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Tri Talk with Brad Gansberg
Nov 24, 2014 7:20 PM
With the NYC TRI just around the corner I caught up with our Training Manager and Triathlon Coach, Brad Gansberg to get some insight on the triathlon culture and pick up a few tips from a guy who has some real first-hand experience with this serious sport.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I am a New York native, born in Queens, grew up in Long Island, and now living in good old NYC.
HOW MANY TRIATHLONS HAVE YOU COMPETED IN?
I have successfully completed 5 Sprint Triathlons, 4 Olympic, 2 Half-Iron, and one Full Iron (Lake Placid in 2007).
WOW, THAT'S A REAL ACCOMPLISHMENT. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START COMPETING?
I woke up one day in 2005 and realized that I was totally sedentary and had been for the last 15 years. I knew I had to change or I would be facing serious health issues as I got older. I started going to adult lap swimming sessions at John Jay park on the Upper East Side. Two weeks in, I lost my mind and began training for NYC Triathlon the following year. The rest is history.
IS THERE ANY MATERIAL YOU HAVE COME ACROSS THAT HAS YOU GUIDED AND ADVISED YOU IN YOUR TRAINING?
Endurance sports coach, Joe Friel, has written a book called The Triathlete's Training Bible which gave me all the information I needed to get started (as well as progress as I continued in the sport). I spent a lot of time doing online research, mostly at beginnertriathlete.com
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF COMPLETING A TRIATHLON?
That really depends on your athletic background. I swam and biked a great deal as a kid so these areas were easier for me but the running was another story. I grew up hating the sport and it took me a long time to learn how to do it successfully. It took even longer to learn to love it, but now that I have, I could not imagine my life without running.
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART WHEN IT COMES TO RUNNING...WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONING & DIET GOES INTO PREPARING FOR A TRI?
The training you need to do depends on the race distance you are preparing for, as well as your present fitness level. I train 5 times a week, riding twice, running twice, and swimming once. Most importantly I never go more than three days before taking a day off. One of the most important things all triathletes need to learn is that your recovery time is just as important as your workouts. As for nutrition, I find that eating a balanced diet, and lots and lots of water will do the trick.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE RACE EXPERIENCE WITH US?
Crossing the finish line at Lake Placid was a moment I will never forget. I did the race on the slower side and finished late in the evening (11:22pm). What made this so amazing was that by this time all of the earlier finishers had come back to the course to show their support. I got to run through the finishing straight, at the very same location that Eric Heiden had won his 5 gold medals, surrounded by a massive crowd. The cherry on the sundae was when the Ironman announcer (who has announced every Ironman ever to finish an Ironman race) called my name out as I crossed the finish line saying, “Brad Gansberg, you are now an Ironman”. It was a priceless moment.
THAT SOUNDS PRETTY EPIC. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE TYPE OF COMMUNITY THAT EXISTS IN THE TRI-WORLD?
The tri community is the best sports community that I have ever encountered. They are supportive, fun, and great to hang out with. All you have to do is get out there, and you will quickly meet fellow triathletes.
WHAT WAS THE WORST INJURY YOU FACED DURING COMPETITION AND HOW DID YOU GET PAST IT?
My worst injury was a concussion that I got from a bicycle crash. It was so challenging because it looked like nothing was wrong, and my body felt fine. The issue was that my head was not right. I got headaches, felt cloudy, and needed to take it real slow. It was no fun. The good news was that in two weeks I was back on the road with no negative side effects.
ANOTHER VICTORY FOR THE HELMET! ... AS FAR AS GEAR GOES, CAN YOU RECOMMEND A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE TRI ESSENTIALS?
The most important gear tip I can give is to get your sneakers and bicycle professionally fitted. In a repetitive motion sport such as tri, incorrectly fitted gear can have long reaching negative effects.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO COMPETE IN TRIATHLONS BUT IS INTIMIDATED?
Anyone can complete in a tri! I was 293 lbs when I got started and 1095 days later I completed a full Ironman triathlon (2.6 mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run). If I can do it, so can you.
Thanks for sharing your story, Brad. You definitely got me thinking about that finish line glory! If I can get my stroke down I'm sure I'll have more questions for you in the future.
Brad remains very active in the Tri-Community, coaching new triathletes towards success.You can find out more about Brad's training techniques here. He is currently training for an upcoming tri, Best of luck Brad!
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