option is a 5km run, followed by a 20km cycle and then a further 2.5km run, while the standard duathlon is a 10km run, followed by a 40km cycle and a 5km run. Duathlon’s are a very honest sport – and it literally is down to the person’s mental and physical ability. The more you put in, the better your results, so the more dedication and training will certainly pay off.”
What does your diet consist of when training?
“I eat a lot more at the moment as I need to fuel my body, especially as I am training twice a day and working at the same time. I am eating a lot more carbs and protein but because I am burning off the food due to exercise, I can eat pizza, one of my favourites, as I need to keep refueling. I am 6ft 6 so I can load up on food, but It’s all in moderation though and this is because I am exercising so much.”
What tips can you give others who may be considering getting involved in duathlons?
“The best thing I ever did was get myself a coach as this keeps me disciplined and also the training I am doing is beneficial to my sport. I compete in both duathlons and triathlons and I am doing a couple of Iron Man competitions later in the year as well. For me having a coach was more important that the equipment that I have. Anyone can go out and buy a really expensive bike, but it still comes down to the amount of training that you put in which will have the greatest impact on your performance.”
You have been very open about the fact that exercise has helped with your mental health, what advice would you give to others, looking to follow suit?
“Getting outside and running has really helped with my depression and anxiety, as well as escaping from everyday life. I use running as a tool to step outside of my mind and live in the now. I find it really helps the negative thoughts and it allows me to leave behind what I call the ‘bees in my head’. If other people want to turn to sport, find one that you are most passionate about and enjoy. If you hate running, then it is unlikely that this will be beneficial to you. Also, look around at different clubs and groups as you need to find the right one for you. This can be daunting in itself but persevere as the right environment with the right people can make such a difference. Then take a leap of faith and attend the first class or session, as once you are over this hurdle it is the first step in helping you feel better. If it is easier, take a friend or relative with you. Everyone is in the same boat when they join a new club, but you will make friends, and this could be a new hobby that really makes a difference to your life and wellbeing.”
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
“I won a silver medal at the England National Championships. I was up against some elite athletes and the gold winner was only 10 minutes in front. I am not a professional athlete, so this was great for my confidence and has spurred me on in my ongoing training and competitions.”
You can follow Alister’s progress, here on the Kanes Foods website and for further information on the duathlon visit https://www.britishtriathlon.org/gb-teams/age-group/2019-etu-sprint-distance-duathlon-european-championships_7823