Simon Whitfield won 3 World Cup ITU races in 2007, is ranked second in the World and is currently getting ready for his 3rd trip to the Olympics. He is also a very proud dad and gave Slowtwitch a few minutes of his time.
ST: Simon you had such a great season this year; can you tell us about it?
Simon: I really enjoyed this year, from the birth of our daughter PK in June through to my results and the growth of our training squad. Our squad has grown so much and it's really amazing to be part of it, coach Joel has done an incredible job of directing our training and the expectations we have of each other, no set goes unfinished and we have very high expectations of each other but at the same time we've maintained a sense of fun and camaraderie that I really enjoy. I think our squad will only get better and better as we settle into our routines and the younger guys have a chance to develop.
ST: What does a training week look like during the season for you?
Simon: Monday – Friday + Sunday swim 7:30am 4.5-5k usually with one 3k recovery set in there a week and in the summer two open water swims. Running everyday usually 40-50mins on recovery or maintenance days and 1:10-1:30 on hard days. We have some set loops in the park by my house where we run the "figure eight" loop (2.8km) and the "harder then Hamish" loop (2km exactly w/a big hill – Hamish Carter used to do the "Hamish" loop, 1mile without the hill…). We run 2.5 hard runs a week on average along with a long run that at certain times of the year is fast and at other really slow.
Biking – 4 days a week, lots of motor pacing, hill reps and hilly loops. We have a great cycling group led by Jordan Rapp (STAR!!!!) so we usually end up chasing him around.
ST: I have seen images of your special heat training; can you tell our readers about it?
Simon: I have two heat training locations, my training room complete with my Woodway treadmill and Tacx VR trainer along with the Pacificsport Institute 5th wheel environment chamber. My training shed is simple; close doors, train for 90mins with no fan and no water, leave room, repeat, build intensity as you acclimate. The Pacificsport room is a little more scientific (fancy?) where we have monitors, specific heat settings, a lab coat wearing tech person who data mines us (all good) and very set protocol. It’s basically 90mins at 36degrees. No fun at all but very effective. I ended up using a combination of both preparing for Cancun and was happy with the results.
ST: How are you spending the off-season typically?
Simon: I love pickup sports, I'm that guy who hangs out at the gym looking for games to play. "Excuse me sir do you go to university here?" "Well, not exactly." Right now until we leave for Tucson/Flagstaff in early Jan I’m swimming 3k a day, running 40-60mins 5 days a week and riding the Tacx rollers or VR (virtual reality trainer, think Playstation on crack) 4 days a week along with 2 Pickup sports days and 2 gym sessions.
Oh and I spent a lot of time with PK and Jennie at Habit coffee shop just looking out the window and laughing at myself for buying another car.
ST: Your training camp in Tucson with Jordan Rapp is coming up. Can you tell us more?
Simon: The camp is Jan 23rd-27th in East Tucson and as with our Flagstaff trip, the goal is to basically "adventure" around the area by bike. The big ride will be Mt. Lemon hill climb. Other than that, we have things planned, but also hope to nail down our perfect routes early in January when we are there training. We have a bigger group than in Flagstaff (about 22 right now), many husbands and wives. We'll do our best to accommodate the fastest and slowest of the group. Socialization is, of course, a huge part, so expect lots of fun as well.
The goal is not see or do anything in particular. That's not really our style. People come because they like to ride their bikes. And we try to set up a group where you can enjoy that with like-minded people, with a lot of different backgrounds, on some rides that kick ass.
ST: Do you have a favorite race, and can you tell us why you enjoy it?
Simon: I really enjoyed Auburn international (worlds toughest tri) in 2005, amazing place, great race, and great course. It was a duathlon because of the weather when I did it and I was way out of shape but I really enjoyed it and will be back. Other then that Ishigaki Jumi in Japan, it's been a World Cup for over 10years, it was my first world cup in 1996 and I love that race.
ST: When you are racing, do you care about the weather conditions or do you take it as it comes?
Simon: No – bring on the hail and sleet and anything else Canadian. Or the heat, love that too, bring it on.
