Alistair Brownlee is part of a new generation of triathletes coming through and he is truly someone to keep an eye on. The 20 year old is in his rookie ITU Elite season and just took another podium spot at the World Cup race in Madrid. He talked to Slowtwitch.
ST: Alistair, you have been racing in the Elite field for a few months now and managed a runner up spot at the Rhodes World Cup late last year, and a third place a few days ago in Madrid. Is racing in the Elite field what you expected?
Alistair: I think so. The major difference for me has been having to control my effort. In junior sprint races you can go full out from gun to tape and I quickly realized this strategy didn’t work to well in Olympic distance races! My experience of junior championship races was that they were hard for the entire race. In the world cups I have done so far there has been slower periods, but I am yet to race in a major championship.
ST: You won the 2006 Junior World Championships and were the runner up in 2007. What should we expect to see from you in 2008?
I’m not a junior any more so I can’t attempt to regain the title but I am planning on racing in the World U23 Championships, which I am aiming to get a podium finish at.
ST: You have a younger brother following in your footsteps. What is the age difference and are you competitive with each other?
Alistair: He’s two years younger than me and yes, we are very competitive. I think it is in some ways beneficial for us both because we are always pushing each other!
ST: What is your athletic background and who/what inspired you to get involved in triathlon?
Alistair: I swam and ran competitively from an early age. I started triathlon when I was about 10 I think and competed in some of the National Children series races. It was just a natural progression and something that looked new and exciting so I decided to give it a go! I started running seriously when I went to senior school (age 11).
ST: What does a typical mid season workout week look like for you?
Monday: long run 80-90 min, easy off-road, easy ride 2 hrs
Tuesday: swim 75min, easy run 30 min, easy ride 90 min, hard run track session, strength session
Wednesday: swim 75min, easy run 60 min, long ride 2.5hrs
Thursday: swim 75min, easy run + drills session, strength session, hard bike - chain gang run off
Friday: swim 75min, easy run or running session (e.g. hills), easy ride
Saturday: long ride, easy run.
Sunday: long ride, long run, easy swim
ST: Tell us how you spend the off-season.
Alistair: I train fairly consistently all year round and just take a few weeks off in October. Over the Christmas period I do some fell races and from January to March, I do cross-country running races.
ST: How are things going for you in terms of sponsorship?
Alistair: I am extremely lucky and I have some fantastic sponsors. All of my clothing needs are taken care of by Adidas and I especially like their running shoes. I ride a Boardman bike that is a good combination of aerodynamics, stiffness and weight. I use a blueseventy wetsuit and Taut sports drink. I am supported financially by Frogmore Estates and UK sport Lottery funding.
ST: Do you have a favorite race?
Alistair: I have been lucky enough to race in many locations and my opinion of them is probably more to do with how successful I was. I think Lausanne is a fantastic venue for a triathlon and it is the best championship I have been to. Closer to home at the end of last season I competed in the Hellvelyn Triathlon in Cumbria, England. It is quite a long race (1/39/11 miles) but the distance does no justice to how hard the event is. The bike has a killer hill in it and the run is a fell race, with the first half uphill, mostly up steps! It is the location that really sets it apart and it is absolutely stunning!
ST: Can you tell us more about your family?
Alistair: I have two brothers and both are younger than me (18 and 12). My dad ran competitively when he was at school and my mum swam competitively.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
ST: How many bikes might we find at your house if we came by and looked? And what are they in terms of brand and model?
Alistair: I have a garage full of Boardman bikes, which is great so I can ride one in the rain and go mountain biking. I have a Boardman elite AiR1 racing bike, a spare Boardman prototype racing bike, a Boardman pro training bike and a Boardman pro mountain bike. There is also a collection of bits, pieces and old bikes!
ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?
Alistair: I like pretty much everything! I am a massive fan of chocolate of any type. My favorite meal is a Sunday roast dinner with lots of Yorkshire pudding.
ST: What about music? What do you listen to?
Alistair: I’m not much of a music fan
ST: Can you tell us what the last book was you have read?
Alistair: The Gospel of Judas, Simon Mawer
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Alistair: Hopefully I will have had 5 successful seasons in Triathlon and progressed from where I am now. It would be a dream to compete and do well at the 2012 Olympics. I also would like to have a go at XTerra, Ironman, Adventure racing and see how fast I could run a marathon, but maybe not in that order or in the next 5 years!