ST: The Olympics are looming in the near future, what else is on schedule for 2008?
Simon: LOOMING, did you say LOOMING!!!! Like a big monster!!!! LOOMING, I love when I hear people say, "Gang how many days till opening ceremonies?" "257days 6hrs and 7mins!!!!!" (someone yells). The Olympics are incredible, I can’t believe I'm going for a 3rd time and I love the process right now. My schedule obviously peaks in August and my license plate (honestly by pure chance) is 001 FPL or 1st place, fun, fun. But the year stacks up like most others, Worlds every year is the most important race of the year outside of Olympic years, we structure the year to reflect that. Joel and I met this morning over Yam omelettes to discuss the year and I wrote it out on blank receipt paper (to which he typed it into his blackberry). I got home and wrote him a quick email, "that's a great plan coach" and we're off. I’m sure there will be small changes but the wheels are in motion and I really do leave the day-to-day training up to Joel. Jordan and Kirsten thrive on knowing what's coming up, they always know the days ahead, I would have trouble telling you what the afternoon session is going to be, if it’s running I assume I need to meet in my running gear at 2pm at the corner of Dallas and Cook, if we're hammering so be it.
ST: I ran into you in Kona before, so can you tell us if you might be looking at some longer events after the Olympics?
Simon: I love Ironman, I hate the idea that out there with some people that when you grow up you do Ironman, I didn't like Sindballe's comments this year at Ironman that were somewhere along the lines of "if you can't ride do ITU stuff" or Brett Suttons jackass comments that ITU races were for wet runners. Please, it's an incredible sport, all of triathlon with all of its options and opportunities. ITU guys LOVE the Ironman, we think it's awesome and grueling and full of drama and tradition but this idea that we can't ride bikes or we just youngsters that will grow up and do Ironman…. I've watched Kona live and seen 6 other Ironmans, I absolutely love our sport and have followed it since Yves Cordier was trying to hold off Mark Allen in Nice. I also ran downstairs and told my parents when I read in some triathlon magazine that my man Jimmy Riccitello was DQd for crossing the yellow line at the Bud Light series race!!!! "Dad, that's SO unfair he was just passing the slow guys….and why is Bill Braun racing for Jesus? Did Jesus sponsor Mr. Braun" "and why is Andrew McNaughton wearing yellow short shorts and a pink cap?"
ST: Do you have any coaching tips for our readers?
Simon: Coaching tips, you'll have to ask coach Joel about that, I will say that consistency is so important, I do a really good job at not overdoing or under doing it, you go at 110% you’ll pay that %10 back at some point, I roll along doing a very good job at applying myself the task at hand. (I’m also the single worst multi tasker in the world, give me one thing I'll do it incredibly well, give me things to juggle and you’ll be disappointed…. Thank goodness triathlon is SWIMBIKERUN – one word).
ST: You and Jennie had a very cute baby not too long ago and you guys look very happy. Can you tell us a bit more about Jenny and PK?
Simon: Jennie is simply amazing, so is PK but she's only 6months old. Every cliché is absolutely true, they grow up everyday and parenting is incredible (and I'm only 6 naive months in). I just love being a dad and sharing it with Jennie, we're so lucky to have PK and everything she's brought to us in such a short time, I thought I knew and loved Jennie before, now I'm humbled by how amazing she is as a mom.
ST: Can you tell our readers about some of your food likes?
Simon: Jennie's veggie burgers!!! And Jordan's Mexican food. Period. Awesome. Period.
ST: What about music, can you tell us about your taste?
Simon: I love music and listen to it all the time.
My favorite music, www.greatlakeswimmers.com , www.hawksleyworkman.com , www.ironandwine.com
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Simon: Maybe still competing, I'm loving it, our squad is so much fun, it's so fulfilling and a great lifestyle. We'll own an Organic wood fired bakery by then and I'll be more involved in my community here in Victoria.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Simon: I'm really good at floor hockey and handball, seriously, I'm really good, oh and PK says I’m a great singer and I can't cook for shit or draw but I'm really good at floor hockey so who cares.